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?
Edibles – Cookies/Brownies
Mold on Weed
Will You Get Sick?
Factors that Keep Your Weed Fresh
Temperature – Cold/Heat
Moisture / Humidity Level
What Container Makes Weed Last Longest?
How Long Will Weed Last in a Joint or Blunt?
Make sure to tell me your thoughts in the comment section at the end.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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 will degrade your cannabis. Avoid exposing your bud to light when storing for longer periods of time.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.