Have you ever bought some weed, forgot where you put it, and found it again months later after you’d already forgotten about it? If this has happened to you, then you’ve almost certainly asked the question, does weed go bad?
Here’s the thing about dried cannabis flower: its shelf life is heavily dependent on how and where it’s stored. So, that bud you found behind your couch may be just as good as it was the day you brought it home from the dispensary. But, it might not be.
Here’s how you can tell and how to make sure your cannabis stays as fresh as possible.
Does Weed Go Bad?
Weed isn’t like the milk in your fridge—it’s not going to spoil and become dangerous to consume. Instead, it will behave more like the dried herbs in your spice cabinet. Old basil and oregano aren’t going to make anyone sick, but they do start to lose their flavor and potency over time. It’s the same with your weed.
When exposed to oxygen and light for prolonged periods, the molecules in your cannabis begin to break down. The plant material itself becomes dry and brittle, and the fragile trichomes which contain all the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes literally break off of the plant.
So, to summarize, if that old weed you found is still in the heat-sealed mylar bag or glass jar it came in, and the buds still feel relatively moist and supple, then it’s probably still pretty good quality. If it was sitting out in the open, and the buds are all dried out, smoking it won’t kill you, but it probably won’t taste good or be very effective.
How Long Does Weed Last For?
Marijuana kept in perfect conditions will keep for a surprisingly long time. Under the right circumstances, dried cannabis flower can stay fresh for a whole year (though who can really hold onto weed for 12 months without smoking it).
However, improperly stored cannabis can rapidly start to degrade in quality.
How Long Does Weed Last In A Bag?
In one of those ziplock bags (or worse yet, the torn-off corner of a plastic grocery bag crudely tied in a knot), your weed likely won’t last very long. These kinds of bags typically don’t create airtight seals, which means you may start to see degradation and trichome loss in as quickly as a few weeks.
How Long Does Weed Last In A Jar?
Mason jars and glass weed stash jars tend to create a stronger seal than a plastic bag. If stored properly, cannabis in an airtight jar can last an incredibly long time. Even for up to a year, your cannabis will only see minimal cannabinoid and terpene loss if kept in optimal conditions.
Best Way To Store Weed
Using airtight containers for weed is only half the battle. You also have humidity and ultraviolet light exposure to consider.
Maintaining the proper humidity for your cannabis is a delicate balancing act. Too low, and the buds can dry out, causing significant trichome damage and drastically reducing the amount of cannabinoids and terpenes in your flower. But too high, and you run the risk of encouraging mold growth, which can make your bud unfit for consumption, completely ruining your stash. Ideally, you’ll want the humidity around 55%-65%.
The average humidity in an apartment can be as low as 30%, so if you’re planning on storing cannabis for long periods of time, you may want to invest in a humidor, similar to the ones used by cigar enthusiasts.
Next, you’ll want to make sure your cannabis has only minimal exposure to ultraviolet light, aka sunlight. This is pretty simple; just make sure your container is in a dark and cool place. You may be tempted to keep your bud in the fridge (after all, it keeps your other greens fresh), but this can actually create significant humidity issues. Instead, look for places like drawers or closets.
Are you a cannabis hoarder? Tell us on Twitter about the oldest weed you ever smoked.