Fraser Horton
Fraser Horton
Last Updated on December 18, 2021

How many times has it happened that you forgot about a baggie and found it months later while you were looking for something else? Or you stored it a while ago and now it looks all weird and you’re wondering if you should smoke it. Can cannabis go bad?

In this article, we’ll talk about the shelf life of cannabis, how long weed can stay good for, what factors influence its shelf life, and how you can prolong it.

Does Cannabis Have a Shelf Life?

Cannabis does have a shelf life because it’s an organic matter, so of course, it can’t last for ages. However, the shelf life of cannabis is a highly relative thing, especially when we talk about different cannabis products.

For example, with dispensary-bought edibles, you’ll often see the expiration date on the package. This is more connected to the other ingredients in the edibles as food is perishable and cannabis won’t make it resilient to natural spoilage. But, even though weed may have a longer shelf life than brownies, it still has a shelf life.

On cannabis baggies, on the other hand, you won’t find any expiration date, but you’ll probably find the date of harvest. Similarly with other products, such as tinctures and dabs – no expiration date is included on the package. So, how will you know for how long they will be good for?

How Long Does Weed Stay Good For?

You may think that the active compounds on weed make it more resilient to spoiling, but that isn’t the case. On the contrary, in order to keep weed fresh, you want to preserve these compounds. But how long weed will stay good depends entirely on how it’s stored.

When cannabis is protected from light, heat, air, and moisture, it can stay fresh with minimal loss of potency for a year and sometimes even longer. Even if some of the potency is lost, as long as it’s not dry or moldy, it will still be good for consumption. It may not be as psychoactive, but it might be more sedative – because, in time, THC naturally degrades into CBN (cannabigerol), which has sedative properties.

This applies to both fresh cannabis nugs and the tinctures and dabs that we mentioned. As long as they’re kept in the right conditions, you won’t have to worry. Though dabs and oils may not last as long as a whole year, they’ll still be good for a good few months.

How to Tell Your Weed Is Not Good Anymore

Weed that has gone blah is easy to recognize. Moldy weed will definitely smell funky and maybe have a white powdery coating and/or a grayish appearance. The musty smell will be very recognizable, so oftentimes it’ll be a telltale sign that the weed you’re holding isn’t consumable, even if it doesn’t look suspicious. In any case, do not try to smoke moldy weed by any means.

Dry weed, on the other hand, will be too obvious. Even if it hasn’t been stored for that long, if it’s dry, it will look like old weed. Its color will be more brownish-green and it will feel very rough to the touch. It may crumble when you handle it or it can easily snap. Dry weed will only have a faint scent compared to fresh nugs, and if you happen to light it, you will notice the harshness of the smoke (and you’ll probably cough). Needless to say, don’t smoke it.

Proper Storage Conditions Will Keep Weed Fresh

Keeping weed fresh is fairly easy as long as you store it properly. Let’s see what that entails.

Storage Containers

The storage container must be adequate, no questions asked. If you want your weed to stay fresh even after a year, you should store it in a well-sealed container. Glass mason jars are a popular choice among weed enthusiasts, but you can use any glass container as long as it’s airtight. 

Glass is the best material for storing weed. Plastic containers and plastic baggies are not recommended for long-term storage because they’re not only porous, but they also create moisture and “sweat” the weed, and they hold a static charge which can damage the trichomes. A plastic baggie is okay for a few days if you plan on consuming the weed immediately, but otherwise, glass is better.

Light

Light is the enemy of weed, especially direct sunlight. The UV rays can easily degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes, causing your nugs to lose their potency. The THC content will inevitably be altered as THC will degrade into CBN, a cannabinoid with sedative properties instead of psychoactive. To avoid this, always store your weed in a dark place with no cracks or crevices where light could sneak in, especially for long-term storage.

Temperature

Temperature is important because it can prevent mold formation. Mildew thrives in temperatures between 77 аnd 86°F, so storing the weed at a standard room temperature of 68 to 72°F or even a little lower will be enough. As long as it’s not too hot to encourage humidity and mold, room temperature is fine, even if there are slight fluctuations.

Humidity Levels 

Similarly, humidity levels are crucial in preventing moisture buildup and, consequently, mold. At the same time, humidity keeps weed from drying out. The relative humidity levels for storing cannabis should ideally be between 59% and 63%. We recommend using humidors, such as the Boveda packs, which will regulate the relative humidity within the storage containers. Apart from that, make sure to store weed in a dry place, which is a given.

The Takeaway – Store Weed Properly to Prolong Its Shelf Life

Just like all organic matter, weed has its own shelf life, but it depends on what type of weed product you have and how you store it. Certain elements, such as light, heat, air, and moisture, can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes and/or cause mold, so storing it properly is imperative. Overall, if the storing conditions are met, weed can stay fresh for up to a year, and sometimes even longer without losing its potency.

Disclaimer

The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.