You want your buds to stay fresh and freezing weed makes sense, but does it really work?
The answer is: yes, but there are better ways to preserve your cannabis. You can freeze weed but it depends on the moisture levels of your buds. The moisture can have some negative impacts on your cannabis plants’ cell structures, trichomes, coloring, and even taste when frozen.
Freshly harvested marijuana contains 75% water and once dried and cured moisture levels of dense buds drop to about 10-15%.
If you are going to freeze your cannabis make sure your buds are fairly old and not freshly cured.
In this article, we go over how to freeze cannabis correctly if you must, what to avoid, and some other options for optimal weed preservation.
Marijuana is an annual herb closely related to hops which are used to brew beer. With beer hops, you can easily freeze and store for up to 2-4 years if all oxygen is removed.
Cannabis is different from beer hops because the trichomes that coat the surface of the weed are much more susceptible to damage during the freezing process.
If you do decide to freeze your pot it will still be 100% smokable when you unfreeze it with a few nuances. Here are 5 things you should know about freezing cannabis to decide if it’s the best option for storing your cannabis.
Why are vacuum sealing and freezing marijuana together the best option when freezing herbs?
Vacuum sealing removes all the oxygen so your cannabis is stored in an oxygen-free environment.
Spoilage bacteria thrive in an oxygen environment (bacteria that degrades your cannabis) and by removing it you increase the longevity of your cannabis on a bacteria level.
Oxygen also degrades the precious cannabinoid oils, trichomes, and terpenes in your cannabis, and by removing it you give the most optimal conditions for the preservation of your cannabis plant matter.
But keep in mind this is just the plant matter, freezing still impacts other parts of the cannabis such as the trichomes and the internal cell wall structure.
When you freeze your weed you are actually freezing the water in the plant cells.
So depending on how fresh your buds are this can have a huge impact on the quality and structure of your cannabis plant.
When water (H2O) molecules freeze it expands. This expansion turns the water into ice crystals and this causes the cell walls inside the cannabis to rupture.
So remember, if you are dealing with very fresh buds, it’s best not to freeze the weed.
How do I know if my buds are too fresh? It’s simple just squeeze the nugs and if it’s very soft, airy, and even squishy you know there is still water concentration in your marijuana plant.
Once the nugs are much harder and dry you won’t have issues with rupturing the cell walls of the cured buds, but dry marijuana is another issue we will talk about next.
Freezing your cannabis can cause the trichomes, which contain the majority of the plant’s psychoactive compounds, to become brittle and fall off.
This can easily lead to a decrease in your marijuana’s potency.
Even worst, if your weed is far too dry, the trichomes are already brittle.
Freezing marijuana that is too dry will result in the terpenes, trichomes, and cannabinoids becoming so brittle that it will be susceptible to trichome loss.
If the bag is constantly being handled and moved within the freezer it’s very easy for all the trichomes to lose their integrity, fall to the bottom of the bag, or even worst be susceptible to moisture buildup from the condensation.
When you handle marijuana and grind it, you are always losing a bit of trichome, but if you aren’t careful freezing marijuana can reduce much larger quantities of cannabinoids.
Again, this won’t result in unsmokable cannabis, just a much weaker psychoactive experience.
Freezing marijuana is a popular option if you are dealing with bulk like an ounce of weed.
It’s common to hear that cannabis can last in the freezer for over a year, but you also have to keep in mind the potential for freezer burning your marijuana.
If you leave your weed in the freezer for months, the ice crystals evaporate resulting in total moisture loss inside the cannabis plant matter.
The surface area of the cannabis produces freezer burn which is where most of the cannabinoids are. This can result in very new and unsettling flavors occurring in your weed and of course a huge loss in trichomes.
Can you still smoke weed after it’s freezer burned: Shelly Schmidt, professor of food chemistry at the University of Illinois says there’s nothing dangerous about consuming foods that have been freezer burned, you just lose taste and flavor.
With cannabis, however, we lose flavor, taste, and trichomes during the freezer burn process.
How do I prevent freezer burn with my weed? By removing air (vacuum sealing) you can easily prevent freezer burn because it removes the oxygen that drives the sublimation process that causes freezer burn.
The temperature of your refrigerator should be 37 degrees Fahrenheit, while your freezer should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The freezer is actually too harsh of a place for cannabis and the safest way to freeze cannabis is actually to have it gradually freeze.
The freezer subjects the cannabis plant to very harsh conditions by freezing the cannabis too fast and causing trauma within the plant.
You also have to consider when you remove the cannabis from the freezer are you going to be constantly refreezing the same weed?
Do not freeze the pot that you plan on smoking each week because this will create unnecessary damage to the cannabis plant matter through the thawing and refreezing process.
Only freeze cannabis if you know you are going to be a one-time event (avoid re-freezing and multiple thawing periods). If you are going to remove the frozen cannabis multiple times a week you might as well just put your cannabis in a stash box as you will preserve the cannabis much better this way.
After reading all the cons of freezing weed, you may think it might just not be a good idea but that’s not true.
The ideal situation to freeze cannabis is when you have a larger amount you may want to smoke a month or two later like 1-2 ounces of weed or more.
Here are some things to keep in mind when freezing marijuana:
Are your buds dry?
Make sure your cannabis is dry enough (no moisture content) and carefully place them in a vacuum seal bag and remove all the oxygen from the packaging.
Gradually freeze weed
Instead of placing your cannabis directly in the freezer give it a gradual freeze by putting it into the refrigerator for 2 hours first. This makes the process far less shocking and damaging to your marijuana plant, than moving it directly into the freezer.
Avoid UV lights
You want to leave the frozen weed facing down so no light exposure hits it and make sure no frozen food is rubbing against the weed, pushing it, or disturbing the package in any way (to prevent trichomes from falling)
Avoid multiple thawing periods
You also want to make sure once you take the cannabis out of the freezer that you will not put it back into it to avoid the thawing and refreezing process as that’s very damaging to the marijuana cell wall structure.
How to remove cannabis from the freezer
When you do remove the marijuana to thaw out make sure it’s in a cool environment so the thawing is done at a much slower pace. Once it’s completely thawed and back to room temperature then you can carefully cut the bag open and transfer it to a cool, dark, and dry storage space for consumption.
The end result
Will you lose some trichomes? Yes, but you lose trichomes when handling, grinding, and packaging cannabis.
The weed will still do its job but you can also just vacuum seal the cannabis and place it in a dark and cool area and it will do just as well for months.
Cannabis THC degrades naturally at a rate of 1.4% due to oxygen, UV rays, heat, and humidity.
Vacuum sealing your weed and placing that into a dry, dark, and cool environment is one of the safest ways to preserve your cannabis for months on end without risk of trichome, terpene, or cannabinoid loss.
We wrote the full guide on how long does weed last with more advice and tips on storage and how to prevent THC degradation which we will talk about next.
No, cannabis does not get more potent by placing it in the freezer.
The only stage in which cannabis increases THC % is through the curing process. So when you remove all the oxygen from the packaging you can further enhance the THC% through the curing of the cannabis.
Another common question is if you can leave blunts and joints in the freezer. Remember, the only way to store marijuana in a freezer is through vacuum sealing.
So if you are rolling a ton of blunts and vacuum sealing it then it may be possible but just leaving a blunt in the freezer over night will actually degrade the THC more then preserving it.
Freezing weed is possible but it may not be the ideal situation for you. Depending on the H20 volume, oxygen content, and how often you plan on leaving your cannabis in the freezer, it may or may not be the right solution for you.
I only recommend freezing for curing purposes or trying to preserve bulk amounts of cannabis.
The safest way to freeze your weed is by vacuum sealing and handling it very carefully to prevent trichome loss.