How long does weed stay good, fresh, and ready to sesh? It’s a familiar old question often heard in a moment of desperation. You know the feeling. You dug a little deep into your stash during your last sesh, lost track, and didn’t leave enough for next time. The misery! Now you’re frantically searching for any scraps you can put a little burn on. You’ve already used up all of your sticks & stems, and all that’s left are the remnants of some ancient flower you thought you lost long ago.
Maybe it’s a little crispier than it once was, a little less green… but is it safe to smoke? Let’s take a look.
How Long Does Weed Stay Good?
Before we can answer this question for you, we define what we mean by “good.” By most standards, cannabis has a stable shelf-life and can stay remain relatively fresh for six months to a year, on average. That means that bud stored and smoked within this time frame will still generally be smokeable and retain some degree of its original flavor and potency.
With that in mind, many storage factors can come into play and extend or shorten this timeline. Exposure to light, open-air, and moisture (or lack thereof) are all factors that can accelerate the breakdown of cannabinoids and terpenes in your bud.
As terpenes begin to break down, you start to lose the unique flavor profiles of your strain. They are replaced instead with a more harsh, tasteless smoke over time.
To help understand how potency also breaks down over time, we refer to a study performed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. They found that, on average, cannabis plants lose their THC-potency at roughly the following rate;
- One Year: cannabis loses roughly 16% of its THC
- Two Years: cannabis loses roughly 26% of its THC
- Three Years: cannabis loses roughly 34% of its THC
- After Four Years: cannabis loses roughly 41% of its THC
Can Weed Go Bad?
The most likely situation with bud that has “gone bad” is that you just have some dried up, less-potent flower to smoke. It will be harsher and less flavorful, but it won’t kill you.
The main red flag thing that you want to check for with old weed is mold. Cannabis stored somewhere with too much moisture and humidity will, unfortunately, grow moldy over time.
If you notice any fuzzy white mold, unusual discoloration, or strange odors, throw it out! You DO NOT want to smoke any cannabis that might be moldy, as this can cause serious health complications (duh).
One thing to keep an eye out for is the texture of your flower. If it feels damp, spongy, and less crumbly than you remember it being, there’s a good chance your weed might have begun to grow moldy and should be carefully inspected and thrown out if you have any doubts!
How To Keep Your Weed Fresh, Longer
Now that we understand how weed can break down over time, it’s time for a bit of good news. With a pretty minimal amount of effort, you can delay your herbs’ breakdown to keep them as fresh as possible for longer.
Cannabis stored in different forms requires different methods of storage (more on that below). There are, however, some general guidelines you can follow that are broadly applicable. Keeping your flower stored in a cool, dark, and air-tight container will carry you far.
SmartStash makes a stylish and easy-to-use stash jar that allows you to control humidity and comes with a built-in grinder.
If you are looking to upgrade your current set-up simply, disposable humidity control packs like the Boveda 2 Way Humidity Control are a great option. Simply open ‘em up and drop them into your stash jar, and you will be good to go.
How To Store Flower
As we mentioned above, keeping flower fresh requires limiting exposure to light, air, and humidity. The ideal humidity range for stored flower is 59-63%… not too much, not too little!
Jars explicitly designed for cannabis storage work best, and the less you have to open it up (i.e., “expose” the flower), the better.
How To Store Edibles
There are no hard and fast rules on how to care for and store edibles. Generally, the same rules that apply to flower storage apply here, but it also depends on the type of edible. Gummies and chocolates, for instance, can quickly melt if left out in the sun or heat.
If your edibles came pre-packaged (i.e., you didn’t make them yourselves), leave them sealed until you are ready to consume them. Pay attention to any expiration dates on the packaging as well.
If you made your own DIY edibles, adhere to the same general storage and consumption guidelines you would as you would un-infused foods.
How To Store Concentrates & Infused Oils
Concentrates and infused oils keep fresh stored in glass or silicone containers designed specifically for storing this type of material.
The container should be air-tight and stored in a cool, dark spot.
How To Store Cannabutter
Cannabutter can store safely in the fridge for a few weeks and up to six months in the freezer as long as it is kept air-tight.
The weed in your cannabutter will have already been through the decarboxylation process, which helps slow the breakdown of its properties.