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How Long Does Cannabis Stay Fresh? The Basics and the Science

How Long Does Cannabis Stay Fresh? The Basics and the Science August 8, 2018Leave a comment


This is a scene that has played out before for many cannabis enthusiasts. You’re out of weed and happen to come across a ziplock bag stuffed under a gym bag in a closet – from when, you can’t recall. You get excited about finding the forgotten about weed. But, one question pops up in your head. How long is weed good for? Can you still smoke older, dried out cannabis? Does it lose its potency? By how much? Here is some information that will give you a great understanding of the cannabis degradation process.

How Long Does Cannabis Stay Fresh: The Basics

First off, temperature, humidity, light and most importantly air are all factors in the process of degradation of weed. Therefore, just putting the cannabis in a plastic bag and throwing it into a drawer would not be the best method for preservation. Air tight containers, humidity packs and containers that can block UV rays are needed to properly store cannabis for a longer haul more than a few weeks. If the cannabis has been properly harvested, dried, cured and then properly stored upon your receipt, cannabis can potentially stay fresh for six months up to a year. People that go beyond the standard to store and preserve their cannabis can stretch the time to just about two years, give or take. For the average smoker, however, all conditions would not be equally ideal.

How Long Does Cannabis Stay Fresh: The Science

Since you have the general idea of how cannabis can last longer, let’s now get more specific facts. First let’s explain what actually happens to cannabis as it ages. Ultimately, all the chemicals that make cannabis what it truly is end up breaking down. Over time, the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the flower degrade and start to lose potency. When terpenes break down, cannabis will lose its flavor and scent. This will end up leaving the cannabis tasteless and lacking that desired “whiff” effect when smelling it. Older weed can end up tasting harsh or even bitter and nasty to some. These factors are all controlled by the breaking down of terpene levels. Similarly, and more importantly, cannabinoids also break down over time. Old, worn out bud won’t be as potent because a lot of the THC will have broken down and dissipated. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime…

Researchers found that, on average, a cannabis plant matter loses THC potency at this rate:

* After one year, weed loses roughly 16% of its THC.

* Two years in storage results in a loss of 26% of its THC.

* Weed loses 34% of its THC after three years.

* After four years in storage, weed loses 41% of its THC.

Let’s return to that old bag of weed you found at the back of your closet. How do you know if it’s bad? Basically, you’re looking for a few things: * Is it moldy? If your weed was too moist or humid, it may develop mold. Do not smoke moldy weed!

* Is it dried out? If your bud has crumbled into dust, it’s obviously too old.

* Does it smell fresh? Old cannabis lacks the crisp scent of fresh weed.

* Does it break apart? If it’s spongy and doesn’t make any sounds when you pull apart a nug, it might be damp and moldy. If it instantly breaks down into dry dust, it’s too old.

Bottom line, there are factors regarding how long cannabis can stay fresh but there are some measures you can take to extend its freshness. Most smokers generally want to consume their cannabis within a six-month time frame, even while taking proper storing procedures.

By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)

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