How to Tell If Cannabis Is Past Its Prime
Weed doesn’t go bad the way a jar of mayo or some other food product might, but it can definitely be “off” or even moldy.
Old weed likely won’t lead to any serious health issues if you don’t have any underlying conditions.
It can, however, have a noticeable drop in potency, which can be a big deal if you’re using it for medical purposes. Older weed can also undergo changes in taste and texture.
When stored properly (more on this later), dried cannabis keeps for 6 months to 1 year. Over time, it begins to lose its aroma and potency.
According to some older research, weed loses roughly 16 percent of its THC after 1 year, and it just keeps dropping from there:
- 26 percent THC lost after 2 years
- 34 percent THC lost after 3 years
- 41 percent THC lost after 4 years
It’s mostly in the smell. Weed that’s past its prime will smell different or lose its aroma entirely. Some weed might even smell and taste harsh when it’s been sitting too long.
Its appearance can also give you a clue as to whether or not it’s old. Fresh weed shouldn’t crumble or feel spongy when you break it off. If it does, it’s old and either too dry or too moist.
Consuming it shouldn’t harm you, but be prepared for changes in texture and potency. The exception is weed that’s grown mold, which could potentially make you sick.
Mold is often hard to see unless you look very closely. It typically looks like white powdery or fuzzy spots, some of which can be pretty small.
Moldy weed usually smells musty, kind of like hay. It also tends to have a bit of an “off” taste.
Even if your weed isn’t super old, it’s best to do a mold inspection. A study by researchers from University of California, Davis found bacteria and mold on 20 cannabis samples bought from dispensaries and pot growers in Northern California.
Mold on weed isn’t likely to cause major health problems, but it can lead to nausea, vomiting, and coughing.
In people with weakened immune systems, inhaling smoke or vapors from weed containing bacteria or fungi could cause serious illness or even death.
If it looks or smells off, then you’re better off tossing it, even if you just bought it.
Light, humidity, temperature, and oxygen can all mess with cannabis and affect its aroma, taste, and potency potential.
Here’s what to consider when storing weed to help keep it fresh and maintain its quality for as long as possible.
Choose the right container
Ditch plastic baggies and containers. Plastic holds static that can affect delicate trichomes — the tiny, crystal-like hairs on flowers that produce cannabinoids and terpenes — and mess with potency.
And forget those funny little tins, too, because they let in too much oxygen.
Glass jars with an airtight seal, like mason jars, are the way to go. They don’t have any static charge and limit oxygen exposure. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to find.
Most dispensaries also sell containers designed to keep weed fresh for as long as possible.
If you have kids or pets in your household, invest in a child- and pet-proof container.
Watch the humidity
Weed is best kept at a relative humidity of 59 to 63 percent. Any higher and you run the risk of trapping moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold. Anything lower can cause your weed to dry out.
To help you preserve your stash, you can add humidity packs to your containers if you really want to get fancy. You can also go the extra mile and store your weed in a humidor made specifically for cannabis.
Keep it cool, dark, and dry
Keeping weed in a cool and dry spot away from sunlight is as important as the container you use, if not more so.
Direct sunlight can cause cannabis to break down, and too much heat can hold moisture and lead to mold.
Keeping it somewhere too chilly, on the other hand, could dry it out and lose those precious trichomes, which is why the fridge and freezer aren’t recommended.
Aim to store cannabis in a dark place, like a closet or cabinet, with a temperature below 77°F (25°C).
Weed doesn't go bad in the way perishable food does, but it can definitely degrade over time. Here's what to look for.
How to rehydrate weed
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- How to store weed
- Why would you want to rehydrate weed?
- How to rehydrate weed
- Bottom line
Any cannabis flower you consume should have a certain level of moisture for an optimal experience. Moisture affects potency, flavor, aroma, and the health of a bud. If cannabis is too moist, it may develop mold and harm your smoke. If cannabis is too dry, it will burn up and possibly degrade too quickly. The ideal moisture content will prevent these potential problems and help give your cannabis the flavor, feel, and effects that you want. If you end up with some dry weed on your hands, there are a variety of tried-and-true methods you can use to rehydrate.
How to store weed
When it comes to keeping flower properly hydrated, the optimal method is always prevention. Proper storage that keeps flower fresh is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your weed. Never store your bud out in the open or on a tray. Improper storage will expose your weed to an excess of oxygen and light, the two most immediate culprits of cannabis degradation. Keeping weed fresh and potent requires a delicate balance of environmental conditions.
Though clear containers and plastic bags are common forms of packing, the best way to store weed is to keep it in an opaque, airtight container in a cool, dry place without direct sunlight. Storing in an opaque container helps to ensure optimal moisture content because it keeps light out.
Storing in an opaque container helps to ensure optimal moisture content because it keeps light out. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Ideally, you should store your weed just below room temperature. Some light and air will inevitably get into your weed containers when they are opened, so be sure to keep them closed when not in use. Properly storing your weed ahead of time is the best way to prevent dehydration and extend shelf life.
Why would you want to rehydrate weed?
Even those with limited cannabis experience have likely smoked some dry weed before. Depending on the severity of the dry bud you smoked, you may not have ever considered rehydrating it, or known it was an option. Weed will inevitably degrade over time andmay dehydrate too quickly, leaving you with a subpar end-product.
In most legal markets, weed isn’t cheap. No one wants to throw their money away, especially if they’ve invested it in top-shelf cannabis. Fortunately, most methods of rehydrating weed aren’t labor-intensive, and many are effective.
There’s no escaping dehydration of your bud in the long run, but if the weed comes to you dry, or dries out before you have a chance to smoke it, rehydrating is well worth your time.
How to rehydrate weed
Weed’s relationship with moisture is complicated. All cultivators dry and cure their cannabis. The goal of drying and curing is not to completely remove moisture from the bud, but to let it slowly dissipate without altering cannabinoid and terpene content.
The ideal moisture content for cannabis flower tends to fall between 6 and 9%. A humidity level above 65% will likely result in mold development on the bud. The drying process is intended to decrease moisture content to less than 15%, while curing takes the bud down to 9% or lower.
The process of drying, curing, and maintaining the optimal moisture of cannabis is a delicate, complicated process. If you find that the weed you’ve purchased, grown, or stored is dry and brittle, there are a variety of ways to resurrect your dry buds.
Here are some of the most common methods of rehydrating weed.
Lettuce comprises up to 95% water, which makes it a great candidate for rehydrating your weed. Similar to using a citrus peel, leaving a small cut of lettuce peel in a bag with your dry buds for 2-3 hours can rehydrate them without transferring any taste or smell.
Fresh weed mixed with dry weed
If you happen to have some fresh, sufficiently moist bud on hand, you can try putting it in the same jar as your dry bud. This method may not be as reliable as others, and you may want to keep your different strains separate, but it’s a quick and easy way to make all your bud fresh without having to use any extra materials.
Damp q-tip, paper towel, cotton ball, or small sponge
Another method of rehydrating without transferring scent and aroma from other plants or foods is to place a damp q-tip, cotton ball, piece of paper towel, or small sponge in a container with your dry bud. If you use a q-tip, try and place it above your nugs without touching them. The point is to absorb minimal moisture from the q-tip, towel, or sponge to get the optimal amount for your weed.
If all else fails, buy disposable humidity control packs to place in your weed jars. Some control packs are specifically designed to preserve optimal humidity for cannabis.
Using a citrus peel is arguably the most popular DIY method of rehydrating weed. All you have to do is cut the outer layer of an orange, lemon, or other citrus peel and place it in your nug jar, tightly sealed of course. Citrus peels are naturally moist but will likely transfer some of their flavor and aroma to your bud. Since weed shares many of the same terpenes as citrus fruits, the added taste and smell may enhance your experience while rehydrating the marijuana.
What you’ll need:
- Dry cannabis
- Resealable jar
- Orange or lemon
- Sharp knife or peeler
First, assemble what you’ll need to rehydrate your weed. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 1: Place dry cannabis in a resealable jar
Place dry cannabis in a resealable jar. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 2: Carefully peel the outer skin of a citrus fruit
Carefully peel the outer skin of a citrus fruit. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 3: Put a piece of peel in with the cannabis
Put a piece of peel in with the cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 4: “Burp” jar once or twice over the next day
“Burp” jar once or twice over the next day. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 5: Enjoy rehydrated weed within 24 hours
Enjoy rehydrated weed within 24 hours. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Moisture is essential for experiencing the best cannabis flavor and aroma, and rehydrating weed can be achieved with a few DIY solutions from ingredients in your kitchen.
Don’t over hydrate your weed
Rehydrating your weed isn’t labor-intensive, but it is something of a delicate dance. The goal of rehydrating is to get your bud back to the state of balance of moisture content that comes from a well-executed drying and curing process. As you rehydrate your weed, check on it rigorously to make sure you aren’t infusing it with too much moisture and risking mold growth.
How to rehydrate weed Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents How to store weed Why would you want to rehydrate weed? How to rehydrate weed