Can Weed Go Bad? Exploring 4 Factors that Determine Freshness

Many people wonder if cannabis can go bad or expire. The simple answer is that cannabis buds don’t have a definite expiration date, but they can degrade over time. Whether you consider it expired or not depends on your personal preference and whether you still want to use it

Can Weed Go Bad?

The lifespan and freshness of a cannabis depend on various factors. Proper storage plays a significant role in maintaining its quality. When stored correctly, cannabis can stay fresh for several months. However, if stored for a long time, they may become drier and more brittle compared to fresh ones.

The good news is that professionally harvested, dried, cured, and properly stored cannabis can have an extended shelf life. Generally, cannabis can last anywhere from 6 months to 1 year when stored under optimal conditions.

4 Reasons Why Weed Go Bad Faster

Cannabis can expire or deteriorate due to improper storage, which exposes it to unfavorable environmental factors. Here are some reasons that can contribute to the expiration of cannabis:

Environmental Factors

Environmental causes, such as sunlight or bright lights, can render the cannabis flower less effective. Additionally, exposure to excessive air, weather conditions, humidity, and temperatures can have detrimental effects on the inflorescences. These factors can cause the evaporation of various substances and lead to the drying out of cannabis or the formation of mold if storage conditions are not optimal.

The Growth of Mold

Generally, fungi are more likely to grow and cause mold before harvest, but they can still thrive at any stage if the cannabis remains damp. Containers lacking proper ventilation are particularly susceptible to mold growth.

Mold typically appears as brown, white, gray, yellow, or black patches. It may also leave stains resembling spider webs. The odor can be reminiscent of urine or musty towels. The growth of mold can occur within a few days, and it is impossible to completely eliminate it from the buds. Using it contaminated with fungi poses significant risks, making it crucial to exercise caution.

Terpenes Lose Potency

Terpenes are volatile chemical compounds that resemble essential oils. They are responsible for the distinct aroma and flavor profiles found in various plants, including cannabis. Some terpenes can start evaporating at temperatures as low as 21°C.

Cannabis contain significant amounts of terpenes. However, over time and when exposed to heat, the terpenes can evaporate, resulting in a reduced aroma of the cannabis. This evaporation of terpenes is a sign of their loss. While terpenes may not directly impact the level of intoxication, they play a crucial role in enhancing the effects of different substances in cannabis and contribute to its desired aroma and flavor. When terpenes evaporate, cannabis may lose their pleasant scent, the taste may not be as enjoyable as before, and their efficiency may decrease.

THC Degrades Overtime

Light, humidity, and air temperature can have detrimental effects on cannabis. When cannabis are exposed to light, THC degradation can occur at an accelerated pace. Oxygen in the air can also contribute to the conversion of THC into CBN, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Consequently, using deteriorated cannabis may not produce a strong intoxicating effect but can instead induce sleepiness.

It is generally recommended to consume purchased cannabis within 6 months. THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can deteriorate once harvested from the plant. The longer it is stored, the greater the decline in THC quality. For example, after 1 year of storage, cannabis may lose around 16% of its THC quality. After 2 years, the loss can reach 26%. After 3 years, the THC quality may decrease by 34%, and after 4 years, it may lose up to 41% of its THC quality. Therefore, it is best to consume cannabis sooner rather than later to maintain its potency.

How To Store Weed Properly

If you want to keep cannabis fresh, it is essential to learn how to store weed properly and extend its shelf life. Storing marijuana in a plastic bag is not recommended as these bags are not moisture-proof, airtight, or capable of filtering light and heat effectively.

The correct method for storing weed is to use a sealed, opaque glass jar or vacuum-sealed bag. If you have a large quantity of cannabis flowers that you won’t consume soon, freezing them in the refrigerator is advisable. However, it is crucial to keep it in a secure location to prevent unauthorized access by children, teenagers, or pets.