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How to keep weed fresh

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Contents

  1. Moisture and mold in marijuana
  2. The best temperature to store your cannabis
  3. Light and oxygen change cannabis composition
  4. Extending the shelf life of weed
  5. Frequently asked questions

Over the years, cannabis packaging in legal or medical marijuana regions has become more sophisticated, with features designed to maintain freshness. The packaging on your marijuana products might have a harvest date on them, but flower doesn’t come with an expiration date. So even with producers improving their packaging, you might find yourself wondering: how long does weed stay fresh?

About the two worst ways you can store your bud are on a tray, exposed to oxygen and light, and in a plastic sandwich bag, just like a dealer’s bags that are common on the illicit market. A number of environmental factors affect how well the plant grows, but cannabis storage is also a key component of quality and freshness. Cannabis needs the right balance of conditions to remain fresh.

Cultivators go to great lengths to ensure your flower is packaged with optimal moisture content, usually in opaque packaging to keep light out. You’re probably wondering why you still see transparent and clear containers lining your dispensary’s shelves.

Well, old habits die hard and the practice of seeing and smelling the product on the shelf is still a key component for many people when it comes to deciding what to purchase. Some companies have even started replacing the oxygen in their packaged flowers with nitrogen to help maintain freshness.

For the best possible marijuana experience, you need to know how to keep weed fresh and how to store weed properly. This guide will give you everything you need to know.

Moisture and mold in marijuana

Moisture and water make a big difference when it comes to degrading the shelf life of cannabis.

While no two cultivators dry their flowers in the same way, all cultivators dry their flowers and then put them through a process called curing.

When cannabis is properly cured, it allows the moisture that is trapped inside the bud to slowly dissipate from the flower without changing any of the cannabinoids or losing terpenes. Once the flower has the perfect moisture content, usually between 6% and 9%, it is placed into packaging from which excess oxygen has been removed. When you take it home, it’s important to try to maintain that balance.

Once the flower has the perfect moisture content, it is placed into packaging from which excess oxygen has been removed. When you take it home, it’s important to try to maintain that balance. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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If you lose too much moisture, it can change the integrity of your flower. Your flower will become brittle and lose essential terpenes that affect potency and taste. On the other hand, with too much moisture or water, the consequences are more serious. So serious, in fact, that the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which develops technical standards across many industries, published the “Standard Specification for Maintaining Acceptable Water Activity (aw) Range (0.55 to 0.65) for Dry Cannabis Flower” in May 2018.

The ATSM defines water activity as “the (quantitative) capability of the cannabis flower in a sealed container to affect the humidity of the container’s headspace air.” Headspace is the air that surrounds the flower. Water activity measures vapor pressure against pure water. If water activity is 0.55, it is 55 percent of water.

During storage, water activity cannabis should remain within a range of a minimum of 0.55 and a maximum of 0.65. Water activity increases with temperature, which is why light and temperature control go hand-in-hand as best practices for how to keep weed fresh.

The relationship between moisture content and water activity is complicated, and the cannabis industry is still striving to determine the optimal moisture content for packaged flower.

What we know now is that a relative humidity level anywhere above 65% can significantly increase the likelihood that your weed will end up growing mold. According to the American Herbal Products Association, the drying process will dehydrate cannabis until it has a moisture content of less than 15%, and the curing process is where the remaining moisture is slowly removed to retain the volatile oils.

The best temperature to store your cannabis

To extend the shelf life of marijuana, it should be kept in a cool, dark place at or slightly below room temperature. The ideal temperature to store your weed is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 21 degrees Celsius.

High temperatures combined with high moisture activity and relative humidity can lead to mold and mildew. Mold thrives between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 to 49 degrees Celsius, and growth is most active between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 21 to 32 degrees Celsius.

High temperatures and arid environments dry out your flower and evaporate sensitive terpenes, which ultimately change the effects and taste of the flower. This is why some cultivators skip drying and make live resin extracts to preserve all the monoterpenes that are lost during the drying process.

Lower temperatures are not as problematic, but they can make it harder for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) to decarboxylate into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Lower temperatures will reduce the potency of the flowers when they are smoked or could make the trichomes brittle on the plant, causing them to break off when they are removed from the cold environment.

Light and oxygen change cannabis composition

Exposure to light is the biggest culprit when it comes to aging weed. This has been known since at least 1976, when a study published in the journal Pharmacy and Pharmacology explored what happens to the stability of cannabis under various conditions. It concluded that light is the single largest contributor to loss and deterioration of cannabinoids and suggested that “carefully prepared herbal or resin cannabis or extracts are reasonably stable for 1 to 2 years if stored in the dark at room temperature.”

Ultraviolet (UV) light will always degrade your weed, even if you store it safely in glass jars. So, while the clear glass Mason jars you see in the marketplace look nice, they won’t protect your purchase the way an opaque container will. If you really like to look at your marijuana, a brown container will filter out visible ultraviolet light — that’s why brewers use them to bottle beer. Meanwhile, green containers will block out roughly 30 percent of UV rays.

As time goes by, prolonged exposure to light and air will gradually convert THCA into THC. At the same time this is occurring, existing THC is being converted into cannabinol (CBN), a cannabinoid that does not create the intoxicating properties that THC delivers.

Ultraviolet (UV) light will always degrade your weed, even if you store it safely in glass jars. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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And it’s not just THC that’s affected. Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) can transform into cannabidiol (CBD) with enough exposure, and THCV will degrade into CBV. During this time, your weed could potentially become less potent.

In addition to playing a role in the conversion of cannabinoids, oxygen can also oxidize essential terpenes and change the overall aroma of the flower into a grassy, haylike smell.

To reduce exposure to oxygen, make sure there aren’t many air pockets in your container. You should always store your weed in an airtight container. Don’t use very large containers to store small quantities of weed, as this leaves too much air inside the container with your herb.

Of course, it is inevitable that some amount of oxygen will get into your sealed package once it is open, but you can limit the amount of time that the jar is opened and the number of times it is opened.

If you store your weed in sealed bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing. Vacuum-sealing weed can be a reliable, long-term storage solution for your stash. If you go this route, be sure you follow these tips to avoid inadvertently damaging your weed:

  • Try to avoid vacuum sealing your marijuana in plastic that contains bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical is a key ingredient in many types of plastic, but it has proven to be harmful to humans. And unfortunately, if you store your weed in plastic containing BPA, some of those dangerous chemicals could leach into your marijuana.
  • Handle your weed delicately. Plastic easily builds up static charges that can pull trichomes off your buds. Trichomes are the cannabinoid- and terpene-rich hairlike glands all over cannabis flowers, so you’ll want to avoid damaging them.

If you plan on storing your vacuum-sealed weed in the freezer, know that freezing will also make your trichomes vulnerable to damage, as they will become brittle.

Extending the shelf life of weed

Knowing how to store weed properly will help you get the most out of your cannabis experience. Ultimately, the key to extending marijuana shelf life is all about limiting exposure to the elements. When it’s time to open your container, pull out your flower and immediately close your package. Don’t let it sit open, and avoid windy or highly ventilated areas.

To maintain the right level of moisture, use a salt-based control sachet to maintain the ideal relative humidity. According to the ASTM standards (D8197-18), “a salt-based control sachet designed to maintain a relative humidity of 0.55 to 0.65 in a sealed container can be used to maintain optimum storage conditions.”

Additionally, you can store your marijuana in a cannabis humidor box, which has been designed to maintain the ideal humidity for marijuana. There are currently several models available on the market.

Whatever you do, be sure you don’t use a cigar humidor to store your weed. Cigar humidors are typically lined with cedar wood. The oils in the wood help enhance the taste of cigars, but those same oils tend to harm cannabis. Similarly, humidors for cigars often use sponges or propylene glycol to create humidity that are ideal for tobacco, but are much too high for cannabis.

In the past, to remedy dry weed, people would add an orange peel to their bags to keep the moisture content, but this greatly increases the likelihood that mold would be introduced. In addition, the water activity of orange peels is unknown and the aroma of the peel could alter the flavor and aroma of your weed.

Nowadays, you can use the same humidity control packs, such as Boveda packs, to reintroduce moisture if it is too dehydrated. This will not reintroduce terpenes that were lost, but it will ensure that you don’t have a harsh smoking experience.

To keep your weed in tip-top shape as long as possible, take careful steps to avoid exposure to light, moisture, oxygen, and extreme temperatures. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Like almost everything else, weed doesn’t last forever. Over time, changes to the molecular structure occur with exposure to heat, light, and moisture.

When cannabinoids and terpenes experience very high or very low temperatures, dry up, are exposed to too much moisture, or are left in the presence of light, chemical changes that will degrade the potency of the flower and could alter the taste and mouthfeel may occur.

As terpenes are exposed to environmental changes, they can oxidize or evaporate, creating a change in aroma and effects. And even though all weed degrades over time, the process can be slowed down if you control the temperature, moisture, and the amount of oxygen your flower is exposed to. To keep your weed in tip-top shape as long as possible, keep an eye on the harvest date on the packaging and take careful steps to avoid exposure to light, moisture, oxygen, and extreme temperatures.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best smell-proof container for weed?

The simplest way to keep your stash smell proof is to make sure it’s stored in a solid airtight container with a sealable top. Sealable glass jars, like a Mason jar, are typically sufficient for storing your stash and keeping in the smell. Some cannabis consumers also use large medicine bottles to keep their stash from stinking up their living space. Online retailers also offer a variety of odor-proof containers designed specifically for weed storage.

Is refrigerating or freezing weed bad?

Refrigerating or freezing weed is definitely preferable to storing it in an area that’s too hot or humid. And though some cannabis consumers report successful long term weed storage through freezing, it’s more than possible to lose freshness and potency to icy temperatures, as trichomes may become brittle and break off more easily. Storing your stash in an opaque, sealed container, in a relatively cool place with minimal sunlight is your best bet for long term storage with minimal degradation.

How to keep weed fresh Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Moisture and mold in marijuana The best temperature to store your cannabis Light

9 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR WEED FRESH AND POTENT

Getting your hands on good weed could be a bit challenging, but having it fresh for weeks is often at times, a greater challenge to overcome. Packaging over the centuries might have polished down however the question still remains as to its expiration date. Although there is no hard and fast rule, when it comes to cannabis’s expiration date, a few factors when kept in mind, could extend your weeds life by days.

Various factors come into play when you store your cannabis. Light, air, humidity, heat and many more. If you are serious about maintaining freshness of your bud, you might not want to give this article a pass.

So here are 9 smart ways to keep your weed fresh and potent.

1. Store in a glass jar with a lid

Glass jars are a good, economical option for storage of weed. They create an artificial airlocked environment and prevent any microbial growth triggered by external factors. In simple words, no seeping in, no seeping out of the air. Jars that come with rubber (washer like ) seals are even better as they shut tight easily.

However, it is equally important to make sure the glass jar is dry and free from any moisture, as they tend to sweat from within when exposed to air or water. This added step ensures your weed retains its freshness and stays mold free.

2. Don’t throw that medicine bottle yet

Empty medicine bottles are yet another smart way to keep your pot fresh. Medicine bottles are designed to keep their contents dry and safe from contamination. The best part is weed is used as a steroid too and sold across many registered dispensaries. The next time you buy steroids online Canada, do not throw the bottle away.

These bottles are extremely safe and convenient to carry. But you need to keep a few things in mind before storing your marijuana. Make sure the bottle/container is properly sanitized and dried. However, these bottles are not much help when it comes to odor control. So if that’s your concern, the choice is yours.

3. Freezing for freshness: A good idea?

Absolutely not. It is yet another common misconception that freezing marijuana would preserve its freshness and nutritive value. However, cannabis is not a fruit or a vegetable. Your weed might actually go bad faster than usual. Here’s why. We open and close the fridge maybe a hundred times a day. This increases the chances of contamination by the external microbial environment. No rocket science.

4. Vacuum Sealing

Some cannabis connoisseurs swear by vacuum sealing. Sealing marijuana in containers made of bisphenol-free plastic keeps your bud healthy and fresh for a longer period of time. It reduces the chances of any airborne contamination resulting from humidity.

However, there are many who differ in opinion. They are of the opinion that the slightest exposure to Polymers will ruin your cannabis. Vacuum sealing might even damage the trichomes present in cannabis and reduce the potency of cannabinoids.

4. Light Vs Dark

Always prefer a dark, tinted container over a transparent one. More exposure to light, less are the chances of buds staying fresh. One of the main reasons being, cannabis is essentially an organic substance. Hence it is prone to decay by environmental factors. High level of exposure to light dries out the terpenes present in cannabis and over time, your bud loses aroma.

Vaping then becomes less enjoyable. The pot becomes harsh and loses its potency. If you are on the lookout for a good desktop vaporizer for your fresh weed, go for the best, find the best desktop vaporizers at Herbonaut.

5. Avoid a lot of heat exposure :

Terpenes largely affect the aroma, flavor and even the color of the cannabis plant. At higher temperature, the cannabinoids and terpenes start boiling. The leaves curl up and develop brown/yellow spots at places. These are the first signs of heat stress. Similarly, extreme cold conditions affect the Trichomes and make them brittle.

It also depends on the strain of weed. For example, Sativa strains survive warm climate better whereas Indica is best suited for cooler weather. Experts suggest, keeping it below 70-degree Fahrenheit increases the shelf life of weed.

6. Do not add any other organic matter in the storage jar

Leave your weed alone. There are those who suggest that adding fruits and veggies in the weed jar help the bud ‘regain’ moisture. It is wise not to fall for these cool hacks and stay on the safer side. Simple, common sense. Adding more organic matter to a jar containing weed creates a happy breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Is there any full proof way to keep your weed fresh?

7. Titanium Containers

Our primary aim is to minimize the buds exposure to oxygen. This is exactly what titanium does. If you are ready to shell out a few more bucks, titanium containers are a great option to store weed. It lets in the right amount of air and locks out any unwanted outside element. If you don’t want any compromise with flavor, titanium is your weed buddy.

8. Boveda Packs

Boveda packs go a step further in the storage of weed. Unmonitored humidity levels can damage the bud by breaking down trichomes and cannabinoids present in cannabis. This can severely alter potency as well as the aroma of the weed. Boveda packs come with salt and water absorbent beads that regulate the RH level ( relative humidity level ). They absorb excess moisture and add back whenever necessary.

9. Cannabis Humidors

Saving the best for last, weed humidors are every cannabis connoisseur’s best friend. If you really want your weed fresh, sans all the complications, invest in a marijuana humidor. These little boxes crafted expressly for storage of cannabis, are absolutely airtight and opaque. In addition to this, they also maintain the humidity or RH level between 59 and 63 %, ideal for storage of marijuana.

Moreover, if you own, multiple strains, it is wiser to keep them in separate containers. Different strains have different characteristics and mixing them might not be the best idea. Store them individually and enjoy their uniqueness. Storage is of equal importance as cultivation. Get a little deeper and know what’s best for your bud. So the next time you find yourself wondering “why did my weed go bad”, keep calm and scroll it before you roll it.

Author Bio

Jessica has been closely studying the cannabis industry trends from quite some time. Intrigued by the booming growth of this sector, she takes an interest in penning down her views providing quality insight on current marijuana trends, particularly medical cannabis.

Getting your hands on good weed could be a bit challenging, but having it fresh for weeks is often at times, a greater challenge to overcome. Packaging over the centuries might have polished down however the question still remains as to its expiration date. Although there is no hard and fast rule, when it comes to cannabis’s expiration date, a few factors when kept in mind, could extend your weeds life by days.