How to store your cannabis correctly
By Travis Crane
The cannabis plant is full of wonder and yet-to-be-discovered health benefits in addition to those traits already helping people who medicate with THC for a multiplicity of ailments. However, with recreational cannabis, people tend to forget that it is a plant just like any other, and after it is harvested it can only stay good for so long. So is freezing marijuana a good idea?
When it comes to storing your cannabis and maximizing its shelf life, there are different options you can try out to see what maintains the flavor and scent profile the best. But not all storage methods will provide the right humidity, temperature, and lighting to maintain those tastes and smells for an extended period of time.
Cannabis Storing Basics
Storing cannabis is extremely simple once you know the basics. The most important thing to remember is that cannabis likes the dark and cooler temperatures after it is cured. Mildew and other molds start to thrive on cannabis if the plant matter exceeds 77ºF. Excessive dry heat will dry out the essential oils in the plant making it dry, crumbly, and harsher to consume.
While too low of a temperature can also be dangerous for cannabis potency, a nice cool temperature between 50º and 60º in a dark place and relative humidity between 59% and 63% that blocks UV rays will be the most effective in maintaining the original potency and flavor of cannabis. So, what is the most effective way to store cannabis?
Let’s start with freezing marijuana. In short, this is not the way to go. While one may think that freezing cannabis could have its perks like slowing down the aging process or helping the buds stay firm, actually the opposite is true.
Most cannabis is aged for multiple days after the harvest to dry out and cure the buds, so by the time it hits the shelves it is already cured and ready to use. However, as cannabis sits, it continues to decarboxylate, which is the process that transfers THC-A into the psychoactive THC we all know and love. Lower temperatures like that of a freezer will slow down if not halt completely the decarboxylation process, leading to less potent cannabis over time.
Another downside to freezing cannabis is the fragility of the THC crystals that sit on the outside of the buds, also known as trichomes, one of the main factors in the potency of cannabis. As temperatures drop, trichomes will freeze and fall off, decreasing potency. However, freezing cannabis can be useful for making concentrates such as an ice-bubble hash or other concentrates made from frozen cannabis product.
Alternatives to Freezing Marijuana
While it may seem obvious that storing cannabis in a plastic bag or a cardboard box is not an effective method of storage, many do so because of a lack of knowledge of the effects over time. Have you ever noticed when you go to take your cannabis out of the plastic baggy it came in there’s little pieces of it sticking to the sides? That’s because plastic can hold a static charge that attracts trichomes, taking away potency every time you take it out and put it back.
The refrigerator may seem like a viable alternative to freezing marijuana since it is warmer than a freezer but still cooler than 77º, but fluctuations in humidity and temperature from opening the fridge constantly can still increase chances of mold and mildew.
The most effective way to store cannabis and maintain its flavor and aroma profiles over time is to store it in an airtight container, like a glass jar (a.k.a “nug jugs”). While oxygen is essential for the curing process, you want just the right amount in your storage container to keep humidity consistent without drying out the bud too quickly.
If you want to go the extra mile, pick up a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in your storage container and make sure the jar you are using is vacuum sealed to reduce exposure to oxygen. Or upgrade your glassware to a UV-blocking Miron Jar by Cannador, sized to fit in on your wine rack. Also remember to keep your cannabis in a separate container from grinders, pipes or other paraphernalia as the smell of burnt cannabis and other resins can stick to the container making it stink over time.
Overall, as long as you have a glass jar, kept it in a dark place that is relatively cool, you don’t have to worry about your cannabis going bad anytime soon.