Last Updated December 20th, 2022: Let’s say you purchased some weed or maybe even grew your own weed, but for one reason or another, you haven’t had time to smoke it. What happens to your weed, how long does weed stay good for? Does weed expire?
Since cannabis is technically an organic flower, and just like any piece of organic matter, it has a lifespan. After this lifespan is over, it is no longer safe to use or consume.
That being said, thankfully marijuana has a relatively long lifespan, and there are actually ways you can extend the shelf life to make it last longer!
So How Long Does Weed Stay Good For?:
Depending on the strain as well as how you’re storing your weed, you can expect it to last around 6-12 months at peak freshness, but can technically last up to 2-3 years.
What Happens To Cannabis As It Begins To Age?:
As mentioned above, cannabis is a flower, and it has a unique aging process that happens if it isn’t consumed in a reasonable amount of time. Since it’s an organic material, even if you store it in an airtight glass jar, this organic material will gradually begin to decompose and break apart.
As this happens, cannabis begins to lose its flavors, odors and color. As this happens you’ll also start to lose the overall effects as the internal molecules begin to break apart and this affects the THC. The longer you store your weed, the more it will lose its flavor and effects, similar to leaving food in the refrigerator.
Just like any plant, once it’s removed from its root sources, it begins the gradual downhill, but if properly stored, you can extend this life as long as possible.
Loss Of THC:
One of the main reasons people consume cannabis is because of the THC, and unfortunately, this is one of the major components that’s affected as cannabis begins to age. As cannabis ages, THC levels will gradually drop.
The rate of THC loss isn’t completely known, but it’s somewhere around a 33% THC loss in the first year, and it drops exponentially more after that. So that being said, it makes the most sense to smoke your weed within a year so that you get the most out of your THC, but it’s still possible to consume your weed after that point, you’ll just lose a significant amount of that THC punch.
What Factors Cause Cannabis To Age?:
As with any product, there are multiple factors that can cause the product to age at different rates. Cannabis is no different, there are a handful of factors that can cause your weed to age quicker and lose its effects.
Humidity is one of the biggest factors which can cause your weed to go stale. If you are storing your cannabis, the most important thing is to keep the humidity under control. Humidity can quickly lead to weed rot and weed disease which will speed up the breaking down of your buds. If placed in areas of high humidity you risk mold on your weed.
The optimal levels of humidity to store your weed in are around 55% and 65%. By keeping your humidity at these levels, you’ll allow your cannabis to stay fresh as long as possible.
How To Store Your Weed To Keep It Fresh As Long As Possible:
Similar to food, your weeds freshness and shelflife can depend entirely on how you store it. If you let your weed sit in the open air, then the freshness will be cut down drastically.
That being said, if it’s stored in an airtight container, in a cool and dark area, it will extend the lifespan.
The overall goal is to reduce moisture from reaching the buds which can speed up the breakdown of molecules. By preventing this, it allows the cannabis compounds to stay together as long as possible.
Similar to this, oxygen access also speeds up this breakdown, so storing in airtight containers is extremely important.
Similar to this, cannabis seeds also have a shelf life you need to be aware of!
Plastic bags can be a last resort temporary storage area, but shouldn’t be used for long-term storage. Plastic bags do a good job of reducing oxygen interaction in the short term, but it doesn’t do a good job of blocking out heat, lighting, moisture, as well as long-term exposure to oxygen. If you need to store your weed for a few days, then plastic bags are fine, but for the long term, you should definitely invest in glass jars or ceramic containers.
Glass Containers/Mason Jars:
If you’re looking to preserve the freshness of your weed as well as keep out the smell, then you really should use air-tight glass containers such as mason jars. These protect your weed from excess oxygen, insects such as spider mites, and if placed in a cool and dark place it will help to preserve their lifespan.
Does Weed Expire?
Yes, weed technically does expire. It will expire quicker if not properly stored. But if you store it in an airtight container away from heat, humidity and too much light, then weed can last for up to 1-2 years.
Final Thoughts On The Shelf Life Of Marijuana:
Obviously, if you’re going through the effort of growing your own marijuana, or even just purchasing it, you want it to last as long as possible. Thankfully it’s fairly easy to extend the shelf life of your buds by just properly storing them. I always recommend airtight glass jars such as mason jars because they will preserve your weed the longest as well as block out any smell.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on how long does weed last for!