Thursday January 13, 2022

By Erin Hiatt

Image of a best before expiration date on a tin can, symbolizing shelf life Education

When you spend your hard-earned cash on cannabis products, you want to make sure that no matter which one you get — whether it’s flower, tinctures, edibles, or topicals — stays fresh and potent for as long as possible. There are a lot of cannabis products out there, so how do you know which ones will stay fresh the longest?

Before we dig in, there are a couple of different factors that can reduce potency, degrade the quality of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, and cause mold. Light is but one enemy; direct light may cause cannabis to break down and heat and humidity can lead to mold, which will definitely ruin its taste and simply isn’t a healthy thing to do. Over time, exposure to air will also break down cannabinoids, in particular THC, which will definitely harsh your mellow.

As a rule, there are a few steps you can take to keep your cannabis products fresh, including storing them in a cool, dark place and using made-for-the-task storage containers or humidity packs (but not cigar humidors).



But here’s the big question: does weed go bad? Yes, it can indeed go bad, especially if it’s exposed to moisture, which can cause rot and mold. And nobody likes moldy weed.

How Long Do Different Cannabis Products Stay Fresh?

Below, we’ve broken down freshness by product type:

  • Flower: though cannabinoids will naturally degrade over time, if stored properly, flower can stay fresh for six months to a year
  • Topicals: since they are generally packaged in air-tight containers, if you keep them in their original containers, seal the container tightly between uses, and store in a cool, dark place, topicals can last for a year or more
  • Concentrates: products like waxes and dabs can stay fresh for a year or longer if stored properly; an airtight container with as little air inside as possible and kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. Rosins and live resin do well being refrigerated, but will not have as long of a shelf life comparably. Six months is probably the max.
A variety of cannabis products including edibles, a vape, flower, concentrates, and pills
The shelf life of cannabis varies depending on product type. photo credit
  • Tinctures: quite often you’ll find that tinctures come in dark-colored bottles. That’s to keep out light, which can degrade cannabinoids and lower their efficacy. If tinctures are kept at room temperature or below and in a dry, dark place, tinctures can last longer than any cannabis product, up to a year or longer
  • Edibles: these are the products with the shortest shelf life because like all foods, they will go bad — or at the very least stale — over time. Edibles are only likely to stay fresh for a week or two, depending on how you store them. Baked cannabis goods can be stored in the freezer for up to a year and maintain their freshness, and candies and lozenges may have a longer shelf life than baked goods. But follow the packaging label, it will provide proper guidance on where and how to store your edibles
  • Cannabis capsules/pills: if kept in a sealed bottle at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, cannabis pills were found to last up to four years with minimal THC degradation

As tempted as you may be to store your flower in the freezer to keep it fresh for as long as possible, it’s best to skip freezing. When flower is frozen, those cannabinoid powerhouses called trichomes will become brittle and many of them will break off in the freezing process, reducing both your high and any potential therapeutic benefits. Additionally, freezing invites extra moisture which can build up in the thawing process for both flower and concentrates.

Best to keep it simple and use airtight containers that are tightly sealed between uses in cool, dark, and dry places like a cupboard or pantry. And don’t forget to skip the plastic bag; the unsealing and resealing invites air and moisture, both of which contribute to product degradation.

Conclusion

No matter what kind of cannabis product you get, if stored properly and in a cool, dark, and dry place, most weed will stay fresh for about six months to a year, or more. So stock up on those mason jars and carve out a dedicated weed spot in the cupboard.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which Cannabis Product Stays Fresh the Longest?

Cannabis pills and capsules can last up to four years if kept at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in a tightly sealed container. Second place goes to tinctures, which if kept in their original packaging and at room temperature or below in a dark, dry, and cool place, can last for more than a year.

How Quickly Does Rosin Go Bad?

Rosin will oxidize quickly if not stored properly. If you do not plan to use your rosin immediately, consider keeping it in the refrigerator for a short period of time in an airtight container. But rosin is most effective when consumed shortly after purchase. What Should I Do with Old Weed?

If you’re feeling ambitious, you could grind it for kief or extract it for edibles, but make sure it’s free of mold and rot before doing so.


How long do you store your weed products? Share in the comments!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Author

Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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