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

By Tia Moskalenko, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

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.

This article originally appeared on AskGrowers and has been reposted with permission.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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