Does weed expire? Here’s everything you need to know...
Plus tips for keeping it fresh
Even experienced cannabis consumers have asked if weed expires. If the cannabis plant does expire, for how long can it last?
The truth is that marijuana does go bad and can grow mold when not kept in the correct conditions. So, that raises the question, what are the correct conditions to store your marijuana flower?
Remember, cannabis is a plant, and just like other plants, it is governed by the laws of nature. All living things die and decompose to feed other organisms and create room for a new life.
Cannabis that is carefully and safely stored can last for between 12 and 18 months without losing its potency. Still cannabis consumers must be careful throughout that long timeframe that the plant is not exposed to moisture which can lead to the growth of mold.
To this point, marijuana is best stored in mason jars because they are airtight. Controlling the environment such as air flow, temperature, and lighting all can be critical to the shelf life of cannabis. All of which can be extremely important to avoid any mold from forming on the cannabis plant. The products you get at a dispensary in US and Canada have an expiration date included on the package. But what if you grow your own? What do you need to know?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the contributing factors that impact the shelf life of the cannabis plant. Then we’ll explore some tips any cannabis consumer can use to keep their product fresh.
Contributing Factors to the Lifespan of Cannabis
There are a lot of factors that determine the lifespan of dried cannabis, one of them being its storage, as mentioned earlier. Some of the factors to consider for proper storage include the container quality as well as exposure to light.
Cannabis lasts longer when stored in glass containers as compared to plastic or paper-based bags. This is because plastic and paper bags are actually porous, just to such a small degree the human eye cannot see the holes. Nonetheless, air easily travels through these porous materials making them not ideal for long term cannabis storage.
Furthermore, the glass containers with lids will work best. The containers should be kept in the dark closet, drawer, pantry, or top cupboard cabinet. This storage method reduces exposure to light, which can speed up the degradation of THC and terpenes.
Avoid storing cannabis in the fridge or freezer because you will compromise quality. Experts are of the view that since the temperature and humidity in refrigerators fluctuates, it may impact the cannabis quality. Additionally, refrigerating cannabis increases the chances of terpene and cannabinoid-rich trichomes breaking off from the buds.
As a cannabis user, you will know when the quality is degrading when your stash starts to lose its smell. This actually means that the plant’s terpenes have started to fade.
If your cannabis develops a new scent, like musty or mildew, it may mean that it’s growing mold. Always inspect your cannabis before consumption. To clarify, it’s not only dried cannabis flowers that expire but even oils.
What are the Correct Conditions to Store Cannabis?
Humidity enables the growth of mold spores, which can be poisonous when smoked. Extreme temperature differences can also cause air to release moisture, promoting the growth of mold. Due to this, you need to control humidity and avoid fluctuations in temperature.
Sunlight is detrimental to marijuana. Cannabinoids oxidize and break down from the heat. Therefore, keep your cannabis in a dark spot such as in a drawer, cabinet, or closest to avoid exposure to light as much as possible.
High temperatures break down cannabinoids, turning your THC to CBN. On the other hand, if the temperatures are too cold, mold growth is also encouraged.
Freezing temperatures will break off your trichomes and damage the chemical composition of cannabinoids.
Therefore, users should focus on keeping their flower at a consistent room temperature as much as possible.
Air is essential for weed curation, but after that, too much air isn’t necessary. Oxygen steals electrons from matter, causing degradation such as with rust or dry rot. Oxygen will also dry out oils that carry weed’s cannabinoids, making them less potent and taste harsh. You need a small amount of dry oxygen with sealed weed containers, or no oxygen at all by using a vacuum-sealed container.
Ways in which you can keep your flower fresh for longer
* Make sure that the cannabis is completely cured. In case your cannabis is wet or fresh, hang it upside down for about three days. After that, store it in a sealed container and be opening the lid every two days to release the humid air.
* Invest in a relative humidity monitor. The recommended relative humidity for cured cannabis ranges between 59% and 63%. You can maintain this by investing in a particular humidor-type container.
* Store your weed in a sealed container.
* Avoid using plastic or cedar.
* Store cannabis in a cool and dark place.
Do Cannabis concentrates and hemp seed products expire?
Concentrates such as CBD oil are less organic as compared to plants; therefore, they hinder oxygen from touching everything but the surface. These characteristics make much less vulnerable to factors such as oxygen and humidity.
However, this doesn’t mean that they are not vulnerable. The simplest way of knowing whether your CBD oil has gone bad is through the smell and taste. It may not come to that since its visual appearance alone will tell it all.
Expired CBD oil appears murky and cloudy. Some people prefer storing their oil in refrigerators. This may help with some aspects but may also lead to the thickening of the oil. Every bottle of CBD oil will also always have an expiry date. It would be best if you looked at it before consumption.
Know that a low-quality product is not only dangerous but also unreliable in terms of longevity. CBD oil, for sure, can last for between one and two years.
Yet, hemp quickly absorbs heavy metals and toxins from the soil. Consequently, a hemp plant in low-quality soil will produce low-quality CBD oil. On the other hand, hemp in high-quality soil will give birth to a better product.
Purity is also essential in determining how long CBD oil can last. Purity doesn’t guarantee a longer shelf-life, but certainly can help prevent any unwanted extras from going bad inside the product.
When it comes to hemp seeds, employ the same storage practices as in weed. Whole hemp seeds are quite vulnerable because they contain oils and fats that can go rancid after prolonged exposure to heat, light, or oxygen.
What you need to remember, though, is that weed will never go bad or expire/spoil the same way as other food products such as milk and meat do. Again, it’s not going to get less potent or get better with age like some wines. Fun fact - I’ve never held on to weed long enough for it to expire or go stale. Should you need help consuming yours by the expiration, invite some friends over, or else I’d be happy to help. Puff, puff, pass...