Storing Your Marijuana Buds

Do you need to store your marijuana so that it keeps stable for up to two years?  Properly storing marijuana helps preserve cannabinoids such as THC.

In other words, your weed stays potent longer. How do you do it? This article explains how marijuana starts to degrade so that you can prevent it from happening.

Black-market marijuana doesn’t need to be entirely dry because it will be repackaged and sold quickly to users. 

For sellers, moist weed weighs more, and most smokers prefer a modicum of water vapors to make their marijuana burn with a gentler smoke.

But if you’re putting up a crop of nice marijuana buds (and leaves) that must last you for the next twelve months, until next year’s harvest, the same conditions don’t apply.

Mold and mildew are the personal-use grower’s biggest foes after harvest.

I once watched, a little awed, as a veteran pot dealer dispensed with 25 pounds of very good bud in less than twelve hours; you, however, will face storing a pound of harvest (maybe more) for up to a year.

Moisture in any concentration is abed thing for marijuana unless it is vacuum-packed (which still only slows the formation of mold), so the annual stash should be thoroughly desiccated before storing.

It can be dehydrated later for smoking by adding a few drops of water per ounce, and letting it sit in a airlock bag in a warm room for several hours.

Cannabis airtight jars
Dry cannabis buds

If the cannabis to be stored is too damp (you’ll feel the moisture by squeezing buds between thumb and forefinger), you can dry leaves with no more than a minute at a time in a microwave; buds are best dried on a cookie sheet in a kitchen oven that’s adjusted to its lowest heat setting.

Don’t microwave buds dry unless you first remove any seeds you might want to plant later.

The ideal environment for storing dried marijuana is much the same as for any dried or packaged vegetation: Store in a cool, dry place.

Attics are perfect, so long as they are free of mice and squirrels that may actually eat your stash unless you store it in glass jars.

Garages and barns are also good, but you must remove seeds intended for planting before winter can freeze them in northern latitudes, and it’s a good idea to package it in rodent-proof containers.

Alternately, harvested marijuana can be frozen like any vegetable for more than a year without fear of mold or loss of freshness.

This is probably the best way to store your harvest, but only in places where laws have been relaxed sufficiently to let you get away with it. If you freeze, be sure to remove the seeds for next year’s crop before you do, because freezing a seed kills it (that’s why cannabis doesn’t reproduce by itself in places where the ground freezes in winter).

Packaging

The icon of black-market marijuana is a flap-top sandwich bag filled with buds taken from 1-pound “bricks” that have been vacuum-sealed in heavy-gauge plastic bags.

The bricks themselves may have entered the end-user marketplace immersed in engine oil or other liquids at the bottom of an open-head barrel, in the sewage tank of a motor home, or in the vermin-infested bilgewater of a seagoing vessel.

In so many cases in recent years, young smokers have come to associate the smell of pot with the faintly similar but sickly sweet fragrance of dryer sheets—placed in many shipments of smuggled cannabis to confuse the noses of drug-sniffing dogs.

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    All of these are good arguments for growing your own cannabis and for packaging it with personal care and more security.

    The packaging of commercial pot headed for market isn’t selected because it is necessarily the best method of containment, but rather because it suits the purposes of the people transporting and selling it.

    Again, handling a hundred pounds of bud meant for sale on the streets is less personal than preparing your own stash, and personal-use growers can do themselves and their harvest better service than just stashing it in baggies.

    Zipbag cannabis

     Storage containers

    In places where marijuana is still an illegal plant, growers need to be aware that packaging their harvests into the usual 1-ounce plastic bags is often constituted by courts as evidence of felony dug trafficking; the legal reasoning being that only a drug dealer would have possession of more than one small, salable package of marijuana.

    The fact is that it’s impractical, and even harmful to your harvest, to store it all in a single container, where a little mold on one damp bud that escaped you can quickly spread to all of the weed in that container.

    For that reason alone, it’s a good idea to segregate a supply into smaller units that are isolated from the others. And if you’re especially prudent (always a good trait in today’s world), you might want to divide your stash into several scattered caches that ensure you won’t be wiped out if someone stumbles onto one of them.

    My preferred method of caching dried and ready-for-storage marijuana is to first package dry, uncleaned (filled with seeds) buds and cured leaves separately into l-quart airlock backs.

    The bags are filled only a quarter-full of cannabis, then a moisture- absorbing silica-gel packet—scavenged from electronics packaging, foodstuffs, and other products that normally include them—is inserted.

    Then I roll the pot rolled up inside the bag, bottom to top, squeezing out as much air as possible, and I seal the zipper lock.

    A pair of rubber bands, one at either end of the bag, help it to maintain a mold- fighting vacuum, while keeping it in a convenient cylindrical shape.

    With my smoking weed packaged into rolls that contain less than I ounce of marijuana—because possession of an ounce or more is still a felony where I live, for now—I slide each bag into a mayonnaise or similar-size jar tall enough to accommodate them.

    Generally speaking, a jar that’s tall enough to easily fit a rolled-up quart-size bag under its cover has a large enough diameter to hold roughly l pound of marijuana.

    Sealed inside a snugly capped jar- with another silica-gel packet or two thrown in for good measure-your bud is safe from the elements for at least a year.

    Long time marijuana storage

    Maybe I’m paranoid, but even that isn’t good enough for me, and I like to double-protect my stored harvest by placing sealed jars filled with bagged marijuana into paint cans or plastic buckets with water- tight snap-down covers. These can then be buried or otherwise hidden in places where they aren’t likely to be found by people-remember, legalized or not, your bud will always be a stealable commodity, so protect it, spread it around in several caches, and hide each one of them well.

    One suburban stash for folks who grow-or buy-their smoke in volume, but don’t want to risk having a large amount of it in the house, is to loosen a square of sod in one corner of the backyard, bury a sealed plastic bucket of weed in the soil down to its lid, and replace the sod. For me, it’s paint cans inside hollow stumps back in the woods; even a military ammunition box with lock-down waterproof lid wrapped in a garbage bag and buried in a shallow hole camouflaged with ground debris. Whenever I run low, or need extra smoke for the holidays, I know where I can get another ounce or more with a quick trip on snowshoes.

    What Degrades Weed?

    Want to do some long-term marijuana storage? You’ll need to focus on curing it properly. Then, you need to keep it from degrading. You do this with proper storage.

    There are some things that can cause your marijuana to degrade faster than usual, however.  Here are four things that you should do to keep your weed potent:

    1. Keep Your Bud Safe from the Air

    1. Keep Your Bud Safe from the Air

    Oxygen levels are a huge factor when it comes to storing your cannabis long-term. Too little oxygen may alter the plant’s humidity level, leading to mildew or mold. On the other hand, too much oxygen causes it to degrade faster.

    So, how do you keep air from degrading your weed?

    One way is vacuum sealing. It’s actually the best way to shield your marijuana from long-term exposure to oxygen. However, if you don’t have vacuum pack bags on hand, you could try jars. Airtight jars are an easy solution for storage. Just make sure the lids seal completely.

    How to Choose an Airtight Cannabis Storage Container

    Start with the proper size. Although no air is seeping in, the jar itself can trap excess oxygen inside. This tends to degrade your cannabis.  

    Choose a jar that’s large enough to hold your weed without crowding it, but so small that very little spare room is left inside. This stops the container from trapping humidity inside. 

    Keep Moisture Away from Your Marijuana

    2. Keep Moisture Away from Your Marijuana

    Moldy weed is deadly. You do not want to smoke it. The best way to prevent moldy weed is to make sure your cannabis stays dry at all times. However, you don’t want it to dry completely out. This causes your cannabinoids and terpenes to become degraded. These are the two most valuable compounds in your weed.

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      To keep your marijuana’s quality high during long-term storage, keep an eye on those humidity levels. The ideal humidity level is between 59 and 63 RH. By the way, RH stands for Relative Humidity or the amount of moisture lurking around in the air in comparison to what it can hold.

      Quick tip: 

      Humidity Control Packets help you maintain control without putting in a lot of extra work.

      Minimize Light Exposure

      3. Minimize Light Exposure

      Light exposure is the quickest way to degrade the cannabinoidsin your weed. Just like with many other things, light can change things. For example, the paint on your car may dull and chip or the color in your hair may lighten. The same can happen with marijuana.

      Here’s what happens:

      UV rays burn up your plants’ terpenes and cannabinoids. Keep this from happening by not exposing your cannabis to too much light. How? Store it in opaque containers. Also, keep those containers away from any type of direct light. 

      Maintain a mild temperature

      4. Maintain a mild temperature

      Buds tend to dry out quickly when exposed to high temperatures. This evaporates the terpenes, giving you an unpleasant flavor and a harsh smoke. On top of that, mildew and mold thrive when temperatures are between 78 and 86 degrees. 

      That’s why you should store your marijuana at temperatures below 78 degrees. 

      Most people simply say store your marijuana in a “cool and dark” place. Most people assume that means the refrigerator.

      However, storing your weed in the fridge increases moisture, which leads to mildew and mold. You could also try using a freezer for long-term storage, especially if you plan to use it later create bubble hash. However, such freezing temperatures can cause your plants to lose potency by bursting the gentle trichomes. 

      With this in mind, the best place for long-term cannabis storage is in a dark corner, basement, drawer, or closet.

      More Tips for Storing Marijuana Long-Term

      If you follow the tips above, you’ll have great results. But, if you’d like even more success, you could also do these things: 

      • Choose Your Storage Container Wisely – Plastic containers can cause your weed to sweat. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, store it in mason jars or some other type of glass or ceramic container. Just make sure the lid seals the jar air-tight to keep the marijuana fresh longer.
      • Control the Moisture – Old timers suggest throwing orange, lemon or other fruit rings into your ceramic or glass marijuana jars to improve flavor and rehydrate buds. However, be careful with this as it can cause your buds to absorb too much moisture, which can lead to unsmokable, moldy weed.
      • Store Cannabis by Itself – When preparing your cannabis for long-term storage, make sure to store it alone. Do not store cannabis with pipes, lighters and other paraphernalia. These items reek. Your cannabis may absorb the aroma, negatively transforming the way your bud smells and tastes.
      • Avoid Using Tobacco Humidors – Most tobacco humidors are created using cedarwood. Your plants may absorb the wood’s oil, which can degrade the terpene and change the bud’s flavor.

      Maybe you have a nice amount of weed and don’t plan to smoke it up quickly. Or maybe you picked up a quality strain from the dispensary and want it to remain potent for the long-haul. Either way, learning how to store bud properly helps ensure your marijuana stay fresh, so that it still tastes great when you’re ready to enjoy it.

      Marijuana Stored in a Jar
      Source: Unsplash.com

      Want to grow your own weed? Read Robert Bergman’s Marijuana Grow Bible. Get your free copy here.

      FAQ About Storing Weed

      What is the best temperature for storing weed?

      You don’t want the temperature to be too hot or too cold. Make sure you store your weed in temperatures below 78℉ , ideally between 32℉ and 68℉

      What’s the ideal jar size for storing weed?

      Your jar size should be relative to the size of your grow and how you like your product. Make sure that it’s large enough to hold your weed and with very little spare room left inside.

      What is the best relative humidity for storing weed?

      Between 59 and 63 relative humidity.


      I hope you learned something from this article and if you have any questions please go to the forum or leave your comments and questions below. For high quality marijuana seeds please visit my webshop. Please like or share this article 🙂

      Robert

      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 lead 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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        33 comments on “Storing Your Marijuana Buds”

        1. If it’s still illegal where you live, having multiple stashes of less than an ounce is a worse charge than finding one single large stash as it is probable cause for intent to distribute as opposed to possession of a large quantity. Also, if you’re that paranoid about someone stealing your weed, maybe you shouldn’t be around those people in the first place. This plant’s about love not money and greed

        2. Up dated info,turn u’r bud into oil..I just found a sample of 3 pluse year old jar of acetone & non poplar solvent based bud oil (I used activated charcoal to remove the green colouring/then used white spirits & a separating funnel & shit load of water,to rid even more green colouring-so ended up with 2.4g of black oil from a manicured (no stem/leaf trimed down to suger leaf coating..
          3 pluse year old & it took hours to finnish the joint,& was still fucked up all day !…

        3. Op’s theres two waffle’s covering the same info..read No 2…(it was up dated with more info..

        4. Hi-ho have to agree on dry it beyond, what u get off the st..

          bag it in random amounts (its off veryest diffrant strains,your juge-ship…)

          army amo boxs are good for a lb..unless u can get your hands on a army cannon amo box @ A mtr/yard long & with sealed valt like locking lids (good for 10/15 lbs..got em never grew enough to both using em.)

          & or steel/alu eskys (with rubber seals)…keep checking u’r amo/esky box every week at 1st to make sure it was dryed proply..

          @12/15 months my stash is only “marginally” less potent than my neighbors curant crop from the same seed stock !

          & have no problems selling the odd 1/4…

          I have deer & kangeroo’s to contend with,so I grow on the roof..last grow season I had the 6 o’clock news helicopters & waterbombers flying over head as I was harvesting b4 evacuating on new years eve..

          Big tip…start u’r babys under lights in winter…come spring kick em outside…they freak from having 18 hours of indoor light down to 9 hours of early spring daylight hours ..= u’ll have good big bud by xmass !…. ha, but by newyears eve/Jan they’ll go back into leaf mode..unless u put em in a dark shed so they only get 12 hours of bud…am so sick of walking them in & out of the shed,evey 12 hours..hence the 2 year break between crops !..

          .p.s by doing the xmass crop trick, u’r subjecting u’r babys in bud mode to way higher U.V rays (& as noted oil glands help protect against U.V ! ) & plant *wormwood next to u’r buding babys..again w/w will kick off tricones (guess what hydro bud finishers have in them !)

          Or start u’r crop on new years eve,a 3 ltr milk container (with a strip of cloth wick sticking out the bottom,will give u a “bud on a stick” u’ll get Jan/feb leaf mode..march boys show up..april/may buds…instead of a 12ft +’s monster u’ll have 30/40 short ass babys (about the same amount of side branchs u’ll get of said 12ft’er…)& at the end of the day ..all trimed n bagged still looks like bud off my next door neighbour’s 12ft’s ( except way easyer to hid a 3ft “bud on a stick” than the 12ft’r..expect 1/4 to 1/2 oz off u’r new year eve babys..( u just have to plant more ie 30/ 40 per sq mtr/ yard will do it…

          Now for a young hippy trick…

          hold a bud up,& flick it…tricones will fall straight down..mould will float up..(my neighbour paid my kid in product to baby sit his babys… the neighbour DOSN’T cure to my standards…(& lost 1.3kg bud(2.8lb) to mould ! )…

        5. Hi-ho have to agree on dry it beyond, what u get off the st.. bag it in random amounts (its off veryest diffrant strains,your juge-ship…) army amo boxs are good for a lb..unless u can get your hands on a army cannon amo box(good for 10/15 lbs) or steel/alu eskys…keep checking u’r amo box every week at 1st to make sure it was dryed [email protected]/15 months my stash is only “marginally” less potent than my neighbors curant crop from the same seed stock ! & have no problems selling the odd 1/4…I have deer & kangeroo’s to contend with,so I grow on the roof..last grow season I had the 6 o’clock news helicopters & waterbombers flying over head as I was harvesting b4 evacuating (start u’r babys under lights in winter…come spring kick em outside…they freak from having 18 hours of indoor light down to 9 hours of early spring daylight hours ..= u’ll have good bud by xmass !…. ha, but by newyears eve they’ll go back into leaf mode..unless u put em in a dark shed so they only get 12 hours of bud…am so sick of walking them in & out of the shed,evey 12 hours..hence the 2 year break between crops !…

        6. I throw in a 58% boveda and loosely fill “salmon” sized mason jars with fresh lids. I get to open a fresh jar more often 🙂 by using smaller jars and my pot doesn’t get exposed to air/moisture as much compared to quart jars.

          I use a mason jar attachment for my vacuum sealer to suck half of the air out. No more or my terps will be in the air, not in my bud. Stash places also have larger 58% bovedas. Overkill, I know, but this is a very humid area. Once opened I have smaller “working” jars for my weekly strains.

          I just finished the very last of some Blue Cheese that I stored almost 3 years ago and it didn’t lose much at all. Every jar has been smooth and tasty, and if anything have become slightly sweeter over the years. I am sad that it is all gone and proud that I could make it last as long as I did.

          If you don’t have an attachment, you can put the jars with loose lids in a vacuum bag and suck the air our that way. Don’t seal the bag, the lids are vacuum sealed and you can just tighten the rings for extra protection.

        7. His audience, with a few exceptions are intelligent and can understand that growing requires you to walk and chew gum at the same time.

        8. Yo. This article is coming from a good place, but there are too many points in this article that would betray the writer’s lack of focus and dedication to quality writing.

        9. Great to hear of your great harvest Ben. this is the wrong topic for this comment but perhaps you would like to share your success here: support.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com Happy growing

        10. Just finished the harvest of outside growth of Bruce Banner. In drying stage now. Had one plant to reach 10′ 7″. Planted only 2 plants and have enough to last for the next 12 months.

        11. Keep the info coming. I’m on m 3rd grow, and ha alot to learn, i have topped it worked great! I’ve done my research on strong strains, thanks to your forums. I’m still using white widow and now trying lsd for something different. Want to know when and witch of the huge fan leaves that block alot of light . No one tells you witch ones i can remove without damaging the plant please help!!!!!

        12. marilyn taylor,

          SCROG Screen of Green. PLace screen about 12-18″ above top of 5g pots. prune off all usueless lower foliage under the screeen and train stems in and out of or tied to the wire screen.

          NO do not elvate pots. You need as much head room as possible, usually.

          You also do not want you root zone too warm; However, you did not explain your rerasoning behind thinking you need to warm your root zone.

          Join ILGM forum. We have many many SCROG journals to peruse and learn from.

        13. What is scrogging? Also, is it advantageous to elevate my 5 gallon pots up on 5-inch wire racks for better air circulation and warmer root areas?

        14. All you have to do is dry the silica packets in a dehydrator for a couple of hours, good to use again!

        15. Assuming seed is dry, freezing it definitely will not kill it. For more than 30 years I have germinated frozen seed kept in a freezer. Recently germinated a Thai seed from 1987.

        16. I don’t know that your comment that heat is the enemy of storage is accurate except maybe extreme heat for long periods. I bought some sativia flowers(fully properly cured) that seemed so-so at that time. I left them in their container for about a year at room temp. which included getting up to 90F at times. After that year I tried it again and it was noticeably improved in quality. I believe that it was due to the slow decarboxylation that takes place even at room temp. If you look at the chart in the web link here you’ll see that the process go at a very slow pace even at 176F, which is way above any temp. you’ll be storing it at. So I believe that you can see from the chart that room temp. would likely improve the THC for a long time before it would reach THC degradation. Storing it in air tight jars in the refrig./freezer would tend to keep it like it was originally, no decarboxylation. Chart plus some info. @
          http://www.catscientific.com/decarboxylating-cannabis/
          If you believe this is mistaken please let me know?

        17. Raunchybud,

          “Ever”, is a long time. I think you will do best by finding a “happy medium” between what experts teach, and your year and a 1/2 of grow experience. There you will find a balance.

          Happy growing! 🙂

        18. I just put my stuff (dried very good) into 1/2 gallon jars and vacuum seal the jars! Works perfect with no mold ever! But how long can it last like that?? I have no idea as im only a year and a half into growing. I dont want my stash to go bad as there is alot of it. Thanks ,Raunchybud.

        19. Good thing I am keeping all desiccants from shoes and other products I buy. Thanks for sharing this. I never thought I could use them with storing seeds.

        20. […] Store the marijuana inside a sealed container, such as a plastic bag or glass jar. Smoke it within several months, to one year. After a year, it is unlikely that the product will be as pleasant for smoking. Keep it in a dark, cool location. Freezing it can keep it fresh longer. […]

        21. Tamara,

          I personally do not use silica but I am seeing more and more people claiming that they do.
          Not really sure what you mean here; “this is unadvisable, as they have already absorbed as much moisture as they can.”

          Thanks for sharing 🙂

        22. I noticed in your article that you use previously used silica gel absorbers to prevent mold, etc. from developing in your harvested bud. It is my understanding that this is unadvisable, as they have already absorbed as much moisture as they can. In our preservation, we use new absorbers purchased from on-line stores that cater to food preservation buffs, also known as Preppers. These are inexpensive and usually come with an “Indicator” device to show they are fresh and unused. Any comment?

        23. […] Whenever you need to unpack your cured marijuana, you just need to pull out the amount you need to use and put a couple drops of water on it. Doing this will give you the moistness to produce the ideal gentle smoke. Of course, you could also store the cannabis in the freezer, but be sure to remove the seeds prior to sticking it in there. The cold will end up killing the seeds and ruining the potential for your future crop. Whether in the freezer or stored in dry containers, the cannabis should last you for about a year. Read more about how to store marijuana […]