There are a couple common mistakes you will want to avoid when storing your marijuana, especially if it will be stored for a significant length of time.
Cannabis has long since moved out of these back alleys and into the mainstream. People care about the strain, they care about flavor profile, and most importantly they care about quality. Long term storage in a ziplock bag is not suitable for the nugs you are getting from a dispensary. Did it matter when nobody even knew for sure what you were smoking? Probably not. But these days, people care about weed in the same way they care about wine.
If you are still relying on these outdated weed storage techniques, left over from your years in colleges, its time to step your game up!
Elements That Will Degrade Your Cannabis
To understand how to store your weed for the long run, it’s important to understand just what it is that will kill your bud’s buzz in the first place.
Though proper curing is the first step for long-term cannabis storage, there are a few other factors to consider, too. Here are the most common things that can degrade your weed along with what to do to stop it.
There are many factors that can lead to the degradation of cannabis flower, but the biggest factor that will degrade your cannabinoids is light. Do you know what happens over time to your drapes and living room furniture? The sunlight streaming through your windows starts to fade the fabrics. Your vibrant red curtains slowly turn into a sad shade of pink. Now, think of the same process to your weed. Although it may take some time for light to badly damage your medicine, securing your flowers in a safe place is a good habit anyway. The last thing you want to do is leave a clear glass jar of quality flowers sitting under a desk lamp overnight. Hours of prolonged light could begin to erode trichomes and expose your flowers to our final remaining risk factor.
Excessive heat is not your ally when it comes to keeping cannabis as fresh as possible. Temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s can promote the growth of mildew in moist environments. In dry climates, high temperatures may simply dry out your buds and damage terpenes and cannabinoids. Your best option is to store your flowers in a cool place, away from sources of both heat and light.
It’s also important to keep in mind that temperature fluctuations can damage the integrity of your flowers. For this reason, refrigerator storage is not recommended due to the temperature changes that occur when repeatedly taking the material in and out of a slightly colder environment (the refrigerator also poses a moisture risk). Finally, you will want to steer clear of the freezer as well, because extremely low temperatures can cause trichomes to separates from the flower. Ice water may be commonly used in the hash making process, but icy temperatures are not your friend when it comes to keeping your flowers intact.
At the time of purchase, high-quality cannabis flowers have already undergone a lengthy curing process during which exposure to air and moisture is carefully controlled. This stage ensures that patients receive ready-to-use flowers that retain the terpene and cannabinoid content that their flavor and effects come from. Once purchased, you’ll want to ensure that your flowers retain their freshness by minimizing exposure to air and moisture.
The best solution is an airtight container such as a glass jar that forms a firm seal around your flowers. It’s also best to use an appropriately sized container for the amount of cannabis you’re storing, since even air within the container itself can contribute to dryness over time.
Mold loves moisture, so to prevent it, you have to keep your bud dry. But quality bud can’t get too dry without causing terpenes and cannabinoids to degrade. Hence the importance of maintaining proper humidity levels for long-term cannabis storage, ideally between 59 and 63 RH (relative humidity or the amount of moisture in the air relative to what it can hold).
Keeping Your Cannabis near Appliances and Electronics
Think that a corner of your kitchen might be a good cool, dry place to keep your weed? Not if it’s next to a microwave. Too many people also make the mistake of keeping their pot near their computers. Sure, it might be a clever way to hide them away from prying eyes but the heat generated by electronics will seriously affect the quality and potency of your pot.
Keeping Your Cannabis in a Plastic Bag
Plastic bags and zip locks should only be used as a means of temporary storage. If you use plastic in the long run, it actually contains a static charge that will attract the trichomes and cause them to cling to the side of the bag. You’d be better off preserving these precious crystals by collecting them from your grinder. When it comes to cannabis storage, glass is always best!
Keeping Your Cannabis in the Freezer
This is one of the oldest and most common mistakes people make when storing pot. Back then, people assumed that keeping weed in the freezer would delay the aging process or help it stay firm, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Freezing cannabis results in the trichomes becoming too brittle, causing them to eventually break off on their own. The harsh cold temperatures will also cause the buds to lose their moisture and become too dry. In other words, you’ll be smoking bud that basically has no more potency left.
One of the biggest issues with the little dime bags that used to be so pervasive in cannabis culture is the lack of protection it offers the product. Dime bags are shoved into purses, pockets, and back corners. The nugs inside get flattened, squished and squeezed. At the end of a long day in your back pocket, a fluffy crystallized nug is nothing more than a small, sad pinch of hard crumble.
Over-handling of cannabis speeds up the trichome loss. A fresh flower is covered in beautiful and potent crystals of resin. The crystallized resin is a significant aspect of the experience. It’s very sensitive to handling, and if not protected easily falls off.
To preserve the integrity of the flower, don’t handle the product too much. If at all possible keep it in your storage jar until you want to smoke it. Only then bring it out for grinding. Do not put a little in a pocket-sized container for traveling. You’ll end up smoking something which looks less like cannabis and more like compost.
Touch weed only as needed. Keep in an airtight storage container – glass is preferred.
Dirty Bong Buddies
Keeping your fresh flower in the same container as your burnt flower ruins any delicious flavor. The disgusting smells from the dirty bong, pipe, or roach seeps into everything. The hard work of the grower and the dispensary to preserve the flavors is entirely lost.
Nobody likes smoking old roaches. Sure you do it if you have too, but why would you want to inhale something that tastes so bad? Keeping your fresh cannabis in a container alongside the spent product ensures that everything tastes like old roaches in the end.
Don’t Leave Cannabis Unlocked
The results of the study showed that 53% of the interviewed patients and 83% of caregivers had their medical cannabis stored in unlocked places, regardless if there were any children in the household.
Although there was no unintentional digestion of medical cannabis among the interviewees, the study pointed to data from other studies that showed an increase in cannabis digestion by young children after marijuana legalization.
According to sources pointed out in the study, this happened mostly because the majority of the cannabis was packed as food products. In the 2016 study, most of the participants smoked their medical cannabis, which may be the reason why there was no accidental ingestion reported.
How Long Can Marijuana Be Stored
There is no exact amount of time that marijuana can be kept without spoiling. As long as the previous tips are followed, cannabis can last upwards of two years; although, this is not to say it will be the same bud as when it was freshly cured. Cannabis will degrade over time no matter what. Terpenes and essential oils dry out over time, and THC degrades into the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBN. If you do plan on storing cannabis for more than a short period of time, the best way to monitor and control the environment is through measurement and balance.
Although the techniques for storing weed have changed since your high school days, it isn’t overly complicated. Keep cannabis in a sealed airtight container, avoid plastics, and don’t expose it to light. When it’s time to smoke, only take what you need, and don’t handle the rest. Many great storage products are also available to help you, and even if you don’t typically store flowers for long periods, you may find that good storage habits noticeably improve the flavor of your flowers and increase the value of your purchases at the dispensary.