Every product has expiry data and limited shelf life. Finding a long-lost old bag of flowers feels like winning a lottery; however, it’s better to ask yourself, does weed go bad? How long is weed good for? And how long does it take for weed to go bad?
In the best-case scenario, the weed stays fresh for around six months to a whole year, depending on how it’s cultivated, dried, and most importantly, properly stored.
Can Weed Go Bad?
Hard to break the fact, weed can go bad with time due to sunlight exposure, humidity, and other external factors. Lucky for you, cannabis can last a year if you place it in humidity-controlled storage containers.
Bad weed doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t consume it. However, you’ll be disappointed with its loss of potency. Unless the weed doesn’t develop mold, it’s perfectly fine to smoke if you can’t go outside to buy fresh weed.
Why Does Marijuana Go Bad?
We all wish that dried weed lasts forever. Unfortunately, the following factors don’t make this happen:
Ideally speaking, you should store your weed at a temperature of around 70F degrees. If the temperature is extremely high or low, there are high chances for different bacteria and mold to grow, thus spoiling the weed for good.
Furthermore, higher temperature severely affects the weed quality as the cannabinoids begin to break down and decarboxylate, thus releasing carbon dioxide.
This way, the THC degrades to become CBN, which is essentially a non-intoxicating compound that won’t make you high.
Humidity Develop Mold
Humidity doesn’t get along with marijuana. It’s because a moist environment leads to different fungal and mold growth in your weed.
Alternatively, an extremely dry environment isn’t entirely suitable for cannabis. The complete absence of moisture and inadequate air circulation affects the flavor of the weed, making it dusty and brittle.
The harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the sun break down the THC content in the marijuana flower. That’s why prolonged exposure to sunlight adversely affects weed quality.
Alternatively, you can store cannabis in a storage room with grow lights or a fluorescent bulb. Again, it’s because the spectrum of these artificial lights doesn’t include UV rays.
When Does Weed Go Bad?
You must be wondering what happens to marijuana with the time that causes changes in its texture, taste, and potency.
The cannabinoids present in marijuana break down with time. After marijuana is properly harvested and dried, the cannabinoid content begins to change with time. Why? It’s because they react to external factors, such as heat, light, and oxygen.
THC is the main component of marijuana that makes you high. However, when you store weed, the THC levels begin to drop, thus losing the freshness, flavor, and sharp scent.
According to research, the weed stored properly in a packet loses almost 16 percent of the THC content within a year, further reducing by 26 percent in two years.
Now you know your four-year-old weed pack only has 41 percent of the original THC content. We leave that to you whether you want to consume it or not.
How to Determine If the Weed has Gone Bad?
The next step is to identify old marijuana as we already know why and when weed goes bad.
Old cannabis can have two types of distinct appearances. For example, the dried-out weed easily crumbles and resembles fine dust or powder. Alternatively, you can identify the moldy weed with the appearance of white powder over the herb’s surface.
If you don’t store weed properly, it loses the terpenes and hence the authentic aroma. However, if the weed has a weird or mildew-like smell, there are high chance of mold growth.
Additionally, a weird chemical smell from weed is most probably because of the pesticides used while growing it.
One of the best ways to test the weed texture is to pull the nugs. Only this way can you determine if the weed is dry as it crumbles in your hands. Similarly, you can also check the moisture content or mold growth.
For example, you’ll hear a sharp cracking sound when you pull the nugs of the old dried weed, while a well-cured weed stash makes a rather crisp sound. Alternatively, you won’t hear any sound if the cannabis is spongy, moldy, and damp.
What Happens When You Smoke Moldy Weed?
As discussed earlier, marijuana loses THC content with time. It means you can still consume weed; however, it won’t taste or smell the same. Moreover, you won’t get high.
Lucky for you, you won’t get sick after smoking an old herb unless it’s a moldy one.
White or discolored spots, spongy texture, and unpleasant mildew smell are signs that the cannabis is moldy. It’s out of the question to smoke moldy marijuana as it can make you extremely sick.
How Long Can You Keep Old Weed?
The good news is you can keep cannabis products fresh by following the long-term storage techniques discussed below.
One of the best to prevent moisture from destroying the marijuana flower is to store it in an airtight container. This way, you can minimize the oxygen interaction with the herbs that lead to oxidation and degradation of weed quality.
It’s best to use a glass or ceramic jar instead of a plastic container. Additionally, you should place the jar in a cool place out of the sun.
Herb Guard Airtight Jar and Smell Proof
Hakuna Supply Glass Storage Jar with Airtight Bamboo Lid
Orange Large Silicone Seal Glass Herb Storage Jar
Aluminum Storage Jar Airtight Smell Proof
ONGROK Glass Jar Color Airtight Glass
Shrub Club Smell-Proof Black Glass UV Protection
Keep your herbs FRESH! Glass Stash Jar with Air Tight Seal
Many people mistake storing weed in a freezer or a refrigerator to ensure a consistent temperature. However, a temperature less or above 70F degrees leads to mildew growth in weed.
Additionally, when the buds are cold, they tend to get the desired moisture content from the surrounding air which causes them to lose potency and original flavor.
In addition to temperature, it’s best to control humidity levels between 54 to 63 percent to keep the weed fresh for a longer duration.
Say No to Plastic Bag
Furthermore, the plastic gets heated quickly and may stick to the cannabis herbs in prolonged sunlight exposure.
You can temporarily store weed in plastic containers and bags that offer vacuum sealing, but not for weeks or months.
How Long Do Weed Products Stay Good?
You need to ensure specific storage conditions to increase the shelf life of different cannabis strains and products.
If you want to keep cannabis flowers fresh, first, it’s important to minimize sunlight and air exposure. Next, you need to maintain the humidity in the storage facility between 54 to 63 percent. Lucky for you, you can find different cannabis humidors in the market to ensure an optimized humid environment.
To sum up, it’s best to store flowers in specially designed containers. However, if you don’t want to buy a container, you can also store the buds in glass mason jars.
To block the sunlight, you can use a storage container with a brown tint. Unfortunately, a transparent glass jar can’t stop the sunlight from entering the jar.
Hence you need to keep the container lid tight and store it in a cool place without windows or doors. For instance, a cupboard is a perfect place to store weed containers. First, however, it’s better to check the cupboard doesn’t have any mold.
Remember we discussed, you should never place the jar containing cannabis in a fridge or a freezer. Even if the jar is sealed, placing it in a refrigerator leads to condensation that facilitates the growth of fungus, pathogens, and mildew. Moreover, freezing weed makes it dry and brittle.
You can invest in buying small containers made of glass or silicone to store dabs and concentrates. Then, all you need to do is keep the lid tight and place the container in a dark and dry place to keep the concentrates potent.
The best way to keep the edibles fresh is to store them away from sunlight and air in their original packing. It’s because different candies and gummies can easily melt at a higher temperature.
Vape pens contain cannabis oil in an airtight cartridge. It means you don’t need to monitor the humidity level or exposure to too much air. All you need to do is keep the vape pens away from direct sunlight.
Another important tip is keeping the vape pen upright to keep the oil at the bottom of the cartridge for instant use.
Can Weed Go Bad? Final Thoughts
Just a quick quiz. What will be your answer if someone asks you how long marijuana stays good?
If the weed undergoes a proper curing and drying process, it can last for six months up to a year. Furthermore, you can also use the above storage methods to keep your weed fresh for a relatively long time.