As we have discussed in previous posts, cannabis flower never expires to the point of toxicity. This means you can make use of cannabis of essentially any age without suffering ill health effects. However, cannabis flower does have a ‘best by’ date. Over time, and exposed to certain factors, cannabis does lose its potency and freshness. This is where knowing how to properly store your cannabis will allow you to lengthen your supply’s usability and provide for prolonged potency. Below, we’ll take a look at a few of the factors that effect cannabis and how you can best store your stock to defend against them.
What To Keep In Mind When Considering Storage
When generally speaking cannabis has a shelf life of around a year before the cannabinoids, or components of the cannabis plant that provide much of the health and wellness benefits, and terpenes, hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of the cannabis plant also responsible for many of it’s attributes, begin to break down. However, research has shown that with the proper cultivation methods and storage applications, cannabinoids, can retain their stability for double that length. Let’s take a look at the contributing factors for this degradation below and how you can provide storage to slow their effect on your cannabis.
UV rays can be extremely damaging to organic materials and can burn up the beneficial compounds in cannabis. As shown in the study mentioned above, light is the most damaging factors to the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis. Keeping your cannabis in an opaque container away from a direct light source is the best way to preserve your supply and will allow you an added measure of temperature control.
Oxygen levels are another important factor in potency and freshness. Too high, and the life span of terpenes and cannabinoids is lowered. Too little, and humidity levels may reach that to provide for mildew and mold. An airtight container big enough to easily fit your flower supply with little excess room without crowding the cannabis is the optimal approach.
Mold thrives in moisture, so keeping your flower dry is an imperative objective in cannabis storage. However, getting your supply too dry will result in a loss of the important terpenes and cannabinoids. A relative humidity of around 59 to 63 % is the ideal containment condition for cannabis flower. This can be accomplished using humidity control packets such as those included with many food products, or brands like Boveda. Many Licensed Producers include a Boveda pack with each order as an added perk.
Much like the air and moisture levels, temperature is a balancing act when it comes to cannabis storage. Mildew and mold can set in anywhere from 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and high temperatures can dry out your flower resulting in loss of cannabinoids and terpenes. On the other hand, cold temperatures can cause trichomes, the hair like structures on the flower which are high in terpenes, to burst, resulting in a major loss of potency. Though many suggest freezer or refrigerators for storage, the high moisture content can promote mold and mildew as well. A well shaded container in a closet or corner should provide enough temperature control to keep your cannabis fresh and potent.
By taking these aspects into consideration you can better store your cannabis for freshness and potency. Storage in an opaque container, preferably glass, as plastic can cause sweating, in a cool, dry area is the optimal long term cannabis reserve. This type of containment will allow your cannabis flower to retain it’s health and wellness boosting properties for much longer than it would without adequate storage.