Does Marijuana Expire? a Brief Guide to Keep It Fresh

Marijuana such a marvelous plant, with many benefits too, but for those who don’t smoke as often or maybe are new to smoking are probably asking, does this miraculous plant expire? You probably forgot where you hid your stash, or you probably found one that you forgot you had, but before you smoke it, you should know a few things.

Does marijuana expire? Eventually, yes, it does when the exact time of expiration is still up to debate. Although the rule of thumb for the lifespan of a newly cured marijuana is about 12 to 24 months. Here we have a brief guide on how to keep it fresh. 

Many factors come into play in keeping marijuana fresh for as long as possible, like where you store it and how you store it. We want to make sure all who enjoy this magnificent plant does so safely because smoking “expired” weed can cause issues. We’ll explain.

What Exactly Is Expired Weed?

How long weed lasts depends on various factors like processing, strain, and extraction method, but commercial products will probably last more than those made at home. Knowing how to store your weed correctly will let the lifespan be to its full tenure of 12 to 24 months. Here are some ways to check if your marijuana is past expiration date:

  • Look – What does it look like? What is the color? Aged weed sometimes looks bleached. Does it have mold? Be careful because many times, mold can be confused for trichomes. Weed with mold may look darker or have spots of black or white.
  • Smell – Dried old weed has a subtle but noticeable smell. Think like a dried up rose the smell will be much different than a fresh rose. And if it has mold, it will have a precisely stale smell.
  • Touch – If the weed doesn’t crumble when you crush it, then it should be good. Also, it should be sticky and have a little springy to touch.

Other cannabis products are trickier to figure out if they are passed their expiration date. Because of the solvent solution used during the extraction process, they probably will have a longer shelf life. With the proper storage, these products should have a longer shelf life than your average bud.

How to Store Your Weed Properly

If you bought your weed from a dispensary, it should come fully cured and set to smoke. It should be moisture free and not at risk for mold; avoiding mold growth on your weed is critical because if you end up smoking weed with mold, it can have severe consequences to your health like vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.

Storing your weed isn’t hard; you just have to keep a few factors in mind on how and where you want to store it, and most likely than not, you’ll smoke it before it “expires.” But in case you do want to store it for later use, then make sure you store it in an airtight container, keep it away from heat, light, and humidity.

Keeping your stash in a dry, cool, dark area is essential for maintaining the freshness, and even if you receive it in a Ziploc bag, don’t think that is appropriate for long-term storage. If you are not planning on smoking right away, put it in an airtight container right away.

Some people have suggested to place it in the freezer, but even in a Ziploc bag in the freezer can still have a risk of mold because it can again absorb moisture. Also, there is the risk of freezer burn.  

Factors to Consider When Storing Weed

When weed is appropriately stored in a cool, dark place, it can last longer. Here are some factors you should consider when storing your weed for later use:

  1. Temperature Control – This is probably the most critical factor for long-term storage. Too much heat and it dries out cannabinoids and terpenes that take months to grow, and too low temperature slows down the decarboxylation process.
  2. Humidity Control – This is what will prevent the mould, so this also important! If wanting to control the humidity, it should be at (RH) levels of 59% to 63%. Anything below 59% will dry out the weed. Controlling the humidity will help enhance flavour, colour, consistency, and even aroma.
  3. Air Flow – Oxygen is needed for the growing and curing period, but keeping the right amount of air in the container of your choice will keep the weed fresh longer. Too much hair will dry it out faster, and not enough hair will start issues with humidity level and growth of mould.
  4. Lighting – Did you know that ultraviolet rays are harmful to a lot of organic material? And they are the primary cause of cannabinoid degradation. Keep it away from direct sunlight.

You don’t want your weed going bad, so remember these factors when storing it for long-term use.

Tips for Storing Your Weed

The goal is to enjoy the weed you purchase and not have to deal with any weird smells or mould on it. Here are a few helpful tips when storing your weed:

  • Always store in a cool, dark place and away from light, heat, and oxygen.
  • A glass jar is a primary recommendation. Make sure you get a proper size for the amount of weed you have.
  • With vacuum sealing jars or containers, you can minimize oxygen exposure.
  • Don’t store in the refrigerator or freezer because this increases the risk of mould.
  • Using a tobacco humidor can change the flavour of the weed because of the oil that is contained in the cedar wood used to make them.
  • Keep away from appliances or electronics that radiate heat.
  • The best place to store is in a low cabinet or even basement.
  • You can monitor humidity RH levels with a hygrometer.
  • Separate different strains and place in different containers to keep their unique flavour
  • If you need to store in any plastic, make sure its short-term storage.
  • Make sure containers are about ¾ full to prevent excess air.

Mason Jars

Plastic pop-top bottles are usually what retail cannabis market has, but this is not recommended for long-term weed storage. Plastic can extract BPA and affect the flavour. Plastic containers are not effective at preventing air exchange. The best is a glass jar because it is a material with a neutral charge.

Airtight glass jars protect buds from outside air and moisture. Jars will also prevent buds from crushing while handling. To avoid having excess air use smaller jars when you don’t have enough marijuana to fill the container because excess air means exposure to drying out the weed.

To keep appropriate humidity levels, use humidifier packs. 

A vacuum sealer design to use with a mason jar will help even more with air control. If needing a small amount of weed for personal use, then the best would be a little hinge top or screw-top glass jar. With these, the weed won’t lose freshness nor strength.

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Storage Containers Especially for Weed

There are containers specially designed for storing weed. Whether short term or long term. Not only do they protect the weed for quality and freshness, but they are also stylish. Some have some form of built-in humidor function to keep weed fresh.

As previously stated, avoid tobacco humidor not only because of the oils they transfer that can influence the flavor of the marijuana, but they also have propylene glycol to help with the humidity, but this can oversaturate your weed.

Weed Storage Bags

We all know that weed has a unique smell, and it can be overpowering, so for when you’re on the road, it is best to use a backpack or duffle bag that will control the smell of the weed. Revelry Supply has a line of water-resistant and odor absorbing bags. These bags were primarily designed to keep weed discreet and out of sight. Many sizes are available.

  • Carbon Filter System: These bags have a carbon filter system which features up to 3 separate layers, and this helps eliminate odors. The two outer layers consist of synthetic filters, and the middle layer is activated charcoal. This powerful filtration system created by these layers absorbs all unwanted smells.
  • Twill Lining: The bags have a lining that protects the filtering system from wear and tear, making the bags great for durability.
  • Rubber backed exterior: The odor containment and resistance to water are made by the nylon or cotton canvas exterior and the heavy-duty rubber backing which bag is made out of.

You check out the different selections on the link provided above; they are sold on Amazon. There are a different variety of bags and backpacks to choose from.

What Happens If You Smoke Moldy Weed

If you think your weed is moldy or if you’re not sure, do not smoke it. When smoking moldy weed, you will inhale thousands upon thousands of spores and metabolic toxins, and your immune system will have to try to clear them out.

You can get Aspergillosis, which is an infection which is caused by Aspergillus. This is a common mold, which is a fungus, typically lives indoors and outdoors. Aspergillus infests fibers, leather, vegetable matter, and marijuana. It can be killed with sunlight, dehumidify UV, and other ways.

Infections and allergic reactions are health problems caused by Aspergillus. Symptoms include:

  • Reduced ability to smell
  • Weight Loss
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Stuffiness
  • Wheezing

If the infection spreads from the lungs to other parts of the body, then other symptoms can develop.

People with normal immune systems will have little effect if small amounts of mold spores get into their system, but if they smoke weed with mold, they can get a headache. If smoking weed for treatment for asthma or AIDS, the risk is much higher because of the weaker immune system.


Re-Hydrate Dry Buds

Looking at the last of your stash, you can notice that the buds have dried. Preventing dried out buds and keeping your stash at reasonable moisture has a few benefits:

  • The smoke is more enjoyable and cooler
  • Easier to handle and roll into joints
  • The flavor is better preserved

The best way to prevent dry out is by following the steps stated above in storing your weed and keeping it fresh. But in case your bud did dry out, there are a few methods you can try to restore moisture.

Distilled Water Method

This water is a vitally important ingredient when re-hydrating weed, although it’s not much different from other waters. Distilled water has been evaporated and recollected to remove impurities, unlike tap water, and this chemically pure water is used in certain humidors.

No matter which container your marijuana came in this method will work for each:

  1. Look for a container with a lid big enough to fit your jar of weed and with little room for a damp, folded paper towel.
  2. Wet a fresh paper towel with distilled water but only get it about 70% damp. You don’t want the paper towel too wet because keep in mind too much moisture can cause mold.
  3. Place your jar of weed and the paper towel in the container and seal for 2 to 12 hours.

This helps improve the humidity of the weed. Keep in mind that this method shouldn’t be used for a long-term solution because the more the buds are re-hydrated, the more prone it is to mold. And remember to replace the paper towel and clean each container after every hydration attempts.

Fruit Peel Method

Using a fruit peel is an excellent way to improve the moisture of the weed at the same time, infusing it with a fruity flavor. The skin of the fruit holds most of the essential oils and essences. This makes the peels great for re-hydration of the weed, and it’s moist with being too damp.

Again, remember this is another temporary solution for re-hydration and should not be used long-term. It is recommended to use the peer for 1 to 3 days before throwing it away. Leave a little space between the fruit peel and the weed. For example, have your weed in a sandwich bag inside another sandwich bag.

Humidity Control Packets

Boveda, a self-regulating disposable humidity pack, helps maintain relative humidity. As stated above, weed should be stored between 59% to 63% RH. But the best thing is that these packs are designed explicitly for marijuana consumers.

The exterior of the packaging is comparable to a passage where moisture passes through, humidifying the essence of each bag. The lifespan of Boveda depends on the humidity level of the material and how much marijuana needs to be re-hydrated.

You will know that the lifespan expired because the packet loses the pillowy texture and becomes firm. Replace the packs as needed.

Marijuana Humidors

This method offers the best long-term solution for humidity control. Humidors are a cedar-lined box, and they have a hygrometer to monitor RH inside. Some humidors offer different perks like being able to follow the humidity through Bluetooth technology. You can see this through an app right on your phone.

Marijuana humidors work in a few different ways. They need monitoring to keep the humidity at the perfect level. Choose a solution that has the RH below 65% and careful not to pick a solution for cigars because of those start at 70% RH.

Pick which method is best for you but always try to prevent dry out, so re-hydration isn’t needed.

Final Thoughts

Debates on how long weed is good for is still ongoing, but the agreement is typically 12 to 24 months if properly stored. Remember that the best way to store your weed and keep it fresh longest is by storing it in a dark, dry, and cool place. Avoiding moisture should be the number one priority.

The best way to prevent mold is by keeping the humidity between 59% and 63% because anything under 59% will dry out the marijuana. If you suspect that your weed has mold, do not smoke it, do not make it into edibles, just throw it away, there are serious health consequences with consuming moldy weed.

Find the perfect glass jar to store your stash if you’re not going to consume all of it right away. Do not store it in your fridge or the freezer because it still has exposure to moisture. If you’re a long-term marijuana user invest in containers that are suited specifically for weed.

If needed to have your buds re-hydrated follows the methods stated above, but dry-out prevention is always preferred because those methods are not meant for long-term use. As long as you’re storing your weed as needed, dry out shouldn’t happen.

The main goal is always to have safe weed consumption. Following the steps on this guideline will ensure that your weed stays fresh for a more extended period of time. Please use safety precautions if you suspect that your weed is not as it should be. Happy Smoking.