‘Does weed go bad?’ is a question that many new cannabis growers think about, especially after harvesting their plants.
Weed doesn’t go bad like how food does. This is because you dry and cure weed after harvesting it, giving it a longer shelf-life.
But, while you can still smoke old buds, don’t expect them to be as flavorful nor as potent.
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How Long Does Weed Stay Fresh?
Besides the main question of does weed go bad, a lot of growers also wonder how long is weed good for.
When does weed go bad? If stored in the proper containers, weed can last for six months to a year. This, of course, assumes you not only dried your buds but also cured them.
Does weed go bad in plastic bags? If you just stored buds in resealable bags, expect them to only last up to 2-3 months. And if left in the open, your weed can go bad in just two weeks.
Dispensaries have use-by dates that tell you how long the buds will stay good. This is important because if the buds go past the recommended date, they start to lose potency.
For this reason, home growers should keep track of their buds’ freshness the moment they dry them.
On the note of tracking how fresh your weed is, some factors increase the rate at which it loses quality.
One medical study showed that cannabinoids degrade faster under certain environmental factors.
Factors such as light and oxidation can greatly reduce the potency and flavor of your buds.
In particular, oxidation can lead to significant losses. This is why cannabis buds need to be stored in proper, airtight containers to avoid loss in potency.
So, to conclude, how long does it take for weed to go bad?
If placed in the perfect condition and if the buds were cured before storing, weed could last up to one year at best before losing potency.
Does Weed Lose Potency Over Time?
Weed eventually loses its potency over time. The chemical compounds in marijuana will start to break down as time passes.
When the terpenes in weed break down, the buds lose their flavor and aroma.
Likewise, when the THC in marijuana breaks down, it loses its potency. Weed loses 16% of its THC after one year and 26% after two years.
Even when properly stored, buds can only retain their peak potency and flavor for up to one year or two at best.
After that, regardless of how well the conditions are, the cannabinoids and terpenes will start to break down.
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If you’re looking to prolong your buds, there is a way to prevent weed from losing its potency.
With proper storage, you can expect your dried herbs to last a significantly long time. This is also true for other cannabis products.
The main factors you need to keep in mind when wanting to prolong your weed are light, heat, and moisture.
You must avoid putting the container that holds your cured buds in places with too much light.
Light can cause the terpenes and cannabinoids to break down. The same goes for heat.
If the room you’re storing your buds in has high temperatures, it can diminish their terpenes.
Lastly, there’s the issue of moisture. Having high moisture in your buds can cause high relative humidity (RH) in your containers, which becomes the perfect condition for mold and mildew to appear.
How Do I Know if My Pot is Old?
Although weed doesn’t rot the same way as food, which makes it difficult to tell whether it’s still good, there are ways to tell you if your pot is old.
You can identify old weed by its appearance, smell, and texture. But, the smell alone can tell you if your buds have passed their best-use date.
Old weed tends to have less aroma than fresh ones because it doesn’t have as many terpenes as before.
You can also tell old weed apart from fresh ones by its appearance and texture.
Buds that have gone past their best-use date will look dried out. Similarly, the texture of the buds is so dry that it crumbles into a powder in your hands.
Old vs. Bad Weed
There’s a difference between old and bad weed. You can tell if your weed has gone bad if there are signs of mold.
This is either because there was too much moisture in your buds when you stored them or because you left your flowers in a spot that has less than ideal conditions for storing weed.
The first sign of moldy weed is if white powder coats the trichomes of your buds.
If you don’t look closely, this can be hard to see, so you should break apart any old weed you find before attempting anything.
Another way you can tell if you have moldy weed is through its smell. If it has a stale smell, there’s a high chance that mildew has grown over the trichomes of your buds.
You must ensure proper storage to prevent mold from appearing on your weed. Ziploc bags won’t be enough if you want to keep your buds fresh for a long time.
You need to use airtight containers like mason jars. You also need to store your buds in a dark and cool place to reduce the likelihood of mold appearing.
What Can I Use Old Weed For?
While old weed is a harsh and unrewarding smoke, it doesn’t mean you should throw it away.
If you have a stash of cannabis flowers that went past their use-by dates, you can still make good use of them. Here are some examples:
The best way to use old flowers is to turn them into edibles.
By infusing your old weed into products such as butter, you get around the problem of its taste. But there’s still the issue of potency.
The only way to increase the potency of your edibles is by using a lot of old flowers.
If you don’t have a lot of old buds, to begin with, don’t expect your edibles to be potent.
Does weed butter go bad? Yes, it does. If you keep your cannabutter in a fridge, it’ll only last for several weeks.
However, you can keep it for longer by storing it in a freezer.
If you’re not much of a foodie, you can also just make concentrates out of your old buds.
Making bubble hash or kief from old flowers is one of the most common ways to make concentrates.
Like edibles, making concentrates out of your old flowers removes the harsh taste and smell.
However, just like with edibles, you should expect your concentrates to be less potent than those made from fresher buds.
Does weed resin go bad? Resin will last you pretty long if stored properly.
If kept in glass containers and stored in a fridge, it can last for months or even a year.
Lastly, you can use your vaporizer to enjoy old flowers. Old buds work much better for vaping because of how dry the buds have become.
However, while vaping produces a smoother smoke, it doesn’t make the taste of old flowers any less harsh.
You must cure and store your weed properly to keep your stash potent for an extended time.
On top of that, starting with well-grown, potent weed is essential to enjoy your stash longer. You can find potent strains to grow at home at ILGM.com.
Does Weed Go Bad? Common Questions (and Answers)
Weed won’t go bad if you store it properly. This means keeping it in an airtight container to prevent your weed from oxidizing. While there are airtight grinders, if yours isn’t one of them, you shouldn’t store your weed in it.
Yes. If your buds are stored in a place with too much heat, the room can hold moisture, which can lead to mold growth.
If you’re not freeze-drying your weed, your buds will go bad in the freezer. This is because there’s moisture. Moreover, putting your buds in the freezer will cause the trichomes to become brittle and fall off.