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No, You Won’t Get Sick From Smoking Old Pot

That old weed in the bottom of your drawer didn’t go bad, but it’s probably not as good anymore.

As one might expect, the internet hasn’t quite managed to come to an agreement on whether or not old weed is bad for you, whether it loses potency, or even if decades-old jazz cabbage can get you just as high as it would have back then. And even bonafide science on the effects and uses of the devil’s lettuce and its active ingredient, THC, is startlingly unreliable.

So for anyone who goes through the pockets of their old jeans or finds a crumpled plastic bag from god-knows-when hidden in their sock drawer, an attempt to find reliable advice on whether to pitch or smoke their old stash is like navigating a really relaxing minefield of conflicting information.

The good news is that they probably don’t need to worry about it.

The bad news is that unless they happened to store their broccoli under ideal conditions — in a sealed glass jar stored in a dark, temperature-controlled room — they probably won’t have much fun smoking it.

Old weed can’t spoil like expired milk or cheese — smoking it won’t make you sick. But that also means you can’t always tell off the bat whether it’s still any good.

One thing to look out for is whether the weed has lost its scent. Pot is a plant, so even if it doesn’t go bad, it does degrade over time. Good weed smells like weed or, if you’re in college, that skunk that keeps getting into the crawl space of your dorm. Older weed loses its scent as aromatic terpene oils drop in potency and the THC slowly degrades. Also, it will crumble in your hands.

On the other hand, if you accidentally left your stash somewhere damp, it may have grown some mold or fungus. If you see little white spots or you smell anything other than weed on your weed, throw it out. Old pot won’t hurt you, but mold will make you pretty damn sick.

Old edibles, however, are a different story. If you baked your pot into some brownies a few months ago and forgot about them in the back of your fridge, you should probably steer clear. There’s nothing special about old weed that you baked into brownies or other food.

But get this, food goes bad after a while.

So as far as getting high goes, you should treat your expired edibles like any other weed, though if it’s been in your fridge the whole time the THC might not have broken down as rapidly. The only thing to watch out for is if whatever you concocted has gone bad as well.

For what it’s worth, you can avoid this whole mess by just not leaving leftovers.

That old weed in the bottom of your drawer didn’t go bad, but it’s probably not as good anymore.

How to Tell if Your Stash of Weed Has Gone Bad

Avoid the conundrum by just storing it well in the first place.

Let’s say you chance upon a stash of weed you forgot about some time back. Happy day! But … is it even good? You don’t even remember stowing it away, let alone when you bought it. Can you still smoke it?

Can Weed Go Bad?

The good news is, weed doesn’t really “go bad;” its chemical makeup just changes. Marijuana is a plant, just like the veggies and herbs in your kitchen. Cells break down, molecules oxidize. Just as the dried oregano in your spice rack becomes less flavorful over time, weed becomes less potent. Old weed won’t kill you, but it also won’t get you all that high.

How to Store Weed

The best way to avoid this question in the first place is to store your weed properly. Glass or ceramic containers are your best bet. You want to make sure the container is airtight, and won’t transfer smells or flavors onto your precious weed. Store your pot in a dark, cool refuge that’s not your refrigerator or freezer — too cold environments can suck the sweet, sweet moisture out of those leaves.

Fresh weed is full of the cannabinoids CBD, CBC, and THC, but sit your weed down for a bit in ultraviolet light (i.e., sunlight), and your THC will break down into CBN, a cannabinoid that is way less potent and much more disappointing. Basically: Keep your weed in a still, dark, cool environment, and you’re guaranteed the best flavor.

But let’s say you didn’t get around to storing your weed like you should have, and now you’re stuck with a Ziploc bag of mystery marijuana that may or may not be good.

Appearance

If your recently discovered stash doesn’t look much like weed anymore, just some dried out powdery leaves, it’s probably not going to be all that enjoyable to smoke. If you spot a fuzzy white powder growing on it, your weed is moldy and you definitely shouldn’t smoke it, unless you want to risk heart and lung problems. Mold spores, like moist places without a lot of airflow, which can happen if you store your weed where it’s too moist.

Sound

When you pull apart your re-discovered weed in your hands, you should hear snaps, not crackles, which can mean your weed is too dry. If your weed is silent, it has a lot of moisture, and you should be on the lookout for mold.

Smell

If your old stash smells musty, or like urine or a locker room, mold is probably the culprit. Chemical or plastic scents are a result of poor storage or pesticide contamination. Old weed might not smell as strong as the day you stuck it somewhere and forgot about it, but it shouldn’t have any off smells. Weed should smell like weed.

Taste

If it looks like your old stash is free of mold, and you decide to light some up, you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s really gone bad just by the taste. It should still taste like weed, without off flavors.

Smoking poor quality weed won’t hurt you (with the exception of mold) — it just won’t be quite as enjoyable as the fresh stuff. You probably won’t get as high thanks to a lower THC content, but that’s about it. Enjoy your re-discovered stash!

Avoid the conundrum by just storing it well in the first place.