Can Weed Go Bad? + Storage Tips

weed expiration date

Before we even get started we need to decide what ‘goes bad’ means. If you mean in a sense like groceries expiring the answer is not usually, but maybe – kind of. I know, that’s the worst answer ever, but give me some time to elaborate and you’ll see what I mean (it mostly boils down to mold).

On the other hand, if you mean ‘goes bad’ as in loses favorable characteristics, the simple answer is yes.

This topic has a lot of parts so this turned out to be a lengthy article. If you’re looking for something specific you can use the links below to jump around the article. But, if you’ve got a few extra minutes to spare you should read the whole thing.

How Long Until Weed Goes Bad? A Year? A Month?
Bud/Flower
Wax/Concentrates
Tincture
Edibles – Cookies/Brownies
Seeds
Mold on Weed
Will You Get Sick?
Factors that Keep Your Weed Fresh
Temperature – Cold/Heat
Light
Moisture / Humidity Level
What Container Makes Weed Last Longest?
Pill Bottle
Jar
Bag
Vacuum Seal
How Long Will Weed Last in a Joint or Blunt?
Final Thoughts

Make sure to tell me your thoughts in the comment section at the end.

How Long Until Weed Goes Bad? A Year? A Month?

The answer for exactly how fast cannabis loses its potency is really subjective. I’m going to do my best to break down some variables for different types of cannabis consumables, but I just can’t give you exact times for everything.

Bud/Flower

Okay, let’s talk about THC. It will degrade, but it’s really slow. As it would appear it may never fully break down. A 2,700-year-old stash was discovered in the Gobi desert and it still tested positive for THC. So, you can probably get high on weed that’s pretty old.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a pleasant smoke. Much of the plant material is going to be over-dried and stale. The terpenes that give it such a great taste will have broken down, so the taste and smell will no longer be what it once was. The amount of time this starts happening dramatically changes based on how it’s stored. I discuss storage in depth later.

Wax/Concentrates

concentrate expiration date

This is one category I have a more definitive answer on, but I can’t tell you exactly why it’s that way. For concentrates, I suggest no longer than a year (if stored properly).

My reasoning for this is simple. When I go to a dispensary and get concentrates they sometimes have an expiration date on the package. The date is always around year from when I bought it.

You can see in the photo above the shatter has an expiration date of May 2017. 

It’s probably fine for longer, but let’s be honest – do you really need to store concentrates for longer than a year?

Tincture

This is going to depend largely on the substance used to make the tincture. If it’s a pure alcohol base then it should keep for years if stored properly. There are so many substances used to make tincture there’s no way I could comment on all of them. If you’re interested in the shelf life of tincture then just look up the shelf life of what was used to make it.

Edibles – Cookies/Brownies

edible expiration date

With edibles, the food itself will almost always go bad before the THC has enough time to degrade much. If you’re taking edibles then you should use whatever the expiration date is for the type of food it is. If purchased from a dispensary, the edibles should have a printed expiration date on the packaging.

The photo above is the label for a chocolate based edible. It’s good for 6 months. Each edible is going to have different amounts of time. Baked goods will typically expire sooner. 

Seeds

Seeds do go bad over time, and you’ll see less and less seeds sprout as the years pass. This doesn’t mean an old seed doesn’t have any chance of sprouting. Like everything else, if you store it properly then it’s going to last much longer. Don’t worry, I’m almost to the part where I actually tell you how to store it – but not quite yet. First, I gotta talk about mold.

Mold on Weed

Remember, when I told you that weed typically doesn’t expire in a way that makes you sick? Well, here’s the exception. Like pretty much any herb or food, if left in certain conditions your weed will develop mold. If you notice mold on your bud do not smoke it. That’s not how penicillin works.

Typically the mold is white, however, you’ll see mold come in a variety of colors. Look for a blotchy fuzz that doesn’t belong to the weed. Of course, if you’ve smelled mold before then you’ll typically be able to tell just by the smell.

Will You Get Sick?

Most likely you will not, but since every mold is different I couldn’t say for sure. If you think it may be a problem give the poison control center a call. You can tell them it was a moldy cigarette if you don’t want to admit to smoking weed.

Factors that Keep Your Weed Fresh

I’ll briefly go over some of the major factors that’ll affect the freshness of your weed. Once we talk about these factors I can break down which containers help mitigate said factors. Cool?

Temperature – Cold/Heat

Try to keep your cannabis in a cool (not cold) environment. Keep it at less than 75-degree fahrenheit. Much higher and it’s a too good of an environment for mold. Beyond that, the heat would cause your cannabis to excessively dry out, and become brittle and harsh to smoke.

Light

Light will degrade your cannabis. Avoid exposing your bud to light when storing for longer periods of time.

Moisture / Humidity Level

If there is too much moisture it can cause mold and mildew. If there is not enough humidity it can dry out your cannabis. The magic number has been said to be 55%-62%. Of course, most people don’t have a way to measure humidity like that.

The best way it to keep it in an airtight container so the outside moisture and humidity don’t affect your cannabis a much. In fact, since I brought it up – let’s talk about containers.

What Container Makes Weed Last Longest?

I’m going to give you my quick #1 recommendation at risk of spoiling all the suspense I’ve been building. I recommend going with an opaque jar with an airtight lid – something like this. Put that in a nice cool area and you should be good to go for storing your bid for a while.

With that said, I’ll break down the usefulness of some other common containers.

Pill Bottle

Pill bottles are a popular choice, and they could be a good choice for smaller amounts. Here’s the thing, though, if you have a small amount then you probably aren’t trying to store it for that long so it really doesn’t matter. If for some reason you need to keep a small amount for an extended period of time then an opaque pill bottle may be all you need.

Of course, be sure to clean it out very thoroughly, and I recommend removing any previous prescription information if applicable.

Jar

As stated, a good jar is the way to go. Mason jars are nice because they’re cheap and easily available, but they don’t help with the light situation. If you use a clear mason jar keep it in a dark spot or find a way to cover your jar.

Also, make sure the jar has an airtight lid. Most mason jars are good to go, but double check. If air can get in and out it’s not going to be ideal for storage.

Bag

Ahhh, the old baggie. A timeless favorite of smokers for decades. A bag is probably the worst thing you could use for long term storage. They typically aren’t completely airtight and they’re usually clear.

Now, do not let this bother you if you carry your small amount in a plastic bag. If it’s getting smokes in the next few weeks it’s really not going to make a huge difference. If, however, you’re storing for months or longer I would avoid a bag.

Vacuum Seal

Using a vacuum seal machine is another popular option. This is because it’s completely air tight. No air inside the bad, and no air getting in or out.

I do not like vacuum seals, and here’s why. It compresses everything together. What was once a beautiful nug is now a smashed up lump of weed. It works, but it’s kinda a downer whenever I get weed that’s been vacuum sealed.

Also, most vacuum seal bags are clear so make sure to keep it away from light.

How Long Will Weed Last in a Joint or Blunt?

This question seems a bit odd to me, but it’s one that has come up a few times so I thought I would discuss it briefly. We’ve already stated that the THC won’t completely degrade for some time (if ever), but the joint or blunt itself is going to get really stale after a few days. You could prolong this by storing the joint in an airtight container. A doob tube works great for short term storage. Honestly, just don’t roll it up unless you plan to smoke it within a day or two.

Final Thoughts

This really isn’t a problem that should plague most cannabis users. Most of us are just buying enough to get through a few day or weeks. It’s not often a smoker is buying a supply for months at a time, but I’m sure it happens.

Have you ever smoked some really old weed? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

27 Comments

  • ariel_J says:

    I once smoked 7 year old nugs that my parents brought home from their vacation years ago…it wasn’t until this year when I started smoking that they revealed their stoner habits and pulled out this DANK (but very old) stash. got sufficiently high and giggly from it! :)

    • Mary Jane says:

      Nice! First hand stories are the best. Cheers :)

    • Conce says:

      Several years ago I found a roach in my jewelry box that was probably from the late seventies. Out of curiosity, I lit it (in a pipe). I don’t remember if the taste was off, but a couple of us had a nice high. I remember I used to get some really good weed back then. It had been a good twenty years since the last time I lit up. THC does hang!

  • young G says:

    I smoked 6 month old dro that was vacuum sealed and buried. better than fresh weed in my opinion

    • Anonymous says:

      yeah, smothering and darkening it seems to intensify the thc as if the molecules heat up and fight each other growing each others strength from the two opposing forcesover each other.

  • Maggie McGee says:

    When my brother came back from living in Hawaii, he had to put his stuff in storage for about six months until he found a perm place to live. I was helping him move into his place with some other friends when a paper bag fell out of the bottom of his couch. I picked it up and opened it, and there was a really fine ounce of some pretty purple flowers inside the paper back. I rolled it back up and walked over to the moving truck, got up in it, and said “Hey dude, something fell out of your couch” and tossed it to him.

    He opened the bag and got the biggest grin. It was an ounce he had purchased, had shoved into the crack of the couch when the landlord came by right after he got home, then some other dudes came over and when he went to look for it, he couldn’t find it. He thought one of the dudes had found it and had taken it, so he had just shrugged and went and got another.

    So, after we finished moving him in, he tells his friends that he’s not buying beer after all, he’s got some thing much better – REAL BLUE HAWAIIAN. Everyone fell out.

    It was only after we were all well and tuned that he told us the stuff was two and a half years old, Not bad at all, and he kept the seeds and grew a plant or two at a time for several years, until he met that tight assed bitch he married and started hanging with Jesus.

    Bro was military, and I remember him saying “If I had known that was still in there, I would have had a month long heart attach waiting for the MPs to show up.”

  • My buddy was doing some electrical work in the attic, of a member, of the most popular outlaw biker gang. He found some Thai sticks near the crawl hole. And carfully smuggled them out. He had balls. He was also hitting on the dudes old lady. What a knucklehead. The thai sticks must have been super old. They looked beautiful,
    Colorful buds wrapped around a wooden stick and tied with a thread. When I saw them I got exited. But as I checked them out there was no aroma. Just smelled like attic dust.
    And hard as a rock. We tried to smoke it anyway. It was harsh and un-enjoyable. It was like fake cardboard weed. I guess storing it unwrapped in the attic is not the best idea.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a nug of ny late mother and i still have her bong but i lt was some haze from 96 it was good still it was in one of her purses it about an 1/8

  • mr nine says:

    Found an old carrdboard box. with buds (wohockein sic) round 10 years old it taste like old leather &small little buzzz also found a vail of oil same age . Twas premo guess the sealed bottle kept it fresh.

  • Nigel says:

    My dad had a nug in a glass jar in our wood shop that had to be from the 70’s. It dissapeared when I was a freshman in high school about 8 years ago but from 7th-8th grade I would break off a little piece for a hit. It was the first bud i ever smoked, needless to say it was terrible lol

  • Dat Boi says:

    I was cleaning out my room, as I was moving out of my parent’s place, so I went to the closet to grab everything, and then remembered I had a stash of a bunch of weapons (knives and a pistol) as well as all my old bud related stuff, So I figured I would take a look down there, as it had been buried by various boxes, and I never got around to accessing it. This area had been sealed up for 4 years. I opened it up and to my surprise found two oz’s of some Blueberry Kush, sealed in le’ old pill bottle (Which still had my Ritalin dosage and stuff written on it :P), as well as a few pipes, and a 2L bottle water bong that I made in 8th grade, + some knives and my old pistol that never actually worked. I smoked up on the porch of my new home.

    Good times.

  • Toots54 says:

    I have the problem of 4getting where I stashed my weed! No biggie tho, I’m happy when I don’t have the money 2 buy & come across an ounce I’d stashed …

  • Toots54 says:

    I LUV your website btw

  • Ganja says:

    Found two nugs that have been flattened under a box of heavy things in my car trunk for 2 years, tasted like shit made me real high

  • Alex says:

    back in the early 90’s i was in high school and played baseball. needless to say everyday after practice my friends and i would smoke out in the woods behind the field. my son is getting at the age where he plays baseball so i pulled down my old bag out of the attic and it a jar wrapped up in my glove was an old jar with about an ounce. so my wife and i pulled out the old pipe and started smoking. the weed was a little dry but it sure did get me really high and didnt taste all the bad just burnt faster that usual.

  • Anonymous says:

    To get down from a big high, drink Gatorade! It will get you to where you can function on a much better level faster than anything else.
    Something in it changes the whole experience. It also kills or subdues the munchies urge known to many of us.
    Dick

  • GeeDub says:

    Question: for storage of several months or even a year, can bud be stored in your freezer?

    • Mary Jane says:

      I wouldn’t store bud in the freezer unless you’re making bubble hash. The coldness freezes the trichomes and may make them fall off the bud. Just get it in something airtight and opaque.

  • I have never held a particular quantity of weed long enough for degradation to become a concern…. Would love to know what it feels like to have such a supply that proper storage is actually an issue.

  • Ant W says:

    I put mine in ziplock bag. I try to get as much air out as I can and then put the bag inside an opaque supplement bottle. I then put that bottle inside a small Pringles can so that I can ensure that no light gets in there. Since I don’t smoke that much I am usually storing small amounts. I have kept an oz in there for a year and it was still good.

  • Anonymous says:

    Had this little spot next to the river where we would smoke and there was a crack in the concrete where we would stash and each time we would come back there would be more someone else used the same spot over like 3 years we got maybe 12-13 oz free it was lit

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