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Cannabis 101

How To Store Marijuana

02.15.22 - 4 min read

Summary

  • Factors that can affect the freshness of cannabis are: 
    • Heat 
    • Humidity 
    • Light 
    • Airflow 
  • Glass containers are best to keep marijuana fresh.

How to store cannabis and keep it fresh: Preserving buds, edibles and more 

Looking for all the best ways to preserve cannabis? We’ve got you! In this guide, you’ll find tips and tricks to help keep your marijuana fresh and safely stored.  

But before we get into all the do’s and don’ts, let’s talk through some cannabis basics. 

(Note: when storing cannabis, always remember to clearly label the container and keep it out of the reach of minors.) 

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What affects the freshness of cannabis?  

First things first. It’s important to note that, unfortunately, cannabis does not last forever—it’s perishable. And like any perishable item you’d pick up from the produce section, cannabis can go bad. (It’s a harvested crop, after all.) In fact, as soon as it’s harvested, its shelf-life clock starts ticking.  

There’s a shortlist of factors that influence the degradation of cannabis, so let’s break ‘em down.  

Heat  

Cannabis is pretty picky when it comes to temperature. When preserving your cannabis, you need storage that’s not too hot, not too cold, but just right.  

Why? When cannabis is exposed to high temperatures, cannabinoids start to degrade. Ideally, a temp of 70°F degrees should do the trick. 

Lengthy exposure to temperatures above the gold standard of 70°F degrees could potentially introduce mold and bacteria growth. 

Humidity  

Like heat, humidity directly impacts the potential degradation of cannabis. High humidity can introduce moisture back into the marijuana flowers, which means you’re risking mold and even ammoniated flavors. Low humidity, on the other hand, can lead to dry leaves, causing your cannabis to become fragile and brittle.  

When storing your cannabis aim for a humidity level that spans somewhere between the 59 to 63 percent range. Doing so will ensure that your cannabis stays true to its intended form, fresh, and free of potentially harmful bacteria.  

how-to-store-cannabis-YES-vaccum-seal

Light 

Ultraviolet light may be invisible, but just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not doing damage. In fact, according to research high exposure to ultraviolet light, or UV light, is the main culprit when it comes to cannabis degradation. And it doesn’t take long either. Ultraviolet light can break down organic matter like cannabis fast, resulting in overall cannabinoid degradation.  

Airflow  

In addition to factors like heat and humidity, you should also keep in mind airflow. Heavy exposure to oxygen can cause cannabinoid degradation. Controlling oxygen levels is essential to prolonging the life of your cannabis.  

The best containers for storing cannabis 

We always recommend storing your cannabis with the care and consideration this plant deserves. 

While there’s certainly no shortage of storage options available today, some of the most effective storage is often the simplest. (And no, we’re not talking about plastic bags.) 

how-to-keep-cannabis-fresh-YES-jar

Glass storage for cannabis  

It’s almost seems too obvious, but a simple glass jar with a screw-on lid is perhaps most effective when it comes to storing cannabis. It’s airtight, which means your cannabis is not exposed to potentially harmful oxidation. And, with a tightly screwed-on lid, you’re not risking the chance of accidentally opening your jar. 

When picking out your container, choose a glass jar that’s suitable for the amount of cannabis you intend to store inside. And opt for a dark, UV-resistant glass container to prevent cannabis degradation. 

So, what about preserving your cannabis product from elevated exposure to oxygen, humidity, heat and light?  

Again, the answers are quite simple! And there’s a solid chance you already have just what you need for proper storage tucked away in your kitchen cabinets — the Mason jar.  

There’s no denying that the classic glass container is a storage staple. These trusty marijuana storage units are air-tight, which means you’ve checked that box.  

While great for short-term storage, when it comes to light exposure, clear glass Mason jars fall short. Instead, look for a jar with blacked-out glass (this can be brown or green glass) to keep your cannabis from degrading in light.  

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What about plastic? 

Two words: absolutely not.  

Plastic containers are a no-go. They can actually make cannabis buds sweat moisture. (And we already know what excess moisture can do to your cannabis.) So, we recommend avoiding plastic whenever possible.  

If you’re planning on storing your cannabis for an extended period of time, reach for a humidity pack. These savvy storage packs keep humidity levels right where they should be, all while preserving the quality of your marijuana and preventing icky mold growth.  

What is the best way to store marijuana to keep it fresh? 

Today, more cannabis products are available than ever before. And each product, whether it’s flower or cannabis edibles, has its own set of unique instructions on how it should be stored for optimal freshness and potency. 

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How to store cannabis flower  

High temps, exposure to ultraviolet light and air, and high humidity are cannabis flowers’ worst enemies.  

Keep your flower fresh and potent by storing it in an air-tight glass container that’s either blacked out or stored away from direct light. Additionally, keep your stash away from heat sources in your home (for example, appliances). And remember, always store your jar in a cool, dry place.  

keep-marijuana-fresh-No-ziploc

How to store cannabis edibles  

Dinner, muffins and butter—oh my!  

While you may find many cannabis edibles equally delicious, they’re not all created equal. The components and ingredients found in edibles range dramatically, which means storage and shelf life can vary from product to product.  

For most edibles, dark, dry and cool storage is best. Sugar is a natural preservative, so your stash will have a lengthier lifespan.  

Hard candies are prone to absorbing moisture. An excess of moisture can make them incredibly soft, resulting in one big clump of sticky candies if stored improperly. But you can avoid a monster clump simply by keeping your sweets in a cool spot, like your pantry.  

Shop Edibles

Softer edibles (think caramels) should always be individually wrapped before moving into storage.  

And other cannabis-infused products like baked goodies, jellied candies and fudge are prone to quickly losing freshness and moisture when exposed to the open air.  

The best way to keep it all fresh? Always make sure your edible items are tightly wrapped. Doing so will keep your edibles fresh for up to nine months.   

best-way-to-store-cannabis-YES-humidifyer

How to store concentrates  

Want to extend the potency and preserve the taste of cannabis concentrates? It all starts with proper storage. 

Like all cannabis products, cannabis concentrates require a delicate environment. Storage methods will depend on factors such as volume, consistency of the cannabinoid concentrate, and how long you intend to store your concentrates overall.  

The most versatile storage option for short-term storage is medical-grade silicone jars. The silicone material ensures that your cannabis concentrates remain uncontaminated.  

However, many silicone jars are not air-tight, which is why they are only ideal for short-term use.  

For long-term storage, store your cannabis concentrates in a small glass container and slide them into the freezer. First, you’ll want to vacuum-seal your containers to be totally sure that absolutely no humidity or moisture sneaks into your concentrates.  

Vacuum sealing is one of the best ways to keep your cannabis concentrates fresh for extended periods of time.  

Concentrates-Extracts-Live-Resin

How to store cannabis oil and cannabis wax 

When it comes to concentrates, silicone containers are your best friend. These storage options make it easy to store oils and cannabis wax. Silicone containers also make it super-easy to get your oils and waxes out, unlike some plastic or glass options. With silicone, your shatter will peel seamlessly off the surface. No mess, no stress.  

While nobody’s stopping you from putting flower inside of silicone containers, glass jars do a much better job at containing the unmistakable aroma of cannabis.  

For the cannabis connoisseur: cannabis humidors 

Cannabis humidors are built with materials that won’t affect the potency, flavor and overall uniqueness of your marijuana.  

These compact boxes are often outfitted with jars to store marijuana and a precise hygrometer to measure the humidity levels inside of the stash box. The result is a storage container that’s both functional and pleasing to the eye. Oh, and most importantly, a storage solution that keeps your cannabis fresh.  

best-way-to-store-marijuana-YES-cool-dry-place

How to store cannabis long-term 

Many cannabis products are stamped with harvest date. But how long will your cannabis last? When stored properly, cannabis has a lifespan of one to two years.  

For cannabis that’s just as good as it was on the day you bought it, you’ll want to use a UV-resistant airtight container, like a glass jar, for example. Take an extra step to preserve the overall freshness of your bud by slipping in a humidity pack to keep the moisture under control and at optimum levels.  

This storage method will keep your stash fresh for months. And as always, store your container in a cool dry place for best results.  

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Things to avoid when preserving cannabis 

OK, we’ve covered all the major do’s. Now it’s time to get into don’ts. 

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Containers that are too big 

Using a large container or jar to store a modest amount of marijuana is a rookie mistake.  

Even if your jar is airtight, too much extra space inside leaves room for air that can result in oxidation issues. That doesn’t mean cramming and crushing all your flower into a single jar, though. Leave a little room and aim to have your jars at least two-thirds full.  

Plastic problems  

Cannabis deserves better than a plastic bag. Leave those for sandwiches and get yourself a proper stash jar, humidor or silicone container.  

Fridge follies  

A cool, dark place doesn’t mean the refrigerator or freezer. But they’re often the first places that come to mind when thinking about how to store marijuana. Keep your cannabis stored inside of a cabinet or drawer instead.  

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Frequently Asked Questions 

What’s the best smell-proof container for cannabis?  

Any jar with an air-tight seal will work to keep your place from picking up the smell.  

Solid, air-tight jar options are not only odor-proof but are usually compact and discreet, too, giving them a reputation as the gold standard when it comes to proper marijuana storage. 

Can marijuana go bad? 

If stored properly your marijuana products should have a long lifespan. But in general, yes, marijuana can go bad if exposed to light, temperature changes, high humidity and airflow. 

How do you know if marijuana has gone bad? 

While many manufacturers and distributors stamp their product with a harvest or pack date, there’s likely no real expiration date on your cannabis.  

So, how do you tell if your cannabis has gone bad?  

Well, there are different ways to define “going bad.” For some, it’s a lack of the pungent, unmistakable odor. For others, it’s mold.  

Aroma, or a lack of it, is often the tell-tale sign that your stash has expired. If you’re still unsure after giving it a good sniff, eyeball your flower for fuzzy textures and dark spotting. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it could be mold. A musty scent, similar to hay, is also an indicator of the presence of mold.  

Other clues like taste and texture can signal that your marijuana is not at its freshest. Crumbly textures (too dry) or a spongy feel (too moist) are two indicators that your cannabis has seen better days. 

In most cases, you can prevent your cannabis from “going bad” with proper storage.  

Is refrigerating or freezing cannabis bad?  

Yes. Storing your cannabis in the fridge or freezer forces the moisture of the plant to the surface and breaks down the micro, frosty crystals called trichomes that are found on the outside of the cannabis plant.  

Trichomes are responsible for producing the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that make cannabis effective and potent. If they’re broken down, you’re losing out on potency and overall effectiveness.    

However, concentrates and cannabis extractions are the exceptions. These cannabis products can be carefully stored in the freezer inside vacuum-sealed glass jars for long periods of time. 

buy-best-way-to-store-marijuana

Sources:

  1. Weedmaps.com: How to store weed & keep weed fresh 
  2. SMITH, R.N. and VAUGHAN, C.G. (1977), The decomposition of acidic and neutral cannabinoids in organic solvents. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 29: 286-290. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7158.1977.tb11313.x 
  3. Trofin, Irenne & Dabija, Gabriel & Vaireanu, Danut-Ionel & Laurentiu, Filipescu. (2012). Long – term Storage and Cannabis Oil Stability. Revista da Chimie. 53. 294. 
  4. Luca Zamengo, Chiara Bettin, Denis Badocco, Valerio Di Marco, Giorgia Miolo, Giampietro Frison, “The role of time and storage conditions on the composition of hashish and marijuana samples: A four-year study”, Forensic Science International, Volume 298, 2019, Pages 131-137, ISSN 0379-0738, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.02.058. 
  5. Fairbairn, J. W., Liebmann, J. A., & Rowan, M. G. (1976). The stability of cannabis and its preparations on storage. The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 28(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7158.1976.tb04014.x  
  6. Hightimes.com: How To Properly Store Cannabis Concentrates
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