Ziploc baggie containing old weed

Can You Smoke Old Weed? The Truth About Old Cannabis

Maybe you tucked away your cannabis stash for a rainy day but forgot about it. Perhaps you are in a pinch and can't get to the dispensary, but you do have some old weed on hand. These situations can bring about some relatively common questions.

Can you smoke old weed? Should you, and if you do smoke old weed, is it safe? Take a look at the answers, as well as how to tell if weed is old and what to do with it if it is.

Can You Smoke Old Weed?

While you can probably smoke old weed and not suffer any drastic ill effects, it is not the best idea. Old weed can be harsher on the throat and lungs and genuinely tastes bad. However, in some cases when mold or mildew has started to develop, smoking old weed could bring about even more serious consequences. So, while weed can last a long time with proper storage, it is not a plant that has an infinite shelf life, and you do have to learn how to spot weed that is no longer good for smoking.

Prevent Old Weed with our Storage Solutions

What Does Old Weed Look Like?

Old weed

When cannabis ages, its appearance can change noticeably. Old weed may appear dry and brittle, losing its vibrant green color and taking on a dull or yellowish hue. Additionally, you might notice an increase in the presence of tiny, fragile stems and a decrease in the density of the buds. Mold and mildew may also develop. The appearance of mold on weed can sometimes be difficult to identify but is usually presented as white or grayish patches on the surface of the buds. Overall, old cannabis tends to lack the fresh, sticky feel and robust appearance characteristic of freshly cured buds.

The Cannabis Aging Process Explained

As cannabis ages, several chemical and physical processes occur that contribute to its transformation. Over time, exposure to light, heat, and air can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant. This leads to a decrease in potency and noteworthy changes in flavor and aroma. Additionally, fluctuations in humidity and temperature levels can impact the moisture content of the buds, which affects their texture and overall quality.

How to Tell if Weed Is Old, in a Nutshell

  • Appearance: Look for dryness, faded color, fragile stems, and signs of mold.
  • Aroma: Fresh weed has a strong smell; old weed may be musty or have a less pronounced aroma.
  • Texture: Old weed feels dry and crumbly, often lacking stickiness due to the reduction in resinous trichomes.
  • Taste: Sample a small amount for a robust flavor; old weed may taste stale. Some claim the taste is akin to hay or dried leaves.

What Happens If You Smoke Old Weed? Is It Safe?

In most cases, smoking old weed is not going to do much of anything. In other words, you will be smoking dried cannabis flower that probably doesn't have a lot of flavor and may yield limited or no effects. A lot of people say old weed will be harsher and may be irritating to the throat and lungs. This comes from the lack of moisture and loss of terpenes that would normally make for a smoother smoke.

Moldy weed - DO NOT CONSUME

All that being said, you definitely don't want to smoke weed that is covered in mold or mildew, which can be an issue with improperly stored buds. If you inhale large amounts of mold on weed, this could lead to adverse health events, especially if you have allergies or sensitivities to certain microbes.

While most people will not have any major reactions to smoking old weed, a few side effects are possible, including:

  • Coughing
  • Throat irritation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you do have an allergy to mold and smoke weed, the effects can be even more concerning, such as congestion, wheezing, and sinus pain.

What to Do with Old Weed?

Cannabis flower

Sometimes, despite our best efforts to store cannabis properly, it can still become too old or degraded to use after a while. When this happens, it's essential to recognize that the quality of the weed may have deteriorated to the point where it's no longer suitable for consumption or to serve any other good purpose. In such cases, it's better to err on the side of caution and safely dispose of the old weed. You can dispose of old weed in your compost pile or according to the disposal guidelines in your state.

However, before reaching for the trash bin, there may be a few ways to use old weed that hasn't yet completely deteriorated. A few ideas include:

  1. Revive flower that's a bit too dry with an Evergreen Pod: If the weed has dried out but otherwise seems fine, consider using Evergreen Pods or packs to restore some moisture. Place the old weed in an airtight container along with a humidity pod. The pod releases or absorbs moisture to maintain optimal humidity levels, which may work for revitalizing the dry buds.
  2. Consider using the weed for homemade edibles: If the weed is still fine but not the best for smoking, incorporate it into homemade edibles. Cannabis-infused butter or oil can be used in various recipes, such as brownies, cookies, or gummies. Decarboxylate the old weed by heating it in the oven to activate the cannabinoids before infusing it into the butter or oil. Naturally, this should only be attempted if you're positive the flower is still good. However, there may be a situation in which terpenes have mostly evaporated, but there are still cannabinoids present.
  3. Try some DIY cannabis topicals: Another option is to create homemade topicals, such as balms or salves, using old weed. Infuse carrier oils like coconut or olive oil with decarboxylated cannabis and combine them with beeswax and essential oils to make soothing topical products that can be applied directly to the skin.

    Keep Your Weed Fresh for as Long as Possible with Evergreen

    At Evergreen, we're all about helping you store your weed and keep it fresh for the long term. With the best stash jars possible and two-way humidification pods from Evergreen, won’t have to worry about running into issues with old weed that often. Be sure to take a look at our full collection of weed storage supplies at Evergreen.

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