Does weed go bad? And if so, how can I prevent my cannabis from getting moldy and stale?
Cannabis, like any plant or herb stored and used for consumption, has a shelf life. This means that cannabis can go bad, get moldy, and lose potency when stored improperly or simply from age.
When cannabis is stored properly, it can last anywhere from six months to a year depending on your storage equipment and conditions. Whether you’re concerned about your product losing potency or the health risks of consuming moldy cannabis, learning how to store cannabis correctly is a good investment in your time. You’ll be healthier in the long run and save money by maintaining your cannabis products’ potency and freshness.
- How Long Does Cannabis Stay Good?
- Can Cannabis Go Bad?
- Best Ways to Store Cannabis for Freshness
- Final Takeaway
How Long Does Weed Stay Good?
There are several factors that contribute to cannabis going bad. According to a 2011 study, exposure to light (not direct sunlight) is the single most important factor in cannabinoid (e.g., THC) loss. Additionally, exposure to oxygen, temperature variations, and humidity contribute to cannabis losing potency or growing mold.
A study conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the late 1990s explored how the concentration of the cannabinoids CBN and THC—the cannabinoid known for its psychoactive properties—in dry cannabis samples act as an indicator of how long cannabis is stored. According to this study, cannabis plant matter (flower) loses THC potency at the average rate of:
- 1 year—16.6% potency lost
- 2 years—26.8% potency lost
- 3 years—34.5% potency lost
- 4 years—41.4% potency lost
Perhaps you’ve decided to invest in the proper storage equipment and are committed to keeping your cannabis products fresher for longer. Just how long does cannabis last when stored properly?
When stored properly, cannabis products can last up to a year. Typically, though, you should only stretch your products to this one-year mark if you are storing them with high-quality, professional storage equipment. Ideally, a consumer should aim to finish cannabis flower or other cannabis products six months after purchasing them from the dispensary.
Can Weed Go Bad?
Yes, cannabis goes bad. While this mostly applies to flower, edibles and concentrates can also become less than ideal for consumption over time.
On one end of the spectrum, cannabis flower can dry out and become crumbly when handled. This is a telltale sign that it is old cannabis and is past its prime. Another way to detect old cannabis is the smell test. Does it emit a strong, sharp scent usually caused by the presence of terpenes in the plant matter, or is the smell faint or nonexistent? The latter could be a sign of dwindling shelf life.
If your cannabis flower appears spongy and doesn’t make any snapping sounds when pulled apart, it could be moldy—especially if it was exposed to damp or humid conditions. Take a look at this post for more pointers on identifying moldy cannabis flower.