How Long is My Weed Good For?
When it comes to storing your cannabis, the method you choose makes a huge difference in how long your buds maintain potency and freshness.
But what's the best way to store weed? Is it vacuum-sealing? Will freezing your buds hurt them in some way?
I've tried a few different methods for storing marijuana over the years, and today I want to share what works and what hasn't worked for me!
Properly Stored Weed Looks Full and Sparkly, with at Least a Little Color Left
Improperly Stored Buds Start Turning Brown and Crumbly
Note: Some people prefer the effects of wet-cured or very long-cured buds, which can cause buds to take on a mostly brown or tan appearance. In that case, buds should still "stay together" and not be crumbly. Although there may be exceptions, usually buds that have turned brown are losing their overall potency and smell as time goes on.
How to Store Cannabis Properly (so it lasts for years!)
If you grow a lot of cannabis at once, you may want to store it so that it lasts until your next crop comes in. Some growers only harvest once a year (especially outdoor growers) and may need their bud to last until the next fall harvest.
Luckily, it's pretty easy and cheap to store your bud. You don't need any special equipment besides an air-tight glass jar!
Air-tight glass jars are the best place to store cannabis buds!
Here are the main methods and tools for storing cannabis, with the pros and cons of each:
What's the Best Method for Cannabis Storage?
1.) Store in Glass Mason Jars in Cool, Dark Place
Storing buds in a cool, (60-70°F or 15-21°C) dark place in an airtight glass container is the most popular cannabis storage method. It's simple and effective. Quart-sized glass mason jars are found everywhere from grocery stores to home improvement stores. These are often used for cooking (making preserves or marinades for example), but when it comes to storing cannabis they help maintain potency by protecting buds from moisture and air. Glass jars completely contain smells and will also prevent buds from getting crushed. Make sure jars are at least 3/4 full so there's not too much air being stored in with the cannabis (if you have less bud, use smaller glass jars). Buds stored in airtight glass jars in a cool, dark place will maintain their potency for a year or more. In fact, peoples perceived potency of buds often gets stronger over time.
2.) Freeze Your Buds (Best for Long-Term Storage)
Once buds are completely dry and have been stored for at least 4 weeks, you can freeze them and they will maintain their potency for years. Some growers double-bag buds in Ziploc "Freezer" bags and then wrap the bags in foil. This works okay but you can actually store your buds directly in glass mason jars. If you've got a lot of buds which need to be stored for a long time (multiple years), the freezer is the best way to do it!
It's best to store buds in glass jars when using the freezer
If you can't use glass jars, use bags labeled for the Freezer (they are thicker and more airtight than regular plastic bags)
Note: You should avoid handling frozen buds as the trichomes (glitter) become brittle and can easily break off at freezing temperatures. Always let frozen buds come to room temperature before handling.
3.) Refrigerate Your Buds (Controversial)
Some growers successfully store buds in the fridge, but even in airtight containers, it's relatively common to run into problems with mold. I personally recommend keeping buds outside the fridge or putting them in the freezer. If you must use the fridge, it's especially important to make sure buds are more dry than normal, as that will help prevent mold, and to keep them in the back in a crisper where the temperature and humidity don't fluctuate as much.
4.) Plastic Baggies (Avoid!)
Although this is the most common way for non-growers to store cannabis, it's one of the worst. Buds lose their smell and tend to get dried out and brittle in plastic baggies. The potency degrades quickly, and the lack of protection means that handling the buds tends to crumble them. Plastic baggies should only be used short-term or avoided altogether. If you need to store a small amount of bud, it's recommended to get a UV-proof glass stash box (will also prevent smells from leaking out!). As a bonus, a small glass container can help buds continue curing.
Don't use a plastic baggy!
Freezing your buds can be controversial because it's easy to lose trichomes when moving frozen buds. You do need to be extremely careful when handling frozen buds as the trichomes (glitter) become brittle and can easily break off at freezing temperatures.
However, if this does happen you can still collect trichomes from the bottom of the container and use them (just like the kief that falls to the bottom of a grinder!); the trichomes do not "vanish" into the ether!
Additionally, you can dramatically reduce this problem by always letting buds come to room temperature before handling them. The fact of the matter is that buds will stay potent for longer in the freezer than if kept at room temperature, so it's up to you to decide whether the risk is worth the reward. I can tell you that many growers freeze their buds for years to maintain potency, especially outdoor growers who may harvest pounds at a time.
So if you want to use the refrigerator to store buds, don't risk mold by using the fridge portion - put your buds in the freezer!
Weird fact: Ever notice that the word 'refrigerator' doesn't have the letter 'd' in it, but the word 'fridge' does?
Although 'fridge' and 'frig' are technically both acceptable spellings, a proposed explanation is that the word was originally spelled 'frig' but adding the 'd' and 'e' became much more popular since the word is pronounced as if it rhymes with 'ridge'.
Cannabis Storage Method Recap:
Using Glass for Storage
Using the Freezer for Storage
You can use a vacuum sealer to take all the air out of a container before long-term storage. You can use these with bags, and you can also use these with actual mason jars!
Vacuum sealing is recommended if you plan on storing buds for a long time, and it's probably a good idea, but in my experience, it hasn't seemed to do much (at least on its own) to slow down the bud degradation process.
When I experimented with vacuum-sealing buds in mason jars, I found that the vacuum-sealed buds didn't seem to be any different from the same batch of buds stored in non-vacuum sealed jars. After a year of storage, they looked and smoked the same as far as I could tell.
Sometimes called Humidipaks (their old brand name), the renamed Boveda Packs can basically turn any airtight space into a cannabis humidor. The 62% Boveda Packs are specifically designed for storing cannabis and can be placed in a sealed container with your buds to regulate the humidity to the ideal level for marijuana storage. (Don't place these in the freezer!)
Boveda packs also help keep buds from getting dried out or brittle (and can re-hydrate buds that are too dry).
Bonus Use: In addition to storage, for those who have trouble getting buds to cure properly, these can be a valuable part of the curing process! Simply place them in your jars a few days into the jar-burping process to help regulate the humidity.
Buds Must Be Dried and Cured Before Storage
If buds are still fresh and green, they need to be cured before being put into long-term storage!
Example of Fresh Bud (May Feel Wet and Usually Appears Very Green and "Plump") - Never put fresh bud into long-term storage!
Cured Buds (Color Has Darkened Slightly, Buds Feel More Dense and Are Completely Dry) - Always wait for buds to cure for at least 4 weeks before long-term storage!
Whenever Storing Cannabis Long-Term, Make Sure...
Now that you know how to store your marijuana properly, you can enjoy every big harvest for years to come!