When you go to a dispensary, you get to see weed at its best. Every type of bud on sale is perfectly fresh, making it full of the taste, flavor, and potent cannabinoids that make it so appealing.
The condition of the weed you buy can seemingly change overnight. You've probably experienced the tragedy that is opening up a forgotten stash to smoke some marijuana and finding nothing but stale, pale, crumbling weed with no real scent or flavor. That's what happens if weed isn't stored correctly.
The problem is that at its core, weed is a bit of dried plant matter. That means it's relatively delicate. If you like to buy your weed in bulk or you only indulge occasionally, you need to store your weed carefully to keep it fresh. In this guide, you'll learn how to store your weed the right way, what makes weed lose its potency, and tips for storing other tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products too.
Common Cannabis Storage Methods
There are plenty of suggestions online for how to store your weed. However, not every tip is equally helpful. In fact, some common ideas for storing weed, like keeping it in your fridge or at the top of your closet, can actually hurt your stash.
So how should you store your bud? That depends on what you have available to you and how frequent your marijuana use is. A few reasonable methods for keeping your weed include:
- In glass and silicon jars
- In cigar humidors
- In aluminum or steel canisters
Here's how to choose between these methods and the benefits of each individual one.
What Is the Best Way to Store Weed?
The best way to store weed depends on how much you're keeping and how quickly you plan on using it. On the one hand, the weed that you plan on smoking within the next day or so just needs to be kept out of the sunlight and heat. On the other, you can store weed and keep its quality for as long as two years if you carefully control the conditions around it.
There are three fundamental rules for storing weed. It should be kept somewhere dark, somewhere cool, and in a container that's either wholly airtight or in a location where other smells won't get to it.
Most cannabis users find that the best way to store weed is in an airtight glass jar, kept in a cool, dark room—not the fridge. However, you can also store weed for fairly long periods in stainless steel or aluminum canisters and silicon grinders. As long as the container is a neutral material and seals to become airtight, you can store weed for months. The result is a better cannabis consumption experience when you decide to indulge.
Refrigerators: Why Shouldn't You Store Weed in the Fridge?
Your fridge is full of all kinds of food smells. Those smells can mingle even through closed containers. Storing your weed in the fridge can ruin its scent and flavor profile unless you're entirely confident that the container is airtight.
Furthermore, temperatures in your fridge can fluctuate. Changing temperatures can break down cannabinoids and terpenes over time. Your fridge may be dark and cool, but since you open and close it regularly when grabbing food, your weed can still go stale faster than it would if it just stayed one set temperature all the time.
Ziplock: How Long Does Weed Last in Baggies?
You should only store weed in a plastic baggie if you're planning on smoking it quickly. Weed lasts just two to three months in a plastic bag, even though you can press the opening closed to form a seal. There are a few reasons for that.
First, plastic bags are notorious for generating static electricity that attracts trichomes, the sticky parts of weed that contain most of the cannabinoids like THC. The potent parts of the cannabis plant wind up stuck to the inside of the bag, impossible to scrape out.
Second, plastic bags aren't actually as airtight as they seem. That causes humidity levels to change and water to evaporate away, taking the cannabinoids and terpenes with it. The result is dry, harsh, weak bud with stronger side effects.
Glassware: How Long Does Weed Last if It's in a Jar?
So, how long does weed last? In the best case scenarios, weed can stay good for up to two years when stored in a dark, airtight glass jar. Glass is an inert substance, which means it won't affect the taste, flavor, or potency of your stash. By keeping the jar firmly sealed, you can also prevent humidity fluctuations that would otherwise cause your bud to dry out. Finally, in dark conditions created either by cupboards or even opaque glass, there won't be any light getting into the jar to fade the weed's properties.
Humidor: Can You Store Weed in a Cigar Humidor?
Yes, you can store weed in a cigar humidor if you do it correctly. Cigar humidors are meant to keep tobacco, the other plant famous for being dried and smoked, in perfect condition for long periods. The conditions that keep tobacco fresh will also help keep weed from going bad or losing its potency for longer.
However, a cigar humidor won't keep weed fresh forever the way it preserves cigars. Most humidors are made with cedar wood. Over time, the scent and flavor of the wood will seep into your stash. This is a quality that cigar aficionados like, but most cannabis users don't. As a result, the longest you should keep your stash in a humidor is about six months before the flavor will start to change.
You'll also need to keep a close eye on the humidity level of the humidor. Some cigar humidors can keep humidity levels as high as 70%, which is too much for good bud. Using a modern humidor with a humidity monitor can help you keep conditions perfect for weed.
What Makes Weed Potency Last?
How long your weed's potency lasts depends on three main factors: temperature, humidity, and light. The levels of THC that give weed its kick are delicate and can easily break down in the wrong conditions.
You can think of it like how some medications stop working properly if they're stored in hot conditions or how food starts tasting stale and unpleasant when left exposed to air. Improper storage destroys psychoactive compounds and flavor and smell terpenes alike.
If you want to help your weed stay good longer, storing it properly and protecting it from the wrong conditions is essential. Here's how you can protect your weed from the three big threats to its potency.
The temperature at which you store your weed significantly impacts how long it stays potent. You'll want to keep your weed in a kind of Goldilocks zone that's not too hot and not too cold. Many dispensaries recommend that you keep your weed stored in temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit to make sure it stays potent for as long as possible.
There's a good reason for the Goldilocks zone. Temperatures that are too high or too low can break down the cannabinoids in your bud for different reasons.
Hot temperatures break down cannabinoids directly. Heat changes the structure of lots of biological compounds, THC content included. These changes ruin the compounds' abilities to do their typical actions in the body. The hotter the temperature, the faster this happens. However, even temperatures as low as 75 degrees can speed up how quickly the cannabinoids in your weed break down.
On the other hand, cold temperatures damage cannabinoids indirectly. The cold itself doesn't make THC break down, but it does cause ice crystals to form. The ice crystals can destroy delicate cannabinoid molecules entirely.
Luckily, once all the water freezes, the damage process stops. Freezing your weed once will hurt its potency, but it shouldn't completely ruin it. However, regularly freezing and thawing it will destroy bud even faster than warm temperatures will.
That's why the Goldilocks zone is where it is. The bottom end is too high to risk a dip that causes it to freeze, while the top end is low enough to minimize the destruction caused by heat.
The next threat to potent weed is humidity. Just like with temperature, there's a Goldilocks zone for humidity. The ideal spot for cannabis humidity is between 55 and 62%.
Humidity above 65% is less of a threat to the cannabinoids and more to the actual bud. When your humidity gets too high, you risk mold growing on your stash. You should never consume moldy weed, no matter how potent it might be. The mold can seriously hurt your lungs, depending on what it is and if you're someone with underlying health conditions or allergies. That means that high humidity can force you to throw out your entire stash.
On the other hand, humidity below 50% causes your weed to dry out. That's harmful to the cannabinoids, too. When water evaporates out of your bud, it can carry the terpenes and cannabinoids with it. As a result, the dried-out bud loses its potency and goes stale more quickly. Storing your weed with a humidity pack or in a humidor can help you find the perfect balance between the two.
Light can degrade many substances and materials, weed included. Unlike with heat and humidity, there's no Goldilocks zone here. Your weed should always be stored in the darkest place possible. Light is the enemy of weed potency.
If you've ever seen a poster that's been faded by the sun, you understand why. Light of all kinds directly damages the thing that it hits. In a living cannabis plant, that's not a problem. The plant can just repair anything that the light breaks down, and of course needs a healthy amount of sunlight to grow and survive.
In your dried and stored bud, that's not possible. When light hits your weed, it breaks down all the delicate cannabinoids that make it so enjoyable. Like the dye in a poster, the potency fades until it disappears entirely.
Storing your weed in an opaque container is essential to prevent this from happening. If you can, you should also keep your weed in a dark space like a closet, drawer, or closed humidor for an extra layer of protection.
How to Store Concentrates
There are two main kinds of cannabis concentrates: solids and oils. Storing them correctly can significantly extend their lifespan, keeping your stash tasting great and remaining potent for months.
All kinds of weed and weed concentrates should be stored in an airtight container if you want them to stay good for a long time. Ideally, keep oils in sealed glass vials and budders and rosin in glass jars. Don't use plastic unless you have no other options.
Glass is neutral and more likely to be airtight. It's also easy to scrape clean, which is critical for concentrates. Every bit of weed concentrates offers a potent hit, so you don't want to waste any of it. Scraping plastic can lead to tiny plastic pieces sticking to your concentrate. Stick with glass, and you'll have a much better and safer experience.
Unlike bud, weed concentrates can safely be stored in a freezer. A properly made THC concentrate should not have any water in it. That means there is no risk of ice crystals breaking down the cannabinoids you want to keep. The freezer will keep your concentrates good for as long as two years as long as the container is airtight.
How to Store Edibles
Edibles are another complicated product to store. You don't just have to worry about the cannabinoids in the edible, after all. You also need to make sure that the food itself is still good to eat. That means that common advice like storing your bud in a glass jar on a shelf may not apply.
The best way to store edibles depends on the kind of edible in question. Here's how to keep three common types of edibles to make sure they stay safe and potent.
- Edible gummies and candies: Edible candies have a relatively long lifespan. You can theoretically treat these edibles the same as a solid cannabis concentrate. Keep them in cool, dark places and in airtight containers. That can help your edible gummies last between six months and a year, depending on the type of candy. Check the expiration date on the packaging to get an idea of how long your specific edibles are supposed to last.
- Edible baked goods made at home: The lifespan of homemade edibles is about the same as any other homemade baked goods. Keep them in the fridge in a sealed glass leftover container though, not on the counter. Cannabinoids break down less quickly than brownies, so the fridge won't have the opportunity to ruin the potency before the food goes bad.
- Edible baked goods from a dispensary: Baked goods made by a dispensary should come prepackaged in an airtight container. You should keep the edible in that packaging until you want to use it to help it stay fresh. If you've opened it and you're saving some for later, keep it in your fridge. You should also watch out for the expiration date. Whether or not the edible is still potent, it's probably not good for your stomach after it's expired.
Does Stale Weed Lose Its Potency?
Yes, if your weed is stale, then it's already lost some of its potency. Weed that tastes and smells stale has lost some of the terpenes that give it flavor. That's a sign that the weed hasn't been stored properly and that light, humidity, or temperature has had the chance to break down essential plant compounds.
However, stale weed probably hasn't lost all of its THC content. Terpenes are relatively volatile, so they're usually one of the first compounds to break down or evaporate away. Cannabinoids are a little sturdier, so they take longer to break down. That means that even if your weed is a little stale, it will still have some effect.
As long as you don't notice anything growing on the bud and it doesn't smell bad, you should be able to use it safely. Stale weed is excellent for converting into edibles or dabs at home, where the flavor is less critical and the dose is more concentrated.
Does Weed Lose Potency if It Dries Out?
Yes, weed loses some of its potency if it dries out. The exact amount depends on how dry it gets and how quickly the drying process happens.
Weed is usually dried slowly and at low temperatures to make it smokable. This careful drying process doesn't cause the weed to lose potency because it isn't dried all the way. It should still have some moisture to help preserve the taste, smell, and effects of cannabis.
The faster weed dries out, the worse it will taste and feel. Cannabis that dries quickly loses a lot of water in a short period of time, pulling terpenes with it. Furthermore, it can damage the cannabinoids in the plant, breaking them down until they're no longer psychoactive.
This is also true of weed that dries out all the way. Weed that gets crumbly or powdery to the touch has lost enough water that it's probably less potent and definitely less pleasant to smoke.
Storing Weed the Right Way Makes a Difference
Unless you're planning on smoking your cannabis products that day or the next, you need to store them properly. Storing your weed in an airtight glass container somewhere cool and dark will dramatically extend the life of your bud and keep the amount of THC higher for longer. That makes your bong hits stronger, helps your high last longer, and keeps your experience better overall.