Does weed go bad? Does weed expire? Here’s how long your marijuana will last
For theВ stoners who don’tВ burn through all their weed in a timely fashion вЂ” and those who get so high they forgot where they hid their stash вЂ” the same question arises: How long does weed last? DoesВ marijuanaВ go bad?В
Well, it depends what you mean by “bad.” The fact is, no matter what some bro on a message board told you, weed is never going to expire or rot quite the way milk and meat does. It’s also not going to get significantlyВ less potent or age like a fine wine if you hold onto it for a year. Even so, you might say that weed has something of an unspoken “bestВ usedВ by” date.
When you buy freshly cured marijuana,В there’s a little moisture to the buds that makes them springy and squishy. Over time, depending on how you store it, weed will either dry out or become too wet. Plastic sandwich bags can let moisture out, with the eventual result of weed thatВ crumblesВ and gives off harsh smoke. If you put your weed in the fridge or freezer, or leave it somewhere damp, it’s apt to grow mold вЂ” and it sure won’t burn well. Experts recommend keeping your stash in an airtight jar, at room temperature.
Naturally, desperate times call for desperate highs: Many peopleВ haveВ rolled up dry weed crumbsВ (known as “shake”) or scraped mold fromВ weed before packing it in their bong. That said, there’s nothing too pleasant about trying to get stoned either way вЂ” the taste will be awful, you’re probably going to cough a lotВ and accidentally smoking that mold can have some nasty consequences, including headaches, vomitingВ and diarrhea.В
All that is to say, if you find yourself questioning the age and freshness of your pot, do yourself a favor and just buy a new eighth.
For theВ stoners who don’tВ burn through all their weed in a timely fashion вЂ” and those who get so high they forgot where they hid their stash вЂ” the same question arises: How long does weed last? DoesВ marijuanaВ go bad?В Well, it depends what you meanвЂ¦
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.