Weed doesn't expire like other food products, but it does catch mold. An unfresh weed doesn't taste or smell good. Moreover, an old weed loses much of its potency as THC degrades over time, which doesn't give you the benefits you want.
Since it is legal in most states to grow cannabis at home, providing that the citizen fulfills some conditions, many people are growing these plants both indoors and outdoors. The yield produced is so high in some cases that weed has to be stored for more than a year.
Storing weed for such a long time requires a lot of preventive measures to be taken care of. Stick to the end to get full insight on weed storage to maintain the quality for years.
How Long Does Cannabis Stay Fresh?
Like other food products, cannabis loses its freshness over time. Even on proper storage, the chemical components responsible for giving flavor and aroma to weed, degrades. Cannabis doesn't give the same euphoric effect after being stored for a year as it would give when it's fresh. THC is the main cannabinoid in cannabis plants responsible for giving a euphoric effect. As THC degrades over time, cannabis loses its potency.
Here's how much cannabis potency decreases over the years.
- After a year - 16 % THC is lost
- After two years - 26 % THC is lost
- After three years - 34 % THC is lost
- After four years - 41 % THC is lost
Weed does go stale like other grocery items, but it never expires. You can prevent weeds from getting stale by taking good care of storing conditions. Initially, weed loses its potency, then its flavor and aroma as well. At last, you will only have powdery dust left that will be of no use.
How to Extend the Shelf-life of Weed?
Usually, people who grow cannabis at home make enough stock for a year. Keeping this weed fresh till next year is their goal. By taking proper care and following the storing tips, the shelf life of weed can be extended to two years. Normally, it stays fresh for a year only.
While light, humidity, air, and temperature play an important role in maintaining its freshness, there are some other things that cannot be ignored. To extend the shelf life of weed, make sure not to store it anywhere near hot appliances. The heat generated by these appliances may reach the stored weed and ultimately it will lose its freshness.
Tips for Storing Weed to Maintain the Quality
These are the important elements to consider for storing weed.
Dry the Buds Before Storage
Never keep the fresh weed bud for long-term storage. Fresh buds are usually very green and wet. Moist buds should never be put in a storage container. This is harmful to the weed itself as it favors the growth of molds, even in a closed bag or container. You have to wait for a minimum of four weeks before taking it for storage. A lot of moisture makes the bud lose its potency, and they appear crumbly.
Cured buds are completely dry and have dark color compared to fresher ones. They also feel denser. The curing process makes the bud more smooth and improves its potency. Curing ensures the bud has reached its maximum potency and has just the right moisture level to be stored. Here's how you can dry weed at home.
How to Dry Weed:
- Use a clothesline or lay the crop on the drying rack.
- Make sure the temperature of the surrounding area doesn't go above 24 degrees. A high temperature decreases the weed's potency as THC degrades at this temperature. Also, high temperature dries some parts faster, leaving other parts moist.
- Maintain the humidity level of the room. A lot of moisture favors mold growth.
- Snapping of the stems is an indicator that the buds are dry.
Select the Right Storage Container
If you are storing cannabis for the short term, you can consider a plastic or metal container. But for long-term storage, plastic is a big NO. Plastic damages the trichomes of weed, which makes the bud smell fresh. Apart from that, harmful synthetic chemicals used to make
plastic may also seep through the bud, making it harmful to your health. Pick a plastic bag only if you have to store weed for a couple of days.
Glass storage jars are the best option for storing weed for a long time. Glass jars don't change the taste of weed even after years. They also protect the weed from oxidation as glass jars are airtight. There's only one drawback of glass jars: the transparent appearance. Light can easily enter through it and affect the stored buds. You have to take preventive measures to protect the stored buds from light.
Mylar bags are the best solution to long-term weed storage. They come in several sizes and are opaque. In addition, mylar bags keep the oxygen away. These bags also come with oxygen absorbers that can be placed along with the weed. These absorbers provide a dry environment needed to keep it fresh. Your weed stays fresh this way in mylar bags for a long time. Many dispensaries prefer mylar bags over other storage bags and jars.
If you are planning to store weed for a short time, a medicine bottle is a perfect choice. Medicine bottles are designed to keep the moisture away, and thus; they stay safe from contaminants. You can conveniently carry this bottle anywhere safely. Keep it sanitized and dry to ensure the quality of weed doesn't get low. However, there is not much surety about aroma control. It is good for short-term storage only.
Place it at the Right Temperature.
The ideal temperature for storing weed is 21 degrees. Storing weed above this temperature can result in the growth of mold and mildew. A very cold temperature causes the decarboxylation process to slow down. On the other hand, hot temperatures quickly dry the weed.
Considering this, you can keep the weed in a cabinet or pantry. The temperature there will not be too hot or too cold for the weed.
Avoid Light Exposure
Storing cannabis in light is the worst you can do during storage. Light is one of the factors that quickly damages the weed and deteriorates all its cannabinoids. This results in the complete loss of aroma, which changes the flavor and potency. Vaping such a bud is not enjoyable. Potheads would know how displeasing it is to smoke less potent and distasteful weed.
The best possible solution, in this case, is to store the weed in an opaque bag or container. Usually, brown and green containers are used to block UV light. Mylar bags are also opaque, so they serve the purpose really well.
Besides that, try placing the weed-containing bag or jar in a cabinet where light doesn't reach.
Take Care of Humidity
Mold and mildew easily grow in areas where moisture is high. 65% or above humidity favors the growth of molds. If the weed container has moisture above 65%, the weed loses its aroma, color, and flavor.
To ensure the weed stays fresh with its flavor and aroma, watch the humidity stays between 59% to 63%. Moisture below it will make the bud dry. On the contrary, high humidity levels favor microbial growth.
Some people recommend using tobacco humidor, but we don't really favor it as it is more detrimental than beneficial. They work by regulating the humidity using propylene glycol that has adverse effects. Moreover, these humidors are usually made of cedar woods containing oils, which can easily transfer to the cannabis, thereby affecting its potency and flavor.
Don't add any other organic substance.
Most people suggest adding peels of fruits or other organic substances to help the weed gain enough moisture. Instead of doing any good to the weed, this act will favor the growth of mildew, which we do not want.
It makes sense to rejuvenate a dried weed by using an orange peel, but it is likely to cause more harm than good. Bacteria and other molds are easily attracted to moisture. Fruit peels are full of moisture. When you place them in the same container where the weed is present, the mold growth will start there.
To freshen a dried weed, you can use a 70% soaked paper towel placed inside the container. But be careful not to place them together for a long time.
Vacuum sealing is one of the best options for sealing weed storage bags. A vacuum sealer does its job pretty well. Vacuum sealing solves the issues of moisture and keeps the bud healthy and fresh for a long time. If you are vacuum-sealing a mylar bag, you can rest assured about the potency and flavor for years. Maintain the humidity, seal correctly, and keep the baggies away from light to keep the buds fresh for a few years.
Should I Keep Weed in the Freezer?
Keeping weed in a freezer or a refrigerator is a very bad idea. The humidity and temperature there are never consistent. You may open a refrigerator a hundred times a day. These fluctuations in temperature and humidity increases the chance of contamination.
In a freezer, the bud gets dried, and weed trichomes become brittle. On touching, these trichomes fall away, taking away the aroma with them. Nevertheless, you can collect those fallen trichomes and use them. You can also prevent the trichomes from falling by letting the bud thaw naturally for about 24 hours before touching it.
The benefit of keeping weed in the freezer is that it retains its potency. However, placing it at room temperature degrades THC easily. If you are ready to take a risk, go for freezing. But never try keeping it in a refrigerator. If you are not much experienced, never keep weed in a freezer unless you want to prepare a dry ice hash.
How to Check Stored Weed for Mold?
Usually, it is difficult to see mold on weed unless you look closely. If you are not much into weed or cannabis, it will be hard for you to identify molds as they resemble the weed trichomes. Trichomes are small hairs on weeds that give an aroma. They are usually glittery. In contrast, white powdery appearance or fuzzy spots are of molds.
Another way to identify mold on weed is by smelling it. The development of mold also changes the aroma of weed. Bring the bud closer to your nose; if you smell something musty or hay-like, it is due to mold growth.
Is my Weed too Old?
Texture, aroma, flavor, and potency change when weed is kept in unfavorable conditions for a long time. Smelling the weed will readily give you an idea of whether it is an old or a new bud. Fresh weed has a characteristic smell that can be sniffed from a distance. However, as the weed gets old, it loses its smell. Many times the smell becomes even harsh and unpleasant.
An old weed has a crumbly appearance that feels more like a sponge. On touching, it easily breaks off. Similarly, a moldy weed has fuzzy spots and looks powdery. Though a stale weed doesn't harm you, a moldy weed can make you sick.
Apart from that, an old weed is not as potent as a fresh weed is. Weed is consumed for the euphoria it creates. Since an old weed has lost much of its THC, it will not cause an intense high.
Weed can stay fresh for a year or two if stored in the right conditions. You should store it with even more care if you have multiple strains. All of them should be stored separately. As different weed strains have unique aromas and flavors, mixing them is not a good idea. You will end up smoking a weird-tasting weed.
Storing is as important as cultivation. A small mistake during storage will result in an unfresh weed that no one would enjoy.