How to keep weed fresh and potent for longer

Reading time: 10 minutes

Weed doesn’t go bad the same way other perishables do. That’s not to say that cannabis can’t spoil; humidity can cause your weed to mold and lose potency, especially if you leave it in an open plastic bag. This is why dispensaries have resealable bags with a best-by date. 

It can be challenging to keep your harvest fresh when you grow at home. If you’d like to extend the life of your marijuana,  learning to recognize fresh weed is just as important as learning how to store it.

How long does marijuana stay fresh?

When stored properly, cannabis can remain fresh for up to six months; how long depends on what you do to the buds after harvesting. Over time, marijuana buds begin to lose their quality(1). After a year, buds can lose 16% of their THC; this climbs to between 26% to 41% after two.

Storing weed in jars to keep it fresh
Storing cannabis and keeping it fresh

With that said, how can you tell if your weed is still fresh? Examining its texture and color is one way to check. Fresh buds have a slightly sticky feel when you pinch them between your fingers. That stickiness is thanks to the trichomes stuck to them. Fresh weed also has a noticeably brighter hue. 

Is my weed old?

You can also check if your weed is old by color and feel. Old weed has a paler yellow or brown hue than freshly dried buds. If they also feel drier and brittle in your hands, it’s a sign that the buds are past their prime. Smoking old weed may not be dangerous, but it’s not a great experience either. Old nugs contain fewer active compounds, which means an underwhelming experience with much less flavor or effect. In some cases, the smoke of old weed will be harsher. 

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Is there mold on my weed?

When it comes to old weed (and any stored bud in general), you should check for mold or “jar rot” before enjoying. Check for mold by closely looking for white or grey spots. You can never be too careful when doing this, and it’s okay to pry open the buds and check every nook and cranny. You can also check for smell, as fresh jar rot has a slightly damp scent(1).

Is my weed too dry?

Weed can dry out fast if you don’t properly store it. Oxygen, UV light, and heat are three of the biggest factors that can dry out your cannabis flowers. If you store your freshly dried cannabis where sunlight can shine on them, it’ll dry faster.

If you don’t use an air and light-tight mason jar,  the open environment will leave them susceptible to drying out your buds. 

If you’re gonna put this much time and effort into storing your bud, you might as well put that same effort into learning how to grow the most and best bud, right? Download my FREE Grow Bible and start filling up those jars!

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    Prepping marijuana for long-term storage

    Long-term storage is an undertaking on its own: plan to spend the same effort and attention you had when growing your weed. The first step is to cure, assuming you’re starting with dried cannabis flower. This is not to say that curing is just a step to store weed properly. No, it’s something you always have to do if you want to enjoy the best of what your buds have to offer and to keep weed fresh.

    By curing your buds, you remove even more chlorophyll that remained after drying(1). The process of curing also ages the trichomes in your buds, resulting in a smoother and cleaner smoke with more flavor(2).

    Prepping for curing marijuana before storing it for long term
    Prepping for curing marijuana before storing

    To cure marijuana, place dried buds into an airtight container and store them in a dry, cool room for 2-3 weeks.

    The relative humidity needs to be around 60-65% with an average temp of 70°F(21°C). It’s vital to ensure that the container isn’t exposed to direct sunlight – that causes the buds to dry out faster.

    Fill the container only ¾ full to allow for burping. By occasionally opening and closing the lid of the jar, burping improves air circulation.

    But enough about curing, let’s talk a bit about drying cannabis flower. Drying is the process of hanging your cut plants (or trimmed buds) to remove the excess moisture from them. This helps keep weed fresh longer and reduces the risk of mold in your buds. The best way to dry your weed is through air drying.

    Storage tips for keeping your marijuana fresh

    When striving for the freshest weed, you must watch for humidity, oxygen, and UV light levels in and around your storage environment. Keep your buds somewhere with low light and an average temperature of 70°F (21°C) with a humidity level that’s around 55% to 65%(1). This will prevent your buds from drying out too fast and keep your weed fresh.

    Humidity packs

    Humidity packs have become the go-to method for keeping weed fresh. You can easily find packs specifically for storing weed. Boveda Humidipaks are one of the best ways to keep your weed fresh by helping whatever container you choose for storage maintain ideal humidity levels.

    Boveda Humidipaks for storing marijuana for a long time
    Boveda humidipaks for storing weed

    Boveda packs both absorb and release moisture. If there’s too much moisture in the container, it’ll absorb it. If there’s not enough, it’ll release some. They also offer different types of humidity packs that maintain specific relative humidity levels, such as 58% for dried cannabis and 62% for moist cannabis.

    Controlled light and temperature

    Minimizing UV light levels in your storage room is key to keeping the active compounds in the trichome heads from degrading. The same goes for temperature. Maintaining an average temperature of 70°F (21°C) is crucial for effective storage.

    Storing marijuana with controlled light and temperature
    Storing weed with controlled light and temperature

    Too much heat and light cause your buds to dry out faster and lose terpenes which diminishes their flavor and potency(1). 

    Mason jar

    By far, mason jars are one of the best methods for keeping weed fresh. Unlike plastic or stainless steel containers, mason jars won’t taint the flavor of your buds.

    UV proof Mason jars
    UV-proof jars are your best bet to keep your weed fresh the longest

    Just make sure, as mentioned before, that you use an airtight container and UV-light-resistant jar. Several brands, such as the Kosrae airtight container are made especially for marijuana. Alternatively, you can take any ol’ mason jar and tape it shut with lightproof (duct) tape. (and don’t forget to stick a Humidipack in there for good measure)

    Humidors: High-end weed storage

    For aficionados looking to store their favorite cultivar, a cannabis humidor is your best friend. With humidors like Cannador, you can store your bud for several months without losing any of its freshness.

    American Chest Humidor for storing weed and keeping it fresh
    American Chest Humidor for storing weed and keeping it fresh

    Cannador maintains the ideal (55-65%) humidity level by using humidity packs that come with the box. Some Cannadors even have a hygrometer to tell you the relative humidity inside. Other humidors boast different features, such as the American Chest humidor, which has six flower jars and a hygrometer.

    The best weed is something worth saving. You can grow the best stash by starting with the best genetics from ILGM. Grow what you love, then get more tips on harvesting and curing in the free Harvest Bible.

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      What to avoid while storing your weed 

      You might have read somewhere on the internet that you can store your fresh or dried herb in your kitchen freezer to preserve their quality. But that’s nothing more than an urban legend. Buds stored in a regular freezer will come out mushy and have their trichomes fall off.

      keeping weed in a kitchen refrigerator
      Avoid keeping weed in your kitchen refrigerator

      Another wives’ tale you need to avoid is putting orange peel into your bag or container to retain the moisture balance of your weed. There’s no evidence that the moisture in the peel transfers into your weed, nor does it give you any control over the moisture level in the container. If anything, it might cause the mold you’re trying to avoid. Even worse, the orange aroma and flavor might permeate your bud and affect the precious terpene profile of your buds. It’s much safer to stick to humidity packs like the ones from Boveda.

      More on how to keep weed fresh

      Can you store weed in plastic bags?

      Plastic bags (like Ziploc bags) are alright for short-term storage. However, depending on the type of plastic, there is a chance the material of the baggies can possibly interact with your weed on a chemical level and/or release microplastic particles over time (especially when exposed to direct heat and UV from sunlight). For long-term storage, go for glass, not plastic.

      Is refrigerating or freezing weed bad?

      Refrigerating your buds can result in most of the trichomes in your buds falling off. While this might be what you want if you’re making bubble hash, it’s not ideal if you simply want to keep your dried herbs fresh for smoking.

      Why is it important to store weed correctly?

      Proper cannabis storage is necessary for weed because it keeps it fresh. Weed will naturally degrade over time. It will lose potency and flavor. Through proper storage, you preserve both its potency and its flavor. Moreover, it also keeps your stash clean and mold-free.

      Sources

      Avatar for Robert Bergman

      Robert Bergman

      Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations. His passion for growing led him to develop his own Gold Leaf strain. Now, Robert is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world.... [Read full bio]

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