So, unlike me, who can’t stop himself from indulging in whatever stash of weed I have left in the jar, some of you are actually more disciplined and can store weed for a long time. However, I am sure that at some point, you stored weed way past its shelf life and are now wondering, “Just how long is weed good for?”
While weed doesn’t exactly “go bad,” storing your cannabis for a long time, especially under subpar conditions, can make it lose its potency and taste and even become moldy. You should really not be using moldy weed for anything other than science experiments.
In this article, you’ll learn the best ways to store your cannabis to help it retain most of its potency, taste, and texture, even in storage, at least for a reasonable period. And most importantly, we discuss how long weed is likely to stay in pristine condition while in storage.
The Factors Affecting Cannabis Shelf Life
The shelf life of your weed depends on a myriad of factors, and it’s impossible to say your weed stash will last for only “x” number of months or years. Instead, we can only give you a rough estimate of your weed’s shelf life depending on the strain of the weed, the storage conditions, the amount of weed you have, and so much more.
Okay, on a serious note, here are a few factors affecting the shelf life of weed.
The concentration of cannabinoids such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) in the initial weed stored determines how long your weed will remain potent. The higher the initial concentration of cannabinoids in your weed, the longer you can keep it before it loses most of its potency and becomes a dud.
Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in different cannabis strains that are responsible for the distinct flavor and smell that your weed produces. Properly storing your weed helps to preserve the quality of the terpenes in your weed, which leads to a more enjoyable experience. Factors like exposure to heat and light can diminish terpene levels.
Moisture is a big deal when storing weed. The more moisture there is in your weed container, the faster it will develop mold and mildew. Mold and mildew compromise the safety and quality of your cannabis. However, you don’t want your weed to be too dry or without any moisture, as this breaks down the cannabinoids faster.
Lastly, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can degrade the cannabinoids in your weed, therefore severely affecting the overall quality of your stored weed. So, remember to only store your weed in a dark environment with zero access to light – say, like a cupboard or refrigerator.
What Are the Best Conditions for Storing Weed?
Now that you know some of the factors that may affect the shelf life of your precious cannabis supply, let’s discuss some best practices for effective storage.
Research on the optimal storage conditions of commercial cannabis crops, particularly of THC and CBD found in cannabis, showed that temperature had an appreciative effect on the stability of both THC and THCA. At room temperature (25 degrees Celsius ± 3 degrees), THCA degraded to below 90% of its original concentration just after 90 days.
Under refrigerated conditions (6 ± 3 degrees Celsius), THCA and THC showed very slight degradation, with THC maintaining over 90% of its original concentration even after 700 days (almost two years).
Therefore, it is recommended that you keep your cannabis in a cool, dark place with temperatures below 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). Avoid storing your cannabis in places with constantly changing temperatures, like beside an appliance or windows.
Ensure that you maintain a relative humidity (RH) level of 59% to 63%. We advise that you use airtight containers with humidity packs to help control the moisture levels in your cannabis storage container. This will help to prevent the growth of mold and maintain the freshness of your glorious weed.
As we mentioned before, weed does not like light. This is why almost every properly packaged cannabis you purchase from a reputable cannabis store like Potency will always come in an opaque container. Or even if your container is see-through for some reason, ensure that you transfer your weed to a dark container or place to protect it from UV light.
Light exposure is one of the major factors that cause rapid degradation of cannabis in storage.
Avoid oxygen getting in your cannabis supply as much as you can because oxygen is one of the factors that leads to the rapid degradation of cannabinoids. This is why you must invest in some airtight containers to store your weed in.
Glass jars work best for storing weed. Also, labeling and dating your weed jars is a good idea for superb accountability.
How Long Does Weed Stay Fresh in Storage?
According to research, almost all kinds of weed lose close to 100% of their THC after four (4) years in storage. This is a situation that develops due to the conversion of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to Cannabinol (CBN), and this conversion varies depending on storage temperature and light exposure.
Another research by the United Nations on the concentration ratio of CBN and THC as an indicator of marijuana age suggests that the percentage loss of THC when stored at room temperature is about 3 to 5 percent per month.
The result of the research shows:
- The concentration of THC in your weed is likely to drop by 16.6% from its original value after one (1) year
- The concentration of THC in your weed is likely to drop by 26.8% from its original value after two (2) years
- The concentration of THC in your weed is likely to drop by 34.5% from its original value after three (3) years
- The concentration of THC in your weed is likely to drop by 41.4% from its original value after four (4) years
Personally, I’d advise that you consume your weed supply in a span of one (1) year from the day of purchase or storage.
Notes about certain kinds of cannabis product and their shelf life:
- Flower (Buds): Properly stored cannabis flower can maintain peak quality for about six months to a year. Beyond that, your buds are no longer prime.
- Concentrates: Cannabis concentrates are what you get when you intend to store your weed for quite a while. Cannabis concentrates can survive with pristine potency and flavor for about a year or more.
- Edibles: I don’t know why anyone would want to store edibles for more than a month, but whatever. Cannabis-infused edibles have a shorter shelf life than most cannabis products and typically last for a few weeks to a few months, depending on their base ingredients. Just eat the edibles!
Signs Your Cannabis Might Be Past Its Prime
Of course, now that you know that your weed can lose its potency over time and even become dangerous, you must be wondering how to know when your weed is past its productive prime.
Here are a few tips:
- Changes in Color: If you notice that your weed looks faded or has a different color than when you first stored it, it might be past its prime.
- Loss of Aroma: If your weed has lost the strong aroma it once had before storage, it might mean your weed is no longer fresh.
- Harsh Smoke: If your weed is harsher on the throat, then it has lost its potency.
- Visible Mold: If you find mold on your weed, discard it immediately. It is past its prime and should not be consumed.
Source High-Quality Cannabis From Potency
Now that you understand how long weed is good for when kept in storage and that the higher your quality of weed, the longer it can be stored, it’s time to get a new supply of weed that you can properly store.
Potency is your one-stop shop for all things cannabis-related. As long as it’s made out of cannabis, we probably stock it. Every cannabis product in our store has gone through numerous rounds of consumption and storage tests to ensure you get nothing but the best when you buy from us.
Check out our website today and get that quality high you deserve.
- The role of time and storage conditions on the composition of hashish and marijuana samples: A four-year study. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331618223_The_role_of_time_and_storage_conditions_on_the_composition_of_hashish_and_marijuana_samples_A_four-year_study
- CBN and D9-THC concentration ratio as an indicator of the age of stored marijuana samples*. Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/bulletin/bulletin_1997-01-01_1_page008.html
- Optimal Storage Conditions of Commercial Cannabis Crops. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/363785529_Optimal_Storage_Conditions_of_Commercial_Cannabis_Crops