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How to Store Cannabis Long-Term and Preserve the Freshness

If you have a weed stash you haven’t touched for a bit, you may notice the buds getting dryer with time, and smoking them won’t get you as high as it did at first. While ageing is inevitable, it can be slowed down with proper preservation. We’ll teach you what can harm your buds with age, and how you can preserve them from time and the elements.

Keeping cannabis fresh is simple when you’re armed with the right knowledge.

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If you’re the type to buy bud in bulk, or just don’t smoke too often, we can imagine you’ve ended up with old weed on your hands.

You can tell something’s off when you pinch the dried-up, lightweight nugs. You may need something to smoke, but would that old stuff even get you high at all? Even if it did, what would the flavour be like? No matter the answers, you’re most likely wondering how you can stop your weed from getting like that again.

Well, you can’t stop the ageing process, but you can definitely slow it down! Above all, you’ll need to make sure your weed is expertly cured, placed in optimal containers, and stored in a cool room at the proper temperature and humidity.

What Happens When Cannabis Gets Old?

Before we go deeper into that discussion, though, we want to offer you a deeper understanding of what happens when your weed starts to age.

Lost THC

As weed is exposed to heat, oxygen, and UV light, the cannabinoids within, including THC, will begin to break down. It doesn’t happen too quickly, but the change can become noticeable after a few weeks. It won’t leave you sober, but a joint won’t get you as high as the one you rolled when you first got it.

Conversion to CBN

As that THC breaks down, it doesn’t just disappear. In fact, it’s converted into another cannabinoid, known as CBN. This cannabinoid has some mild psychoactive properties, but it doesn’t get you high on its own. This conversion mainly occurs when weed is exposed to oxygen and heat, although the process takes time.

Lost Flavour

Lost THC won’t be the only consequence of keeping your weed in a warm spot. As it gets weaker, it’ll also taste and feel harsher upon smoking. This, of course, is a result of the terpenes drying out over time. Excessive light and moisture will bring about their downfall as well.

Does This Also Happen to CBD-Rich Bud?

If you’re more inclined to smoke CBD-rich strains, you may wonder whether any of this applies to you. Well, since CBD is also a cannabinoid, and since the buds also have terpenes, it too can degrade with age. The high isn’t a factor, but you’ll miss out on the other potential benefits of CBD.

What Causes Weed to Age?

We’ve alluded to certain causes of weed ageing, but let’s go ahead and break the issues down into clear terms.

Humidity

You have to maintain a very precise balance when it comes to humidity and cannabis. If your storage method introduces too much moisture, you run the risk of mould infestation. If it isn’t humid enough, though, the terpenes and cannabinoids will end up withering away. While they’re quite different outcomes, the unpleasantness is equal between them.

Temperature

Often going hand-in-hand with excess humidity, high temperatures can hasten the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes. Generally, you should make sure your weed storage area doesn’t get hotter than 25.5ºC (78ºF). Simply enough, this is because any environment between 25.5–30ºC (78–86ºF) is prime for mildew and mould growth.

Light

In short, persistent UV light will land a heavy blow on the impact on terpenes, THC, and other cannabinoids. This is especially problematic in tropical areas, where it joins forces with humidity and heat to harm your stash.

Container Materials

Lastly, while many aren’t even aware of this, your container’s base material can have a direct impact on your weed’s ageing process. See, while many place their weed in plastic containers, the material can cause your stash to “sweat”. This means, as with actual sweating, your plant will release its inner moisture. It’ll end up dry and harsh as a result.

Curing Pocket Box

How to Store Your Weed and Keep It Fresh

So, now that you know the enemies, you need to learn how to defend yourself and keep your weed fresh. Thankfully, it’s a fairly simple process, and you may already have everything you need to start storing your weed for a long period of time.

Proper Curing

Really, the journey to proper cannabis storage begins with the post-harvest curing process. And, funnily enough, it involves maintaining the same sort of optimised environment for your flower. You’ll want to find a cool, dark, and moderately dry spot. Separate the buds, trim off the sugar leaves, and sort your stash into mason jars. Also, note that each jar should only be ¾ full.

With a few weeks of patience, you’ll be rewarded with fresh, smokable flowers. If you really want to ensure freshness, though, you’ll want to make sure no excess moisture gets trapped in your curing jars.

To accomplish that, we recommend utilising our specialised RQS Moisture Fighters. These plant-based sachets are designed to rest right in your stash jars, absorbing or releasing moisture according to the conditions. They’ll last up to four months, and just one 8g sachet will keep your personal stash fresh. If your jar’s a little heftier, there are sachets in sizes up to 67g available as well. Either way, you’ll want to select the ones that maintain 58% or 62% humidity. Get the former if you’re in a more humid environment, and the latter if you’re living in a dry climate.

“But how will I know if the sachet is still working? Do I need to open up the jar to check?”. Thankfully, no! They each feature a dot that changes colour depending on their condition, so you’ll know exactly when you need to replace them.

Humidity Control Pack

Use Air-Tight Glass/Ceramic Containers or Vacuum Bags

Once your buds have been sufficiently cured, we’d recommend you keep them in their mason jars. Considering how much damage oxygen can do, air-tight containers are the best choice you can make for your weed.

It can’t just be any container, though. As we mentioned before, plastic can actually hasten the ageing process, so Tupperware would be unwise. A glass or ceramic container, however, will keep it safe and fresh.

That being said, vacuum bags are also incredibly effective, as they’re naturally devoid of air.

Keep It Dark

Along with your container of choice being air-tight and glass/ceramic, it should also be opaque. Light can wreak havoc on your cannabis, and blacking out your jars can ensure total safety. Before that, however, you should make sure your curing room is completely dark (with the lights off) to begin with. With blacked-out jars, though, you can turn on the lights to check in without worrying too much.

As it turns out, our specialised RQS Re:stash Jars fulfill every one of the requirements you need your containers to meet. They’re layered with a jet-black silicone sleeve, boast air-tight lids made from hemp, and come in sizes of 4, 8, 12, and 16 ounces.

Maintain Cool Temperatures

Once you’ve got your buds in their containers, you’ll need to make sure the room stays consistently cool: below 25.5ºC (78ºF) to prevent mould from thriving. Turning it down to 21ºC (70ºF) would be optimal.

Ensure Clean Storage

Now, with almost everything in order, you just need to make sure things stay clean. Make sure you dust the shelves and jars, along with vacuuming or mopping the floor when needed. In turn, make sure you don’t spend too much time in there, as any dirt you track in will have to be cleaned up later.

Will Weed Stay Fresh When Frozen?

Through all of this, some of you may have been thinking, “I can keep food in the freezer for months, so why don’t I just freeze my cannabis?”. Others amongst you may hear someone suggest that and gag at the thought, thinking it ruins the flowers.

Those in the latter camp, however, may be surprised to learn that you can effectively store your bud in the freezer for 1–2 years. If you go for it, just make sure you’re very careful to avoid touching the buds, as the trichomes (which contain almost all of the resin) will quickly fall off.

Let them naturally thaw outside the freezer, and note the top layer of the buds may be sub-optimal. The rest of it, however, will be nearly as good as it was one or two years before.

Aged Buds: A New Trend?

To cap off our discussion, we thought we’d take a look at those people fighting against the notion of age being a detriment to cannabis. See, for some people, the curing process is an art form. For lovers of aged weed [1] , the prime flavour of a strain emerges with time, and some consider it necessary to wait at least five months after curing before smoking their stash.

This is still a very new school of thought, though. In general, we wouldn’t recommend trying it unless you have lengthy experience with cannabis. Yet, your journey with weed is your own, and we don’t want to stop you from experimenting!

While wine and cheese benefit from age, weed buds get dry and lose their potency. Here, we'll teach you how to preserve cannabis long-term and keep it fresh.

Scientists pinpoint the ideal legal age for smoking marijuana

There is an age that can beat back the black market, and minimize long-term impacts on the brain.

In the United States, you have to be 21-years-old before you can buy a cigarette, alcohol, or recreational marijuana. Unlike cigarettes and alcohol, the legal age for marijuana is decided by states and not the federal government. Why states have settled on 21 as the legal age, meanwhile, is a bit nebulous — some lawmakers argue it’s to keep weed out of schools, while others say it should be treated similarly to alcohol.

According to a new study, Americans might be a bit overzealous in their restricting when it comes to who can access the drug.

The minimum legal age for smoking weed should be around 19 years old, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal BMC Public Health. At that age, negative impacts on long-term health, educational attainment, mental health, and physical health are minimized, the study suggests.

The legal age for marijuana use in Canada, where these researchers are based, varies depending on the province where a person lives.

In most Canadian provinces the legal age for cannabis purchasing is 19 — except Alberta where it is 18. Quebec, however, raised that age to 21 in January 2020. The situation in Quebec is more indicative of the United States cannabis landscape.

This study suggests that it is possible to lower that age, but not by too much explains, explains Hai Nguyen, a health economist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, to Inverse.

Smoking weed before age 19, he says, is linked to “significantly worse outcomes.” But we may not need to wait until age 21 to head mental and physical health consequences off entirely.

“Several later life outcomes from starting cannabis use at age 19 are not different than starting at or after age 21,” Nguyen explains.

Striking a balance – Setting the age threshold is about striking a careful balance between discouraging black market activities and minimizing health risks.

From the scientific perspective, pushing the age limit back to 21 may help protect the brain. For instance, a 2018 study of 3,826 teens found that when teenagers increased their cannabis use over the course of a year, their working memory skills declined in tandem.

A 2019 study suggests that cannabis upsets the natural thinning of grey matter in the teen brain, which could lead to cognitive issues. The CDC sums it up succinctly, stating that marijuana can have “permanent effects on the developing brain when use begins in adolescence.”

Marijuana isn’t uniquely damaging to teen brains (alcohol can do a number on them as well). But setting a legal age for marijuana is especially tricky because marijuana has an especially large underground market, says Nguyen.

Take certain THC vape brands like “Dank Vapes,” which were directly marketed to teens, and sometimes filled with a thickener called Vitamin E acetate. This is thought to have caused a serious and sometimes deadly lung condition.

Meanwhile, illicit marijuana use in high school seniors has remained steady since 1997, suggesting that teens are using it anyway. A legal age that is too high, pushes teens directly into the black market’s hands, the study explains.

Finding the ideal age – This study suggests that we can use evidence to try to strike a balance between the risk of long term brain issues, and pushing teens towards sketchy purchasing options

Nguyen and his colleagues analyzed survey data from about 20,000 people between ages 21 and 65, taking into certain markers of how their lives turned out in domains like general health, mental health, and educational attainment.

They found that, if you consider each long-term outcome like education or mental health in isolation, you actually get different ideal legal cannabis ages. Respondents reported better health if they started smoking weed after age 18. But they reported better mental health if they started after age 19 — compared to if they started a year earlier.

Finally, people who started smoking after age 21 tended to have more years of education than those who started earlier, a trend the scientists suggest that smoking earlier could be linked to dropout rates (but they can’t prove that in this paper).

The scientists settled on 19 because there were no significant differences in health outcomes between those who started smoking marijuana at 19 and those who started at 21. Their educational attainment differences were significant, but when weighed against the rest of the measures, 19 still appeared to be the best compromise.

Importantly, this study can’t prove causality, and it doesn’t change the fact that marijuana may still have neurobiological effects on the brain of a 19-year-old.

The years between 18 and 21 are still crucial for brain development — the brain doesn’t finish developing until about age 25. Because of that, the difference between 19 and 21 may be insignificant when it comes to life outcomes, but it may not be when it comes to cognitive skills. This study was not designed to asses those skills.

That said, the work does provide a framework that scientists can use to asses whether or not a certain minimum legal age is achieving what it is meant to do – reduce risk in the long term.

As long as the legal market is carefully kept regulated, says Nguyen, the Canadian provinces who set the marijuana purchasing age at 19 could be on to something.

Background: Choice of minimum legal age (MLA) for cannabis use is a critical and contentious issue in legalization of non-medical cannabis. In Canada where non-medical cannabis was recently legalized in October 2018, the federal government recommended age 18, the medical community argued for 21 or even 25, while public consultations led most Canadian provinces to adopt age 19. However, no research has compared later life outcomes of first using cannabis at these different ages to assess their merits as MLAs.

Methods: We used doubly robust regression techniques and data from nationally representative Canadian surveys to compare educational attainment, cigarette smoking, self-reported general and mental health associated with different ages of first cannabis use.

Results: We found different MLAs for different outcomes: 21 for educational attainment, 19 for cigarette smoking and mental health and 18 for general health. Assuming equal weight for these individual outcomes, the ‘overall’ MLA for cannabis use was estimated to be 19 years. Our results were robust to various robustness checks.

Conclusion: Our study indicated that there is merit in setting 19 years as MLA for non-medical cannabis.

By analyzing survey data, scientists believe they’ve found the ideal legal marijuana age. This age minimizes black market use while balancing teen health issues.