Weed is the opposite of wine, where over time your buds will begin to lose flavor, potency, and aroma.
So just how long does your weed stay good and does it have an expiration date?
Every month, if your cannabis is not stored correctly it loses THC at a rate of 1.4% due to oxygen, UV rays, heat, and humidity.
Not only that, the research found that exposure to light (yes the lights in your house) was the single biggest factor in the loss of cannabinoids and terpenes (more on this below).
If you store your cannabis correctly, you can expect your buds to stay potent for a good three to six months.
This all depends on how your store your weed. So let’s get into 5 tips on storing cannabis to prevent cannabinoid and terpene degradation.
Does weed get old without proper storage? Absolutely!
In fact, a study was done where 9 samples of dry herb and concentrates were stored in varying different methods for 2 years.
Research found the greatest factor for cannabinoid loss was actually exposure to light (not even direct sunlight).
Cannabis should be placed in cool and dark places.
Below are 5 tips on storing cannabis for a longer shelf-life.
Tip #1: Stop using Ziploc’s, Mason Jars, and dispensary jars, and use UV-proof bags and UV-proof jars instead.
The issue is that they are transparent, allowing harmful UV rays from your house lights and windows to degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes.
On top of that, air is a major culprit to THC degradation and Ziploc’s and mason jars have no way to evacuate the oxygen from within.
Oxygen can degrade THC much faster and convert your precious THC trichomes into CBN (a much less potent cannabinoid).
Tip #2: Grind your weed up and put it in this vacuum pump device. It’s dark, cool, and can pump out all the oxygen!
I use four of these to hold about an ounce of weed a month (4 different strains).
You simply place your marijuana in this vacuum seal container, screw the lid back on, then pump the lid to flush out all the oxygen in the container.
You will hear a “click” once the jar is completely oxygen free!
It also features a carbon filter to prevent humidity and also makes it smell proof and allows no light leaks in!
Think of them as curing jars that reverse the effects of THC and terpene degradation.
If you want one device to hold up to an ounce then the next option is for you.
Your shelf life of weed can be drastically increased by another awesome device that focuses on a patented 2-way humidity control technology.
If you live in dry areas such as California, Vegas, and Arizona, or if you are in humid climates like Florida this is an amazing option.
I prefer the vacuum sealer above but this is the next best option if you are storing bulk.
If you buy up to an ounce of weed at a time this is the best option out there.
We use this humidity control vault at the office, and the 4-liter container holds an ounce (even more) very easily.
Store it in a cool place with no sunlight and the stainless steel keeps the bud dark and cool as it should.
The Terpene Defender is placed under the lid to help lock in perfect 62% humidity levels helping to preserve oils, trichomes, terpenes, and cannabinoids.
A stash box is another popular option for storing cannabis.
With a stash box you place your buds in a dark and dry environment, so it helps to retain the integrity of your cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBG), flavonoids, and terpenes.
The only issue is stash boxes are generally not airtight, but the plus side is you get to store your weed grinder, stash jars, poker, ashtray, and all your essentials in one place.
Another plus to using a stash box for storing cannabis is the volume. So if you are buying in bulk and you need a great place to store your weed go with a stash box.
Keeping your buds in plastic bags such as Ziplocs isn’t exactly recommended, but if you must just take the following precautions in mind.
If you’re storing your marijuana in sealed plastic bags, make sure you remove as much air as possible before closing.
Vacuum-sealing is relatively reliable, provided you’re dealing with a large stash of weed such as a quarter pound or more.
If done correctly, your weed can last up to two to three months without too much THC loss.
I would not recommend using plastic bags, but if you’re still choosing that option, make sure you follow these rules:
⦁ Never keep your weed in plastic bags that contain bisphenol A, a key ingredient in many plastic products. This chemical is proven to be harmful.
⦁ If you store marijuana in a bag containing BPA, there is a good chance those chemicals could leach into your buds.
⦁Static charges in the plastic bags might pull apart trichomes off your precious buds. You don’t want to damage those glands.
⦁Place the Ziploc somewhere cool and dark and also make sure to never let any moisture get trapped within the bag.
⦁Throwing in a Terpene Defender is also really helpful to manage relative humidity.
So how long can you store weed in the right conditions before it becomes stale?
Stale marijuana is when the THC evaporates and turns into CBN.
It will have a much harsher hit with very little flavor.
So how long can you store weed under the right conditions? Provided you follow all the guidelines in storing your weed correctly, you can extend its life for up to two years. The holy herb will undoubtedly reward your ideal storage conditions, staying fresh for a long time.
In order to remain potent, cannabis has to be properly harvested, dried, cured, and stored.
Following the golden rules will probably allow your Mary Jane to keep fresh from six months to a year. Additionally, if you do an outstanding job storing your buds, you could possibly extend their potency for up to two years or more.
However, the conditions are rarely ideal, so don’t be disappointed if your weed is less than perfect after sitting there for long. Solution? Smoke it within six months of purchasing. And share the love!
So, you’ve found an old bag of weed and are wondering if you can smoke it. To be safe, check the following:
1. Is it moldy? Never, ever smoke moldy weed.
2. How is the texture? If it’s spongy and makes no sound when you break it apart, chances are high that it’s damp and potentially moldy. On the other hand, if the weed is too dry and crumbles as you touch it, it’s past its storage date, and it’s best to throw it out.
3. Check the smell. If it smells funny, toss it.
So what actually happens to cannabis as it ages, chemical-wise? The essential cannabinoids and terpenes that make you feel good break down over time if not properly stored.
This is how weed loses its potency over time.
Terpenes break down, and buds lose their scent, as well as flavor.
We all adore that fresh pungent weed aroma, but old weed can taste harsh. If your weed doesn’t smell or taste as it’s supposed to, you can be sure that the terpenes have broken down and evaporated.
The same thing happens with cannabinoids. If they break down and dissipate, your righteous buds won’t be as potent. Basically, all the chemicals that give you that unique feeling break down over time.
How much time, you ask? Well, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has researched this topic for you.
This is the rate at which a cannabis plant matter loses THC potency:
⦁ Weed loses approximately 16 percent of its THC after one year.
⦁ After two years in storage, cannabis loses 26 percent of its THC.
⦁ After three years, 34 percent of THC is dissipated.
⦁ Four years later, cannabis loses 41 percent of its THC.
THC is what packs a punch in your weed, but it will gradually drop. So, the best thing to do, in my humble opinion, is smoke the thing. Why keep it for years?
When it comes to the shelf life of weed, we’ve discovered that it can vary on a number of factors such as storace placement, quality of the original buds, and the sealing of the cannabis. Being able to recognize when weed has gone stale or if it’s expired, is a great way to keep you and your health in the clear. No matter how tempting it may be to smoke that little nug you’ve just discovered, we’re here to tell you, it is not worth the toke.
So now that you understand how long weed can really stay fresh, it’s up to you to decide which solution is right for you. I prefer a portable vacuum seal pump or a large terpene vault, as that doesn’t require me to seal and reseal like traditional vacuum seal bags.