Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Does Weed Go Bad? Here’s How To Identify Old Marijuana

In an attempt to extend the shelf life of weed, many people try many things. While some of these might actually work, others are myths that shouldn’t be believed.

Does weed go bad? Even though cannabis packaging has improved a lot, the product still needs to be stored in a certain way for it to remain fresh. A lot of people still wonder whether they need to do anything to keep their marijuana fresh, and the answer is yes. Because while weed won’t go ‘bad’ as most other foods would, it will still get moldy and lose its potency over time. Here’s how to Identify old marijuana.

The biggest threat that cannabis faces is in the form of moisture. Exposure to moisture can cause marijuana to grow mold and mildew, which can be very harmful to people. Stale weed also loses its strength over time which all but kills the purpose of consuming it in the first place.

rolling a marijuana joint
Photo by gradyreese/Getty Images

To increase the shelf life of weed, cultivators make it undergo the process of curing. When it is carefully cured, a certain amount of moisture is trapped inside the cannabis because losing too much moisture is also bad since it can cause the flower to become brittle. It is, therefore, important to store weed in a way that can maintain this moisture without introducing more of it.

Another factor to consider is that weed’s cannabinoid content starts getting affected in the presence of light and oxygen. Too much of these can make the weed lose its potency and also make it smell grassy.

How Long Does Weed Stay Good?

This question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. There’s a reason why cannabis packaging usually doesn’t come with an expiration date because the flowers don’t really expire in the traditional sense — they just lose their potency and can become moldy. The better question to ask is, “how long does weed stay good?”. And the answer to that would be up to two years if you store it properly.

After two years, it starts losing its potency significantly. Some research suggests that marijuana loses around 16% of THC just after the first year of storage. After that first year, it starts dropping even more. After two years, it can lose up to 26% THC. After three years, this loss increases to 34%. So, if you’re still asking yourself, “does weed get old?”, it really does.

Cannabis Expiration Date

The two things that cannabis has to be kept away from are light and oxygen. Exposure to UV light was found to be the most rapid way to age cannabis in a study done in 1976. Both light and air slowly convert THCA into THC, which then gets turned into CBN. CBN may not be harmful for consumption, but it does not have the psychoactive properties that THC has. Too much oxygen also makes cannabis buds smell like hay. The best way to preserve the integrity of your cannabis is to store it in a cool and dark place. It should be kept away from humidity and in an airtight container.

RELATED: Is The Old Marijuana I Found Under The Couch Safe To Smoke?

The best thing to do when you buy some marijuana is to consume it as soon as possible. That will ensure that you get all the benefits out of it that you’re looking for, and there are no risks to your health that could arise with longer storage periods. When you buy a jar of weed, you can see the harvest date printed on it. The fresher it is, the stronger it will be.

Good vs Bad Weed: How to Understand If Yours Is Fresh

There are a few ways in which you can determine the freshness of your cannabis buds:

  • The first thing to note is the smell. Weed that’s not in the best condition will lose its aroma or smell different when compared to a fresh batch. It can even smell quite bad at times.
  • You can also look at it and see if it’s old. Fresh buds will not crumble when you press or break them. If your weed does that, it’s a good sign that it is old.
  • The texture of old weed is also different. It will not really harm you, though, unless it has grown moldy while sitting in a wet jar.
  • Old marijuana also doesn’t taste pleasant. It can often have a harsh flavor that will likely make you cough or even vomit.

One of the first things you should do when you buy some cannabis is to check for mold. Weed does not have to be old to grow mold. A research study showed mold and bacteria growth on 20 weed samples that were purchased directly from dispensaries and growers. So, even if you have just bought your marijuana, check if you can see any small white fuzzy spots.

RELATED: How To Preserve Your Cannabis Through The Winter

Any of these things can mean that your weed is stale. Smoking stale weed won’t usually cause any serious health issues unless you have a weak immune system. Weed that contains fungus or bacteria can cause serious problems for such people, while it will likely only cause coughing or vomiting for healthy adults. The bottom line is that if you feel like your weed is bad, the best idea is to just throw it away. If you’re asking yourself, “what does good weed look like?”, then it looks and smells fresh, has its own aroma, holds its structure when you break a bud apart, and doesn’t have fuzzy white spots on it.

Do Edibles Expire?

How long does marijuana stay good in an edible form? This depends on the edible in question. If cannabis is introduced into an edible product the correct way, then the expiration date of the actual edible will remain unchanged. In other words, the presence of weed in an edible should not change how long the edible product lasts.

How Long Edible Stays Fresh

How long an edible remains fresh depends on what it is. For example, refrigerated products like condiments and drinks can stay fresh for 5 to 7 days, while products with dairy in them, like a cannabis chocolate bar, can go bad within a week. So, when it comes to edibles, you should follow the same storage principles as you would with normal food products. If food items are not stored properly, they will go bad much quicker than if they were stored in an airtight container or the refrigerator, depending on what kind of edible you have.

RELATED: Old Marijuana Edibles: To Eat or Not To Eat?

You can tell that an edible is going bad by the smell or taste of it. A weed edible will start to smell bad, just like a normal food item would. The longest-lasting edible products are gummies and candies, while products like brownies and cookies also have a long shelf life.

How to Properly Store Weed to Keep It Fresh Longer

There are several little things you should consider when thinking about proper weed storage. The shelf life of weed can drastically change depending on your storage method. Here are some things you should be doing:

  • Get the right kind of containers. Do not use plastic bags or other plastic jars. The reason for this is that plastic holds a static charge that can reduce the potency of your marijuana by messing with the trichomes. The ideal containers to choose from are glass ones that have airtight seals. They do not let in too much oxygen and also don’t have any static charge. You can find the ideal weed storing containers at the dispensary you buy your cannabis from.
  • Another thing to consider is humidity. The ideal humidity range for weed storage is between 59 and 63 percent. If you have higher humidity, your weed can trap moisture and get moldy. In lower humidity, there is a risk of your cannabis getting dried out.
  • You should also keep it in a dark place with little to no sunlight. UV rays are very detrimental to cured cannabis, so this might be the most important thing to keep in mind. You should also keep it in a cool place, but that does not mean you should go freezing it. Just don’t keep it somewhere it can trap moisture or get direct light.

How to Store Other Cannabis Products

How to Store Other Cannabis Products

  • In the case of edibles, the best thing to do is to keep them in their own packaging. Keep them in a cool and dark place, like you would keep most food items anyway.
  • Concentrates should be kept in small containers that are often specifically designed for them. These are mostly made of glass or silicone. You should keep these in a cool and dark place as well.
  • For vape pens, the same rules apply: keep the airtight cartridges in a cool and dark place.

Myths About Old Weed and Marijuana Storage

In an attempt to extend the shelf life of weed, many people try many things. While some of these might actually work, others are myths that shouldn’t be believed:

  • It is not wise to store cannabis in a cigar humidor. These products usually have a lining of cedar, which has oils that can damage cannabis. If you want to use a humidor, there are ones specifically designed for storing marijuana, and only those should be used.
  • Some people think that adding an orange peel in a bag of weed will help maintain the moisture content and keep the cannabis from getting dry. This does not really work. On the contrary, it increases your buds’ risk of developing mold due to the increased moisture. The orange peel can also change the aroma or taste of your marijuana.
  • It is also unwise to keep your cannabis in a freezer. The freezer is likely to make the trichomes on your buds brittle, and they can snap off when you handle the buds later. Also, the freezer can increase the chance for mold to appear because of the moisture inside.

Does Weed Get Old?

The topic is a really important one, so we suggest you read the opinions of these industry experts:


Robert Miller, Purefectionery

Flower changes as it ages. A lot of people say they feel like the more cannabis ages, the more CBD-like quality it takes on. My thing with older weed is, if you take care of it.


Dee Dee Taylor, 502 Hemp

Not really. It may lose some of its cannabinoid content, but not necessarily get old.


Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD

If not stored properly, it can get old. But that old weed will have a high level of CBN because if you leave cannabis laying out with oxygen over seven to ten days, the THC can convert into CBN which is excellent in helping people with their sleep and/or insomnia.


Jack Robson, High Desert Pure

Yes. It’s a plant. Like any plant, it will decompose if you leave it long enough.


Lawrence Perrigo, Saints Joints

Yes, it does get old. It will degrade and stop smelling good. I guess you’ll just have to smoke your weed fast!


Matthew Frigone, Lazy Bee Gardens

Yes. Proper storage and cure can prolong but oxidation will still occur. Not all strains hold cure as well as others either. I have some that look like crap after only a few months in cure, and others that look just harvested like 9 months deep.


Scarlet Palmer, Sensi Seeds

Yes indeed! It goes through various chemical changes as the cannabinoids naturally decarboxylate and change. Eventually it will stop having any psychoactive effect, but will be very soporific.


Terry Sardinas, Bird Valley Organics

Yes, but if you add a spinach leaf to your jar of dry Cannabis, you can help give it a refresh.


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