When you spend money on top-quality cannabis, you want to make sure that your bud stays fresh before the expiration date. Over half of the country has some form of legal marijuana program; Which means the days of selling weed in tiny Ziplock bags and torn-off corners of plastic bags are coming to an end. DIY packaging is rapidly being replaced by mylar bags and artisanal glass jars—some of which are even labeled with a harvest date.
However, even with these advancements in packaging and labeling, it’s essential to take proper storage procedures to store your flower properly.
Does Cannabis Expire?
Marijuana isn’t like a jug of milk or a slab of soft cheese; it’s more like the dried herbs in your spice cabinet. Your buds aren’t going to spoil, but they will lose potency and flavors over time—especially if they haven’t been properly stored.
The frosty trichomes on the outside of weed that contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes that make cannabis special are extremely delicate. As marijuana ages over a period of time, these trichomes can degrade or fall off completely, resulting in buds that don’t taste very pleasant or produce many effects. Smoking old, improperly stored weed will be noticeably harsher on the throat than fresh cannabis flower.
There’s also mold to worry about. If not stored correctly, cannabis can develop mold spores, completely ruining your product. If your bud does develop mold, do not try and salvage it by trimming off the visibly moldy pieces. The flower is contaminated, and smoking it could make you sick.
How To Keep Weed Fresh
The best way to keep weed fresh long term is to store it in a dry, dark, and cool location.
Controlling Moisture Content: Storing cannabis in a location with a relative humidity of above 65% drastically increases the chances of those buds developing mold. Conversely, a dry climate can leave your cannabis brittle and damage the integrity of the trichomes. In the old days, pot dealers would sometimes leave an orange peel or lettuce leaf in the mason jar along with the cannabis in order to keep the moisture content high. We advise against this technique, as storing your weed with any other organic material significantly increases the chance of mold development. Instead, use a humidity pack designed for cannabis (ex: Boveda packs). Many legal cultivators include these humidity packs in their packaging. If you see one when you open up your bag of weed, don’t toss it out. Keep it in the container, so your bud stays fresh. The serious cannabis connoisseur may want to consider purchasing a cannabis humidor, like the ones for cigars, to store their weed at optimal conditions.
Temperature Control: Temperature plays an important role in cannabis storage. Ideally, you want your buds kept somewhere slightly below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Too high a temperature, and you run the risk of evaporating the terpenes. Closets, pantries, and drawers can be good places to shield your flower from external heat. However, avoid the fridge. Storing weed in the fridge can lead to mold development and terpene degradation.
Limit exposure to light and oxygen: UV rays destroy both terpenes and THC. One study from all the way back in the 70s determined that exposure to light was the most significant contributor to cannabinoid degradation. Brown containers or green containers will be much more effective than traditional transparent glass containers at blocking out harmful light, and it’s always important to keep them in locations that get no exposure to the sun. It’s also essential that the container you choose is air-tight. If it’s a Ziplock or mylar bag, make sure to press all the air out before sealing it. If it’s a jar, make sure that jar has a truly air-tight seal. You will also want to make sure that your container is the right size for your product. Too much empty space in a jar will trap air. If you’re only storing a small amount of weed, try and use a smaller container. You’ll also only want to open the container when necessary. Too much opening and closing your packaging exposes the buds to more oxygen than necessary.
Use these tips to keep your weed in tip-top shape for days, weeks, and even months. Properly stored cannabis can stay fresh for up to a year, or sometimes even two.