Does cannabis go bad?
Does cannabis go bad?

With all the great cannabis products available, it's easy to end up with way more than you can quickly use. If it's been a while since you purchased your cannabis, you might be wondering, "Does weed go bad?" The good news is that you can store cannabis for weeks without an issue. Check out this guide to see just how long you can store your cannabis and learn tips for extending your cannabis's life span.

How long does weed last?

Does cannabis go bad? Cannabis is a type of plant, so just like the fruits and vegetables you get at the store, it will eventually spoil. The majority of cannabis that goes bad will simply be unpleasant to use. It might smell weird or be entirely ineffective. However, cannabis that actually becomes moldy is another story. If you don't know how to store cannabis the right way, it's far more likely to mold. Mold actively ruins the cannabis. You won't be able to use it without getting sick, so you must discard it.

So, how long does weed last? There is some variation depending on how the plant was harvested and how you've been storing it. If your cannabis wasn't dried properly, it can mold in a couple weeks. Under proper conditions, your cannabis should last around a year. Even if there's been some slight mistakes in storing, your cannabis will still be good for at least a few months.

How can you tell if your cannabis has gone bad?

The main thing you need to do is simply look at your cannabis. If it is white, gray, powdery, or fuzzy-looking, it is most likely moldy. You can also do a mold test by feeling the cannabis. Cannabis that feels slightly sticky, spongy, or slimy is moist cannabis that can be molding. Keep in mind that mold isn't necessarily on the surface of the cannabis. Look at the cannabis carefully while you break it up to grind it. This can help you find mold growing closer to the interior.

If your cannabis passes the mold test, it's most likely safe to use. Of course, this doesn't mean the cannabis is still good, though. If your cannabis is so dry that it crumbles into dust, it may be too old and musty. You should also smell your cannabis closely if you suspect that it is too old. Anything that smells sour, hay-like, or mildewy may be bad.

What causes cannabis to expire faster?

Ultimately, the most common cause of bad cannabis is simply improper humidity levels. At extremely high levels of humidity, cannabis is susceptible to mold. Meanwhile, at extremely low levels of humidity, terpenes and cannabinoids degrade. When your cannabis gets too dry, the tiny trichomes on the outside of the plant, which are delicate hair-like structures that hold a lot of the cannabinoids, can break off before you can use the cannabis.

Another factor in determining the answer to "Does cannabis go bad?" is temperature. The higher the temperature, the more rapidly terpenes and cannabinoids degrade. Storing your cannabis in a bright area or in a hot room will mean you get less of the enjoyable compounds when you smoke or vaporize your cannabis. Exposure to air can also spoil your cannabis since oxygen can cause your cannabis to oxidize.

Does age affect cannabis quality?

Technically, your cannabis will last without spoiling for around a year. However, this doesn't actually mean that you'll want to keep using cannabis that's been sitting around for months and months. Over time, cannabis degrades in multiple ways. There is a slight potential for cannabis to mold, just like any plant matter, but the main issue is that the terpenes and cannabinoids break down.

Terpenes and cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that give cannabis its signature taste, smell, and effects. These compounds slowly degrade over time, and each degrades at its own unique rate. For example, cannabis loses about 16% of its THC after one year, 26% after two, and 34% after three. In addition to being less strong, aged cannabis will smell or taste musty, funky, dull, or dry. As you lose all these potential compounds, the quality of your cannabis sharply drops.

How to store cannabis correctly

To keep your cannabis fresh for as long as possible, you need to know how to store weed properly. These tips on how to store cannabis will help your products last as long as possible:

  • Try to keep your cannabis in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Use an airtight container to store your cannabis. Make sure it has hard sides to protect your cannabis because crushed cannabis may drop some of its cannabinoid-holding trichomes. Mason jars or dedicated cannabis storage containers are ideal.
  • Ideally, store your cannabis between 59 to 63% relative humidity. Does weed go bad outside these conditions immediately? No, but anything below 40% or 70% relative humidity will most likely cause problems.
  • Avoid storing your cannabis in the refrigerator or the freezer. These areas are too dry to work well.
  • If you live in a damp climate, add a humidity pack to your container to reduce excess moisture.
  • Keep your cannabis out of direct sunlight. Even if it's in a sun-blocking container, the UV rays will heat up the exterior of the container and may cause issues.
The right techniques can keep your cannabis fresh, fragrant, and potent for quite a while.
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