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How Long Does Weed Stay Good? The Complete Guide to Storing Cannabis

How long does weed stay good cover image with jars of weed in the background

You bought a supply of weed and want it to stay fresh. How long does weed stay good before you can’t use it? 

Introduction: What You Need to Know About Storing Cannabis

The term weed is a slang term for cannabis. The cannabis plant is a psychoactive substance used by humans for centuries.

It has many different nicknames. It is known as pot, weed, ganja, marijuana, reefer, Mary Jane, and many others.

The cannabis plant was most likely first found in the Central Asian steppe. Chinese and East Indian cultures used the plants’ leaves, stems, and flower buds in teas, tinctures, and oils and ate them. 

What happens to cannabis as it ages

Bad weed will have a musty or mildew odor. Moldy weed can indicate an old or compromised product. 

Old weed will be discolored. The lack of color could be from poor curing, old age, or pesticides and chemicals during the growth stage. Trichomes will turn an amber shade as they age, so refrain from buying. Avoid buying any discolored weed.

Aged weed will be dry and crumble. If it has not been cured and is too wet, the stems will not snap, and a damp product will develop mold and mildew.

Bad weed has hard nugs, which may be due to the use of plant growth regulators. These can impact the taste and make it unpleasant. A flower that is too fluffy may be the result of insufficient light during the growing process.

What makes weed go stale

Improper storage will cause the weed to go stale as light and oxygen impact the flower’s components. Sunlight and fluorescent lights are especially harmful to weed and will cause it to lose its vibrant color as it dries out. Cannabinoids degrade with air and light contamination, lessening the THC and potency.

Effects of stale weed

Stale weed will have a drop in potency as light and air have degraded the cannabinoids and terpenes. Most likely, smoking old weed will not have any severe health impact except for diminished taste and potency. However, if you use marijuana for a medical purpose, you will lose any needed strength that fresh weed provides.

Old weed will likely not taste good, and you may notice a dry and crumbly texture.

Loss of THC

A study done years ago found that 1 year after cannabis harvest it loses about 16% of its THC.

26% after 2 years.

34% after 3 years

By year 4 the marijuana has lost about 41% of its THC

white mold growing on cannabis plant

How mold grows on weed – can you smoke moldy weed?

Never smoke moldy weed.

If you are concerned that older weed has grown mold it is always best to throw it away. Smoking moldy weed likely won’t cause major health complications but can lead to coughing, nausea, and vomiting.

Mold thrives in dark, warm, and humid environments so naturally, it will start to grow on cannabis as it ages in storage.

How long does weed stay good under everyday conditions?

Unline fine wine, cannabis does not get better with age. The length of time weed stays good under normal conditions depends mostly on how long ago it was harvested and dried. As a cannabis consumer, you probably won’t know how long before you took possession of the product the weed was harvested so it’s safe to assume that weed will stay good under everyday conditions for up to 6 months.

Signs your weed has expired

The best way to check if your weed has expired is a close visual and scent inspection.

  • Loss of that amazing cannabis aroma and smell
  • Signs of mold
  • Smells musty or like mildew
  • Signs of discoloration
  • Dried, crumbly, or very hard nugs

Best Methods for Weed Storage – Keep your weed stash fresh!

So you’ve bought in bulk and want to keep your weed good for as long as possible. Who doesn’t want to save some money by buying in larger quantities and having a stash conveniently available? Now it’s time to make sure you store your weed properly to extend the shelf life and prevent it from going bad.

infographic of THC vs CBD with molecular structure and picture of marijuana plant in background

Choosing the right cannabis storage container

Store in an airtight glass container to reduce oxygen exposure.

Why glass and not plastic for your weed stash? Plastic bags or containers allow light to filter through, which will make the weed brittle quickly. Plastic allows a static charge that degrades the trichomes of the cannabis, thus losing THC.

To properly store weed, the container should be no larger than the amount of marijuana you keep. 

Too much air (oxygen) also breaks down the flower converting the THC into CBN. CBN (or CBD), as earlier noted, does not have the psychoactive properties of THC. While some oxygen will get in each time, you open the container, minimizing the amount of air to affect your stash will prolong its life.

weed in glass jar with Boveda humidity pack for long term storage

Ideal humidity to keep your weed fresh longer

Keep in a humid environment – store in a humidor.

Cigar smokers have long known the benefits of using humidors to keep their investments fresh for enjoyable smokes. A humidor offers a dark, airtight, humidity-controlled environment for tobacco. In the same manner, a humidor can keep your weed stash fresh.

If you prefer to purchase top-shelf cannabis, investing in a humidor designed to control temperature and humidity is a way to extend the shelf life of your stash.

The optimal humidity range is 59% – 63%. Boveda, the longtime manufacturer of humidor packs for cigar aficionados, has recently launched a line of humidity packs for cannabis enthusiasts.

The optimal temperature for marijuana storage

There are varying thoughts about putting weed in the refrigerator. The most common one concerns humidity and oxygen control. That is because the moisture and oxygen in the refrigerator cause decay to occur. Think about the refrigerator crisper; it can keep vegetables and fruits for about two weeks before they rot.

Moisture can build within a container in the refrigerator, destroying your entire weed stash.

Alternatively, storing weed in the freezer may have some long-term benefits if you use your airtight glass container. There are questions about how freezing affects the trichomes, those crystal-like formations on the buds and leaves. It is in the trichomes where cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are present.

If you have correctly selected a freshly dried and cured flower, placed it in a right-sized airtight container (matching the amount of weed to the jar), freezing should be a safe and effective way to store your weed.

An added benefit for those that make edibles is freezing the sugar leaf and smaller buds. Choose leaves without trichomes and smaller buds not chosen for smoking to freeze and defrost for cooking later.

Best lighting conditions for long-term weed storage

Store away from sunlight. Sunlight degrades THC turning weed into a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are non-intoxicating so you won’t get the desired effect from smoking a stash that’s been stored in sunny conditions.

Storing your weed stashin an opaque, green, or brown glass container protects your investment significantly. A 1976 study published in the Pharmacy and Pharmacology Journal stated, “carefully prepared herbal or resin cannabis or extracts are reasonably stable for 1 to 2 years if stored in the dark at room temperature.”

Conclusion: How to Keep Your Weed Fresh Longer

As with any purchase, it is necessary to understand the product, where it comes from, the production methods, when it was harvested and cured, and the multiple options of smell, taste, and touch that it offers.

  1. Store in an airtight glass container
  2. Invest in a humidor to keep the humidity regulated
  3. Never store your weed in direct sunlight and keep it in a dark place

Storing weed to keep it fresh, potent, and the smoking experience enjoyable is as important as knowing what to buy. If you smoke an ounce a week, you may not be concerned with how long it will stay fresh. However, keeping your investment to enjoy over several months will require having the right tools to extend the marijuana shelf life.

DMV 42 Zero’s weed delivery service delivers only the freshest weed plants in the Washington DC area. Check out our flower selection and try some new strains today!

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