Cannabis has been around for thousands of years. Since the dawn of man, cannabis has grown wild in some parts of the world. Additionally, ever since about 2,500 years ago, mankind has found ways to use this plant for its benefits and effects. As time went on, we gained more and more knowledge about this plant, and found new ways to use it. We have even found ways to store it and keep it for later.
Throughout a stoner’s life, a few instances may occur where old weed is found. Maybe you left it in one of your pockets. Maybe you had a stash you forgot about for a few months. After all, it is pretty easy to forget stuff as a stoner. Is that weed still good? And if so, how long can we store cannabis to use it for a later time?
Old Weed Is Okay, As Long As…
If you have came across a stash that you know is at least a few months old, chances are it is still okay to smoke. Cannabis cannot technically expire, or go bad. However, cannabis can lose some potency over time, making it less effective and valuable. If your stash was left in a cool, dark room with little to no sunlight ever beaming on it, then you have nothing to worry about. Spark it up! Even better, if your cannabis was left in an airtight container, then most of the potency will still be present.
Now, once we get into a matter of years, things start to change. If you have a stash that has been laying around for over a year, you will need to do some investigating before you should use it. Alternatively, if your weed looks like it came from the 1970’s, or if it actually did, then toss it. If your weed is very stale, dry, and darker than it originally was, then it’s best to not smoke it. You can even do some quality checks on your stash to see if it is still good enough to use.
Smoking old weed is not any more harmful than smoking new weed. It cannot kill you just because it has been sitting out for months or even years. If anything, old weed will not taste the best. It may be very bitter. If it is very dry and stale, it may be difficult to break up and use. Also, do not be disappointed if your old weed does not get you as high as you anticipated. As mentioned above, cannabis can lose potency over time. So, the older your weed, the less potency it may contain.
Here’s a picture of some 1970’s weed, incase you were wondering:
Keep It In An Airtight Container
Now let’s talk about cases where you have new weed, but you want to store it for a later time. How should you go about doing this?
The first step is to leave your stash in an airtight container. This will allow your cannabis to preserve its quality and potency for as long as possible. Exposure to air can speed up degradation of cannabis, breaking down important chemicals that allow you to get high.
Think about food preservation. If you leave certain foods out for too long (such as fruit), they will eventually rot and go bad. However, store those same foods in an airtight container and they will preserve for much longer. This is due to molecules found in oxygen that slowly degrade particles found in most foods and plants. Now, going airtight will not preserve your goods forever, but can greatly extend its preservation time.
Below is a list of some ways that you can put cannabis in an airtight container:
- Use a mason jar (make sure the lid is on as tight as possible)
- Store in a food preserver
- Separate strains from each other to preserve each strains’ traits
- Do not store with already-smoked, resinated weed (this can cause all the weed to smell bad)
Leave It In Room Temperature
The next step is to leave your stash in a room left at room temperature. These temperatures can be anywhere from 77 F (25 C) to 86 F (30 C). Leaving your cannabis in these ideal temperatures will ensure that it stays cool enough, but also warm enough, to preserve for as long as needed.
If you leave your cannabis in a room that is too cold, it can dry out your stash, resulting in very dry and stale buds. Cold air can also speed up the process of degradation, which results in poor quality buds that have lost most of its potency.
On the other hand, leaving your stash in a room that is too warm can also have negative effects. Warm air carries more moisture than cold air. This moisture often causes mildew to grow and spread, which nobody wants. You definitely do not want to go around smoking some mildew.
Do Not Leave It In Direct Light
The last step is to make sure that your stash is not left in direct sunlight. The best spot for your airtight, room temperature-kept stash is in a dark place. No sunlight at all works just fine. In addition, we are not only talking about sunlight. Any light provided by lamps or even screens should be avoided. The best spot for your cannabis may be in your closet or even under your bed.
UV rays can be very harmful to cannabis, especially when left on over a long period of time. One study conducted by the University of London proved that light degraded cannabinoids over time, decreasing the potency and effects of the cannabis. This can be any light. If your stash is in a room where the light is turned on every once and awhile, this is fine. Just make sure that the light is not penetrating that stash for more than a few hours (again, just throw it in the closet).
Storing your stash in a dark place can also help you control its temperature. As you may now, dark places typically mean colder temperatures. If you use this tactic to keep your stash cool, make sure that it does not get too cold. If so, revert to the points made above.
Now you can officially preserve your cannabis! These preservation methods can help you store your stash for up to about a year. If you go past a year, I suggest using it and getting a new stash to store. After all, what true stoner can go a whole year without smoking?