We have the answer to the age-old question: How can I store cannabis so it lasts longer, and stays fresh and tasty?
Are you tired of smoking brittle, dried-out bud? Do you have some extra herb laying around that you want to keep nice and fresh? With a variety of storage methods out there, it can be difficult to gauge how long your cannabis will stay tasty and potent. Fortunately, we have some answers to the age-old question. Here’s the scoop on how long you can store cannabis so it lasts longer.
Cannabis is a herb. Storing dried cannabis is very similar to storing dried cooking herbs. If stored in perfect conditions, dried bud can last for years. Typically cannabis is stored as a dried bud, rather than as ground herb or shake. Keeping buds more or less intact means that they’ll last longer.
Like other dried herbs, a good rule of thumb is that properly stored cannabis can last two to three years.Though, many cannaisseurs have been able to extend their herb’s shelf life for a bit longer.
If cannabis is just left out with no protection, it’ll be dried out and gross within a week. If kept in a plastic baggie, a few weeks to a month or so is typical if kept in a dark, dry place. A couple of months at most. But, the quality of the herb will start to decline after a few days.
Storing cannabis from a dispensary
There’s a catch, though. Unless you’ve harvested and moved your cured crop directly into storage yourself, it may have already been exposed to a bit of trauma. Many folks find that their store-bought bud tends to last a few months to a year in proper storage. It really depends on the quality of the product that you’ve obtained in the first place.
There are a couple of ways to tell if your herb may have lost some freshness before you bring it home:
- If the herb is not pre-packaged, asked how long it’s been sitting out
- Avoid dispensaries that give you cannabis in a plastic baggie
- Make a note of how much light exposure the cannabis may have received while sitting out at the dispensary
- Opt for dispensaries that use chopsticks or another tool to pick up your bud
Most dispensaries are great about keeping their herb fresh. Yet, how well a dispensary handles their product says a lot about the quality of the herb. If you’re hoping to keep your dried cannabis around for a while, opt for high-quality from the start.
What’s the best way to keep cannabis?
When it comes to picking the right storage container, follow the golden rule: Just say no to plastic. If you want your flower to become dry and brittle in a hurry, put it in a plastic baggie. If for some reason the plastic heats up or cools too quickly, it can also leach chemicals like synthetic estrogen (BPA) into your herb.
Chemicals in plastic can also alter the taste and aroma of your herb over time. Not the best option for long-term storage. Here are some better choices:
Glass jars are simplest and most cost-effective ways of storing cannabis. Make sure the jar is air tight. Flip top mason jars with a rubber or silicone seal are great options, but regular screw-on lids also work well. Many people opt for opaque or dark-colored jars to reduce light exposure.
However, you don’t have to worry about this if you store your dried bud in a dark place. Glass jars are impermeable, meaning that they’re smell-proof and no excess oxygen or moisture will get in if it is properly sealed. Always make sure your container is the proper size for the amount of herb you’re storing.
The CVault storage containers are made of food-grade stainless steel and come in a variety of sizes. They are airtight, light-proof, and smell-proof. It also comes with humidity packs that maintain a relative humidity of (RH) of 62%.
CVault containers are significantly more expensive than your average glass jar, but they’re a great option for preserving your cannabis. The one downfall is that the humidity packs only last for 60 days. So, you’ll have to open up the container and replace them every couple of months.
Okay, so some types vacuum sealing rely on plastic. However, many cannabis-lovers sware by vacuum sealing as a way to preserve your bud for years. It’s often considered the best approach for storing cannabis for the long-haul. Vacuum sealing removes all of the air, which would otherwise slowly degrade your cannabis over time.
Fortunately, some companies make BPA-free sealer plastic. You can also purchase a wide-mouth jar attachment for some vacuum-sealing machines. This allows you to store vacuum-sealed cannabis in glass. Pretty handy!
Tips and tricks for storing your bud
The best place to store cannabis is in a cellar, basement, or some other cool, dark place. Light, moisture, temperature, and exposure to oxygen are the biggest culprits behind moldy or dried-out herb. To extend the life of your stash, here are a few must-try tips and tricks:
Keep it dark
Light begins to degrade cannabis trichomes. Trichomes are the THC-containing resin glands that we’re hoping to preserve. Always store your cannabis out of direct light, in a dark place. Opting for opaque containers can help with this, but they’re not absolutely necessary.
Keep it dry
The ideal humidity for cannabis is 65%, though the herb can handle relative humidities (RH) down to 50%. This is substantially lower than is typical for cigars and other tobacco products. If your herb is exposed to too much moisture, you’re going to get mold.
This is dangerous to smoke and will ruin your stash. You also want to make sure that your herb is thoroughly dried before you move it to any long-term storage container.
At the same time, you don’t want your cannabis to be too dry. This makes it brittle, less potent, and extremely harsh to smoke. Not fun for anyone.
Keep it cool
Dried cannabis is also sensitive to temperature. If your herb is too hot, it can either dry out or begin to sweat. This either leads to molding or causes your stash become brittle and uncomfortable to smoke/ vape. Environments that are too cold are also less than ideal.
Extreme cold causes trichomes to become brittle and break off, this decreases the potency of your herb. Extremely cold environments also suck moisture out of your bud, causing it to become dry. Ideally, you want to keep your bud a little below room temperature.
Limit oxygen exposure
No matter what storage option you choose, make sure that your container is the perfect size for the amount of flower you’re storing. If your container is too large, your cannabis will be exposed to too much air. Excess oxygen causes the cannabis to degrade, reducing its potency and aging it far more quickly than desired. Your dried flower will become brittle and dry, a pain to consume.
A little bit of breathing room in the jar is ideal. You don’t want to jam-pack it in there, but you want to make sure the container is full.
Touching and jostling your cannabis around too much will break off the trichomes. Trichomes are sticky, and when you touch dried bud a lot, they stick to your hand rather than to the bud. Too much manhandling also breaks down the integrity of the flower, meaning that you’ll get a bunch of shake.
The term “shake” refers to the tiny pieces of cannabis particles that fall off and collect on the bottom of the jar. Shake loses potency much more quickly than intact flower.
Don’t freeze or refrigerate
This suggestion is a little controversial. Many people store their cannabis in the freezer. However, the extreme cold of the freezer sucks out moisture and ruptures resin glands. Trichomes become brittle and break off, meaning that your herb becomes less potent.
Storing it in a refrigerator is not much better. You tend to open and close the fridge a lot, causing fluctuations in temperature. These temperature fluctuations decrease your herb’s survival time.
Signs of bunk herb
If you haven’t vacuum sealed, it’s best to check on your herb every few months or so. If you’ve placed your cannabis in a clear glass jar, you can easily take a peek without opening the jar and exposing it to oxygen. Otherwise, you’ll want to open up your container just to see how your herb is doing.
When you first put it into the container, it may be good to check on it after a couple of days just to ensure that there isn’t any moisture build-up or other worrisome phenomena. Here are some signs of bunk herb:
- Condensation build-up in container
- Dry, brittle herb that crumbles to the touch
- Faint-scented cannabis
- Loss of color
It’s okay to be a bit picky when it comes to storing your herb. After all, who wants to consume anything that’s lost its flavor and aroma? These tips are geared toward dried cannabis flower specifically. Keep in mind that edibles and oils have different shelf-lives. With edibles, follow regular food-storage protocol. For concentrates, keep them in a dark, cool location. If they get brittle and dry, they’re going to be harsh to smoke and a little less potent. You can tell a concentrate has gotten old if it is cracked, and looks like it’s lost some moisture. It may be more akin to dust.