It’s a tale as old as time, and a scenario that many potheads have encountered at some point in their lives; you’re all out of weed, but you really want to smoke. You search your place for the possibility of a secret stash you may have forgotten about and hit the jackpot! But is this smoke still fresh? How long is weed good for anyways?
You’re excited about the long-forgotten weed, but you also don’t know whether it has gone bad or not. So, you’re sitting there, asking yourself: how long does weed last? How long is weed good for? Can you take that old marijuana and smoke it?
Well, if you find yourself in this situation, you can check this guide for some general tips and information to help you figure it out.
The Basics: How Long Does Marijuana Last?
So, before we go any further, let’s address the meat of the issue — how long is weed food for?
Well, under ideal storage conditions, you can actually keep your weed fresh for a long time. If you’ve applied the proper harvesting and drying methods — as well as proper curing and storage — you should be able to keep your weed fresh for six months to a year.
Now, if you’ve been really good at storing the weed and you’ve got some serious luck on your side, you might be able to extend the shelf life of your weed even longer. In some cases, you could keep the weed for a year or two.
Note that if you’re smoking the weed, conditions might not be so ideal. Factors like a lack of humidity-controlled storage containers, less-than-ideal temperatures, and light exposure can affect the storage value of your weed and cause it not to last so long.
So, how long does weed last? It is recommended that you try to consume your weed within six months of its purchase. You will need to have the right storage equipment as well to ensure that it stays in good condition. Depending on how good your storage devices are, you can try extending its lifespan even more.
Getting Into Some Science
Now that we understand the basic answer, it is worth explaining what happens to marijuana when you leave it for too long.
As everyone very well knows, marijuana contains chemicals. As it ages, these chemicals eventually break down. Over time, a lot of the terpenes and cannabinoids in marijuana will lose their effectiveness.
The breakdown of the terpenes will cause the weed to lose its scent and flavor. Due to this, your old weed will be tasteless and lack that distinct smell that draws you to it in the first place. When things get really bad, you will find that the weed will start to taste harsh and terrible.
Either way, the fault is with the breakdown of terpenes. When this happens, your weed won’t taste or smell like you want it to anymore.
As for the breakdown of Cannabinoids, this could be even more of a problem for old and stale weed. The THC component of marijuana gets broken down and dissipates, causing the entire thing to lose its potency significantly. So, you see why that old bud at the back of your shelf might be better off if you just threw it away.
Data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has provided an insight into how long weed can last. In the research, the United Nations discovered that, on average,
- After a year, weed loses about 16 percent of its THC content
- After two years in storage, it loses 26 percent of its THC
- After three years, 34 percent of the THC is gone
- Four years on, 41 percent of the THC is lost.
Has Your Weed Gone Bad?
So, let’s go back to that old bag of weed you found while searching around the house. You could be looking at it and wondering if it’s still good. Even if it might be old and some of its potency would have dissipated, you probably still want to smoke it rather than let it go to waste.
If you decide to use your old weed, watch for the following signs:
- Moldy weed: If your weed was exposed to a lot of humidity and moisture, it could get moldy. Whatever you do, please don’t smoke moldy weed.
- Dry features: If you find that the weed is already crumbling and turning into dust, just leave it. There’s no point smoking something that is evidently dead.
- The smell: Old marijuana won’t have that crisp and fresh smell that you get from a new bud.
- Breakage: If the weed appears spongy and doesn’t make any sound when you pull the leaves, it could be damp. Excessive dampness will lead to mold. Note that if you pull the leaves and they instantly break off and turn into dust, the weed is too old.
Note that the fact that your weed has gone bad doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve lost it. Technically, it’s still possible for you to smoke it and get a little buzz. The only problem is that since most of the cannabinoids have broken down, you most likely won’t get so much of a high.
Stay Away From Moldy Weed
You won’t get sick from smoking old weed. The only problem you might have is when you use marijuana that has mold in it. Like everything else, the mold in marijuana comes from excessive exposure to moisture. Smoking moldy weed might cause some health issues and should be avoided.
In general, make sure to inspect your old weed for mold. Signs include a white, fuzzy substance showing on the leaves. You can also smell it — if you find a funky smell on the marijuana, perhaps take a breather and don’t smoke it. Again, inhaling mold can be very bad for you — especially if you have asthma or other respiratory challenges. So, don’t mess with moldy weed.
How to Keep Weed Fresh for Longer
There are several ways for weed to go bad. For one, you could leave it unused for months and expose it to too much open air and sunlight. Eventually, it will go dry and turn into a crumbly, dusty powder.
If you expose the weed to too much moisture and humidity, it could also grow molds. As we’ve said, smoking moldy weed can cause some significant health issues, especially for people with respiratory challenges.
So, it goes without saying that you need to take preventative measures to keep your weed fresh and potent for as long as possible. Apart from the fact that bad weed might make you sick, you also want to have fresh weed around to get the most out of it. Your smoking experience will be significantly better when the weed you’re smoking is better and of the highest quality.
Proper Marijuana Storage Is Key
So, now that you understand how long weed can stay good and not harm you, you need to preserve your weed for as long as possible. Generally, this can be done by practicing proper storage methods.
For the basic stuff, just try to control the humidity and temperature that the weed gets exposed to. Keep it away from exposure to direct sunlight, and store it in a cool and dry place. With basic equipment and a little bit of care, you can get the best out of your weed.
Cannabis comes in different products and variants these days. Each of these variants has its specific rules for maintaining freshness. So, here is a quick rundown of the various products and how you can ensure that they stay fresh for as long as possible:
If you have the weed in flower form, you need proper storage to keep it fresh. This means you should limit the flower‘s exposure to sunlight and open air. You should also maintain a humidity level between 54 and 63 percent for optimal freshness.
To help you out, just store the weed in a glass Mason jar. Some storage containers have been designed specifically for storing weed. Make sure the lid is on tight, and don’t open the container unless you need to. As expected, keep the weed in a cool and dark place.
For ensuring proper humidity control, note that there are several humidity control packets that you can get. You could even get a Ziploc bag and be good.
Edibles are generally incredible for weed lovers. They allow you to eat the cannabis plant directly, instead of smoking. However, the fact that they have the cannabis plant mixed with pastries (or whatever) means you need to keep them properly stored.
To wit, leave your edibles in their original package to keep them fresh. You also want to store them somewhere they can’t get direct sunlight and open air. The ideal location should be cool and dry since most edibles can easily melt.
The ideal way to keep your weed concentrates fresh is to keep them in small containers. Most of these containers are made of silicone, glass, or similar materials. Tighten them and cover them up, then store them in cool and dark locations.
Vape pens have also become pretty popular these days. Many see them as cleaner, more modern alternatives to the usual methods of smoking, and they are pretty trendy too.
As it is with every other form of cannabis, you want to keep your vape pens out of contact with direct sunlight. Vape pens have cannabis oil inside an air-tight cartridge. So, you don’t need to worry very much about moisture and humidity. Just keep them away from direct sunlight, and you’re good.
Also, make sure to store the vape pen in a place where it can stand upright. This position will keep the cannabis oil at the bottom of the cartridge and ensure that the pen is ready for you whenever you want to use it.
The Best Ways to Store Weed for Extended Periods
Air-Tight Glass Containers
We’ve established that many of the negative effects you see in spoiled weed are from environmental factors. So, to protect your weed from these, you will need to get an air-tight glass container. These containers are much better than the plastic ones because plastic can cause your weed to sweat and produce moisture. Glass, on the other hand, will not.
So how long is weed good for in a glass jar? You can generally keep your weed here if you plan to consume it in a few days or weeks.
If you’re on a budget, you can easily get a glass mason jar. They’re affordable, and they’re also great for long-term storage.
You can also find any other air-tight container. Note that it will need to have a complete seal at the top to prevent air from entering it. Once your buds are in the air-tight glass jar, you can keep it in a place that is cool and dark.
You can also take advantage of blacked-out ultraviolet glass jars. These ones have linings that prevent light from entering them, essentially protecting the weed from excessive sunlight. So, even if you leave the container in place with a lot of lighting, your weed will be fine. The only problem you will need to worry about is temperature. With a UV jar, you just need to keep the weed away from anywhere hot.
The air-tight jar will be perfect if you’re the type to go through your weed in a week or two. However, if you want to keep the bud for months, then you could get a humidity pack to help you out. Humidity packs come in different humidity levels, with most of them able to keep your weed for months on end.
Just store the weed in a cool and dark place, and you’re ready to go.
So, how long does marijuana stay good?
The question is one that many have asked over the past few decades. In truth, it’s challenging to find this out. Many factors can affect your weed’s ability to stay good and fresh. However, with the right preparation and storage, you should be able to preserve your weed for months — perhaps even a year.
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