How to Store Weed Long-term

How to Store Weed Long-term

Why It’s Important to Store Weed Properly

In an ideal world, cannabis would retain its quality and potency indefinitely. You could stock up on a significant amount, set aside what you don’t consume, and rely on it until it’s gone. However, since cannabis is essentially a plant, it has a limited shelf life – even if it’s been properly cured for extended storage.

Harvesting a bountiful crop of marijuana is a gratifying experience. However, if you are unfamiliar with proper storage methods, you mayfind that your stash does not last long enough for you to consume it all. Incorrect storage can lead to mould, mildew, or a loss of potency as THC and CBD degrades over time.

If you intend to store your weed for more than a few weeks, learning about long-term storage methods is advisable. How can you effectively store weed for an extended period? Thankfully, proper weed storage doesn’t require high-tech equipment or scientific expertise. However, it involves more than relying on plastic bags or household containers. Below is a comprehensive guide on long-term weed storage, including the best storage containers.

Drying and Curing: Why It’s Important

Selecting a storage container for your cannabis won’t matter much if you haven’t dried and cured the flower before storing it. Neglecting these two critical steps can result in excessively moist buds that are highly susceptible to developing mould.

Aside from preventing mould growth, proper curing is also essential for enhancing taste, potency, and smoothness. To ensure that your cannabis remains in optimal condition during storage, it’s crucial to begin with well-cured buds. Otherwise, you might be disappointed with the quality of your stash when you finally roll one up months later.

Proper Way to Store Weed Long-term

Properly storing weed involves preserving the valuable cannabinoids and terpenes that deliver the desired effects and flavours/aromas. Both cannabinoids and terpenes break down over time and when exposed to various elements. When storing weed for an extended period, there are four primary considerations: temperature, humidity, oxygen, and light. Maintaining a temperature around 70Β°F (21Β°C) or below is ideal for cannabinoid and terpene protection.

Humidity levels should be between 55-65% relative humidity to prevent excess moisture that can promote mould growth. An airtight container is crucial to prevent terpene and cannabinoid oxidation, which can cause cannabinoids to degrade and terpenes to evaporate. Finally, UV light combined with heat can degrade and synthesize cannabinoids, potentially converting THC into non-intoxicating cannabinol (CBN), making it essential to keep cannabis away from direct light exposure.

Best Storage Containers For Weed

When storing weed, glass containers are the best option for keeping it fresh. Many growers prefer to store cannabis in mason jars or other glass jars because they are airtight, ensuring that the nugs remain safe and preventing any odours from escaping. Unlike plastic or metal containers, glass won’t alter the aroma or taste of the weed, allowing the curing process to continue indefinitely. This helps to make the weed smoother and more potent over time. If you plan to store your cannabis for an extended period, humidity packs are an excellent investment. A 58 percent Boveda pack is ideal for most growers as it maintains the relative humidity levels in the jar within the optimum range to prevent mould growth.

When storing glass containers full of bud, keep them in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard away from appliances that generate heat is essential. Temperature fluctuations can cause damage to the weed, so it’s best to keep it away from any electrical equipment or appliances.

While a glass mason jar can be used to store weed quickly, it is still better than keeping it in a plastic bag or container. However, stash jars are designed for storing weed and often have additional features. They can also be used with humidification pods to further enhance their effectiveness. When looking for the best stash jar, consider these key features:

  • The appropriate size of the jar
  • A strong seal to prevent air exposure
  • A protective exterior to shield against harmful UV light
  • Odour protection to keep the container airtight and discreet

Why Weed Should Not Be Stored in Bags or Plastic Containers

There are a few drawbacks to using plastic as a storage option, whether in a bag or container. Firstly, plastic can accumulate static electricity, harming the fragile trichomes covering the plant, where the terpenes and cannabinoids are highly concentrated. This is undesirable during storage as it can lead to a loss of potency and flavour.

Additionally, plastic containers often contain chemicals derived from fossil fuels, which can cause concern. Many types of plastic contain harmful chemicals such as bisphenols and fluorinated compounds, which can leach into and impact the quality of your weed. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid using plastic as a storage option for cannabis.

While Ziploc bags can be used temporarily for storing weed, it’s not recommended for extended periods. If you must use a Ziploc bag, keep the storage time as brief as possible. The optimal storage duration is a few weeks. However, studies indicate that storing cannabis in a plastic bag can promote mould growth. To minimize air exposure, eliminate as much air as possible, and avoid touching the bag and weed as much as possible to prevent static buildup.

What about using humidors for weed storage? While they may look cooler than mason jars, humidors aren’t the best option for long-term storage. Although they’re designed to maintain stable humidity levels, they’re typically made from cedar wood, which contains oils that can damage terpenes and change the taste of cannabis.

If you decide to use a humidor, it’s best to look for one specifically designed for weed storage and made from a more suitable wood, such as bamboo, teak, or mahogany.

Is it Safe to Store weed in the Fridge or Freezer?

Regarding storage, a cool and dark place is the ideal environment for weed. This means a temperature range between 15-21 degrees Celsius (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit) in an airtight container kept in a shaded spot can maintain the quality of your weed for up to a year.

Freezing is an option for long-term storage but can make trichomes brittle and prone to falling off when handled. Some growers even discourage this practice. Nevertheless, the freezer can keep your weed in excellent condition for years if stored in a protective container and allowed to thaw completely before handling.

On the other hand, the fridge is not recommended for weed storage. The humidity level in fridges is inconsistent, which can lead to mould growth on refrigerated weed. If storing in the fridge is necessary, an airtight glass jar with a humidity pack is the best option. You can also black out the sides of the jar to prevent UV light from degrading your weed’s quality and prolonging its shelf life.

How Long Does Weed Last? 

Typically, well-stored cannabis can retain its quality for six months to a year. However, to enjoy cannabis with maximum potency and flavour, it is recommended to use it within six months. According to older studies, weed can start to lose potency after one year, with a decrease of 16% in THC. After two years, the THC loss increases to 26%. After three years, it’s 34%, and after four years, it’s 41%.

However, the lifespan of weed depends on its storage conditions. If you store weed correctly, you can prevent mould growth, preserve terpenes and cannabinoids, and keep the weed fresh for longer. Mould growth occurs due to excess moisture exposure, making the weed unsafe to smoke. Mould symptoms include dark spots, gray or white patches, and an unpleasant odour. Apart from mould, weed doesn’t go bad, but it can lose its flavour and potency over time.

Of course, it’s only natural to wonder what happens when you smoke bad weed. Smoking bad weed, such as weed that is mouldy or contaminated with pesticides, can have negative health effects. Mouldy weed can cause respiratory issues, allergic reactions, and even infections. Pesticides can also cause respiratory issues and other health problems. Ingesting pesticides can be especially dangerous and may result in long-term health consequences.

In addition to health risks, smoking bad weed may also lead to a less enjoyable experience, as the taste and potency of the weed may be compromised. It is always best to properly store and inspect your weed to ensure it is safe and enjoyable. 

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Experts suggest you cure your buds for at least four weeks before storing them. This ensures that you store only the weed that has reached its peak potency and flavour, and it also reduces the chances of mould growth that can occur due to high moisture content in non-cured weed.
While freezing weed can be a long-term storage solution, it is not ideal. Freezing can cause trichomes to become brittle and fall off easily, losing potency and flavour. Also, freezing requires precise control of humidity levels to prevent moisture contamination.
Cigar humidors are designed to keep tobacco cigars fresh for as long as possible but are not recommended for cannabis storage. The wooden boxes used in humidors, such as cedar, may contain oils that can affect the flavour profile of cannabis. Additionally, humidity levels in cigar humidors can be too high for cannabis, leading to mould growth.
The age of weed does not necessarily determine whether it has gone bad. You should inspect its colour, smell, and consistency. Old weed typically turns brown, or tan, has a weak or hay-like smell and may crumble easily. Improperly stored weed can also develop dark spots due to mould growth.
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