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Does Weed Go Bad & How Long Does it Last?

It’s a classic scenario: you’re out of bud and in your frantic search for more you discover a long-forgotten baggie of flower somewhere in the back of your closet. You’re excited about your find. But wait: how long does weed last? How long is weed good for? Can you still smoke that old, dried out marijuana? How long does weed stay good, and what happens if you smoke weed that isn’t fresh? This guide has all the information you need.

How Long Does Weed Stay Good: The Basics

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. How long is weed good for? Under ideal storage conditions, cannabis can actually stay relatively fresh for a surprisingly long time.

If it’s been properly harvested, dried, cured, and then stored, you can expect your weed to stay fresh for anywhere from six months to a year.

If you’ve done an exceptionally good job of storing your bud, and you’re a little bit lucky, you may be able to stretch that timeline even further. Possibly to the point of approaching two years.

But for most weed smokers, conditions are less than ideal. In the absence of humidity controlled storage containers, and assuming that your weed will encounter some degree of light and the temperature might be less than perfect, don’t expect to get a full year out of your weed.

So how long does weed last? In general, try to consume all your weed within six months of purchasing it. But, of course, if you’ve invested in high-quality storage equipment, then you can push it out to the year mark.

How Long Is Weed Good For: The Scientific Answer

Now that you have a general idea for how long does weed last, let’s get into the more scientific answer. First, it’s important to understand what actually happens to marijuana as it ages.

Essentially, all the chemicals that make marijuana special break down. Over time, many of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis slowly break down and lose potency.

As the terpenes break down, your bud loses flavor and scent. As a result, old bud is relatively tasteless and lacks that distinctive, sharp odor that fresh weed is supposed to have. Sometimes, old weed will end up tasting harsh and nasty. Either way, when the terpenes have broken down, your weed won’t taste or smell the way it’s supposed to.

Similarly, and probably more importantly, cannabinoids also break down over time. Old, worn out bud won’t be as potent because a lot of the THC will have broken down and dissipated.

And here’s where we can get very precise with figuring out how long is weed good for. Fortunately, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has looked into things for us.

Their researchers found that, on average, cannabis plant matter loses THC potency at this rate:

  • After one year, weed loses roughly 16% of its THC.
  • Two years in storage results in a loss of 26% of its THC.
  • Weed loses 34% of its THC after three years.
  • After four years in storage, weed loses 41% of its THC.

How Long Does Weed Last: Is Your Weed Bad?

Let’s return to that old bag of weed you found at the back of your closet. How do you know if it’s bad? Basically, you’re looking for a few things:

  • Is it moldy? If your weed was too moist or humid, it may develop mold. Do not smoke moldy weed!
  • Is it dried out? If your bud has crumbled into dust, it’s obviously too old.
  • Does it smell fresh? Old marijuana lacks the crisp scent of fresh weed.
  • Does it break apart? If it’s spongy and doesn’t make any sounds when you pull apart a nug, it might be damp and moldy. If it instantly breaks down into dry dust, it’s too old.

How Long Does Weed Stay Good For?

If you determine that your weed has gone bad, it’s not the end of the world. Technically speaking, you can still smoke it. It just won’t taste very good. And since most of the cannabinoids have probably already broken down you probably won’t get very high.

But smoking old weed won’t kill you or make you sick. The only exception is moldy marijuana. If your flowers have encountered too much moisture they might get moldy.

If you see discolored spots, white fuzzy mold, or if it smells like anything other than cannabis, don’t mess with it. Smoking or otherwise ingesting mold can definitely make you sick or worse, so steer clear.

Now that you know the answer to the question, how long does weed stay good, what should you do to keep it fresh? To preserve your bud for as long as possible, practice proper storage techniques.

Try your best to control temperature and humidity. Keep it away from direct sunlight, and store it in a cool, dry, dark location. With a little bit of care and some basic equipment, you can get the most of your bud.

So, Does Weed Go Bad?

Yes, weed goes bad. In fact, there are a couple different ways it can go bad. On one hand, if your weed sits unused for too long, or you leave it exposed to too much light or open air, it will simply dry out and turn into dusty, crumbly, ineffective flower. On the other hand, if your weed is exposed to too much humidity or other contaminants it could go moldy. And you do not want to inhale mold smoke. Doing so can make you sick.

Beyond the possibility of getting sick from bad weed, keeping your weed fresh will give you a better product and a better cannabis experience. The longer cannabis is exposed to environmental factors such as light and air, the more the cannabinoids and terpenes deteriorate. So if you want weed that will taste and smell great, while getting you super high, take care of your bud the right way.

How to Keep Weed Fresh for Longer

Different cannabis products have slightly different needs if you want to keep them fresh and potent. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to keep different cannabis products fresher for longer:

Flower

To keep flower fresh, you need to store it properly. This includes limiting exposure to light and open air, and maintaining a proper humidity level, typically somewhere in the range of 54 percent to 63 percent.

To accomplish all this, store your bud in either a small glass Mason jar or a container designed specifically for marijuana. Keep the lid on tight, don’t open it very often, and keep it in a cool dark place.

And for humidity control, you can either toss in a humidity control pack—check out Boveda, Integra BOOST, or a similar product—or if you want to step up your game to pro level, you can store your weed in a dedicated cannabis humidor such as the Apothecarry, Cannador, or another similar product.

Edibles

To keep edibles fresh, leave them in their original package and store them in a place that’s away from open air and direct light. Be sure they’re in a cool location, as many types of edibles—especially things like hard candies and gummies—can easily melt.

Concentrates

The best way to keep your concentrates fresh and potent is to store them in small containers designed specifically for dabs. These are typically made out of glass, silicone, or a similar material. Keep the lids on tight and store the containers in a cool, dark place.

Vape Pens

As with any other cannabis product, it’s best to keep your vape pens away from direct light. Because the cannabis oil is already inside an airtight cartridge you don’t really need to worry about humidity or exposure to air. As a final tip, store your vape pen standing upright, as this will keep all the oil at the bottom of the cartridge, ready for immediate use.

At some point, most weed smokers find themselves asking, how long does weed last?

How to Store Cannabis Long-Term and Preserve the Freshness

If you have a weed stash you haven’t touched for a bit, you may notice the buds getting dryer with time, and smoking them won’t get you as high as it did at first. While ageing is inevitable, it can be slowed down with proper preservation. We’ll teach you what can harm your buds with age, and how you can preserve them from time and the elements.

Keeping cannabis fresh is simple when you’re armed with the right knowledge.

Contents:

If you’re the type to buy bud in bulk, or just don’t smoke too often, we can imagine you’ve ended up with old weed on your hands.

You can tell something’s off when you pinch the dried-up, lightweight nugs. You may need something to smoke, but would that old stuff even get you high at all? Even if it did, what would the flavour be like? No matter the answers, you’re most likely wondering how you can stop your weed from getting like that again.

Well, you can’t stop the ageing process, but you can definitely slow it down! Above all, you’ll need to make sure your weed is expertly cured, placed in optimal containers, and stored in a cool room at the proper temperature and humidity.

What Happens When Cannabis Gets Old?

Before we go deeper into that discussion, though, we want to offer you a deeper understanding of what happens when your weed starts to age.

Lost THC

As weed is exposed to heat, oxygen, and UV light, the cannabinoids within, including THC, will begin to break down. It doesn’t happen too quickly, but the change can become noticeable after a few weeks. It won’t leave you sober, but a joint won’t get you as high as the one you rolled when you first got it.

Conversion to CBN

As that THC breaks down, it doesn’t just disappear. In fact, it’s converted into another cannabinoid, known as CBN. This cannabinoid has some mild psychoactive properties, but it doesn’t get you high on its own. This conversion mainly occurs when weed is exposed to oxygen and heat, although the process takes time.

Lost Flavour

Lost THC won’t be the only consequence of keeping your weed in a warm spot. As it gets weaker, it’ll also taste and feel harsher upon smoking. This, of course, is a result of the terpenes drying out over time. Excessive light and moisture will bring about their downfall as well.

Does This Also Happen to CBD-Rich Bud?

If you’re more inclined to smoke CBD-rich strains, you may wonder whether any of this applies to you. Well, since CBD is also a cannabinoid, and since the buds also have terpenes, it too can degrade with age. The high isn’t a factor, but you’ll miss out on the other potential benefits of CBD.

What Causes Weed to Age?

We’ve alluded to certain causes of weed ageing, but let’s go ahead and break the issues down into clear terms.

Humidity

You have to maintain a very precise balance when it comes to humidity and cannabis. If your storage method introduces too much moisture, you run the risk of mould infestation. If it isn’t humid enough, though, the terpenes and cannabinoids will end up withering away. While they’re quite different outcomes, the unpleasantness is equal between them.

Temperature

Often going hand-in-hand with excess humidity, high temperatures can hasten the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes. Generally, you should make sure your weed storage area doesn’t get hotter than 25.5ºC (78ºF). Simply enough, this is because any environment between 25.5–30ºC (78–86ºF) is prime for mildew and mould growth.

Light

In short, persistent UV light will land a heavy blow on the impact on terpenes, THC, and other cannabinoids. This is especially problematic in tropical areas, where it joins forces with humidity and heat to harm your stash.

Container Materials

Lastly, while many aren’t even aware of this, your container’s base material can have a direct impact on your weed’s ageing process. See, while many place their weed in plastic containers, the material can cause your stash to “sweat”. This means, as with actual sweating, your plant will release its inner moisture. It’ll end up dry and harsh as a result.

Curing Pocket Box

How to Store Your Weed and Keep It Fresh

So, now that you know the enemies, you need to learn how to defend yourself and keep your weed fresh. Thankfully, it’s a fairly simple process, and you may already have everything you need to start storing your weed for a long period of time.

Proper Curing

Really, the journey to proper cannabis storage begins with the post-harvest curing process. And, funnily enough, it involves maintaining the same sort of optimised environment for your flower. You’ll want to find a cool, dark, and moderately dry spot. Separate the buds, trim off the sugar leaves, and sort your stash into mason jars. Also, note that each jar should only be ¾ full.

With a few weeks of patience, you’ll be rewarded with fresh, smokable flowers. If you really want to ensure freshness, though, you’ll want to make sure no excess moisture gets trapped in your curing jars.

To accomplish that, we recommend utilising our specialised RQS Moisture Fighters. These plant-based sachets are designed to rest right in your stash jars, absorbing or releasing moisture according to the conditions. They’ll last up to four months, and just one 8g sachet will keep your personal stash fresh. If your jar’s a little heftier, there are sachets in sizes up to 67g available as well. Either way, you’ll want to select the ones that maintain 58% or 62% humidity. Get the former if you’re in a more humid environment, and the latter if you’re living in a dry climate.

“But how will I know if the sachet is still working? Do I need to open up the jar to check?”. Thankfully, no! They each feature a dot that changes colour depending on their condition, so you’ll know exactly when you need to replace them.

Humidity Control Pack

Use Air-Tight Glass/Ceramic Containers or Vacuum Bags

Once your buds have been sufficiently cured, we’d recommend you keep them in their mason jars. Considering how much damage oxygen can do, air-tight containers are the best choice you can make for your weed.

It can’t just be any container, though. As we mentioned before, plastic can actually hasten the ageing process, so Tupperware would be unwise. A glass or ceramic container, however, will keep it safe and fresh.

That being said, vacuum bags are also incredibly effective, as they’re naturally devoid of air.

Keep It Dark

Along with your container of choice being air-tight and glass/ceramic, it should also be opaque. Light can wreak havoc on your cannabis, and blacking out your jars can ensure total safety. Before that, however, you should make sure your curing room is completely dark (with the lights off) to begin with. With blacked-out jars, though, you can turn on the lights to check in without worrying too much.

As it turns out, our specialised RQS Re:stash Jars fulfill every one of the requirements you need your containers to meet. They’re layered with a jet-black silicone sleeve, boast air-tight lids made from hemp, and come in sizes of 4, 8, 12, and 16 ounces.

Maintain Cool Temperatures

Once you’ve got your buds in their containers, you’ll need to make sure the room stays consistently cool: below 25.5ºC (78ºF) to prevent mould from thriving. Turning it down to 21ºC (70ºF) would be optimal.

Ensure Clean Storage

Now, with almost everything in order, you just need to make sure things stay clean. Make sure you dust the shelves and jars, along with vacuuming or mopping the floor when needed. In turn, make sure you don’t spend too much time in there, as any dirt you track in will have to be cleaned up later.

Will Weed Stay Fresh When Frozen?

Through all of this, some of you may have been thinking, “I can keep food in the freezer for months, so why don’t I just freeze my cannabis?”. Others amongst you may hear someone suggest that and gag at the thought, thinking it ruins the flowers.

Those in the latter camp, however, may be surprised to learn that you can effectively store your bud in the freezer for 1–2 years. If you go for it, just make sure you’re very careful to avoid touching the buds, as the trichomes (which contain almost all of the resin) will quickly fall off.

Let them naturally thaw outside the freezer, and note the top layer of the buds may be sub-optimal. The rest of it, however, will be nearly as good as it was one or two years before.

Aged Buds: A New Trend?

To cap off our discussion, we thought we’d take a look at those people fighting against the notion of age being a detriment to cannabis. See, for some people, the curing process is an art form. For lovers of aged weed [1] , the prime flavour of a strain emerges with time, and some consider it necessary to wait at least five months after curing before smoking their stash.

This is still a very new school of thought, though. In general, we wouldn’t recommend trying it unless you have lengthy experience with cannabis. Yet, your journey with weed is your own, and we don’t want to stop you from experimenting!

While wine and cheese benefit from age, weed buds get dry and lose their potency. Here, we'll teach you how to preserve cannabis long-term and keep it fresh. ]]>