How Long Does Marijuana Stay Good?
Figuring out the lifespan of your homegrown cannabis can oftentimes be a bit of an unordinary process. When determining whether it has ‘gone bad’, do you treat it like a normal house plant?
Do you treat it like plant seasoning? Or possibly, do you treat it like food items in your kitchen?
Because cannabis doesn’t come with a ‘Best By’ date printed on the side of the plant, you may be in the dark as to when your buds may have gone bad or past their most potent stage.
Luckily, there are quite a few signifiers that will help you decide when your weed is past its prime, allowing you a time frame to make use of your yield before it loses its punch. There are also many different methods to properly store your cannabis and preserve its potency and shelf life as long as possible.
We’ll touch on a few of the basics of preserving your cannabis as well as the best time to use it.
The Average Lifespan of Cannabis
While cannabis may have a more flexible lifespan as compared to food items, allowing you to still smoke it past its normal healthy shelf life, it will have diminished potency and the possibility for a less than pleasant taste.
However, if your cannabis has begun to grow mold, which is noticeable as white fuzz, colored spots, or an alternative smell, this is not safe to ingest and should be discarded. This is most commonly caused by excess humidity due to improper storage.
On the other hand, if your cannabis is exposed to too much sunlight or heat it will quickly dry out and become quite fragile and break apart. Crumbly or brittle weed are trademark signs that it has dried out and become less potent.
While this is technically fine to smoke, you may notice a significant decrease in potency due to the break down of cannabinoids.
On average, if stored properly and kept in ideal conditions, cannabis will stay healthy for up to six months to a year while keeping its taste and potency. This may vary depending on the specific strain, so it is best to avoid storing excess cannabis around for too long.
If you plan on keeping your weed in a grinder it can quickly dry out, so it is best to transfer it back to one of the approved storage containers, of which we will mention below.
Things to Avoid When Storing Cannabis
As we touched on above, there are a few things that will quickly degrade the health of your cannabis. These include:
- Excessive humidity in the room or storage container
- Direct sunlight or sunlight exposure through the glass of your container
- Excessive heat
- Plastic bags, paper bags, or clear containers
Your container should always be airtight and have some sort of light diffusion if it is transparent glass. This will include opaque materials such as brown or green glass containers, acting to divert some of the direct sun exposure to the cannabis.
Similar to beer bottles being made with colored glass, this will minimize the effect of the outside elements, preventing the breakdown of the cannabinoids for an extended period of time.
What are the Ideal Container and Storage Conditions for Cannabis?
There are a few different options when it comes to storing your marijuana for extended periods of time. While you may temporarily store your cannabis in any container while you are harvesting, long term storage you would ideally use either airtight ceramic or opaque glass jar.
These will both prevent excess sunlight and humidity from entering the container.
While these containers are good on their own, optimally you should also place the container in a dark room or drawer. Safe temperatures for cannabis are about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below, with temperatures above leading to the growth of mold or drying out the oils and ruining the yield.
Other Common Questions
- Can you refrigerate or freeze cannabis for storage? While you may think freezing or refrigerating your weed will slow down the process of aging, it may dry out and ruin the THC crystals on the bud itself. The ideal storage temperature for weed is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- How long will pre-rolled joints last? Typically a pre-rolled joint will have an effective shelf life of about one month, although your mileage may vary depending on your conditions. However, if you store the joint in one of the above mention airtight and sunlight diffusing containers it will increase its lifespan significantly.
- How long can you keep weed in a grinder? You could safely keep your weed in a grinder between 1-3 weeks before it begins to dry out. Obviously, the more it is exposed to light the faster it will begin to degrade. While it is safe to smoke weed that has begun to dry out, it will be less potent and have a harsher taste and throat hit.
- How long can you keep weed in a Ziploc bag or pill bottle? This will vary quite a bit depending on the type of plastic used on the bag or bottle as well as how airtight it is. A safe rule of thumb should be to store your cannabis in one of the above-mentioned glass or ceramic jars if you plan on keeping it potent for more than one month.
The Best Way to Keep Your Weed Fresh
With all of the above-mentioned suggestions, the optimal steps for storage are as follows:
- Try to keep your weed intact, preventing breaking apart the buds until you plan on using it.
- For long term storage, place the cannabis in airtight jars. Preferably ceramic or diffused opaque glass.
- Keep jars in a dark place with as little light exposure as possible.
- Keep the temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees for long term storage.
As long as you follow these steps you will have healthy and potent weed for months after you harvest your plants.