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How to Tell If Cannabis Is Past Its Prime

Weed doesn’t go bad the way a jar of mayo or some other food product might, but it can definitely be “off” or even moldy.

Old weed likely won’t lead to any serious health issues if you don’t have any underlying conditions.

It can, however, have a noticeable drop in potency, which can be a big deal if you’re using it for medical purposes. Older weed can also undergo changes in taste and texture.

When stored properly (more on this later), dried cannabis keeps for 6 months to 1 year. Over time, it begins to lose its aroma and potency.

According to some older research, weed loses roughly 16 percent of its THC after 1 year, and it just keeps dropping from there:

  • 26 percent THC lost after 2 years
  • 34 percent THC lost after 3 years
  • 41 percent THC lost after 4 years

It’s mostly in the smell. Weed that’s past its prime will smell different or lose its aroma entirely. Some weed might even smell and taste harsh when it’s been sitting too long.

Its appearance can also give you a clue as to whether or not it’s old. Fresh weed shouldn’t crumble or feel spongy when you break it off. If it does, it’s old and either too dry or too moist.

Consuming it shouldn’t harm you, but be prepared for changes in texture and potency. The exception is weed that’s grown mold, which could potentially make you sick.

Mold is often hard to see unless you look very closely. It typically looks like white powdery or fuzzy spots, some of which can be pretty small.

Moldy weed usually smells musty, kind of like hay. It also tends to have a bit of an “off” taste.

Even if your weed isn’t super old, it’s best to do a mold inspection. A study by researchers from University of California, Davis found bacteria and mold on 20 cannabis samples bought from dispensaries and pot growers in Northern California.

Mold on weed isn’t likely to cause major health problems, but it can lead to nausea, vomiting, and coughing.

In people with weakened immune systems, inhaling smoke or vapors from weed containing bacteria or fungi could cause serious illness or even death.

If it looks or smells off, then you’re better off tossing it, even if you just bought it.

Light, humidity, temperature, and oxygen can all mess with cannabis and affect its aroma, taste, and potency potential.

Here’s what to consider when storing weed to help keep it fresh and maintain its quality for as long as possible.

Choose the right container

Ditch plastic baggies and containers. Plastic holds static that can affect delicate trichomes — the tiny, crystal-like hairs on flowers that produce cannabinoids and terpenes — and mess with potency.

And forget those funny little tins, too, because they let in too much oxygen.

Glass jars with an airtight seal, like mason jars, are the way to go. They don’t have any static charge and limit oxygen exposure. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to find.

Most dispensaries also sell containers designed to keep weed fresh for as long as possible.

If you have kids or pets in your household, invest in a child- and pet-proof container.

Watch the humidity

Weed is best kept at a relative humidity of 59 to 63 percent. Any higher and you run the risk of trapping moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold. Anything lower can cause your weed to dry out.

To help you preserve your stash, you can add humidity packs to your containers if you really want to get fancy. You can also go the extra mile and store your weed in a humidor made specifically for cannabis.

Keep it cool, dark, and dry

Keeping weed in a cool and dry spot away from sunlight is as important as the container you use, if not more so.

Direct sunlight can cause cannabis to break down, and too much heat can hold moisture and lead to mold.

Keeping it somewhere too chilly, on the other hand, could dry it out and lose those precious trichomes, which is why the fridge and freezer aren’t recommended.

Aim to store cannabis in a dark place, like a closet or cabinet, with a temperature below 77°F (25°C).

Weed doesn't go bad in the way perishable food does, but it can definitely degrade over time. Here's what to look for.

Does weed go bad? Here’s everything you need to know about consuming old marijuana.

Whether you stored it away intentionally or forgot about an old stash, most pot consumers have wondered whether or not their weed has gone badВ at some point. The short is answer is no — but that depends on your definition of “bad,” as well as the method in which you stored it.В

Technically, weed doesn’t go bad in the sense that it will have a negative effect on the user. Antique pot won’t poison you or have a dramatically different impact on your body. But its potency can certainly decrease or, at the least, be altered if not stored properly.В

MarijuanaВ plants have a number of chemical compounds known asВ cannabinoids present in their flowers. When these buds are dried out and subsequently heated, the cannabinoids are converted from biosynthetic acids into the weed’s psychoactive substances in a process known as decarboxylation. The most notable transformation is Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into THC, which is the primary mind-altering property of cannabis.

According to the Colorado Pot Guide, THCA can be converted into a different cannabinoid called CBNA (and thus CBN) if the cannabis is exposed to excessive heat or sunlight. CBN is less psychoactive than THC, meaning its consumption does not get the user as high.

Additionally,В Merry Jane pointed out that overly dried-out weed can be uncomfortable to smoke, as it tends to burn the throat when inhaled. Lastly, weed that’s been overexposed to moisture can become moldy and have serious medical repercussions if consumed.В

In most cases, though, smoking aged weed won’t do anything other than giving you a lower high than usual. If stored right, marijuanaВ can remain fresh and potent for months or even years. Keeping it a glass or ceramic jar in a cool, dark and dry place will do wonders. And if you really want to ensure maximum freshness, consider vacuum-sealing it.В

Whether you stored it away intentionally or forgot about an old stash, most pot consumers have wondered whether or not their weed has gone bad at some point. The short is answer is no — but that depends on your definition of "bad," as well as the…