It's a question as old as time: How long does weed stay good for? The answer might surprise you. It also brings about some exciting tips worth remembering to keep your cannabis fresher for longer, especially if you have casual smoker friends who might only toke up once or twice a month.
Remember, top-shelf bud from a dispensary can be pretty costly, so it would be a waste to let it dry out or go moldy while you wait for the right time to light up.
Does Weed Go Bad?
The short answer is yes, your weed can go bad. However, it depends on your definition of bad.
Improperly stored cannabis is subject to mold, dry rot, and several other unpleasant symptoms that can make even the least discerning smoker turn up their nose.
However, that doesn't mean that all old weed is terrible weed. Some weed connoisseurs purposely age their cannabis to pull out some of the different terpenes and cannabinoids, as they can naturally degrade into a more relaxing or cerebral smoke with time.
The key to preserving your pot for longer is proper storage.
Let's be real: We've all found a half-opened bag of herb deep in a closet somewhere when we were out of funds and scrounging for some herb. What did it look like? Brown and dried out, right?
Chances are pretty good that if you packed up that nugget in your piece of choice, you would still catch a buzz. However, the effects would be markedly decreased as THC, and other cannabinoids can degrade with exposure to heat, air, and sunlight over time.
According to a United Nationsstudy, THC levels in samples they tested dropped by 16% after one year, roughly 27% after two years, 35% after three years, and 41% after four years.
Long story short, that old weed might not be bad per se, but if it hasn’t been stored well, you probably aren’t going to feel the effects as strongly as you would from a fresher bud.
Additionally, any weed that has been poorly stored for a lengthy period will be quite dry, resulting in a harsher and more irritating smoke. To protect your lungs and maybe turn that old weed into edibles or a tincture?
More often than not, the main culprit of moldy weed is a curing process that is too short, leaving excess moisture in the finished product that provides a welcoming environment for mold to form.
As the plant material is left to sit, mold bacteria can grow all over the plant and can quickly turn your stash into trash.
That mold can be quite tricky to spot, as the white spots of an early mold can be mistaken for trichomes on the plant. Those deceiving white spots might not be the right kind of sticky icky you're looking for.
However, a toke or two of moldy bud likely isn't going to make you sick. The cases studied in the above article were serious smokers who had been partaking in moldy buds for weeks. Still worth avoiding, though.
So, how do you prevent mold on your cannabis?
If you get a fresher batch of buds with more moisture in them, make sure they are left to air dry for a bit.
Consider investing in a humidity sensor for your herbs and make sure the environment they’re stored in is roughly 65% humidity. That’s how all the best growers keep their cure rooms.
If you find dried out weed, do not add water or a damp paper towel to the bag. Instead, consider buying some humidifying packs like those made by Boost or Boveda to rehydrate your dryer smoke.
Make sure to keep your weed in a storage containter.
How To Keep Your Weed Fresh
Now that you know that weed can go bad, how do you keep your stash fresher longer? After all, these dispensary prices aren't always cheap, and those mylar bags don't do a great job of storing weed for the long term.
There are two keys here - the storage container and the humidity levels of the material itself.
The Storage Container
For your storage container, you want an airtight container that isn't going to let in UV rays. Those UV rays can damage your cannabis as much as heat, excess moisture, and air. Get a jar or container that is either opaque or a tinted brown, green or blue glass to shield the bud from UV rays over time.
There are plenty of solutions available on the market right now, from Tightvac to turkey bags, but if you are in a pinch, you can use a jar with a canning seal, like a Mason jar or Bell jar.
Any airtight container that you're going to use should do the trick, and it will also function as a guard against the potent aroma that weed gives off, but isn't always welcome everywhere you go.
If you like to buy in bulk to save a bit of money, consider having a larger jar that you open less frequently and use for long term storage and a smaller container that you can shuffle some buds from the bigger jar into.
Opening your long-term storage jar less frequently means your buds won’t be exposed to the outside air and will keep their fragrance, freshness, and effects for longer.
As previously stated, it is essential to make sure that your herbs are at the right level of moisture before you put them in your jar. Too dry, and they'll lose those lovely terpenes, overly moist, and they are at risk for molding.
You can solve the problem of excess moisture by air curing your buds and then dropping a Boveda, Boost, or similar 2-way hydrating humidifier pack into your container, along with your weed.
These humidifier packs absorb excess moisture by osmosis, but they also release the right amount of humidity if the air in your jar is getting too dry.
Have you ever seen a humidor that cigar smokers keep their expensive Cuban cigars in? Same idea. Spending a few bucks on a pack of humidifier pouches can make a massive difference if you typically don't smoke your weed quickly.
Enjoy What You Found!
The odds are pretty good that if you just found an old sack in your desk drawer that it's good to smoke. Make sure to check it for mold, and don't burn that thing if you're unsure about it.
With that said, follow those tips above, and you’ll keep your next stash fresher and stronger for longer.
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