How Long Does Weed Stay Good?
Let’s say, unless you’re a budtender or OG toker, knowing the shelf life of your cannabis is somewhat tricky. So, does weed expire? And if so, is there a way to slow down the process? Let’s find out.
Understanding the Science Behind Cannabis Shelf Life
While it is a plant, weed’s edibility rules aren’t completely similar to everyday groceries. When left in poor conditions, cannabis decomposes, and the cannabinoid THC (responsible for getting you high) will turn into cannabinol(CBN). This process occurs after oxidation because CBN is a tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) derivative. Once your stash oxidizes, you will notice a change in taste, aroma, and, most significantly, its potency.
So, how long does weed stay good? When appropriately stored, marijuana buds maintain their freshness and potency for six to twelve months. And if you’re keeping it in a highly controlled environment, you might stretch it to two years. Any time beyond the two-year mark and your weed quality begins deteriorating. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, cannabis doesn’t age well.
· After two years, weed loses 26% of THC · Cannabis loses 34% of THC if it’s left for three years · Storing weed for four years will result in 41% of THC loss
How Long Do Cannabis Products Last?
Besides the buds, you are probably wondering about cannabis concentrates and other products and their expiry dates.
For cannabis-infused brownies, their shelf life will be dependent on other ingredients like eggs and dairy. If homemade, they’ll likely stay fresh for up to three days. Those from the local dispensaries probably contain preservatives. Therefore, they will last longer. On the other hand, Candies might be edible for anywhere between half a year and nine months.
For oil-based tinctures, the manufacturing company will indicate the expiry date. Usually, it lasts up to two years if stored correctly. Alcohol tinctures have a longer shelf life due to the alcohol ingredient, which serves as a preservative. If there are few plant ingredients in the bottle, this product can last up to ten years.
3. Vape pens
Usually, vape pens consist of oil and no plant material. Since they generally lack an expiry date, your vape pen could be usable even after the three-year mark. However its best to check for a expiration date to be safe.
4. Cannabis-infused cosmetic products
For such products, manufacturers will indicate the expiry date. Note that some products tend to preserve cannabis better. For instance, since soaps are alkaline, they will maintain cannabinoids for up to two years unless there’s an additional natural ingredient present.
Conditions That Influence How Long Your Weed Stays Fresh
Even before weed gets on the dispensary shelves, its freshness will depend on how well it was harvested, stored, and cured. Once the product is ready, its shelf life will be highly dependent on these three factors.
Humidity plays a huge role in how long your weed stays good. If the environment is highly humid, your stash will likely rot or grow mold. Ideally, it would be best to keep the environment at humidity levels ranging between 59% and 63%. Anywhere above that and the weed becomes unsafe for consumption.
While light won’t make weed unsafe, its potency will be the most affected. Remember that bit about oxidation. Well, light is the number one culprit. Storing your weed away from direct sunlight will maintain its potency, keeping it fresh for its expected shelf life.
The best temperature for your buds is 21 degrees Celsius. Anything above that creates a suitable environment for mold to develop. Moreover, high temperatures will suck the juiciness from your bud and make it brittle.
How To Tell If Your Weed Has Expired
If you are a new cannabis user, spotting the telltale signs of stale weed can be challenging. Here are the most important ones.
Fresh weed flowers are green with different colored accents based on the strain. Gradually, the chlorophyll will evaporate, turning the buds brown. If you spot any white spots on your bud, this could mean it’s developing mold.
For some people, mold isn’t always apparent, as one might easily mistake it for the snow-colored trichomes. If this is the case, then a smell test will help you to gauge further freshness. If your weed is stale, you’ll notice that its distinct aroma isn’t present. For instance, it’s hard to miss the chemdawg strain fragrance. This flower is one of the markedly smelling cannabis out there, with a fuel-like aroma. If expired, the terpenes will break down, changing the weed’s fragrance. Also, a musky smell could mean that your stash is moldy.
There’s nothing more pleasant than a sticky bud that’s also springy and doesn’t break too easily. If your bud is the opposite of these features, it’s likely lost its freshness.
You know that Bubba Kush strain helps you get some shut-eye; you’ll learn something’s up if it no longer gives you that effect. You may notice a change in flavor. Moreover, besides not getting the desired outcomes, if you experience nausea, headaches, and coughs, these could be signs that you’ve ingested moldy weed.
How To Store Weed and Cannabis Products Properly To Maintain Freshness
First, you must ensure the flowers have completely cured. If moist, hang the bud using the clothes hanging technique. Alternatively, you could purchase a drying rack if you have the budget for it. Ensure you get a stainless steel one to prevent oxidation.
Once the buds are dry, store them in sealed containers, preferably glass ones. Mason jars are excellent for keeping air out and reducing oxidation. It’s also best to invest in black ones to prevent UV light from damaging your stash.
Now, despite what many believe, storing your weed in the freezer is a terrible idea. Remember, the ideal temperature is 21 degrees. Placing weed in the freezer makes it fragile—meaning it ends up breaking down once it thaws and will only be suitable for infusing in recipes rather than smoking. Plus, avoid putting cannabis in the cooling section as it will probably develop mold.
Consider vacuum-sealing your flowers. While slightly on the pricier side, a vacuum sealer will guarantee no air or moisture leaves the weed storage bag. The only risk would be loss of potency because plastic bags tend to collect static, damaging trichomes.
Start by checking storage instructions. Most beverages and cannabis-infused edibles can stay in the fridge. CBD oil can stay fresh outside the fridge as long as you keep it in a cool and dry place such as your closet. You can store cookies in the freezer for up to three months. Just ensure you place them in vacuum-sealed bags.
Concentrates like crumble and dab have a similar shelf life to buds. It would be best to store them in mason jars or silicon containers to keep them fresh. For the smaller concentrates like shatter, many users tend to store them in envelopes. We recommend wrapping this cannabis product in parchment paper to prevent it from oxidizing.
4. Vape carts
It’s best to store cartridges in a dry and dark area. Also, placing them upright would help minimize leaks. Don’t forget to take it out of the battery when it’s not charging.
Tincture storage is the most straightforward. Since weed tinctures tend to come in UV-resistant bottles, you only need to ensure they are in a dry storage area.
So, how long does weed stay good? As you have read, the answer will depend on specific factors, primarily light, humidity, and temperature. Remember, even if your stash is a few days old, if you spot any sign indicating it’s not fresh, it’s best to replace it. Don’t let a smoke session be the reason you end up having a bad time this festive season.