How to Store Cannabis Long-Term and Preserve the Freshness
If you have a weed stash you haven’t touched for a bit, you may notice the buds getting dryer with time, and smoking them won’t get you as high as it did at first. While ageing is inevitable, it can be slowed down with proper preservation. We’ll teach you what can harm your buds with age, and how you can preserve them from time and the elements.
Keeping cannabis fresh is simple when you’re armed with the right knowledge.
If you’re the type to buy bud in bulk, or just don’t smoke too often, we can imagine you’ve ended up with old weed on your hands.
You can tell something’s off when you pinch the dried-up, lightweight nugs. You may need something to smoke, but would that old stuff even get you high at all? Even if it did, what would the flavour be like? No matter the answers, you’re most likely wondering how you can stop your weed from getting like that again.
Well, you can’t stop the ageing process, but you can definitely slow it down! Above all, you’ll need to make sure your weed is expertly cured, placed in optimal containers, and stored in a cool room at the proper temperature and humidity.
What Happens When Cannabis Gets Old?
Before we go deeper into that discussion, though, we want to offer you a deeper understanding of what happens when your weed starts to age.
As weed is exposed to heat, oxygen, and UV light, the cannabinoids within, including THC, will begin to break down. It doesn’t happen too quickly, but the change can become noticeable after a few weeks. It won’t leave you sober, but a joint won’t get you as high as the one you rolled when you first got it.
Conversion to CBN
As that THC breaks down, it doesn’t just disappear. In fact, it’s converted into another cannabinoid, known as CBN. This cannabinoid has some mild psychoactive properties, but it doesn’t get you high on its own. This conversion mainly occurs when weed is exposed to oxygen and heat, although the process takes time.
Lost THC won’t be the only consequence of keeping your weed in a warm spot. As it gets weaker, it’ll also taste and feel harsher upon smoking. This, of course, is a result of the terpenes drying out over time. Excessive light and moisture will bring about their downfall as well.
Does This Also Happen to CBD-Rich Bud?
If you’re more inclined to smoke CBD-rich strains, you may wonder whether any of this applies to you. Well, since CBD is also a cannabinoid, and since the buds also have terpenes, it too can degrade with age. The high isn’t a factor, but you’ll miss out on the other potential benefits of CBD.
What Causes Weed to Age?
We’ve alluded to certain causes of weed ageing, but let’s go ahead and break the issues down into clear terms.
You have to maintain a very precise balance when it comes to humidity and cannabis. If your storage method introduces too much moisture, you run the risk of mould infestation. If it isn’t humid enough, though, the terpenes and cannabinoids will end up withering away. While they’re quite different outcomes, the unpleasantness is equal between them.
Often going hand-in-hand with excess humidity, high temperatures can hasten the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes. Generally, you should make sure your weed storage area doesn’t get hotter than 25.5ºC (78ºF). Simply enough, this is because any environment between 25.5–30ºC (78–86ºF) is prime for mildew and mould growth.
In short, persistent UV light will land a heavy blow on the impact on terpenes, THC, and other cannabinoids. This is especially problematic in tropical areas, where it joins forces with humidity and heat to harm your stash.
Lastly, while many aren’t even aware of this, your container’s base material can have a direct impact on your weed’s ageing process. See, while many place their weed in plastic containers, the material can cause your stash to “sweat”. This means, as with actual sweating, your plant will release its inner moisture. It’ll end up dry and harsh as a result.
Curing Pocket Box
How to Store Your Weed and Keep It Fresh
So, now that you know the enemies, you need to learn how to defend yourself and keep your weed fresh. Thankfully, it’s a fairly simple process, and you may already have everything you need to start storing your weed for a long period of time.
Really, the journey to proper cannabis storage begins with the post-harvest curing process. And, funnily enough, it involves maintaining the same sort of optimised environment for your flower. You’ll want to find a cool, dark, and moderately dry spot. Separate the buds, trim off the sugar leaves, and sort your stash into mason jars. Also, note that each jar should only be ¾ full.
With a few weeks of patience, you’ll be rewarded with fresh, smokable flowers. If you really want to ensure freshness, though, you’ll want to make sure no excess moisture gets trapped in your curing jars.
To accomplish that, we recommend utilising our specialised RQS Moisture Fighters. These plant-based sachets are designed to rest right in your stash jars, absorbing or releasing moisture according to the conditions. They’ll last up to four months, and just one 8g sachet will keep your personal stash fresh. If your jar’s a little heftier, there are sachets in sizes up to 67g available as well. Either way, you’ll want to select the ones that maintain 58% or 62% humidity. Get the former if you’re in a more humid environment, and the latter if you’re living in a dry climate.
“But how will I know if the sachet is still working? Do I need to open up the jar to check?”. Thankfully, no! They each feature a dot that changes colour depending on their condition, so you’ll know exactly when you need to replace them.
Humidity Control Pack
Use Air-Tight Glass/Ceramic Containers or Vacuum Bags
Once your buds have been sufficiently cured, we’d recommend you keep them in their mason jars. Considering how much damage oxygen can do, air-tight containers are the best choice you can make for your weed.
It can’t just be any container, though. As we mentioned before, plastic can actually hasten the ageing process, so Tupperware would be unwise. A glass or ceramic container, however, will keep it safe and fresh.
That being said, vacuum bags are also incredibly effective, as they’re naturally devoid of air.
Keep It Dark
Along with your container of choice being air-tight and glass/ceramic, it should also be opaque. Light can wreak havoc on your cannabis, and blacking out your jars can ensure total safety. Before that, however, you should make sure your curing room is completely dark (with the lights off) to begin with. With blacked-out jars, though, you can turn on the lights to check in without worrying too much.
As it turns out, our specialised RQS Re:stash Jars fulfill every one of the requirements you need your containers to meet. They’re layered with a jet-black silicone sleeve, boast air-tight lids made from hemp, and come in sizes of 4, 8, 12, and 16 ounces.
Maintain Cool Temperatures
Once you’ve got your buds in their containers, you’ll need to make sure the room stays consistently cool: below 25.5ºC (78ºF) to prevent mould from thriving. Turning it down to 21ºC (70ºF) would be optimal.
Ensure Clean Storage
Now, with almost everything in order, you just need to make sure things stay clean. Make sure you dust the shelves and jars, along with vacuuming or mopping the floor when needed. In turn, make sure you don’t spend too much time in there, as any dirt you track in will have to be cleaned up later.
Will Weed Stay Fresh When Frozen?
Through all of this, some of you may have been thinking, “I can keep food in the freezer for months, so why don’t I just freeze my cannabis?”. Others amongst you may hear someone suggest that and gag at the thought, thinking it ruins the flowers.
Those in the latter camp, however, may be surprised to learn that you can effectively store your bud in the freezer for 1–2 years. If you go for it, just make sure you’re very careful to avoid touching the buds, as the trichomes (which contain almost all of the resin) will quickly fall off.
Let them naturally thaw outside the freezer, and note the top layer of the buds may be sub-optimal. The rest of it, however, will be nearly as good as it was one or two years before.
Aged Buds: A New Trend?
To cap off our discussion, we thought we’d take a look at those people fighting against the notion of age being a detriment to cannabis. See, for some people, the curing process is an art form. For lovers of aged weed  , the prime flavour of a strain emerges with time, and some consider it necessary to wait at least five months after curing before smoking their stash.
This is still a very new school of thought, though. In general, we wouldn’t recommend trying it unless you have lengthy experience with cannabis. Yet, your journey with weed is your own, and we don’t want to stop you from experimenting!
While wine and cheese benefit from age, weed buds get dry and lose their potency. Here, we'll teach you how to preserve cannabis long-term and keep it fresh.
How Does Humidity Affect Your Cannabis?
There are many elements to consider when properly curing and storing your cannabis. One of the most crucial considerations is managing the relative humidity (RH) of the plant while it’s stored in an airtight container. Having too much moisture will increase the risk of contamination by mold or mildew. Having too little moisture will cause the trichomes to dry out. They will become brittle, harsh, and less effective as the essential oils that carry the cannabinoids and terpenes slowly degrade.
Luckily, there’s a solution that avoids the balancing act of monitoring your ambient humidity and maintaining the ideal RH. As well as giving you a powerful tool to give your cannabis the best cure possible.
What is Ambient Humidity?
Ambient humidity is what’s happening outside your container of cannabis. It could be your bedroom, the trunk of your car, or the outdoors. For air conditioned homes, the humidity is usually 20-30% because the AC scrubs moisture out of the air. Inside a heated home, the humidity will often be even lower as the furnace scrubs much of the ambient humidity.
In the time it takes to open and prepare cannabis for consumption, the flower can lose a detectable amount of moisture. Without a proper way to monitor and adjust humidity in your container, the cannabis will dry over time.
Using cannabis humidity packs like Boveda 62 in the container allows you to quickly replace the lost moisture both in the air and in the plant. The cannabis is then the same original quality every time. Some would even make the case it gets better with age, like wine or cigars.
The RH “Sweet Spot”
Humidity control packs can monitor ambient humidity and add or remove moisture to deliver a precise RH. This gives your cannabis the optimal moisture content and keeping it true to its original form. For example, the Boveda 62, developed after repeated requests from cannabis aficionados to create a pack that held a lower RH. This Boveda pack keeps your buds at the perfect 62% RH level.
To determine the best RH for cannabis, we hired a third party laboratory to do a moisture sorption isotherm on a single strain of cannabis. A moisture sorption isotherm test applies a wide range of humidity levels to an item. It also determines an RH range in which the properties of the item doesn’t change. For the strain of cannabis the lab tested, 59-63% RH showed to be ideal.
In the same way nature has gifted the world cannabis, it gifts us the natural salts that provide the key to balancing RH levels. Different salt compounds hold a varying range of moisture. Making it crucial to source a salt that stabilizes moisture content at an ideal 62%.
Many who prefer vaporizing their cannabis are finding they favor even lower humidity levels, such as the 54%. Personal preference can also dictate your ideal RH “sweet spot,” with elements like plant density and personal taste being the deciding factors.
How Does RH Affect the Curing, Drying, and Storage of Cannabis?
If you want the best possible cure, you need to store cannabis in an environment with stable RH within the ideal range. The ambient humidity isn’t much of a concern. Boveda cannabis humidity packs respond to conditions inside the container, absorbing or releasing moisture to maintain the ideal 62% inside.
From there, your major concerns are temperature and light. Boveda adjusts the humidity based on temperature changes, but cannabis should always be kept away from high temperatures to avoid decarboxylation or activating the precious cannabinoids. And as widely recommended throughout the cannabis industry, always store you cannabis in a cool dark place.
While Boveda is effective at removing excess moisture, growers should still dry cannabis using their traditional methods. When the branches feel close to their target moisture content, put the buds in containers with Boveda to help adjust the RH to the proper range for cannabis.
Humidity plays a huge role in the quality of cannabis. Maintain superior quality with cannabis humidity packs from Boveda.