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The Shelf Life of Cannabis

Can cannabis go bad?

There’s a fine balance in preserving bud — you don’t want it to dry out and become brittle and you also don’t want to expose it to too much moisture, making it vulnerable to mildew or mold. With that in mind, cannabis does have a shelf life, but if you store it properly, it can be enjoyed for a long time down the road!

Explore the shelf life of cannabis and get our favorite tried and true storage techniques from Emerald Leaves in Tacoma.

How Long Can Cannabis Last?

When cannabis is properly stored, it can have an amazingly long shelf life. It’s important that you’re buying cannabis from a trusted vendor where it has been harvested and dried properly. If your cannabis is up to par in its processing methods, you can store it upwards of a year (sometimes more).

Optimizing Your Cannabis Storage

Temperature, humidity, and light all affect how your cannabis will degrade over time, so it’s important to learn how to optimally store it. If you’re simply leaving it in the pouch it comes in, it’s very likely the shelf life will be dramatically reduced.

To extend the shelf life of your bud you don’t have to get fancy — a mason jar, Tupperware, or a ceramic jar will do just fine. If humidity or moisture is an issue, you can always invest in small moisture packs you can place within the container, but typically an air-tight lid should be enough.

It’s important to store your chosen container in a dark, cool environment such as the pantry or a drawer. If you do want to get fancy, there are plenty of products on the market to choose from — a curation of cannabis humidors and specially made pouches that were designed to keep scents at bay while blocking light, humidity, and extreme temperatures.

What Happens to Cannabis as it Ages?

Like most plants, cannabis too degrades with age, and while we know that it can last for quite a while, over time it breaks down and slowly loses its potency.

As cannabis ages, the sticky bud that we all enjoy loses its flavor and scent, thus an old, potentially expired bud is tasteless and without its sharp, earthy scent. Over an extended amount of time, cannabis will also lose its potency as a result of THC degradation. Research conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has determined the following:

  • Cannabis loses approximately 16% of its THC potency after one year.
  • Cannabis stored for two years will forfeit 26% of its THC potency.
  • Upwards of four years in storage, 41% of THC’s potency will be lost.

Good Vs. Bad Cannabis

There is a distinct difference in quality between properly stored cannabis and the cannabis baggie you found in the corner of your closet!

Fresh, good cannabis features:

  • A beautiful, lively color
  • Sticky buds
  • Fragrant
  • Spongy
  • A high concentration of trichomes

Bad cannabis may include:

  • Dried out and crumbly pieces
  • Lack of aroma
  • Mold and bugs
  • Discoloration

Does Cannabis Go Bad?

Yes, cannabis can go bad. There are a variety of factors that contribute to this, including how long it has been left out for and how much light, temperature extremes, or open air it’s exposed to.

The more you care for your cannabis and store it in optimal conditions, the longer it will last.

Nothing lasts forever, even cannabis — buy what you need, and if you have a variety of strains for different needs, be sure to store them in a cool, dark place in an air-tight container.

Explore the shelf life of cannabis and get our favorite tried and true storage techniques from Emerald Leaves in Tacoma. Read more…

Shelf-life stability: Here’s what cannabis-infused product makers need to know

Published August 2, 2020 | By Margaret Jackson

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(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the August issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

Shelf-life stability is no less important to cannabis business owners than it is with traditional food products or dietary supplements.

It’s important for manufacturers of infused cannabis goods such as candies, beverages and creams to understand how their products’ makeup can change over time.

Armed with that knowledge, it’s possible to determine how long those products will last on store shelves and in consumers’ homes.

“The three key pillars of shelf-life stability for any industry should be understanding how your product’s physical, chemical and microbial stability can potentially change over the full duration of the product’s shelf life.”

Experts in the field contacted by Marijuana Business Magazine shared their insights on:

Shelf-life stability is no less important to cannabis business owners than it is with traditional food products or dietary supplements. ]]>