It’s important to store your marijuana properly to keep it from going stale.
Like the dried herbs you use for cooking, marijuana can lose some of its flavor and potency over time. When storing marijuana, the main goal is to maintain freshness.
The best way to store marijuana is in an airtight container, kept in a cool and dark location. This should keep your marijuana fresh for up to 6 months. For longer periods of time, vacuum sealing is recommended.
The main culprits that cause marijuana to go stale are air, temperature, light, and moisture. The best storage solutions for marijuana manage these factors to keep your bud fresh for longer.
Here are five tips for storing marijuana so it stays fresh and maintains its potency.
1. Understand how freshness works: air, heat, light, & moisture.
Before storing marijuana, it’s a good idea to understand the factors that maintain — or degrade — its freshness.
You can think of marijuana like other dried goods. Whether you’re storing dried spices, nuts, or flours, the rules are all the same: store in a tightly-sealed container in a cool, dark place. But what are the reasons for these rules?
Air exposure can dry out marijuana over time, and contributes to the aging process because the oxygen can react with the marijuana.
Over time, the THC in marijuana can be converted into CBN, a cannabinoid with sedative properties. While some people may enjoy this effect, it definitely reduces the potency of your product.
This reaction occurs faster with exposure to heat and light, explaining why marijuana should be stored in a cool, dark location.
A study on marijuana storage methods found that light exposure was the greatest single factor responsible for cannabinoid degradation. So it’s very important to keep marijuana away from sunlight and in a dark location.
Finally, the air’s humidity can contribute to how fast the marijuana dries out. On the other hand, marijuana can grow mold if the air is too humid.
2. Switch from plastic bags to a tightly sealed glass or metal container.
Although plastic baggies seem to be the quintessential weed storage device, it’s important to move your marijuana into a better location after purchase.
Plastic bags pose a number of problems when it comes to marijuana storage. First, they do not provide an airtight seal, meaning your marijuana will begin to go stale if it’s not moved.
Second, plastic is prone to static electricity, which can pull trichomes off the plant matter. Plastic can also absorb odors, meaning it’s absorbing the flavorful terpenes and cannabinoids.
The best way for most people to store marijuana is in an airtight glass or metal jar. Mason jars are a great choice, and can often be found for under $1. Marijuana stored this way will stay fresh for up to 6 months.
When choosing a container, make sure to select a size that fits your marijuana without much room to spare. If you leave extra space, it means there’s more air in the jar that can make your pot go stale faster.
If you’re storing marijuana for a longer period of time, or if freshness is really important to you, you’ll want to try vacuum sealing.
A vacuum sealer removes almost all the air from a container or bag before sealing it up. They’re a great way to extend the shelf life of many foods and dried goods, including marijuana.
3. Keep at a cooler temperature.
Marijuana is best stored at a cool temperature. The chemical reactions that cause the degradation of THC and other cannabinoids are sped up at higher temperatures.
It’s important to store marijuana under 77°F, because mold can thrive between 77 and 86°F.
It’s also important to keep marijuana above the freezing point. While freezing is an excellent way to preserve many foods, it tends to separate marijuana’s trichomes from the plant material.
So unless you want to break off all of the active compounds, it’s important to keep the temperature above freezing.
What about the refrigerator? Some people swear that an airtight container of marijuana can last for ages in the refrigerator, while others say the environment is too humid.
It’s important to remember that the refrigerator’s temperature can fluctuate. Temperature fluctuations can reduce the shelf life of marijuana over time.
It is recommended to store marijuana in a cool cupboard or cold storage area, away from anything that gives off heat.
4. Don’t touch with your hands.
It’s natural to want to reach into the jar to grab a bud when needed, but doing so can actually reduce its potency.
A few things happen when you touch marijuana. First, the oils from your skin can be transferred to the marijuana.
Second, little bits of the trichomes can break off, causing “shake” to accumulate at the bottom of the container. Shake loses its potency faster, so it’s best to avoid creating it in the first place.
It’s best to use a tool to pick up your marijuana and transfer it to a surface where you can grind, roll, and smoke it to your heart’s content. Many people recommend chopsticks, but a scoop works too.
5. Maintain the right humidity.
Marijuana is a bit like goldilocks when it comes to humidity — too much, and it can become moldy or sticky; too little, and it can dry out and crumble.
The best range for keeping marijuana fresh, but not sticky is between 55 and 62%. This is a bit higher than what’s found in most homes (40-50%), meaning it can be helpful to control the moisture level.
Some companies make small “humidity packs” that can be placed in the jar with your cannabis to control the moisture level.
Some people have also tried making DIY humidity packs using wet paper towels, but these kinds of setups can be hard to control.
It’s important to remember not to go overboard with humidity. At moisture levels over 60%, you start to run the risk of mold growth.
In the summer, you’ll also want to be careful to maintain a cooler temperature to reduce the humidity in the air.