Properly storing and keeping your cannabis fresh makes all the difference in cannabis potency, flavor and more. Storing cannabis correctly keeps it fresh for a considerable period of time.
What Happens When Cannabis Gets Old
As a plant material, there is a cannabis expiration date. When stored properly, cannabis retains its potency for up to two years. While still possible to use cannabis past that date, its effects will lessen. When storing your cannabis, it’s a good idea to label the container with the date so you know its age, unless you always consume your cannabis promptly.
When is cannabis past its shelf life? Your nose can tell you. Obviously, a moldy odor is a red alert. Cannabis should have a vibrant aroma. If it no longer smells at all, that’s another indication the cannabis is past its useful life.
Any white powder on the flower means mold is present, so throw such affected cannabis away. If you try to break apart old cannabis buds, they simply disintegrate into a powder. Past its prime cannabis looks and feels dry and brittle.
Finally, old cannabis just tastes bad and can be harsh to the throat and lungs when you smoke it.
What to Avoid in Cannabis Storage
Failing to store cannabis correctly can result in a less effective product and even one that poses dangers. No one wants their cannabis to go bad, but that can happen when certain precautions are not taken.
Heat, excessive moisture, and sun exposure has a deleterious effect on cannabis. UV light from the sun degrades cannabis rapidly, as it breaks down THC. In a worst-case scenario, exposure to moisture can cause mold and mildew to form on the buds, making the use a health hazard.
Contrary to some who suggest this can increase shelf life, never put your cannabis plant material in the refrigerator or freezer. The humidity and temperature pose a negative effect on your supply. Putting cannabis in the refrigerator introduces moisture, which is the last thing you want.
Avoid using a cigar humidor to store cannabis. There are humidors specifically designed for cannabis storage, and that’s fine, but a cigar humidor is not a suitable alternative.
Tips for Proper Cannabis Storage
For best results, keep your cannabis in glass containers. Always make sure the jar is clean and dry before adding cannabis. Kept this way, cannabis retains its potency longer and remains fresh. A Mason jar will fill the bill, as you can close these tightly to keep moisture out.
Keep the size of the container relative to the amount of cannabis you have. It’s one thing to fill a mason jar with a few ounces of cannabis. It’s another to store just a small amount in a big jar. All the excess air in a large jar with little product will end up drying it out.
Store the jar in a dry, cool place, with no direct sunlight hitting it. In fact, the darker the storage spot, the better for your cannabis. A cabinet or cupboard is a good storage site. Make sure the temperature of the room or area is consistent since temperature fluctuations are detrimental to cannabis.
Keep the jar away from electronic appliances or any other potential heat source.
If the storage area is humid, at least during the summer months, use a dehumidifier to minimize the amount of moisture in the air. Leaving cannabis in humidity is a recipe for potency reduction.
If there are children in the house, store your cannabis in a place they cannot reach, just as you would any medication. A medication lock box can keep cannabis away from curious kids, and always put your cannabis back into storage immediately after use so a child cannot take a sample.
Cannabis Storage for Edibles and Tinctures
Storing cannabis gummies, other infused products and tinctures differs from storing flower. You can put these items in the refrigerator – in fact, you should put them there. A tincture prepared with an alcohol infusion can last for years, although glycerin-infused versions have a shorter shelf life. Some edibles have sell-by dates, and their labels should include storage instruction. For best results, follow these directions, as ideal storage varies by the type of edible. Some edibles are suitable for storing in the freezer.
Unlike plant material, you can generally store edibles in the package in which they were sold. Consume any kind of edible containing fat within six months after putting it in the freezer. After that, there is a good chance the fats will go rancid. Gummies and hard candies, containing much less fat, may last longer.
As the only physician-led and woman-led dispensary in Massachusetts, Garden Remedies is changing the conversation about cannabis. Our mission is to help people live their best lives through safe, responsible and healthy cannabis consumption. Our products, all grown locally, are available to a broad range of cities and towns in the Greater Boston area. Visit one of our three Massachusetts dispensaries, in Marlborough, Melrose and Newton, or call us at (844) 344-2420. For all other inquiries, email email@example.com.
Jane Meggitt’s work has appeared in dozens of publications, including USA Today, Zack’s, Financial Advisor, nj.com, The Houston Chronicle and The Nest. She is a graduate of New York University.