Your ultimate guide on how to store cannabis to keep your bud perfect every time.
If you are investing in premium medical grade cannabis, you care about the quality. It’s why you need to learn how to store cannabis the right way – a way which protects the medicinal compounds from degradation. Many cannabis veterans learned poor storage techniques over the years, thanks to the habits of the black market. But, times have changed, and so too has the product.
Learning how to store cannabis the right way will keep it fresh for much longer, and the cannabinoid content at peak therapeutic value. If you care about getting the most benefit from your purchase, you’ll want to protect it from temperature, humidity, light, and oxygen exposure.
What Causes Cannabis to Degrade?
Believe it or not, your cannabis has an expiry date. A cannabis expiry date isn’t as definite as what you’ll see printed on a box of cereal or carton of milk, but it has a limited period of peak freshness. How you store it can influence how long the valuable compounds maintain their integrity. Stored right, and you can reap the medicinal benefits long after you purchase. Store incorrectly, and you may as well be smoking oregano in only a few weeks.
Degradation technically happens immediately after harvest, but cultivators take special steps to slow down the process during the curing process. Temperature, light, oxygen, and humidity exposure all impact degradation.
For example, high temperatures transform THCa (a fresh cannabinoid) into THC (an active cannabinoid). This happens when you smoke or vape cannabis, but also in a less controlled way with improper storage. Over time, the THC may even turn into CBN.
There are, of course, therapeutic benefits to all three of these cannabinoids, but as the consumer, you should be in charge of the transition. If you purchased a product for its THC content, you’d likely want to avoid losing it to a CBN transition.
Humidity has an impact on the quality of the product as well. A super dry environment is almost as damaging as a super moist one. Too dry and the product is not pleasant to consume, and loses its flavor profile. Too wet, and you may be inhaling mold, yeast, and other pathogens straight into your respiratory tract.
Sunlight and oxygen have equally damaging effects on your flower. Prolonged exposure to sunlight and oxygen will cause a rapid loss in cannabinoid and terpene content. It’s why all organic material doesn’t last when left out in the elements – the sun and oxygen exposure slowly degrades the organic compounds.
Four Common Mistakes of Cannabis Storage
The Baggy is Not Suitable Storage for Cannabis
Plastic is not a suitable storage container for fresh cannabis, especially a plastic bag. Although it used to be very common to find black market product stored in small plastic baggies, these are poorly suited for maintaining the integrity of the plant. Plastic is not totally airtight; it’s permeable. Depending on the plastic bag used, it may also leach toxins into the product. Do not store your medicinal cannabis in a plastic baggy.
The Stash Box Will Dry Things Out
Another common mistake is keeping your product inside a stash box. These kits have many names, but typically contain your smoking device, your green, and other essential tools like lights, papers, and scissors. The stash box isn’t airtight and isn’t sanitary. A typical rolling kit often has an aging combination of cannabis crumbs, ash, and roaches all rolling around together. In addition, the stash box will not maintain the proper humidity, making your cannabis susceptible to drying out.
Mixing the Old & New
Do you store your half-smoked joints in the same container as your fresh flower? This is another mistake you’ll want to avoid! Keep all previously smoked items away from your unsmoked ones. Unsmoked cannabis contains delicious terpenes, which are easily overpowered by the taste of burnt roaches and ash. Plus, half-smoked items have a higher risk of mold or bacterial infection. Keep these well away from any new product you have on hand.
The Freezer is OK for Longer Term Storage
Somewhere along the line, someone spread the notion about keeping cannabis in the refrigerator or freezer. It is not a good idea. Cannabis requires a very specific temperature range to maintain the proper moisture content and stability. Just like the old tub of ice cream at the back of your freezer, cannabis too can suffer severe damage from freezer burn. Keep your fresh flower at room temperature, and dry.
If you have a big harvest and need to store for the long term, freezing may be your best option. This strategy is not for your daily bud.
How to Store Cannabis Properly
If you grew up in the age of black market cannabis, you likely developed a few bad habits when it comes to proper cannabis storage. You’ll notice that the dispensaries don’t store their bud in plastic baggies anymore, and neither should you. Learning how to store cannabis the correct way maintains the flavor profile of the terpenes, as well as the medicinal value of cannabinoids.
Proper storage doesn’t require any fancy equipment, just common sense.
Here is how:
- Glass containers: keep all fresh (unsmoked) flower stored in a glass container. Glass containers, unlike plastic ones, don’t leach harmful chemicals into the product. They maintain medicinal value, terpene profile, and retain proper moisture content.
- Away from sources of light: Both heat and UV rays degrade the hundreds of different compounds in cannabis. If you are storing cannabis in a glass mason jar, keep it in a dark cupboard or drawer when not in use. Better yet, find glass containers made from blue or brown glass, which help protect the flower from UV radiation at all times.
- Airtight: Oxygen is another issue. Make sure whatever container you choose, its an airtight one. Oxygen exposure, just like the UV rays above, also hastens the degradation of the cannabinoids and terpenes.
With these three tips in mind – glass, dark, and airtight – you’ve got weeks, maybe months of peak-freshness. Avoid the common storage mistakes of the past, and practice the proper techniques for optimal freshness. Plastic baggies, freezer bud, and stash boxes are no place to keep your medicine.