A study published in the Journals of Pharmacy and Pharmacology reveals that both resin and herbal cannabis can stay stable for one or two years if you properly store them in an environment with favorable conditions.
Storing cannabis involves more than just throwing the buds in a bag and stashing it in a drawer. If you want your cannabis to last, you have to create a conducive environment to keep it. To understand the importance of creating a storage environment, you first need to understand what will happen to your marijuana buds if you do not take proper care of them.
How you store your marijuana determines its overall quality and effect. Just like any other product, cannabis too can expire. Therefore it needs to be stored with similar care given to an old bottle of whiskey to preserve its goodness. There is nothing worse as a cannabis enthusiast to smoke ancient and dry marijuana herbs that do not have any flavor and is lost on potency. Several factors affect the overall quality of your weed. These factors include temperature, humidity, light, and heat.
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How Temperature Affects Cannabis
When storing your cannabis, you need to ensure that the temperature of the storage area lies between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It is mainly because mildew and molds cannot survive under such a temperature. You should ensure that the storage is cool and dark. When the cannabis is exposed to excessive heat, the cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant dry out. When these essential oils that have taken too long to develop dry out, the result is the cannabis is burning with a cloud of hot and harsh smoke.
When you store the buds in low temperatures, the process of the decarboxylation of cannabinoids slows down. It is the process responsible for transferring THC-A into the psychoactive THC. It eventually degrades to become CBN, which is less desirable and makes the cannabis less potent over time.
If you intend to smoke your cannabis, you should never store it in freezing temperatures. The trichomes are one of the critical factors in cannabis potency. You can find them on the outer part of the buds. When the temperature drops, the trichomes freeze and fall off the buds, reducing the potency of the buds.
However, you can freeze cannabis if you want to make an ice bubble hash and other concentrates that require frozen marijuana.
How Humidity Affects Cannabis
It is paramount that you control the levels of humidity when storing cannabis. When the temperature in your storage area is high, the amount of moisture also increases. High humidity is a risk factor for the development of mildew and molds on cannabis. The consensus to the amount of humidity that you should maintain is between 59 percent and 63 percent.
Effects of Humidity on the Aroma and Flavors of Cannabis
The terpenes influence the aroma and fragrance in a cannabis plant. Terpenes are fragrant essential oils in the cannabis plans that give a particular strain its unique scent and taste. They are found in the trichomes of the cannabis plant together with cannabinoids. When the humidity levels are low, the trichomes break down, and the cannabis plant loses its taste and aroma. When the terpenes are lost, your marijuana may as well lose its medicinal value. A good example is people consider myrcene to be responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects that you can find in marijuana strains such as the Himalayan Gold. When the terpenes from such a plant break down due to low humidity, the plant will lose its medicinal value.
When you store your marijuana buds with the right humidity levels, you can maintain the color, aroma, flavor, and consistency of the marijuana. You should be careful to always keep the humidity levels below 65 percent as any higher than that will trigger the chances of mold to occur. Additionally, the humidity should not go any lower than 59 percent as it will trigger the trichomes to become brittle and lead to the drying of the essential oils.
It is thought that 62 percent is the best level of humidity to have if you are storing cannabis for smoking. For people that prefer vaping, the best relative humidity levels should be close to 54 percent. Professional weed growers make use of products like salt-based humidity salt monitoring and control packs from Boveda to maintain the humidity levels of the cannabis in the stores.
Using Boveda Packs
Every time you open a mason jar to prepare cannabis for consumption, the buds lose a considerable amount of moisture. When you do not carefully regulate the changes in humidity in your storage container, the buds will then eventually dry out with time.
A Boveda pack can help you to replace the moisture lost both from the air and the cannabis plants helping the buds maintain their original quality. Boveda packs help to monitor the ambient humidity and control the amount of moisture to help set an exact relative humidity level. It helps the cannabis buds maintain their true nature due to an optimal amount of moisture available.
It is imperative that you store your buds in an environment constituted with the right level of relative humidity for you to get the best possible cure. After gaining control over the moisture level, the only other concerns you should have are the effects of light and temperature.
Boveda packs can help you control the levels of humidity even with the changing levels in the temperature. However, you should try your level best to store your cannabis buds in areas that do not have a high temperature to prevent the activation of cannabinoids or the decarboxylation of the buds.
Boveda 72 Percent RH 2-Way Humidity Control:
The 4-pack bag is made up of 72 percent relative humidity Boveda that comes in a resealable container. It provides hustle-free maintenance of full-size humidors and humidor bags. It has a reverse osmosis membrane that releases pure water vapor with use and does not damage anything it comes into direct contact. You can use two Boveda packs for every 50 marijuana cigars your humidor can hold. It can last up to 3 months when you use it in most humidors. You should order for a replacement once the pack becomes rigid.
How light Affects you Cannabis Storage
In the 1970s, a study was conducted at the University of London, showing that light was the most significant factor affecting the degradation of cannabis. Harmful UV rays are known to damage both synthetic and organic materials. Similarly, when you expose cannabis to harmful UV light, it will degrade over time. When you store cannabis under all the right conditions, it can remain stable for only two years. However, marijuana can still be safe to consume, and effective as the essential oils take some time before they completely breakdown.
When storing cannabis, you should ensure that you keep it away from direct sunlight. One great way is by using opaque containers.
Effects of Air on Cannabis Storage
Air is an essential element in the growing, drying, and storage process of a cannabis plant. When storing cannabis, you need to ensure that the container you use contains just the right amount of air. It helps to keep the marijuana fresh and in its original form without degrading.
When the amount of air is not enough, the relative humidity can become affected, which in turn can harm the cannabis buds, especially if they are not completely dry. On the other hand, when you provide your cannabis plants with too much air during storage, the degradation process of the cannabis will increase.
You can make use of an electric or hand vacuum pump attachment on the canning jar you are using to store marijuana to help you control the amount of oxygen that your cannabis receives.
The method that you choose during storage dictates the period through which your buds will maintain their potency and freshness. Marijuana that is well stored appears to be full and sparkly with a dash of color. The color of the buds is mostly green with orange hairs. However, at times, you may note other colors, such as purple. When you store your cannabis buds improperly, they start to crumble and switch color to brown. Not all brown weed buds are bad as there is some well-cured cannabis that loses their color. However, being both crumbly and brown indicates that the buds are old or they were not stored in air-tight containers. The buds have mold if the brown color appears in random patches.
When you harvest your cannabis, you want to store it for as long as the next harvest. Many growers, especially those who farm marijuana outdoors harvest only once in a year. Therefore, they may need to keep their buds in a state that will last until the next harvesting season.
The process is easy and cheap. You do not require the use of special equipment as you can use locally available material. Here are two of the best methods you can use to store your cannabis.
Using Glass Mason Jars and Placing then in Cool and Dark Places
One of the most effective ways of storing buds is by storing them in a cool and dark place. The temperatures should range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can find quart-sized glass mason jars at your local home improvement and grocery store. They are useful in storing cannabis since they can help in maintaining the potency of the buds by keeping the buds away from moisture and air. The glass jars are as well useful in terms of containing the smell of the cannabis. Whenever you use mason jars, you should ensure that the jars are 3/4 full so that the amount of air in the mason jars. If you do not have enough buds, you should use small-sized mason jars. Once you store your cannabis buds in air-tight glass mason jars in cool and dark spaces, you will help your buds maintain their potency for a period close to one year.
Properties of the Glass Storage:
- It is air-tight and odor-proof.
- It does not cause the breaking off of trichomes due to static
- Buds can last for one or more years without losing their potency when you store them in a cool and dry place.
- The storage containers do not affect the natural taste or smell of buds.
- The curing process is unaffected, and buds may continue to cure, leading to their increased potency.
Freezing your Buds
If you are looking for a long-term storage method, you should freeze your buds right after drying and storing them for about four weeks. This method helps to maintain the potency of the marijuana buds for several years. Similar to what many cannabis growers do, you can put your buds in freezer bags and wrapping them in aluminum foil before throwing them into the freezer.
To use this method of storage, you need to have experience in handling marijuana buds. When the buds freeze, their trichomes become brittle and easily breakable at freezing temperature. It is vital that you let the buds first get back to room temperature before you start handling them. However, if the trichomes still fall off, you can collect them from the bottom of the container and use them since they do not just disappear into thin air. Also, you can get rid of the problem by letting the temperature of the buds change to room temperature before handling them. Even though many outdoor growers use this method of storage, you are the one to decide if using this method is a risk worth taking.
Properties of a Freezer:
- Buds can maintain their potency for many years.
- Your plants may quickly lose their flavor and smell over time due to using the freezer bag plastic as opposed to Mason glass jars. However, you can get rid of this problem by using glass jars in the freezer.
- Since the buds easily damage when you handle them straight from a freezer, you should allow them to first warm up to room temperature. It helps prevent the trichomes from falling off.
What You Should Avoid
Refrigerating your buds
You should avoid refrigerating your marijuana buds. When you place the buds in the fridge, they have a higher chance of developing mold. You should either store them in the freezer or an air-tight container. Most importantly, the buds should be completely dry so that mold and fungi cannot grow on them. Storing the buds in a fridge does not help since the humidity and temperature are always fluctuating.
Storing your Buds in Plastic Bags
Many cannabis growers may commonly use this method to store marijuana buds even though it is wrong. Once you put the buds in plastic bags, they begin to lose their smell and start drying out slowly. The potency also disintegrates, and the buds start to crumble.
If you use plastic bags, you should only use them for a short while or stop using them altogether. When storing a small number of buds, you can get a glass stashbox to store your cannabis. The container not only prevents the smell from leaking but also helps in the continuation of the curing.
Using a Vacuum Sealer
Vacuum sealers can help you get rid of all the air in a freezing bag or mason jar before using them to store the marijuana buds. If you plan on storing your weed buds for a long time, you should consider using a vacuum sealer.
However, the effect that has on slowing down the degradation process of the buds is not much on its own. Even still, you can use it together with other steps to help increase the storage time of the buds.
Other Factors Influencing the Storage of Marijuana
When dealing with other marijuana products such as edibles or any other perishable product, you need to use their specific storage guidelines. However, it is recommended not to store marijuana products for a long time. You should carefully follow the directions that come with the package and store them in a similar way to edible food-based items.
Cannabis tinctures and concentrates contain a lot of bio-matter that makes them less susceptible to the development of molds or any other contaminants. Even still, you should follow the basic guidelines above to protect them from any contamination and to prevent any loss in potency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should you not store your cannabis in a refrigerator?
Even though using a refrigerator may look like a good idea, the fact that it does not have a constant temperature and humidity level do not do well to the storage of cannabis buds. The changes in temperature and humidity provide a good ground for the development of mold on your cannabis buds. It is best to store them in a freezer or an air-tight jar in a cool and dry place.
When it comes to storing cannabis, you want to put it in a medium that will allow it to maintain its natural characteristics for a long time. You should, therefore, pay special attention to the type of container you use. Ensure that they do not encourage any sweating of the buds. You should as well make us of good moisture control material that will help protect the buds from the development of mold. More importantly, you should ensure that the storage area is in a cool and dry place.
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