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Dry vs. Dried Out: How to Keep Your Cannabis Buds Fresh

By Alan Ray | Last updated: May 5, 2021
Key Takeaways

You put a lot of work into growing your cannabis plants and harvested them at just the right time. Now, the next challenge is keeping your buds properly stored so you get back what you put into them.

Few things offer more pleasure to the cannabis enthusiast than the sweet taste and singular fragrance of their favorite bud consumed at the peak of freshness.

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A rich, alluring bouquet coupled with an endorphin-releasing flavor is a nice first step on your two-step journey. Fresh pot not only looks better, tastes better, and smokes more smoothly than dry, but it produces superior results.

Dry vs. Dried Out Cannabis

There is a huge difference between dry pot and pot that is dried out. Naturally, cannabis needs to be properly dried and cured to be enjoyed to its fullest potential when consumed, but that does not mean devoid of all moisture.

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When cannabis becomes mummy-dry, it smokes harshly, loses potency, and burns up quickly; the antithesis of fresh weed. Moreover, if totally dry, it loses all those wonderfully aromatic compounds (terpenes) that impart such delicious flavors and gives our olfactories a workout.

Whether you grow your own or purchase through available sources, you’ll want your favorite flavor to remain fresh as long as possible. Let’s look at a few storage methods you can employ that will help keep your stash fresh, as well as a few that will produce the opposite effect.

Read also: 5 Ways to Stash Your Stash: Cannabis Storage Solutions

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Man holding a sandwich baggie filled with cannabis bud.Plastic sandwich baggies are not ideal for storing cannabis.

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Dos and Don’ts of Keeping Cannabis Fresh

Essentially, there are five sworn enemies of harvested cannabis; air, humidity, light, mold, and for some, detection.

Thin plastic bags made for sandwiches are taboo for storing. Carrying your herb from point A to point B in a baggie is okay, or when consumption outpaces time, but if you want it to remain fresh over a longer period, you’ll need to transfer it into something more conducive to its preservation.

Here’s why you should avoid using sandwich bag plastic for storage purposes. The first obvious negative is that the bags are transparent.

More than that, however, with just a moderate rise in temperature, these bags begin break down and release petrol-based toxins that can permeate your stash. They also leak odor and allow in light and air that will eventually dry out your buds.

If that weren’t enough, plastic bags create static electricity that leaves the fine trichomes clinging to the bag, which can be a real pain in the bud.

Read also: Customize Your Cannabis Experience with Terpenes

Put a Lid on It

One of the best methods of preservation is glass jars. Glass jars offer a host of pluses and there are several types from which to choose—from jars with a rubber seal that clamp down to good old Mason jars with a lid and screw-on band. Store in a cool, dark place because glass can sweat and you don’t want to create the opportunity for mold.

Colored or blacked-out jars are best, as they block out greater amounts of light. Moreover, jars help prevent air from leaking out (which carries scent) and air from seeping in (which can dry out its contents).

Less light, less air, fresher smoke. The jury is still out, however, on how full you should fill your jar. Some suggest you shouldn’t pack your herb into the jar too tightly, leaving a bit of space between buds, while others believe cramming it full pushes out air, the enemy of freshness. The negative to cramming is that it squeezes the buds. The call is yours to make.

Cold, Hard Stash

Freezing cannabis to preserve it is another urban myth. Freezing does just what the word implies but with negative results when it comes to pot.

Trichomes are the resin glands that contain the THC and CBD, along with other psychoactive properties.

When trichomes are frozen, they tend to break off and fall away with each handling, essentially reducing the potency of your bud over time while drying it out. There is also the possibility of mold when the pot sweats from being frozen and then thawed.

Bottom line: avoid freezing. Another trick to keeping your product fresh is don’t break up the buds until you're ready to use them. They naturally remain fresher longer when left intact.

Tobacco humidor.Humidors designed for tobacco aren’t recommended for cannabis.

Humidors and Cannabis

Proper humidity is paramount when you’re serious about keeping your herb fresh.

Humidors are an excellent way to maintain proper humidity levels. Not all humidors, however, are created equal. Humidors designed for tobacco aren’t recommended for cannabis, as the humidity level best suited for tobacco is different from weed.

Optimal relative humidity (RH) levels for tobacco are between 70-72 per cent, whereas cannabis stores best in a lower humidity range of 50-65 per cent RH.

Additionally, many tobacco humidors are constructed using cedar wood, which has a distinct woody smell that could potentially alter the smell and/or taste of your weed. There are cannabis humidors created expressly for the preservation of cannabis available online.

Vacuum Sealing Cannabis

For improved shelf life, many smokers are turning to home vacuum-sealing machines. Vacuum-sealing is an excellent method of keeping your weed fresh. This practice is generally used for larger amounts that need to be stored over a longer period.

With vacuum seal bags, you simply place your product into the tear- and puncture-resistant plastic bag and line up the edges to the vacuum machine.

At the push of a button, all the air is extracted from the bag and a heat seal ensures that no air will seep in, thus preserving your dank over the long haul. Vacuum sealing also controls odor.

Removing all the air from the bag this way will tend to flatten your buds. Additionally, even though the bags are made of a heavier plastic, you’ll still need to store them in a cool, dark place.

Read next: The Art of Curing Your Cannabis Crop

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Written by Alan Ray

Profile Picture of Alan Ray
Alan Ray has written five books and is a New York Times bestselling author. Additionally, he is a multi-award winning songwriter with awards from BMI and ASCAP. Alan lives in Tennessee with his wife and two dogs: a South African Boerboel and a Pomeranian/Wolverine mix.

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