The Best Way to Store Your Buds
When storing cannabis, there are some critical do’s and don’ts you should follow to maximize your prized weed’s potency, taste, shelf life, and quality.
It is believed that cannabinoids can remain stable for up to two years if they’ve been cured and stored correctly. However, many users are still unaware of what appropriate storage looks like. I can tell you one thing for free — it’s not a plastic baggie. That method of storage isn’t doing your flower any favors.
Environmental factors including light and humidity can degrade the potency and the flavor of your cannabis. Never fear, though, as there are some solutions for long-term weed storage that will keep your stash as fresh as day one.
Environmental Factors Can Degrade the Quality of Your Stash
Light, especially sunlight, is the primary reason for cannabis degradation. Think of how sunlight bleaches the color out of clothes, curtains, etc. In the same way, it can degrade the chemical integrity of THC. UV photons break down chemical bonds in THC molecules, leading to destabilization and loss of potency. One study measured a loss of 0.5 percent THC for every hour of direct sunlight the cannabis was exposed to.
Exposure to oxygen slowly converts THC into the minor cannabinoid CBN. If storing long term in a non-airtight container, this can add up to a noticeable loss of potency. On the flip side, too little oxygen can also be a problem. It can raise humidity levels, allowing mold to form.
Moisture alone does not degrade the potency of your cannabis. Still, it is a precursor for mold, which, once established, will completely decimate your weed and leave it unusable. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a balancing act as your terpenes and cannabinoids will also begin to degrade if they become too dry. For this reason, it is essential to maintain proper humidity levels of 59-63RH.
High temperatures will dry out buds and cause terpenes to evaporate. This makes for harsh smoke and an unpleasant flavor. Mold and mildew thrive between 78-86°F. With this in mind, the ideal storage temperature for cannabis should be around 40-60°F. A dry, cool, shaded corner, cupboard, or basement is perfect.
The Best Storage Container for Your Weed
A storage container with a genuine airtight rubber seal is the best option for everyday storage that you will access regularly. Mason jars are good. However, clear glass won’t cut it. If you only have clear glass, you will need to paint it or cover it to keep the light out. It is best to choose a ceramic pot, a stainless-steel vault, or an opaque glass jar.
Plastic Bags are Okay, Right?
Not really. Plastic baggies are neither light-tight nor airtight, which means degradation of cannabinoids and loss of potency and flavor. They can also rub trichomes off the flower. This means they tend to sweat more and collect condensation, raising humidity levels. Although some plastic containers claim to be airtight, they rarely are.
When selecting an airtight storage container, size is essential. Ideally, you want the container to be about three-quarters full, whether curing or storing. This will allow plenty of airflow around your nugs and prevent humidity issues or moisture pockets. Never pack your weed down to fit more in. You want it to be loose and able to move around in the jar.
You can purchase purpose-built moisture regulators specifically for cannabis in the form of humidity packs. These little envelopes look like silica gel that you find in packaging boxes. They are tailored to meet the specific humidity conditions of cannabis, whether you are curing or just storing. They are a great inexpensive additional safety measure to chuck in your jar and ensure your stash stays in the best condition possible.
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The best way to protect the cannabis you are storing long-term is to vacuum seal it. However, that is not an accessible option for most of us.
Although you would not first think of it, freezing cannabis is excellent for long-term storage. Sealing the weed in an airtight container will prevent condensation from collecting and freezing the plant material.
A word of caution here, however, as freezing cannabis leaves the trichomes brittle and at risk of falling off at the slightest knock. Realistically, you should expect to lose a little potency. Freezing it in an airtight container is better than keeping it in the fridge. The fridge experiences more temperature and humidity changes while freezer conditions are more stable.
Store Flower on its Own
When storing weed long-term, it’s important to keep only the cannabis flower in your storage container. Keeping lighters, pipes, or other paraphernalia could cause other odors to absorb into your weed, tainting your experience. Likewise, do not store your weed with or near any other organic substances or anything with a pungent smell. This can affect both the flavor and aroma of your stash. It is also essential to use a new, clean container for storing weed.
Tobacco humidors are generally made out of cedarwood. They are not suitable for storing cannabis as the oil from the wood can absorb into the flower, affecting the bud’s flavor and distorting the valuable terpene profile.
Dry and Cure Properly
If you grow your weed, one of the best bits of advice I can give you on this topic is to take the time to dry and cure it properly following harvest.
Drying is as vital as growing, and a lousy drying process can ruin even the best buds. Drying cannabis means reducing the water content of the buds to 10-15 percent, depending on the desired crispiness of the final product.
Curing is a long but essential step toward the highest possible quality of smoke. While a thorough cure will not elevate poorly grown flower, a sloppy, rushed cure can ruin quality flower. Dry and cure your weed correctly to start with and storing it will be much easier.
Like almost everything else organic, the precious trichomes on your buds aren’t going to last forever. Over time, changes naturally occur with exposure to heat, light, and moisture. While we cannot avoid these changes indefinitely, we can use a few tips and tricks to keep your weed in tip-top condition so that you can enjoy it for longer.
Integra Specialty Products offers the latest technology to keep cannabis products fresh. Our two-way humidity control packs include a 100% plant-based and salt-free solution. By doing this, only pure water vapor goes into the flower with no traces of off gases. This way the cannabis’ smells, flavors, terpenes, stay intact while keeping them fresh!
Written by Rich Hamilton | Writer, Consultant, Author of The Growers Guide
Rich Hamilton has been in the hydroponics industry for more than 20 years, working originally as a general manager in a hydroponics retail outlet before becoming an account manager at Century Growsystems. He enjoys working on a daily basis with shop owners, manufacturers, distributors, and end users to develop premium products.