Every once in a while you might discover some lost weed hidden in a closet or unexpected place. Happy to try it out you discover that the potency seems to have vanished or somehow it doesn’t hit the way you are used to. Furthermore, you wonder what can be done to keep weed fresh after you have harvested it. These seem like questions not necessary to be asked, but it's important to know, "does weed expire?"
It should be common knowledge that dried out weed doesn’t really provide a nice hit. In fact, it rather burns the throat and tends to let you cough more. Light, moisture, and air are things weed do not do well with. It could dramatically alter your aromatic bud into a pile of dried out sticks.
Something to really understand is the cannabis is perishable. Like any other living, it has to answer to the law of nature and eventual breakdown and finally it disintegrates. The moment the plant is harvested, degradation begins. The cannabinoid biosynthetic pathways get disrupted and Cannabinoids and Terpenes can be synthesized into other compounds when too much light or heat is exposed to it.
For Home growers, there are some great tips. Drying and curing the plant well after harvesting is important to ensure freshness. The weed plant has about 70% water and needs to be dried to get rid of most of the water to burn evenly. In the fresh plant, the cannabinoids are more in an acid form and decarboxylation starts with the drying process. Decarboxylation is completed when you smoke a joint. Remember though, decarboxylation is imminent when you weed is used in recipes as heat changes the cannabinoids to the psychoactive form. There are several methods of curing your bud and it is wise to make a study on that.
After weed has been cured and dried, it is important to look into storing it because staying fresh has a limited time. A few elements have to be taken into account.
Temperature can affect degradation in many ways. Cannabis should ideally be stored in temperatures not higher than 70 Degrees F or 21 Degrees C. Too high temperatures can cause bacterial or mold to grow. Cannabinoids degrade when exposed to long periods of heat and THCA will degrade first to THC and eventually degrade to CBD when exposed to excess heat.
Humidity or too much of it can force high levels of moisture back into the flower. The best range of humidity for cannabis to be stored at is between 59 – 63 %. Too much humidity could cause mold and too little could leave the plant brittle and very fragile.
UV light exposure and oxygen can cause the fastest and highest rate of degradation in the shortest time. The organic matter gets broken down by UV rays at a superfast rate. Too much oxygen also degrade cannabinoids very fast and high exposure of oxygen will convert THC also very fast to CBD.
Does Weed Expire? - How do we Store our Cannabis then?
Store out of directs sunlight in a cool and dry place preferably in containers with a neutral charge like a glass jar. Vacuum seal the jars if possible to control oxygen levels. If you have different strains it is advisable to store them separately.
Airtight metal containers are also good to store weed in. Plastic bags, even zip locks, are not the ideal place to keep cannabis fresh, as they are affected by temperature changes.
A humidor is also a very good idea to invest in keeping your weed fresh. Dried bud prefers humidity between 50 to 63%. Too much humidity leads to molding and the best way to keep it intact is using a humidor. There are cannabis humidors like the Cannador available, which maintains the perfect humidity for your weed.
How to Not Store Weed?
The refrigerator is the worst place to keep your weed fresh as temperatures and humidity fluctuate too much and cause mold and mildew. Freezing is also out as it can cause fragile trichomes to brittle down and break. Plastic containers or plastic bags are prone to temperature changes and will only lead to a faster breakdown of the precious cannabis stash.
Try not to store it around electric or heat appliances as the heat will have a damaging effect. It is better to store it lower to the ground like in a lower part of the cupboard or even the basement of your house. Weed should very much be treated like wine. Don’t use a tobacco humidor as it is made from wood that is oiled and that would influence the flavors of your cannabis.
It is always a good idea to study up as much you can on how to keep your weed as fresh as possible for the longest time. The average rack life of weed is between 12 to 18 months before it loses its potency. Now you know the answer to the question, "Does weed expire"
For more be sure to check out other stories on CannabisWikipedia