How to Keep Cannabis from Degrading
Like other plants, cannabis degrades over time. The rate at which it degrades, however, depends on how it’s stored.
Improper storage can cause cannabis to lose potency and alter the cannabinoid makeup. Plus, poorly stored cannabis is more susceptible to mold and mildew, which can cause serious symptoms like nausea and coughing.
Here are a few guidelines on properly storing cannabis so it stays fresh and potent.
Store Cannabis in a Cool, Dry Place
Cannabis should be stored at room temperature in a dry place, away from moisture. Water and humidity can not only cause mold and mildew to grow but can also make the cannabis itself degrade faster.
Plus, heat can damage cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds in cannabis, changing the way it smells, tastes, and even its effects. So avoid storing your cannabis near heat sources like stoves and radiators.
Don’t Store Cannabis in a Refrigerator or Freezer
You might think that storing cannabis in the fridge or freezer would keep it fresher for longer. However, freezing temperatures may damage the trichomes—the tiny, hairlike structures that contain most of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes—making the cannabis less potent.
Generally, it’s best to avoid drastic temperature changes when storing cannabis. Room temperature is ideal since it keeps humidity and heat from damaging the plant while also preventing the trichomes from freezing.
Use an Airtight Container
The container you store your cannabis in is essential. It should be airtight to keep oxygen out because oxidation is one of the main causes of degradation. Glass jars with airtight lids are a great option because you can see inside, so you know if there’s any moisture buildup.
Storage containers like Tupperware are not airtight, so they’re not ideal for long-term storage. If you must use one, put your cannabis in a sealed plastic bag first.
Avoid Light Exposure
Light, especially sunlight, can damage cannabinoids and terpenes. In addition, direct sunlight over time can dry it out and make cannabis lose its potency and flavor. So it’s best to keep cannabis in a dark place like a closet or drawer. If you’re using a glass jar, keeping it in a dark place is especially important because light can shine through the clear glass.
Signs Cannabis Has Degraded
Improperly stored cannabis or cannabis that is old will typically lose its color and become less vibrant. It may also become crumbly and break apart easily. And the flavor and smell will be less pronounced.
When checking for mold or mildew, look for white, gray, or brown spots. These can be on the outside of the cannabis bud or inside it. The smell of cannabis may also be musty and unpleasant.
If you’re unsure if your cannabis has gone bad, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.
When using cannabis, keep it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight in an airtight container. Before consuming, you should also inspect the cannabis for signs of mold or mildew. Ingesting moldy or mildewed cannabis may cause health problems like respiratory issues or nausea and vomiting.
By following the proper storage guidelines, you can keep cannabis from degrading and ensure its potency and effectiveness.