On occasion you can be lucky to receive a good supply of cannabis to the point of wanting to stash some away for later use, or perhaps you’re on a weekly medical marijuana supply cycle and have to keep your stash till next time round. Either way, many of us are confronted with the need to store weed for extended periods.
While there are no special requirements for storing cannabis, there are a few things you must do or not do to keep it fresh, potent, and free from contaminants.
Optimum storage conditions
There are four critical environmental factors to consider when storing cannabis. These include humidity, temperature, light, and air flow. To start with, controlling humidity is very important if you want to keep mildew and other contaminants away. The recommended optimum humidity for storing cannabis typically ranges from 59% to 63% RH. Anything higher than that will increase the chance of mold developing, whereas a much lower RH may cause trichomes to become brittle and dry. The 59% to 63% RH range is also needed to retain the original color, aroma, consistency, and flavor. A cool, closed environment is necessary for optimum humidity.
Temperature is the second most crucial environmental factor to consider. Temperatures between 77° and 86° F will provide ideal conditions for mildew and other molds to grow, not only on cannabis, but other organic matter as well. To beat this you’ll need to keep your cannabis in a cool place. Excessive heat is also problematic as it dries out the much-needed terpenes and cannabinoids. Don’t let these essential oils dry out otherwise you will experience a hot and harsh smoke. Much lower temperatures will also slow cause inefficient decarboxylation – a process through which THCa is transformed into the psychoactive THC – leading to a degraded CBN.
The importance of light settings in cannabis storage is stressed by the need to eliminate harmful UV rays that are known to cause a breakdown in different types of both organic and synthetic materials. Studies have cited light to be the biggest cause of degradation in cannabinoids. Therefore the need to store your marijuana away from direct sunlight.
The final key environmental factor to consider when storing cannabis is air. Too much air hastens the cannabinoid degradation process, while too little air may increase relative humidity. Storing your cannabis in an airtight mason jar is a good way to control air – ideally, one of the old dark cheese jars, if you happen to be in possession of one.
The dos of storing cannabis
Based on the analysis above, here are some recommendations for optimally storing your cannabis:
- Do store your cannabis in a cool, dry, and dark place or away from direct sunlight
- Do use instruments such as hygrometer to keep RH levels in control
- Do use containers with a neutral charge, ideally glass jars
- Do store the jars in a low shelf, cupboard, or your basement.
- Do make sure your jars are airtight to minimize oxygen exposure
- And finally, be on the lookout for upcoming cannabis storage solutions on the market
The don’ts of storing cannabis
- Don’t refrigerate your marijuana. The fluctuations in temperatures and humidity while under refrigeration conditions will increase the likelihood of mildew and mold.
- Don’t store your cannabis in plastic bags – the static charge on plastics attracts and cause the loss of trichomes. Plastic can only be used for a short duration, like during transportation.
- Don’t store your cannabis in the freezer either. The freezing temperatures will degrade your product by causing the trichomes to become brittle and easy to break when handled.
- Don’t use a tobacco humidor for your cannabis. The humidor is made of cedar wood, which has oils that can be transferred into the cannabis and, ultimately, affect the flavor. The sponges contained to control humidity may also over-saturate your cannabis.
- Don’t store your cannabis in close proximity to electrical appliances that generate heat. This may cause cannabinoids to dry up.
- Don’t store pipes, grinders, and other things together with your fresh weed.
If you observe these few dos and don’ts, then you will be sure to preserve the potency, taste, and color of your cannabis for a long time.
If you have a large stash of cannabis, you might want to store your daily ration (for up to one week) separately to avoid opening and closing the jar all the time as that will interfere with air control. Again, products infused with cannabis, including edibles, will require a different approach to storage. You will be on the safe side by following directions written on the package. Cannabis concentrates such as alcohol tinctures may be less susceptible to contamination by mold and other microbes but may still necessitate the above guidelines to maintain potency.