Ideally, cannabis is a fresh natural product. Cut straight off the branch, a bud of weed is as close as you’ll get to ‘fresh from the tree’. Of course, if you grow your weed at home, you’ll know that you need to dry your crop before it is suited for consumption. If you get your stash from a coffeeshop or other legal dispensary, you’ll have to trust the vendor to safeguard the freshness of their supply. That means including optimum transport and storage conditions before you pick up that baggy. These factors are largely beyond your control.
Optimum Cannabis Experience
Once you’ve managed to get your hands on a nice nugget of green goodness, however, responsibility for freshness lands squarely on your shoulders. From that point on, there are a few things to consider when storing your weed at home. Research has demonstrated that under perfect conditions, you should be able to preserve your weed for two years without significant loss of quality. The trick is, then, to find the conditions that are as close to perfection as you can manage. Here’s some tips to improve the shelf life of your stash, so you can enjoy the best cannabis experience even if you didn’t go shopping today.
The Main Culprits
The most important factors in keeping your weed fresh are humidity, air flow, light, and temperature. That makes intuitive sense, because these are the same influences that affect the shelf life of just about all the fruit and vegetables you have in your home. So, to be brief, if you just start looking for a dark, cool, sealed, and dry place to use for optimal storage, we’ll explain the hows and the whys behind the facts.
Keeping The Hot Stuff Cool
Temperature is a major factor in the decay rates of all organic matter. Logically, that includes weed, so making sure you store your buds at the right temperature is crucial in pushing that expiry date. Warm environments speed up the process of decarboxylation, which breaks down precious cannabinoids into less active components. In addition, heat will cause the flowers to dry out faster, which is bad for the terpenes that determine flavour and subtle entourage effects, among other things. If temperatures are too high, you’re running a very real risk of catching mould on your flowers, which will ruin them. Other factors like air humidity also affect mould conditions, but if you make sure you store your cannabis at temperatures below 25°C, you’re denying most of these harmful micro-organisms a fair chance.
…But Not Too Cool
Don’t take it too far though, because if temperatures drop below a certain level, other factors come into play that negatively affect weed’s shelf life. Don’t store weed in the fridge, because that’s a place where temperatures tend to fluctuate, which won’t help create the stable storage conditions you’re looking for. What goes for the fridge is doubly true for the freezer: don’t put weed on ice. Freezing temperatures affect the structure of the flowers, even at the cellular level. In fact, sub-zero conditions will crack those lovely crystalline resin glands called trichomes, and that will result in loss of flavour and potency when the product thaws.
Hug The Shadows
Light is perhaps the most important factor in determining how long your weed will last. The UV rays in particular will cause the terpenes and cannabinoids in the plant material to break down. This is easy to solve, though: just find a dark place somewhere in the back of a cupboard; preferably one you don’t open and close all the time. Having a container that blocks out all the light is fine, too, as long as you make sure it’s airtight – and provided you keep it in a cool, dry place of course.
Air humidity is another major component. Too much moisture will open the door for mould, while extremely dry conditions will parch your weed to the point where it becomes very unpleasant to the throat when you smoke it eventually. Try to find a jar with a tight screw-on cap or some other container that you can seal off completely.
The amount of oxygen present in your chosen container can make a real difference in storage conditions as well. Oxygen is a major component in many chemical reactions that can speed up the decay of organic matter. If you have too much air (and therefore, oxygen) in your jar or stash box, it will lose flavour and impact over time. That’s why it’s important not just to make sure that your container seals off completely, but also to pick one that isn’t too big. Even the air trapped in your jar can still circulate to a certain extent, which will affect the quality of your cannabis eventually.
And Finally: Lock ‘Em Up!
So there you have it: these are the four most important points to consider when deciding where to store your precious stash. But wait! We may have overlooked one pretty important factor here… There are influences that, although they aren’t necessarily chemical, will still spell bad news for your weed when they come into play. So just to be safe, make sure you take this last one into account while looking for the perfect storage conditions. Even if you find the ideal environment in terms of moisture, temperature, lighting and air flow, it will all be for nothing as soon as your mom/ dad/ older sister/ little brother/ dog/ guinea pig runs off with your stash! One final addition then: make sure you store your weed in a cool, dark, airtight and dry place – locked up tight where nobody else can reach it!
Enjoy Your Fresh Smoke!