Everyone has been there. You’re cleaning out your room, moving to a new place or just cleaning around the house when suddenly you discover an old bag of pot you had completely forgotten about. Then you think to yourself, “how long does weed last? Can you smoke it? What will happen?”
The Basics: How Long Does Marijuana Stay Good For?
Fun fact: if your cannabis is stored properly it can actually last a pretty long time! With glass jar containers and proper humidity control, weed can last from 6 months to a year.
In fact, some cannabis can last even longer than that if stored correctly, but it’s important that during the growing process it was harvested, dried and cured correctly.
On the other hand if you don’t have your cannabis stored properly in a temperature controlled environment, like most users out there, don’t expect weed to last as long as a year.
So how long does it actually last? It’s a good rule of thumb to consume any cannabis you purchase within six months.
The Scientific Answer
To understand how long cannabis actually lasts it’s important to first comprehend what exactly happens to marijuana as it ages.
Basically every compound and chemical that make up cannabis eventually breaks down. Over time and in the heat as the cannabinoids and terpenes break down, they begin to lose potency.
Terpenes are responsible for the taste and smell of cannabis, so as those breakdown the cannabis begins to lose its taste and smell. That is why when you find old marijuana it doesn’t smell as strong as when you first bought it and it sometimes has a harsh and nasty taste when smoked.
Similar to terpenes, cannabinoids like THC break down over time which cause older pot to be less potent. This may cause users to not feel the high effects as much as when it was fresh.
You can find more information about the scientific breakdown of cannabinoids in cannabis here United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, or just check out the chart below.
Researchers found that, on average, cannabis plant matter loses THC potency at this rate:
- After one year, weed loses roughly 16% of its THC.
- Two years in storage results in a loss of 26% of its THC.
- Weed loses 34% of its THC after three years.
- After four years in storage, weed loses 41% of its THC.
How Do You Know Your Weed Is Bad?
There are few different things you can look at to determine if your cannabis has gone bad and you’d probably be better off just throwing away:
What Happens If I Smoke Old Cannabis?
If you decide to smoke some pot that you found lying around the house that’s very old it’s probably going to be ok. Usually what happens is the marijuana itself just doesn’t taste that good and the high effect is not as strong.
Smoking old weed won’t cause issues or get you sick so you shouldn’t worry about that. The only exception of course would be if the cannabis appears to be moldy. If you see spots, white fuzzies or it smells bad then stay away from the old cannabis. Smoking mold can cause health issues so be careful.
Tips on How to Keep Weed Fresh for Longer
Different cannabis products need different types of storage, here are some tips on ways to store your marijuana:
Keeping your marijuana fresh is very important. The best way to do that is limit the light exposure and maintain a proper humidity level, typically from 54 to 63 percent. For good humidity control Boveda has a large selection of humidity packets you can place in your cannabis containers. Glass mason jars or plastic containers specifically designed for storing marijuana are the best things to keep your buds fresh in. Darker glass keeps the light out as well and also helps extend the lifespan of your pot.
Storing edibles in the original package they came in is usually best as well as keeping them away from direct air flow and in cool temperatures. Most edibles are best stored in your refrigerator to make sure the product doesn’t melt.
The best way to store concentrates is in the little containers they usually come in nowadays. Small silicone and glass containers help the product stay nice and fresh. Make sure to keep the lids on tight and store them in a dark place like a drawer.
It is important to keep your pens out of any direct sunlight as the oil is already in an airtight container which means you don’t have to worry about humidity and exposure to air. Also if possible keep your cartridge standing upright to prevent any oil from leaking out.
So, smoke some and save some. And then when you’re out, you’ll always have some to go back to. But keep it sealed and keep it dark and you should be good to go.