How to Keep Weed Fresh : A Guide to Pot Preservation
By Vincent Mann
Whether you enjoy smoking daily, or prefer to keep your weed stashed away for special occasions, there’s no reason not to learn proper storage techniques that can optimize the freshness, potency, and flavor of your hard-earned flower. You may have decided on your favorite method of consumption, and maybe even found your go-to strain. Well, just as essential to your cannabis experience is knowing how to keep that flower fresh.
Like any other plant or consumable product, there are proper and improper ways to store your weed. You can think about it like coffee beans, the herbs and vegetables in your refrigerator, or even a nice bottle of wine that might be kept for aging.
No need to get too deep–we’re not talking museum conservation here. But we do take care in savoring life’s great pleasures, including the unmistakable scent of a fresh handful of nugs, their tart citrus and berry notes perfectly preserved, positively tickling some magical spot in the brain.
You took your time to choose your flower, so it’s certainly worth keeping it fresh. A combination of temperature, humidity, and the type of vessel you use are all important considerations in keeping that weed as fresh as the day you bought it. In this guide, we’ll be focusing on flower, as opposed to concentrates, extracts, or edibles, but we will also consider products like pre-rolled joints that contain flower in ground form.
The 4 Cornerstones of Freshness
To start, there are four main factors that impact freshness:
The first in order of business is temperature. Ideally, your cannabis flower should be stored below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but above 50.
Not only can higher temperatures dry out the cannabinoids and terpenes in your weed, but temperatures between 77 and 86 degrees can promote the growth of molds and mildew–which can be harmful to inhale.
On the other hand, if your storage is too cold, the trichomes on the flower can become brittle and break off, resulting in a less potent high.
Humidity is another category where your cannabis likes a happy middle ground. Too much moisture can be another route to moldy weed, but the total absence of moisture can cause it to dry out. You may have experienced the result of dried-out weed: it can be brittle and harsh, resulting in a truly unpleasant smoke.
A great way to avoid either of these predicaments is to store your flower in a cool, dry place, and use humidity packs to mitigate any potential excess moisture. Humidity packs are small, single use packets – think silica gel – that help optimize moisture levels in small containers. Lucky for cannabis consumers, there are now a number of specially tailored humidity regulators on the market designed with preserving the quality of your weed in mind, such as Boveda’s 2 way humidity control packs, or RAW’S Humidity Control Humidiccant.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of canna-seurship, you can even use a humidor — a special, moisture-regulating wooden box used for cigar storage — to keep your flower from drying out or dampening.
In addition to temperature and humidity, exposure to light and air can mess with your weed’s quality over time.
If anything, make sure to keep your flower out of direct sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight and the resulting UV damage will eventually cause your cannabis to drop in quality, with crucial cannabinoids like THCA withering away. Even indirect light can have a detrimental effect on your weed over a long enough period of time.
So where are you supposed to keep that bud? As much as you might want to show off that rare drop of RCVRY’s Rainz Runtz on your coffee table, we’d recommend you put it away in a closet or a drawer when the guests go home. If you keep it on display, the impact of a light exposure on and off throughout the day can take its toll over time
Another option to consider is using amber glass containers. These can help filter out the wavelengths of light that are known to cause photooxidation — the phenomenon that makes light harmful to weed, as well as other substances. Even more opaque forms of glass such as matte black or white containers are suitable options.
Lastly, exposure to air is another factor to look out for, as this wears down the potency of cannabinoid content the same way that light can. Typically, glass jars with airtight lids are the best way to reduce exposure.
Just try to make sure that you use a jar that’s adequately proportionate to the amount of weed you’re storing. If there’s too much space in the jar, this increases oxygen exposure. Keeping this in mind, it can be worth it to transfer your weed into smaller containers as you work through it to make sure that 38% THC sticky icky stays that way.
Watch Out! Common Pot Pitfalls
Now that we’ve covered the basics of pot preservation, it’s time to explicitly pinpoint some common storage errors that you should make sure to avoid:
Ditch the Plastic
While it’s common to find weed in all manner of plastic and silicone — from pill bottles to plastic bags — flower should only be kept in these materials short-term, if ever. This goes for dispensary-bought products as well; even dispensaries can package products in plastic as a cheaper, short-term alternative to glass.
Trichomes in flower will stick to the interior of plastic and silicone vessels, and the terpenes in it can even cause silicone to degrade, which can leach harmful toxins into the marijuana you intend on eventually inhaling.
While we are primarily speaking about flower, this effect may be intensified when extracts and concentrates are stored in plastic and silicone materials, as they have a higher terpene content by nature of their design.
Forget the Fridge (with one exception)
Even though it’s a good idea to store your weed in a cool place, make sure it isn’t too cold — freezers and refrigerators are never good places to keep your weed. Both of these environments can cause moisture buildup, and freezers can be too harsh for the fragile trichomes of the cannabis flower.
However, this is not necessarily the case for more specialized storage units, such as refrigerators designed for wine storage that are built to regulate humidity and maintain a consistent temperature.
If you choose to go with a specialty refrigeration unit, just make sure to do your due diligence before committing. They usually have a range of adjustable settings meant to optimize a wide variety of environmental conditions.
Relish the Re-Up
Finally, now that we’ve addressed the four most fundamental factors to consider when storing your weed, there’s one more point to address, as unfortunate as it may seem: Try to avoid buying weed in bulk if possible.
While bulk buying may be the best value for money spent, it increases the likelihood of less pleasant or effective smoking experience as your weed dries out and drops in quality over time. This makes it all the more important to lock down your flower storage protocol to ensure you get the best bang for your buck.
If you’re someone who tends to purchase in bulk, and even more so if you tend to work through it slowly, it’s worth considering investing in adequate containers for storage. Since proper storage will preserve the potency of the product, you may find yourself smoking less overall, and thus spending less money in the long run, not to mention having a more enjoyable experience when you do smoke.
Now that we’ve established the groundwork for properly storing bud, it’s time to take a moment to address products like pre-rolls that contain pre-ground flower.
Respect the Rollies
Pretty much all the same rules apply to blunts and pre-rolls, but they should be considered with more gravity. Since the cannabis has already been ground into small pieces, it is more susceptible to various forms of environmental degradation than when it was whole, regardless of the fact that it’s wrapped in paper.
For pre-rolled joints and blunts, store them in a glass jar or a humidor, like you would your unground weed, but try to consume them within 30 days to ensure quality and freshness. While regular weed is best consumed within roughly 6-9 months if properly stored, the threshold is much smaller when it’s already been put through a grinder.
The Crib Sheet, To Conclude
In conclusion: Try to purchase your weed in moderate amounts. Store it in a dim, temperature-consistent location, and prioritize the use of properly sized, airtight glass containers for storage. Take advantage of products such as humidity packs to keep out any incidental moisture, and use darker, UV filtering glass when possible.