The fragrant smell of cannabis is, for some people, a defining part of the cannabis experience. But what if that smell doesn’t rush out? This might be a sign that your cannabis has gone bad.
There are far more signs of bad cannabis than just a lack of that classic cannabis smell. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis going bad.
How long does cannabis last?
Cannabis can go bad, but it takes some time to spoil completely. Most cannabis that has been properly dried, cured, and harvested should last for a few months, and when stored properly, it can last up to a whole year.
It’s important to note that your cannabis is aging even when it appears unspoiled. The cannabinoids and terpenes in the dry herb material inevitably break down, and as they do so, your cannabis will lose potency. Since this breakdown can’t be seen, your cannabis may appear good even when it isn’t.
Does cannabis age affect it's quality?
You’ll know your cannabis is old if its quality has plummeted. When the cannabinoids and terpenes in your cannabis break down, your cannabis will lose not just its classic odor, but its signature flavor. Sometimes, old cannabis can even taste bad.
How to tell if your cannabis has gone bad?
Some signs of bad cannabis will be so obvious that you can see them right away. For starters, if you store your cannabis in an environment that’s too humid or moist, mold spores can reach it. Discoloration and white fuzzy spots are the most obvious signs of mold spores. Sometimes, these spores can hide inside your cannabis flowers, so it’s important to inspect your cannabis after breaking it apart and before grinding.
The moisture content of your cannabis plays a role in its freshness. If your cannabis is dry, dusty, and cracked, it has gone bad. Using visibly dry cannabis won’t be as potent or as enjoyable as it would be with a fresher product.
Sometimes, merely looking at cannabis isn’t quite enough to determine whether it’s gone bad. Pulling your cannabis apart can help. If your cannabis feels spongy and does not make a small crackling sound when broken apart, then it’s gone bad due to excessive moisture content. On the other hand, if your cannabis crumbles into dry dust when you split it, it’s gone bad from too little moisture content.
In addition to sight and touch, smell is the final indicator of cannabis that’s gone bad. If your cannabis no longer packs the potent odors long associated with cannabis, it has soured. Odors other than the usual cannabis smells can similarly indicate bad cannabis. If these odors are musty and reminiscent of mildew, your cannabis has likely grown mold spores and should be discarded.
What causes causes cannabis to go bad?
Cannabis, like all things that go bad, reacts to its environment. Cannabis will age differently in dry environments than in moist spaces, for example. Arid settings will accelerate your cannabis’ slow crawl toward being too dry to be thoroughly potent. Overly humid environments, on the other hand, lead to those pesky mold spores. Ideally, cannabis should be stored in an environment with between 59 and 63 percent relative humidity.
High temperatures can also accelerate cannabis degradation. Light exposure has a similar effect, as shining light directly onto an object is a surefire way to quickly raise its temperature.
How to store cannabis correctly
There are some basic rules for properly storing cannabis. At the very least, you should be storing cannabis in a cool, dark space. Avoid direct sunlight or rooms that get hot. Additionally, you should never store your cannabis in the same container as pipes, papers, grinders, and other devices. Same goes for the original containers or bags from the dispensary. After purchase, transfer your cannabis to a proper, air-tight container.
Outside these basics, to maximize your cannabis’ shelf life, there more advanced storage techniques and materials can ensure that your cannabis stays good for a long time. Check out our article on proper cannabis storage for more.