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Marijuana Packaging: How To Keep Weed Fresh

Marijuana packaging — and plastic sandwich baggies specifically — have long been a bane of existence for most serious stoners. We’ve certainly had trouble finding high-quality, distinctive pot packaging for our organic, honest marijuana that still satisfies consumer taste and legal demands.

So what’s a concerned cannaseur to do? Learn how to keep weed fresh from the Mary Jane experts at Honest Marijuana , that’s what.

Source: Leafly.com

In this article, we’ll present a few fun historical reefer packaging facts and break down the biochemical basis of tried-and-true traditional pro tips. That’s a lot of words for basically telling you how to keep your pot as fresh as possible.

We’ll start by examining the packaging practices of the past.

United States Marijuana Packaging History

Source:Cannador.com

Since the mid- to late-1800s, marijuana packaging has been a major priority for big pharmaceutical companies like Park Davis & Co., and S.B. Penick & Co. (now subsidiaries of Pfizer and Siegfried Ltd. respectively). These companies used airtight tin containers to protect their cannabis from air and sunlight and to keep it from losing its potency .

In the early 1900s, apothecaries (the precursors to pharmacists) who sold and distributed cannabis in the United States made use of ceramic jars to keep their ganja fresh. “But wait,” you say, “we’re a long way from the early 1900s! We’re not even in the 20th century anymore. Surely the masters of marijuana have come up with better packaging than tins and ceramic jars.”

You’d think so, right? Well, rest assured that we have. But before we tell you about our awesome new packaging, let’s investigate what makes for a good canna-container.

The Chemistry of Keeping Weed Fresh

It’s important to understand how air temperature, humidity, and light interact with the chemistry of your cannabis. When you know how to control those factors, you’ll be able to keep your reefer really fresh for longer periods of time.

Air Temperature

It’s important to store your stash in a spot with cool, but not cold, air temperatures in order to preserve the psychoactive potency of your pot.

Decarboxylation is the process by which raw, organic, cannabinoids in their plant form (such as THC , CBD , CBN , and CBG ) are activated so that the natural endocannabinoid system in your body can reap the benefits .

There are so many advantages to fresh decarboxylated weed that we couldn’t possibly ever list them…even in one single run-on sentence.

The thing is, the THC in your weed will lose its euphoric kick and degrade into the cannabinoid CBN (which will still help you get to sleep but won’t get you high) if you leave it out in the heat.

The aromas and medicinal properties of the terpenes in your weed will also dry out, making your medicine harsher and less healthy to smoke.

And if that’s not bad enough, mildew and other mold may be more likely to manifest on your marijuana from the moisture which accumulates in air temperatures of 77° Fahrenheit or warmer.

Many who read the above information will immediately think, “Put it in the freezer!” But you don’t want to freeze your reefer in an attempt to preserve it in spite of what some sources will suggest.

Yes, super cold ice water, high proof alcohol, and even dry CO2 ice are excellent ways to make the cannabinoid-laden trichome resin freeze up and fall off of freshly harvested sensimilla if you want to make cannabis concentrates for vaporization , edibles , or tinctures .

But if you store your buds in the freezer, the trichomes will break off and ruin the short- and long-term smoking potential of your pot. Don’t do it.

Humidity

The humidity levels of the spot where you stash your herb has a lot to do with how long it’s medicinal qualities will last.

Too much moisture in the air around your herb will make it susceptible to mildew and mold. Too little moisture will dry the trichome resin right out and degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes — even if the air temperature is optimal.

Research suggests that a relative humidity (RH) level between 59% and 63% is ideal to keep your weed as consistently fresh in terms of potency, aroma, flavor, texture, and color.

An RH level of 62% is thought to be the sweet spot for storing weed for smoking , while people who prefer to vape their weed are leaving it at lower RH levels closer to 54%.

Serious stoners who want to keep their stash as fresh as possible for as long as possible can use products such as the Cannador or salt-based humidity monitoring and control packs from Boveda.

These will help you ascertain, optimize, and stabilize the sweet RH spot for storing preferred strains of cannabis.

Light

Ultra violet rays (light) from the sun can bleach your buds and harsh the mellow of your marijuana just as much as they can burn your skin.

In fact, light exposure was the single most salient factor in the long-term stability rate of cannabinoids from research in which nine samples of weed were left out in various conditions for over two years.

The study conducted in the 1970s by the University of London found that their pot samples could maintain their potency for one to two years in “well-filled,well-closed” containers left in dark, room-temperature conditions.

So now that you understand just how essential temperature, humidity, and light are to the freshness of your marijuana, let’s turn our attention to basic storage ideology.

Weed Storage 101

Believe it or not, marijuana packaging has come a long way since the tin cans and ceramic pots of yore.

Nowadays, most serious stoners make use of airtight homesteading-style glass mason jars of different sizes. They’ll have various sizes on hand for different quantities of bud. And if you’re not familiar with glass canning jars, they’re the containers commonly used for preserving fruit and pickling vegetables. You can pick up a case for cheap at your local hardware or grocery store.

A glass canning jar with a lid is perfect for pot since mason jars are impermeable to oxygen, aren’t affected by residual humidity, and are inert to temperature fluctuations. In addition, glass doesn’t secrete any chemical compounds that will kill the fresh aroma of your cannabis terpenes.

Unfortunately, most clear mason jars won’t protect your ganja from becoming dry and brittle due to sunlight or heat damage. That’s why opaque or dark, tinted glass jars are always your best bet.

If you can’t find a glass container with a lid, an airtight container made of titanium is your next best option to preserve your pot since it doesn’t secrete any ganja-ruining gases.

When deciding how to store your weed, it’s vital that you keep different strains of weed separate. This helps to preserve each strain’s individual aromas and psychoactive effects.

Source: Patch.com

It’s critical to keep any clear glass jars you may be using for your herb in cool, dark, dry places such as cupboards, cabinets or drawers. Placing your ganja jar in a dark paper bag can also help you protect your cannabis from harmful cosmic UV rays.

It’s also very important to make sure that your jars are the right size for the amount of ganja that you need to smoke since extra empty jar space lets more air, with all its unwanted heat, ambient humidity, and all the mold and mildew that can come with it into your herb.

You can also vacuum seal your ganja jars to reduce the amount of oxygen you expose to your medicine.

As you can see, there are a number of elements that come in to play when selecting optimal marijuana packaging .

What You Don’t Want to Do with Your Weed

Source: The420Shack.com

Now that you know a bit about weed storage, let’s talk about what NOT to with whatever containers you choose.

  • Never leave your medicine out in the open on tables or countertops exposed to light, heat, and/or humidity.
  • Never store your stash near electronics or other heat generating gadgets since the heat will degrade your dope.
  • Never store your reefer in the refrigerator. The temperature fluctuations from opening and closing your fridge door every time you get the munchies will make your marijuana moldy and mildewy.
  • Never keep your cannabis on ice in your freezer since this will break trichome resin heads off from the rest of the reefer before you can consume it.
  • Never, ever add fruit peels to flavor your weed even if some sources tell you this is ok. Doing so will add unwanted moisture, mold, and mildew into your marijuana.

Never store your weed in direct contact with any other substance with a strong aroma such as makeup, perfume, cologne, deodorant, shaving cream, aftershave, paint, polish, or any other commonly-carried cosmetic which can leach into your medicine. This is also why you want to store your stash separately from your lighters, pipes , bongs , grinders , pokers, and other pot paraphernalia which will get funky with use and overpower the freshness of the pot you are aiming to preserve.

Don’t Rely On Plastic

Plastic, especially the plastic sandwich baggies that most marijuana users keep their cannabis in, are positively the worst way to preserve your weed. Plastic baggies do absolutely nothing to keep light, air, heat, cold, or moisture out of your marijuana.

Even sealable plastic baggies will let lots of odors out from your pot out as well. Plastic is a horrible material for keeping pot fresh since it has a static charge that will pull precious trichomes from the plant matter onto the plastic, creating a fine, sticky, powdery mess that you’ll never be able to get out of the bag into your bong .

When you visit your local dispensary, we highly recommend that you bring your own empty glass jars for your budtender to fill rather than ruin your weed or the environment with plastic baggies.

The Next Step In Marijuana Packaging

At Honest Marijuana we take pride in everything we do. That extends to our revolutionary pot packaging. We put all our buds in resealable cans to preserve the freshness longer.

We even take the extra step of preserving the flowers with nitrogen before sealing the containers. This preserves the cannabis longer and ensures that you see, smell, and taste everything exactly the same way we do at the growery. That’s what good packaging is all about.

Want to keep your weed fresh longer? The experts at Honest Marijuana show you how packaging plays a vital role in keeping your pot potent.

How long is my weed good for? Leafly’s guide to storing cannabis

At some point in our cannabis consumption, we’ve all asked ourselves, “How long is my weed good for?” Maybe you’ve found a few nugs tucked in your winter jacket from last year’s ski trip, or when harvesting a medical crop you may need a way to safely store the excess buds until you’re ready to consume the fruits of your labor.

Like a fine wine cellar or whiskey barrel, properly dried and cured cannabis is best when kept in a cool, dark place. While there is no steadfast expiration date for cannabis, if you store it well it should last about six months to one year before losing considerable potency and flavor.

However, before you spark up that old weed, there are a few key elements to consider when storing cannabis for any extended period.

Explore marijuana storage options

What’s the best way to store weed?

Ideal temperatures for storing cannabis

Mildew and other molds on cannabis and other organic matter thrive in temperatures between 77° and 86° F, so basic precautions of keeping your cannabis in a cool, dark place will go a long way. Excessive heat can dry out the cannabinoids and terpenes that have taken months to develop. When these essential oils get too dry along with plant material, it can result in a hot, harsh smoke.

Lower temperatures also slow the process of decarboxylation of cannabinoids, the process in which THCA converts into the intoxicating cannabinoid THC. THC eventually degrades into CBN, a cannabinoid with different effects and properties. Additionally, warm air holds more moisture than cold air, which brings us to the next consideration.

Humidity factors for cannabis storage

Humidity control is paramount to keeping mildew and other mold contaminants away from your cannabis. Keeping your cannabis stored in a controlled environment with the proper relative humidity (RH) ranges can be a bit of a balancing act, but the general consensus is to keep cannabis between 59% and 63% RH when stored to maintain and enhance color, consistency, aroma, and flavor.

Keeping your RH below 65% reduces the chances for mold to occur. However, if your RH drops too low, you risk your trichomes becoming brittle and drying out the essential oils.

Light settings for storing cannabis

Harmful UV rays break down many organic and synthetic materials. Similar to the way your grass turns brown at the end of a long sunny summer, or how a car’s paint begins to fade when it is not garaged, UV rays will degrade your cannabis over time.

A study conducted at the University of London in the 1970s concluded that light was the single biggest factor in the degradation of cannabinoids. The same study concluded that cannabinoids maintain stability for up to two years when stored under the proper conditions, though it can remain effective and safe to consume for much longer as the essential oils slowly break down over time. Storing your cannabis out of direct light will also help you control the temperature.

Air control for cannabis storage

Double-check jar tightness to ensure every terpene is conserved. (Leafly)

While cannabis needs oxygen during growing and curing, storing your cannabis in a container such as a Mason jar with just the right amount of air is crucial to keeping it fresh and true to its original form. Having too little air can greatly affect the relative humidity, especially if the buds are not completely dried before storage.

Too much air, on the other hand, will speed up the degradation process as the cannabinoids and other organic matter are exposed to oxygen. There are a variety of hand and electric vacuum pump attachments available for canning jars that will help you minimize oxygen exposure.

How to store your weed

Do – store out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place

Do – store in containers with a neutral charge, like glass Mason jars

Do – use hygrometers or products like Boveda to monitor and control RH levels

Do – vacuum seal jars and containers to minimize oxygen exposure

Do – separate your strains to maintain their individual flavor profiles. Label them with a date using a Sharpie. It sucks when you mix up strains.

Do – look for the many exciting new ways to store your cannabis. The cannabis industry is growing every day, with new products and companies like Cannador and The Bureau designing solutions for all of your cannabis storage needs.

Do — not stress about storing weed. The best way to get the most out of your herb is to smoke it in a timely fashion!

How not to store your weed

Don’t – store in the refrigerator. The fluctuations in humidity and temperature can actually increase your chance of mold and mildew. If you do refrigerate, vacuum-seal completely. Cold buds will scavenge water from the air, ruining the flavor. Allow container enough time to return to room temperature before re-opening.

Don’t – store in the freezer. Freezing temperatures cause the fragile trichomes to become brittle and break off like little icicles when handled. If you do freeze, vacuum-seal completely and keep frozen. Since a frozen bud scavenges water from the air, ruining the flavor, allow frozen container and buds enough time to return to room temperature before re-opening.

Don’t – store in cheap plastic bags or containers. Plastic often has a static charge that can attract precious trichomes. If you must use a plastic bag, only use it for short-term storage of small quantities of cannabis. Or use a higher-quality bag like a Smelly Proof bag.

Don’t – store above or around electronics or appliances that give off heat. Heat rises—instead, store your cannabis in a low cupboard, shelf, or in the basement of your house, much like a wine cellar.

Don’t – use a tobacco humidor. Most use cedar wood, which has oils that transfer and can influence the flavors of your cannabis. They also tend to employ sponges that use propylene glycol to regulate humidity and can oversaturate your cannabis.

Don’t – store grinders, pipes, or other paraphernalia with your cannabis. The ash and resin from burnt cannabis tends to linger and will stink up any storage container. Also, it is simply good etiquette to keep your supplies separate and clean.

Other factors for storing your marijuana

Products infused with cannabis, such as edibles and other perishable creations, will have different storage guidelines. Use by expiration date. Keep locked in a container to avoid accidental cannabinoid exposures. Refrigerate as directed.

Alcohol tinctures and other cannabis concentrates also degrade based on heat, light, humidity, and time. Keep extracts sealed tight in their containers in a cold, dark, dry place. While flower shelf-life is usually measured in a year or less—extracts and tinctures can be fridge-stable for years.

Find out about storage options to keep your marijuana fresh for longer. Learn more about the best ways to store weed at Leafly.com. ]]>