In a perfect world, purchased cannabis would last forever. You could buy a massive amount, store what you don't use, and keep it on hand until it was gone without it losing potency or quality. However, on the most basic level, cannabis is a plant, and plants don't last forever - even if they are cured for longer storage.
If you are planning to keep weed for longer than a few weeks, it's a good idea to get familiar with long-term pot storage. What's the best way to store weed long-term? Below is an in-depth guide to how to store weed long-term, the best containers for storage, and more.
How to Store Weed
Storing weed correctly means doing all you can to preserve those valuable cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids deliver effects and terpenes deliver flavor and aromatics. Both cannabinoids and terpenes start to deteriorate with time and with exposure to the elements.
There are four primary considerations when it comes to storing weed for as long as possible:
- Temperature - The best temperature for cannabinoid and terpene protection is around 70° F (21º C) or below
- Humidity - Humidity levels should be kept between 55 and 65 percent relative humidity
- Oxygen - Airtight protection deters terpene and cannabinoid oxidation, which causes cannabinoids to deteriorate and terpenes to evaporate
- Light - UV light combined with heat degrades and synthesizes cannabinoids, potentially converting THC into CBN (cannabinol)—a non-intoxicating cannabinoid
See a more in-depth explanation of these factors in: How to Keep Weed Fresh & The Best Humidity & Temperature for Storing Cannabis
Best Way to Store Weed Long Term
The best way to store weed for long periods is in an airtight glass storage container. Glass does not contain damaging chemicals, and it protects the weed from being exposed to the air. For light protection, you can easily keep a jar in the dark, or opt for a glass jar with a UV-protective covering - such as Evergreen glass jars, which have a tight-fitting silicone sleeve to block sunlight.
The final threat to weed that is being stored for long periods is moisture or humidity. However, with the right supplies, this, too, can be controlled. Humidification Pods, for example, attach to a metal jar lid to keep moisture levels in the jar in the optimal range to protect the quality of the weed.
Best Weed Storage Containers
The best weed storage containers offer protection from the primary threats and protect the quality of the plant material. Therefore, glass stash jars are hands-down the best option. You could go with a glass mason jar in a pinch, and this would be far better than a plastic bag or container. However, stash jars are glass jars that are dedicated to storing weed, and some are designed with integrated features. The fact that they can be used with humidification pods makes the jars even more effective. The best features to look for include:
- The right jar size
- Good seal to deter air exposure
- A protective exterior to thwart UV light
- Odor protection
Looking for the best options? Here are the Top 3 Stash Jars on the Market Right Now
How long does weed last? Does weed go bad?
Most sources state that in optimal conditions, well-stored cannabis can last between six months and a year. The general guideline to enjoy cannabis while it still has all its flavor and potency is to use what you have within six months. Some older studies have shown that weed starts to actually lose its potency after about the one-year mark. Take a look:
- 16% THC lost at 1 year
- 26% THC loss at 2 years
- 34% THC loss at 3 years
- 41% THC loss at 4 years
In reality, however, the lifespan of weed varies depending on how it is stored. If you keep cannabis in the right conditions, you can deter issues with mold, preserve terpenes and cannabinoids, and keep weed fresher for longer.
What about mold?
Weed doesn't really go bad per se unless it starts to mold, in which case the weed can "go bad" in such a way that it wouldn't be safe to smoke. Mold growth occurs when the weed is exposed to too much moisture. This can show up as dark spots, spots of gray or white, or even just an "off" odor, all of which can be a little hard to spot. Other than mold issues, the weed won't really "go bad," but it will lose its flavor and potency.
Find out more about mold on weed in: Mold on Weed: Here’s What to Know
Should you store weed in a plastic container or bag?
In short, no. Plastic poses a few problems, whether it is a bag or a container. For one, plastic often gathers static electricity, which is not something you want your weed to encounter while in storage. The static can damage the delicate and brittle trichomes that cover the plant, which is where the terpenes and cannabinoids are the highest concentrated.
Another issue with plastic is the sheer volume of chemicals found in most plastics. No matter the type of plastic, most of it is derived from fossil fuels. Some of the most worrisome chemicals can be found in plastics, such as bisphenols and fluorinated compounds. These chemicals can leach into and affect your weed.
See a more in-depth explanation in: Should You Store Weed in Plastic Bags & Containers?
How long does weed stay good in a Ziploc bag?
A while, but you don't want to chance it for any longer than necessary. If you must store your weed in a Ziploc bag, keep the storage time as short as possible. A few weeks in the best of circumstances should be the limit. Research has shown that storing cannabis in a plastic bag can even contribute to mold problems. If you do place weed in a bag, remove as much air as possible and handle the bag and cannabis as little as possible to deter static.
Other FAQs on How to Preserve Cannabis
How long should weed be cured before storage?
The general recommendation is to make sure the buds have been cured for at least four weeks. The goal is to only store weed once it's at its peak potency and flavor, but non-cured weed will also have a higher moisture content that can lead to mold.
Should I keep weed in the freezer?
Can you freeze weed for long-term storage? Yes, but this is not the best idea. Freezing cannabis can be especially hard on the trichomes; most will fall off if you handle the cannabis while it's frozen. Plus, freezing has to be done in an extremely controlled way to prevent undue moisture contamination.
Can you use a cigar humidor?
Cigar humidors are specifically designed to keep tobacco cigars fresh for as long as possible. These wooden storage boxes may even have a hygrometer to keep humidity levels in check. However, cigar humidors are not good for weed storage. Humidor boxes are often made with oil-containing woods like cedar, which can affect the flavor profile of the cannabis stored inside. Further, the humidity levels within a cigar humidor can be higher, which may lead to mold growth for cannabis.
See a more in-depth explanation in: Storing Weed in a Humidor (Can you do it?)
How do you know if weed is bad?
Weed that is old may not necessarily be bad, so you can't really assume weed is bad because it has been in storage for a long time. What you should look at is color, smell, and consistency. Old weed usually turns brown or tan, smells like hay or really weak, and may be brittle and crumbly. Mold can also make its way into improperly stored weed, which may show up as dark spots.
Need more advice on keeping weed fresh for as long as possible? Be sure to take a look at the Instructions & Guides from Evergreen.
Looking for a storage solution that covers all the bases at a reasonable price? Check out the Evergreen Storage Solution.