Proper Storage of Cannabis 101. How Long Can Marijuana Flower Last?
Learn to store your cannabis the right way and enjoy it to the full extent.
Flower is one of the most common ways of cannabis consumption. It can be bought at any dispensary and you can go for more expensive top tier bud or something a bit thriftier, but unlike edibles, topicals, etc it might all go to waste in the end if you do not store it properly.
To do this properly we turned to one of the leading experts - Ricky Lanza, Quality Control and Harvest, Trim, and Cure Manager at Silver Stem and we’d like to share what we learnt. We hope you’ll follow these simple guidelines to make sure you get the most out of your flower.
To store cannabis the right way we need to know how to do it, and more importantly - why do it as well. There are two major keys to storing cannabis properly: maintaining moisture levels and preserving terpenes. Luckily, these two factors can be controlled harmoniously by following some easy guidelines.
First, a little background on terpenes: Like in other plants, terpenes are responsible for odors. Terpenes are highly volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons - odor molecules - found in the essential oils of plants that are responsible for the smell that the plant produces. Simply put, terpenes give off particular smells and can be easily modified and/or destroyed if not treated properly. So how do we preserve terpenes properly in order to keep our cannabis smelling the best that it can? It’s pretty simple. We just need to focus on regulating three factors: temperature, humidity, and light exposure.
Temperature: Most terpenes will start to degrade/evaporate around 72 degrees Fahrenheit, so, to be safe and to make sure you are preserving those precious terpenes, you should store your cannabis in temperatures below 70 degrees. Our recommended range is between 60-70 degrees for short term storage. This range will also not cause over-drying issues, which can lead to a bad tasting smoke.
Note: storing your cannabis in the fridge or freezer is a no-no.
Keeping your cannabis stored in an environment with humidity levels between 35-50%relative humidity is essential. If cannabis becomes too dry, the terpenes will be will destroyed, and your buds will no longer smell like they should. Underdrying will also negatively affect the way your cannabis burns when consumed. Once cannabis is dried and cured correctly it is easy to maintain the humidity levels.
The best way to achieve this is by utilizing moisture packs such as Boveda Humidipaks, which are designed specifically for cannabis and come in a variety of sizes and RH levels. These are a cost efficient and easy to use packets that will self-regulate moisture levels when placed in a sealed container. All you have to do is place a packet in your cannabis container, seal it, and forget about it.
Another way to check RH of your container and cannabis is with a small digital hygro-thermometer. This is a tool that reads both temperature and relative humidity. Just purchase a simple small one and place it in your cannabis container to be able to keep track of the temperature and RH. If your sealed container is reading over 50%, open it and let it air out. After 15-20 minutes, seal your container for about a minute and then open and check your hygro-thermometer. Continue the process until you are within the suggested range. If you fall below range (35% RH), add a self-regulating moisture pack and close the container. This will restore your RH to proper holding levels.
The recommended storage levels are 35%-50% RH. Feel free to experiment with the moisture levels within this range to find out what level you prefer the most.
Keep in mind that Colorado has an extremely dry climate, which means very low levels of humidity. This is crucial – if your buds aren’t sealed and stored properly the flower will dry out in literally minutes.
Terpenes can and will be destroyed and/or modified by long periods of exposure to harsh light. To avoid this, store your cannabis in an opaque jar or simply a dark place away from light. An opaque container will not let any harmful light in, thus preserving your terpenes.
To sum up - make sure your flower is not over/under dried by keeping the humidity at about 35-50%. Store it at about 72 degrees and away from light.
How Long Can Cannabis Flower Last?
If you store your flower following the basic guidelines above, it will be good for up to one year, though it may lose some terpenese and potency.
We hope this article has been useful and will change the way you look at storing the precious product and let you enjoy the smoothest experience.
Born and bred out of our desire to send it in honor of our favorite mountain marauders, this flower will have Jerry’s everywhere plowing pow.
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All information provided in this article is based on opinions and hypothesis of scientists and researchers and has not been proven or disproven.
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