The Lowdown on Storing Marijuana

Does Weed Expire? The Lowdown on Storing Marijuana

When it comes to storing your stash, you want to make sure that you store it properly so you can keep it fresh and ready to use. However, many people believe that it does not expire, and they keep using it, even if it is decades old. Even if the weed is dried properly and stored right, there is a limited shelf life to your bud. In general, you can expect it to last about one to two years.

About Cannabis 

Of course, that estimate assumes that you know the right way to store your weed. You will want to use the right containers to keep it fresh. If you do not, then you may find mould on your weed. Cannabis can also become less potent when it is exposed to the air for too long. The THC can break down over time and become CBD (cannabinol). That has a different effect on the mind. Exposure to light, too much oxygen, and heat can all cause THC to break down faster. You will need to know how you can store your cannabis to protect it and keep it fresh as long as possible.

Factors That Degrade Cannabis’ Freshness

One of the worst things you can do to marijuana is expose it to humidity. That allows moisture to enter your bud, and mould spores might begin to grow. If you smoke them, they can be toxic. When the humidity is too high, it can happen fairly quickly. 

When a grower cures cannabis properly, the moisture inside of the bud will dissipate slowly. That is important to prevent any of the cannabinoids from changing or the terpenes from being lost. When the flower has the right amount of moisture, around 6 to 9 percent, it will be placed in special packaging without too much oxygen in it. 

Once you have the product, you will want to maintain the balance. While you do not want to have too much moisture in it, you also do not want to have too little. If you do, then the bud will become brittle and lose some of its essential terpenes. Ultimately, that will negatively affect the taste and potency.

You also want to avoid extreme temperature differences, such as going from hot to cold quickly. That can cause any air around your bud to release the moisture to the weed. It is a good idea to keep the marijuana at a moderate temperature and to control the humidity. 

Avoiding Light

Avoiding Light

One of the most destructive things for your bud is sunlight. That can destroy the cannabinoids in it. Think about a faded piece of furniture or a car that has been out in the sun for months or years. The cannabinoids may break down from the heat or oxidize from the sun. The good news is you can simply find a solid container or place it in a cabinet.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

You want to avoid very warm temperatures, as well. That can cause the THC to become CBD and cause the cannabinoids to break down. The ideal temperature will be around 20 degrees Celsius. However, you do not want to keep it too cold either. That might allow mould to start growing. If the temperature is below freezing, then there may be some permanent damage to your cannabinoids’ chemical composition.

Mould does very well at around 0 to 49 degrees Celsius. However, mould will grow even better when the temperature is around 21 to 32 degrees Celsius. 

A dry environment combined with a high temperature can cause the flower to dry out and lose its terpenes. Those conditions will change the taste and effects of your bud. That is why some growers just decide to skip the drying process and create live resin extracts. That can preserve the monoterpenes that disappear during the drying process.

Of course, if the temperature is too low, the terpenes may become brittle. They can then break off when you try to move the bud or smoke it.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Avoid Too Much Air

During the curing process, the weed needs air to fully dry. However, after this process, too much air is not a good thing. Oxygen can cause the electrons in a substance, like fabric or plant material, to leave. This is what causes dry rot or deterioration. This can also cause the oils that have your cannabinoids to leave. While that makes the weed taste a bit less bitter, it also lessens the potency of your herb.

The ideal storage method is a bit of dry oxygen in a sealed container. Or you can keep it in a vacuum-sealed container.

Keeping Marijuana Fresh

The expiration date of your cannabis will be further away if you can store it properly. First, you should make sure that it is cured completely. If it still seems fresh or damp, you can hang it upside down for a few days. Then, you can put it in a container and open the lid every couple of days. That will release the humid air. Repeat this process until it is completely cured, which will take a few weeks, depending on the strain.

It is a good idea to invest in a relative humidity monitor. Once your cannabis is cured, the ideal range for humidity will be around 59 to 63 percent. You can get some desiccant packets to maintain the humidity level. A desiccant packet contains solids that can absorb the moisture from the air, keeping the humidity in the air around your cannabis low. You can also look for a humidor-type container that will keep out the humidity.

Once your cannabis is completely cured, it is important to keep the container sealed unless you are using your cannabis. You do not want any air exchange between your cannabis and the outside world. You could use a glass jar with a screw-top lid. Also, some containers are specially designed to store marijuana. 

You do not want to use a cedar or plastic container. A glass container is the best type of material when it comes to storing your herb. It is easy for you to seal. The material also does not transfer flavours to your cannabis, unlike wood or plastic containers. 

Of course, you will need to store the container in a dark, cool place. If you already store your weed out of sight, that is perfect. Look for a drawer or a closet in the lowest level of your house. An upper level can be warmer in the summer months. You should make sure that it will not be next to electronics, which can allow the weed to warm up too much.

Storing Hemp Products and Cannabis Concentrates

Storing Hemp Products and Cannabis Concentrates 

It is likely that your bud is not the only thing you want to store. Maybe you have concentrates, such as CBD or THC oil. These concentrates do not have as much organic material in them as the plants do. 

The oils also usually do not allow oxygen to touch much beyond the surface. That makes these concentrates less likely to degrade because of the sun, humidity, or oxygen. However, that does not mean they will last forever. You should keep the containers airtight and away from the sun. For the longest shelf life, you should keep them in a good temperature range.

You should store hemp products, such as seeds, in the same way that you do weed. If you have entire hemp seeds, these are even more vulnerable. This is because they have fats and oils in them, which can quickly go rancid. Exposure to sunlight, oxygen, or heat can accelerate this process.

For infused products that you got from a retailer or a dispensary, the container you got it in will usually be adequate. You will want to keep the products in their original containers. If you do need to transfer them, you will want to label them well. As with other marijuana products, glass containers are best. A plastic bag or container might compromise the infusion or make it taste worse.

Storing Your Edibles

Storing cannabis properly can nearly prevent the cannabinoids from degrading. But not every product is the same, and you likely have other ingredients, especially if you have other ingredients in it. For example, edibles will expire much sooner than your bud will. The length of time you can expect it to last can vary quite a bit. 

Baked goods, such as pastries or bread, will expire much sooner than a bar of THC chocolate or hard candy. On the other hand, some CBD or THC cooking oils might last for several months or even years.

If you didn’t make the product yourself, it’s always a good idea to look at the “use by” date. Those creating “use by” dates consider the perishability of the different ingredients in each product. You also can ask your budtender if there is more information about the shelf life or storage of the product available. 

If you are making your own edibles, such as THC brownies, you will want to think about the perishability of the ingredients in them. Also, many recipes will tell you how long you can store the product and the best place to keep it.

Long Term Storage of Cannabis Infusions

Long-Term Storage of Cannabis Infusions

Besides your refrigerator, a freezer can be a good option for storing a perishable infusion. Not every edible will do well in the freezer. However, for cooking oils, butter, and other infusions, freezing them can extend the shelf life.

One way you might think about storing your cooking oils is to place herbs in them and freeze a bit in an ice cube tray. That way, you can take out just what you need instead of thawing out a huge block of frozen oil. You can also portion and freeze marijuana butter for a long time. 

Although it may not improve their taste, you can also freeze baked goods and bread to extend their life. The trick to avoiding “freezer burn” is to wrap them several times in plastic. Using two to three plastic bags or layers of plastic wrap can protect your baked goods better.

When you think of cannabis infusions that you can take orally, tinctures might be what comes to mind. If you store it right, a tincture can last for a long time. Using an opaque dropper bottle is a great way to store the tincture, and placing it in your fridge or freezer can reduce any potential degradation of the product. 

Before you decide to place your tincture in long-term storage, it is important to look at the ingredients label. If it has glycerine instead of alcohol, it will most likely expire and degrade faster. However, if you have a well-stored, undisturbed alcohol infusion, it can last for years or even several decades before it significantly begins to break down.

Closing Thoughts

Since cannabis is legal in Canada for recreational use, it is more important than ever to know how you can keep your weed fresh. You can save money by extending the life of your product, which will let you enjoy high-quality cannabis for a long time. 

Keeping your cannabis products away from heat, air, and light can help them stay fresh and as potent as possible. For some products, keeping them sealed in your freezer or fridge can help extend the shelf life, too. 

Not every product will last indefinitely, which means that the product’s infusion will depend on the other ingredients. If they are available, you should always pay attention to the “use by” date on your product. If you are following a recipe, you should always store and use your products based on those recommendations. 

Even though that double lot of brownies may be a bit cheaper, if you do not use them before they go bad, you will have wasted your money. In many cases, it is better to purchase smaller amounts and get them more often. 

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