How to Know Your Cannabis Has Gone Bad and How to Prevent It

How to Know Your Cannabis Has Gone Bad and How to Prevent It

From Henry Jake

Happening upon old cannabis is like finding money on the sidewalk: it’s your lucky day. But… just exactly how long has that cannabis been there, and is it even good anymore?

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Living in Vancouver or New Westminster, and in general, living in Canada, you will not have problems same day cannabis delivery. But it's always interesting to stumble upon an old stash that you may have forgotten about. And then the question arises: does cannabis expire?

How long does cannabis stay fresh?

When stored properly, dried cannabis keeps for 6 months to 1 year. Over time, it begins to lose its aroma and potency.

According to some older research, weed loses roughly 16 percent of its THC after 1 year, and it just keeps dropping from there:

  • 26 percent THC lost after 2 years
  • 34 percent THC lost after 3 years
  • 41 percent THC lost after 4 years

What does missing cannabis taste like?

At the end of the day, if your cannabis looks good, smells good, breaks apart with no issues, and gives you that wonderful snap sensation, try it out. If you haven’t taken the time to inspect your cannabis first, I don’t advise skipping straight to smoking it before determining if it’s old or bad.

That said, bad cannabis does not smoke well, which you’ll figure out very quickly into your first puff. Sometimes you just have to dig in and give it a try (although you should, at the very least, inspect for mold first).

Looking for mold on old cannabis

Just as you might look for mold on any food you’re unsure about, you can do the same with cannabis to ensure its freshness. Fortunately, mold is easy to spot, so you may not have any issues identifying it.

It might appear like powdery mildew, a light fuzz, or irregular dark spots that don’t look like they should be there. If you suspect mold but don’t see any, perform the smell test. The smell of sourness or aridity might indicate that your cannabis is far from fresh.

As inhaling mold might not be a comfortable or pleasant experience, with some people experiencing nausea and diarrhea, throwing away your old cannabis and purchasing fresh buds might be a wise decision.

Tips for storing cannabis

How you store cannabis has a significant impact on how long the product will last, and these criteria are crucial for storing cannabis and maximizing its shelf life.

While cannabis plants thrive on light during the various growth stages, UV rays can degrade your flower after harvesting quicker than anything. To avoid losing valuable terpene and cannabinoid content during storage, it is recommended to keep your stash away from a direct light source.

If you are unable to store your container in a dark environment, it is recommended to use opaque containers or to cover any areas on the container where light may enter with stickers or tape.

The best way to end up with moldy buds is to allow them to come in contact with moisture. But good bud can’t get too dry without causing degradation of the cannabinoids and terpenes. The key is to maintain proper humidity levels, ideally between 59% and 63% RH (relative humidity).

For this reason, we don’t recommend storing cannabis in the refrigerator. The fluctuations in temperature and humidity will increase your chances of growing mold.

To reduce exposure to air, make sure to always store your cannabis in an air-tight container. Don't use very large containers to store small quantities of cannabis, as this leaves too much air inside the container with your herb. It's inevitable that some amount of oxygen will get into your sealed package once it is open, but you can keep the number of times you open your jars to a minimum.

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