Cannabis flower with grinder and papers

How Long Does Weed Last, and Can it Go Bad? Does it Lose Potency After Grinding?

Originally published 5/13/22, expanded 3/6/23

You pick up your cannabis at the dispensary, consume what you want, and then find you have some leftovers. You tuck it away, forget about it, and then come across your forgotten flower later on. Can you still smoke old weed? Will it taste right, and will it have the same effects? More importantly, how long can weed last, really? We've pulled together some answers below about how long your cannabis can be stowed away before it no longer delivers, and some tips on to maintain your cannabis’ potency.

Make it Last Longer With Our Patented Stash Jars

How long does weed last?

Straight to the point, well-stored weed can last a really long time, but the key here is "well-stored." Most sources will tell you that cured cannabis is shelf-stable for as long as six months and up to a year. You could still technically smoke old cannabis beyond a year, but the cannabinoids and terpenes will start to deteriorate after that. A general guideline is to try to use up cannabis within about six months, but storage methods will definitely make a difference. In order to keep cannabis fresh for as long as possible, you will, at minimum, need to:

  • Keep your weed out of direct sunlight
  • Protect it from oxygen
  • Keep it at the proper humidity level

Signs of weed going bad

If you’re unsure how long you’ve had your stash, check for signs of it going bad first. Buds that have been dried past the point of salvation will crumble into dust when touched. Exposure to moisture could have left behind visible signs of mold on the leaves. Smelling the bud could also help you determine if it’s gone bad or not. You should notice a fresh scent (not a musty or “old hay” odor).

How to Keep Weed Fresh

Cannabis in jars

The important thing is to make sure you are using the most ideal storage solution to keep your weed fresh.

For the most success with long-term weed storage,  these are the key rules::

Glass stash jars like those from Evergreen are a good choice. Using glass means no single use plastics, and no chemicals leaching into your flower. They also have an airtight lid, as well as a silicone sleeve to thwart UV rays. Outfit the jar with a two-way humidification pod, and your bud is set to retain its freshness and potency for quite some time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Evergreen storage solution in use

Why does weed go bad?

Cannabis doesn’t go bad the way perishable foods can spoil, but over time the volatile terpenes and cannabinoids will degrade. This degradation will result in a loss of flavor and potency. It should still be safe to consume, but will make for a much less pleasant experience.

Can weed go bad in a plastic bag?

Yes. For various reasons, storing your weed in a plastic bag is one of the worst options. Plastic baggies are not usually oxygen proof, and zipper bags do not protect the weed from UV light. Plastic bags may even increase mold growth. 

Read More: Should You Store Weed in Plastic Bags & Containers?

Does weed expire or have a shelf life?

Most cannabis you get at a dispensary will not have an official expiry date. However, most dispensaries can give you insight into how fresh their products are. Once you bring it home, you can extend its life by making sure it is properly stored.

Read More: Best Way to Store Weed Long Term

Why does weed lose its smell?

Weed loses its smell when the terpenes that produce the telltale aromatics start to deteriorate. This happens when weed starts to dry out, and happens faster the drier it gets.

Related: How to Store Weed to Preserve Terpenes

Does weed go bad in the freezer?

Even though everything seems to last longer when you stick it in the freezer, this is not the case for cannabis. Freezing temperatures cause damage to the delicate trichomes, which is where the heaviest concentration of cannabinoids is found. Plus, freezer storage can lead to too much moisture and mold growth.

Read More: Should You Store Weed in the Freezer?

How does grinding weed affect its lifespan and potency?

Ground cannabis flower

When you want a consistent draw and cannabinoid delivery, grinding your weed is key. Most cannabis consumers have a good grinder in their accessory kit. A grinder is typically a cylindrical device that has a series of teeth to break down your bud into uniform pieces with a few quick turns. 

Sometimes, you may get carried away and grind more than you need for one sitting. What should you do with your leftover ground flower?  Does weed lose potency after grinding? How can you retain potency after grinding? Read on to find out.

Does grinding weed make it less potent?

When you grind weed, what you're doing is breaking up the plant matter into smaller pieces. The trichomes that usually contain the highest concentrations of THC and terpenes are also broken down and distributed throughout the plant matter. Grinding does mean losing some of this material, but if your grinder has a kief catcher, you can recapture some of the resinous material for later use.

All this is to say, grinding weed should not affect potency to an extent that it makes a big difference. If anything, what you end up with is a more consistent distribution of cannabinoids and terpenes.

How long does ground weed stay potent?

Cannabis flower, some ground

Ground weed does not stay fresh and potent for as long as intact buds. When stored properly, your ground weed will stay fresh almost as long as your full bud, though it will lose flavor and aroma at a faster rate.

Preserve Ground and Unground Buds with Evergreen

Quality cannabis doesn't come cheap. So when you find good bud and you want to preserve it for as long as possible, use the right storage products and practices to protect your investment. Whether you like to store your cannabis ground and ready to roll or in full buds, Evergreen has the storage solutions to preserve your product for as long as possible. Take a look at our comprehensive lineup of weed storage solutions


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1 comment

I would like to know the leftover weed you throw away do you give it samples out
Evergreen replied:
Hi Charles – our staff gets the first shot at any leftovers, and they have yet to leave any behind

Charles baker

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