BY DEANNA DEBARA
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
With everyone staying at home and minimizing their excursions, you might be stocking up on more cannabis than normal. It’s a responsible way to make sure you have what you need, safely. And while you can always order delivery or use our curbside pick up, you’re likely buying larger amounts each time. But what’s the best way to keep weed fresh? Below, some of our expert tips to know, so that nothing goes to waste.
How to properly store flower
Keeping flower at its freshest starts with the flower you buy—and, more specifically, how that flower is cured. Curing is the process where fresh cannabis is properly dried to optimize potency, terpenes, and also ensure that what you’re smoking is nice and smooth.
“A long, controlled dry and cure process extends the stability of moisture content and flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids,” says Ned Fussell, co-founder of CannaCraft. “The shelf life of well-cured bud can be up to a year if stored properly.”
Buying quality weed is the first step. But how you store it also factors into its longevity. “UV light and oxygen will degrade cannabis, so an airtight, low oxygen container that is opaque or blocks UV is best ” says Fussell. Use the smallest jar you can find, though a vacuum seal bag also works. To protect it from air and light, store everything in a dark, cool space.
So if you buy high-quality, well-cured flower—and then you store it properly— know that it stays fresh for up to a year. If you notice a change in smell or appearance, consider it a red flag. “If the bud starts to smell like cardboard or stale crackers, and starts to lose its color, it’s time to smoke it or repurpose it in a homemade tincture or edible product,” says Fussell.
How to keep edibles fresh
With edibles, the shelf life depends on the non-cannabis ingredients that are used, says Graham Farrar, president of California-based cannabis and company Glass House Group. “It’s the food grade products, method of baking, cooking, and other preservatives that [affect its freshness].”
In other words, different types of edibles will have different shelf lives. “Cannabis-infused chocolate is remarkably shelf-stable and can last for a year if stored properly,” says Fussell. “Baked goods have a much shorter time span and should be eaten within a month.”
“The best way to preserve an edible is to practice typical best practices just as you do with regular food,” says Farrar. That means keeping your chocolate and gummies in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat. In the case of baked goods, put them in your fridge or even freezer, if you want to keep them even longer.
Unlike some other cannabis products, there are no question marks when it comes to assessing whether an edible is still fresh; just like you know when a loaf of bread has gone bad, you’ll know when an edible has gone bad, too. “Look for typical signs such as mold presence or bad odor,” says Aaron Riley, CEO of CannaSafe. “Also, make sure to check the expiration date!”
How to keep vape cartridges fresh
Like vape pens? You’re in luck— cartridges have a long shelf life. “The average shelf life is one year,” says Fussell. “Cannabis oil doesn’t ‘go bad’ like perishable goods; there are no fats or lipids that would cause the product to degrade.”
But that doesn’t mean your pen is guaranteed to hit as well day 365 as it is on day 1. Over time, the potency and overall terpene profile can degrade, resulting in lower potency or a lessened flavor profile.
Again, proper storage plays a large role in how potent your vape cartridge stays over time. Just like edibles, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme heat. If you’re unsure, look at the packaging. All lab-tested, state-regulated cannabis products in California are required to sticker the ‘Manufactured On’ and ‘Best By’ dates, helping consumers ensure freshness.
How to keep concentrates fresh
Concentrates pack a powerful punch—but how long, exactly, does that punch last?
The answer—it depends.
Different factors will impact the shelf life of a cannabis concentrate, including extraction method and product type; over time (generally, anywhere between a few months to a year, depending on the product type and quality), they can start to break down. But the one thing all concentrates have in common? Exposure to light, heat, and air can hasten that process—so proper storage is a must.
“Live resin can last over a year if stored in a cool, dry place,” says Farrar. “The perfect temp for is similar to that of a wine bottle fridge—airtight with no exposure to light or heat.”
You also want to avoid touching your concentrates. “For multi-use products such as waxes, resins, and shatters, make sure to use a clean spoon or spatula to remove a small amount from the container. Don’t use your finger!” says Riley. “This prevents you from contaminating the product itself.”
And when you notice your concentrates starting to change—particularly in color and odor? Consider it a sign that the product is well past its peak freshness date—and it’s time to replenish your stash. Older products may look darker and smell less fragrant. That means the terpenes have evaporated and you won’t have the optimal experience.
Now that you know how to keep it fresh, here are four products you can stock up on:
Smokiez Gummiez Sour Watermelon: Tart and delicious, these are a perennial favorite among gummy lovers. Each piece has 10 mg of THC, so you’ll feel nice and relaxed.
AbsoluteXtracts Blue Dream Cartridge: Need a boost? This sativa-dominant vape cartridge will get you focused and feeling extra energized.
MedMen Red Do-Si-Do Crumble: With relaxing linalool (commonly found in lavender), mood-boosting limonene (commonly found in lemons), and calming caryophyllene (commonly found in black pepper), this concentrate offers a soothing high.
Flow Kana Silver — Mt. Hood Magic: Should you prefer a sativa-dominant flower for your needs, this strain features 19.9% THC and a mix of mood-boosting limonene (commonly found in lemons) and calming caryophyllene (commonly found in black pepper) for an energetic high that won’t get you too in your head.