If you pay over $300 for an ounce of marijuana at a dispensary, learning how to store it is essential. Keeping it in a cool, dark place is the best way to preserve your cannabis. With proper storage, your weed could last for more than a year.
The practice of correctly storing marijuana is relatively simple, but we’re also going to outline the theory in this article. We will look at five key factors and conclude by breaking proper cannabis storage down into a simple list of dos and don’ts.
1 – Temperature
Mold and mildew wreak havoc on organic matter if temperatures are between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to even higher temperatures will result in the cannabis’ terpenes and cannabinoids drying out. In a matter of days, your weed could lose the cannabinoids it took months to produce. Trying to smoke or vape such marijuana will result in not too optimal of an experience.
On the flip side, excessively low temperatures can slow the decarboxylation process (decarboxylation is the term used for when THCA converts into THC). Over time, THC degrades to CBN, which offers very different effects. The ‘sweet spot’ temperature range for cannabis storage is 60-68 degrees. However, your cannabis should remain well-preserved at temperatures between 50 and 59 degrees too.
Many users believe the fridge is a good place to store their products. However, aside from interfering with decarboxylation, there is another issue. Transporting the cannabis back and forth from a fridge to room temperature can create condensation. The resulting excessive moisture encourages the growth of mold.
2 – Light
While marijuana needs sunlight (and/or grow lights) during its natural growth cycle, things are different once the plant is harvested. In fact, UV rays break down organic materials and will degrade your cannabis.
DID YOU KNOW? Due to UV degradation, cannabis plants should not be exposed to excess sunlight after harvest and curing.
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology in 1976 outlined this issue. The researchers found that light was the #1 factor in cannabinoid degradation. They also discovered that cannabinoids remain stable for approximately two years, if properly stored.
Therefore, it makes sense to keep your cannabis out of direct light. This is achievable by placing it in a container in a cupboard. You can also use a dark glass container for an added layer of UV protection. Useful storage suggestions include a locked cabinet or drawer. You can even put it in a basement, as long as the room doesn’t get too cold or moist.
3 – Humidity
As is the case during the growing cycle (as well as the drying and curing processes), too much moisture is bad news for marijuana storage. You need to keep the humidity of your storage area under control – otherwise, you increase the risk of mold and mildew growth.
Assuming your cannabis is already properly cured and dried, a humidity level of 59% to 64% is ideal for storage. In this range, the dried flower will retain its aroma, taste, potency, and color. Once the humidity level exceeds 65%, marijuana is at risk of growing mold. Mold growth becomes inevitable when the humidity goes beyond 75%.
Of course, you also have to ensure that humidity doesn’t drop too low either. Doing so means the marijuana’s trichomes could dry out and become brittle. The essential oils start to dry out, and the cannabis is less tasty and aromatic below 50%.
You can invest in a hygrometer to measure the humidity of your storage area. It is also worth investing in a humidity pack, but this particular product requires replacing every few months.
4 – Oxygen
When cultivating marijuana, you have to ensure it receives ample amounts of oxygen. Good airflow in a grow room can help prevent mold and increase yield.
However, when storing marijuana, oxygen becomes an enemy of sorts. The best practice is to keep your weed in an airtight Mason jar. Open it every so often to ensure your cannabis receives a little air. This is an especially important consideration if your bud is still drying.
Exposing your weed to too much air speeds up the degradation process. For this reason, some users vacuum seal their cannabis when storing it long-term. There are also special airtight containers specifically designed for marijuana storage.
Airtight containers prevent oxidation that will ultimately alter the chemical profile of your cannabis. However, using an overly large container can pose a problem – even if it’s sealed. Air takes up space not used by your cannabis and causes oxidation issues over a longer period. Therefore, choose a container that allows your weed to fit snugly inside.
5 – Material & Storage Area
Your final consideration is the material used for your storage container. It is worth investing in a glass container, as glass has no negative impact on the plant material. Using a cheap plastic bag or box is a mistake. Plastic has a static charge that can attract trichomes.
Also, pay attention to where you place your cannabis. Keeping it near appliances that produce heat (for example electronics) can degrade your product. Heat rises, so it is best to keep the marijuana in a low cupboard or shelf. If you have children or pets, invest in a lock.
DID YOU KNOW? Plastic has a natural static charge which can pull trichomes from plant material and reduce the potency of your flower.
Furthermore, avoid transporting your cannabis as much as possible. Even small differences in temperature and humidity between rooms could cause problems. Also, moving your weed often can cause the trichomes to fall off, thus reducing potency.
Finally, avoid storing your marijuana with accessories such as grinders or pipes. The resin and ash from burned cannabis lingers, and will eventually degrade the quality of your precious flower.
The Dos and Don’ts of Cannabis Storage
- Store cannabis at approximately room temperature. A range of 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, although 50-68 degrees is acceptable.
- Keep your cannabis in a cool, dark place.
- Ensure the humidity is between 59% and 64%, although anything above 50% is okay.
- Buy a hygrometer to check humidity, or else purchase a humidity pack.
- Minimize oxygen exposure. (Consider purchasing a vacuum pump attachment or special storage jar if necessary).
- Whenever possible, store in a glass container (such as a Mason jar) and place it on a low shelf in a locked cupboard.
- Keep your cannabis in the same place for as long as possible. Movement causes friction, which could result in lost trichomes.
- Put your marijuana in a fridge or freezer. The temperature in a refrigerator is too low, and can hinder decarboxylation. Placing weed in the freezer could also result in the trichomes snapping off.
- Keep your cannabis stored near electronics.
- Expose your marijuana to sunlight. The UV rays will break down the cannabinoids and terpenes, negatively impacting potency.
- Allow the humidity level to exceed 65%. If your storage area’s humidity is above 75%, mold growth is almost guaranteed.
- Expose your cannabis to too much air
- Use an unnecessarily large container.
- Use a plastic container (the static from plastic will attract trichomes, reducing the potency of the flower).
- Store cannabis along with paraphernalia.
Final Thoughts on Proper Cannabis Storage
When storing marijuana, key things to consider are temperature, humidity, light, oxygen, and the material of the container you’re using to store your flower. If you do everything correctly, cannabis can remain in top shape for at least a year, if not longer.
Also, please note that many of the storage rules for cannabis flower storage also apply to other forms of marijuana. For example concentrates, tinctures, and edibles can all degrade based on time, humidity, light, and heat. Edibles, in particular, are a major storage concern due to their perishability.
Although cannabis is robust enough to survive inefficient storage for several weeks, it isn’t wise to test your luck. Invest in a glass Mason jar or another form of airtight glass container. Also, be sure to keep your weed locked away in a drawer or cupboard located near the floor.
Finally, measure temperature and humidity, and keep your cannabis away from direct sunlight. If you follow these basic guidelines, you’ll be enjoying premium-quality cannabis for months, if not years, to come.