We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, asking ourselves this existential question: “How long will my weed retain its potency?” There are many situations where the above question might suddenly crop up. Maybe you’ve come across a slightly used and forgotten bud in your winter jacket. Or, you’ve been performing spring duties and all of a sudden, a wild cannabis nugget appears out of nowhere. Can you store weed indefinitely?
Although far less dangerous and different in effect than alcohol, cannabis is best when aged in a cool and dark place – just like a fine barrel of whisky. Actually, there is no fixed expiration date for marijuana. Yet, there are some important factors that will keep it at optimal quality for as long as possible.
Best Temperatures for Cannabis Storage
Source: Best Weed Containers
To maintain basic precautions, you shouldn’t store your weed in places where the temperature varies between 77 and 86 F. This is because it’s when mildew and other molds tend to grow on cannabis.
On the other hand, excessive heat can dry out the terpenes and cannabinoids, both of which you’ve been earnestly taking care of for months. When your weed is dried out, you may experience a hot, harsh smoke during your green sessions.
To wrap it up, lower temperatures not only are mold-friendly, but they also slow the process of decarboxylation of cannabinoids, which will eventually lead to the degradation of THC-A into the less desired CBN.
But what about, say, humidity?
The Role of Humidity in Storing Cannabis
It’s essential to maintain control over humidity levels of your cannabis storage. When you want to keep mildew and other contaminants away from your herb, store cannabis in a controlled environment that keeps the plant between 59% and 63% RH (relative humidity). This will help you maintain and even enhance the aroma, color, and flavor of your material.
Furthermore, when cannabis is stored where RH levels are below 65% reduces the chances for mold to appear. Alas, if the RH drops too low, the trichomes will start to dry out, significantly reducing the levels of the essential oils.
Proper Light Settings To Store Your Weed
As far as your organic material is concerned, keep your cannabis away from harmful UV rays. It’s just like with grass when it turns brown under the excessive sunlight, or how a paint begins to fade on a car or advertisement.
According to a study conducted at the University of London in the 1970s, light plays the main role in degrading cannabinoids. The same study found that when cannabis is stored properly, cannabinoids have a stability period of up to two years. Besides, avoiding direct light when storing your cannabis will help you control the temperature.
Air Control for Storing the Herb
All your cannabis needs to be kept fresh is the right amount of air in your container. Too little air can have impact on the relative humidity, especially if you don’t completely dry your herb before storage.
However, too much air will bolster the process of cannabinoid degradation when being exposed to oxygen. In order to minimize this exposure, you can purchase an electric vacuum pump attachment available for canning jars. They come in different types, so you’ll eventually find the best way to reduce oxygen exposure.
How to Store Your Weed?
First things first, you must store it out of direct sunlight, in a place that is cool and dry. When it comes to storing equipment, use containers with a neutral charge – glass jars will suffice. In addition, hygrometers come in handy if you want to monitor and control RH levels. Like I said one section above, remember to vacuum seal your jars and containers to reduce oxygen exposure. Last but not least, separate your strains so that they keep their unique terpene profiles.
What to Avoid When Storing Cannabis?
While it may sound tempting and all, don’t keep your weed in the refrigerator. The temperature and humidity levels – especially the accompanying fluctuation – actually increase the chance that mold and mildew will start to grow.
Also, keep cannabis away from the freezer, as fragile trichomes will break off because of freezing temperatures.
Speaking of storage containers, it’s not optimal to store your buds in plastic bags. The static charge of plastic materials may attract trichomes. You may have noticed when keeping your stash in a baggie that these trichomes stick annoyingly to the sides of the bag. If, for some reason, you happen to store your weed in plastic bags, make sure it’s only for short-term storage of small amounts of your precious plant.
Many people store their weed in cabinets around a TV set or near speakers. This is a wrong move, though. Above all, such devices give off heat. Heat rises, so in order to avoid the increase in temperature, keep your weed below any electronic equipment.
Keep your stash away from grinders, pipes, and other paraphernalia. When you keep it there, the ash and resin from used and burnt cannabis stays on it, making your container stink like never before. Practical aspects aside, it’s simply good to keep your stuff separate and neat.
Other Important Factors
Of course, cannabis infused products, such as edibles, concentrates, and other marijuana products have different guidelines when it comes to storage. Edibles, for instance, shouldn’t be kept for long periods of time. To be honest, it’s best to follow the package directions and store your weed edibles like you store your ‘normal’ food.
As much as we should all appreciate the durability of alcohol cannabis tinctures and other extractions, I still suggest that you follow the relevant guidelines I handed out to you in this article to protect the potency and minimize any undesired loss in quality of your plant material.
How about you, responsible stoners? What are your best practices for cannabis storage?
SEE ALSO: What Happens When You Smoke Too Much Weed?