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can old weed make you sick

How to Tell If Cannabis Is Past Its Prime

Weed doesn’t go bad the way a jar of mayo or some other food product might, but it can definitely be “off” or even moldy.

Old weed likely won’t lead to any serious health issues if you don’t have any underlying conditions.

It can, however, have a noticeable drop in potency, which can be a big deal if you’re using it for medical purposes. Older weed can also undergo changes in taste and texture.

When stored properly (more on this later), dried cannabis keeps for 6 months to 1 year. Over time, it begins to lose its aroma and potency.

According to some older research, weed loses roughly 16 percent of its THC after 1 year, and it just keeps dropping from there:

  • 26 percent THC lost after 2 years
  • 34 percent THC lost after 3 years
  • 41 percent THC lost after 4 years

It’s mostly in the smell. Weed that’s past its prime will smell different or lose its aroma entirely. Some weed might even smell and taste harsh when it’s been sitting too long.

Its appearance can also give you a clue as to whether or not it’s old. Fresh weed shouldn’t crumble or feel spongy when you break it off. If it does, it’s old and either too dry or too moist.

Consuming it shouldn’t harm you, but be prepared for changes in texture and potency. The exception is weed that’s grown mold, which could potentially make you sick.

Mold is often hard to see unless you look very closely. It typically looks like white powdery or fuzzy spots, some of which can be pretty small.

Moldy weed usually smells musty, kind of like hay. It also tends to have a bit of an “off” taste.

Even if your weed isn’t super old, it’s best to do a mold inspection. A study by researchers from University of California, Davis found bacteria and mold on 20 cannabis samples bought from dispensaries and pot growers in Northern California.

Mold on weed isn’t likely to cause major health problems, but it can lead to nausea, vomiting, and coughing.

In people with weakened immune systems, inhaling smoke or vapors from weed containing bacteria or fungi could cause serious illness or even death.

If it looks or smells off, then you’re better off tossing it, even if you just bought it.

Light, humidity, temperature, and oxygen can all mess with cannabis and affect its aroma, taste, and potency potential.

Here’s what to consider when storing weed to help keep it fresh and maintain its quality for as long as possible.

Choose the right container

Ditch plastic baggies and containers. Plastic holds static that can affect delicate trichomes — the tiny, crystal-like hairs on flowers that produce cannabinoids and terpenes — and mess with potency.

And forget those funny little tins, too, because they let in too much oxygen.

Glass jars with an airtight seal, like mason jars, are the way to go. They don’t have any static charge and limit oxygen exposure. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to find.

Most dispensaries also sell containers designed to keep weed fresh for as long as possible.

If you have kids or pets in your household, invest in a child- and pet-proof container.

Watch the humidity

Weed is best kept at a relative humidity of 59 to 63 percent. Any higher and you run the risk of trapping moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold. Anything lower can cause your weed to dry out.

To help you preserve your stash, you can add humidity packs to your containers if you really want to get fancy. You can also go the extra mile and store your weed in a humidor made specifically for cannabis.

Keep it cool, dark, and dry

Keeping weed in a cool and dry spot away from sunlight is as important as the container you use, if not more so.

Direct sunlight can cause cannabis to break down, and too much heat can hold moisture and lead to mold.

Keeping it somewhere too chilly, on the other hand, could dry it out and lose those precious trichomes, which is why the fridge and freezer aren’t recommended.

Aim to store cannabis in a dark place, like a closet or cabinet, with a temperature below 77°F (25°C).

Weed doesn't go bad in the way perishable food does, but it can definitely degrade over time. Here's what to look for.

No, You Won’t Get Sick From Smoking Old Pot

That old weed in the bottom of your drawer didn’t go bad, but it’s probably not as good anymore.

As one might expect, the internet hasn’t quite managed to come to an agreement on whether or not old weed is bad for you, whether it loses potency, or even if decades-old jazz cabbage can get you just as high as it would have back then. And even bonafide science on the effects and uses of the devil’s lettuce and its active ingredient, THC, is startlingly unreliable.

So for anyone who goes through the pockets of their old jeans or finds a crumpled plastic bag from god-knows-when hidden in their sock drawer, an attempt to find reliable advice on whether to pitch or smoke their old stash is like navigating a really relaxing minefield of conflicting information.

The good news is that they probably don’t need to worry about it.

The bad news is that unless they happened to store their broccoli under ideal conditions — in a sealed glass jar stored in a dark, temperature-controlled room — they probably won’t have much fun smoking it.

Old weed can’t spoil like expired milk or cheese — smoking it won’t make you sick. But that also means you can’t always tell off the bat whether it’s still any good.

One thing to look out for is whether the weed has lost its scent. Pot is a plant, so even if it doesn’t go bad, it does degrade over time. Good weed smells like weed or, if you’re in college, that skunk that keeps getting into the crawl space of your dorm. Older weed loses its scent as aromatic terpene oils drop in potency and the THC slowly degrades. Also, it will crumble in your hands.

On the other hand, if you accidentally left your stash somewhere damp, it may have grown some mold or fungus. If you see little white spots or you smell anything other than weed on your weed, throw it out. Old pot won’t hurt you, but mold will make you pretty damn sick.

Old edibles, however, are a different story. If you baked your pot into some brownies a few months ago and forgot about them in the back of your fridge, you should probably steer clear. There’s nothing special about old weed that you baked into brownies or other food.

But get this, food goes bad after a while.

So as far as getting high goes, you should treat your expired edibles like any other weed, though if it’s been in your fridge the whole time the THC might not have broken down as rapidly. The only thing to watch out for is if whatever you concocted has gone bad as well.

For what it’s worth, you can avoid this whole mess by just not leaving leftovers.

That old weed in the bottom of your drawer didn’t go bad, but it’s probably not as good anymore.