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.
In this article we will discuss:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Humidity Control Packets help you maintain control without putting in a lot of extra work.
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.
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.
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FAQ About 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℉
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.
Between 59 and 63 relative humidity.
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