The Best Way To Store Cannabis Long-term Without The Smell

Andrew Ward
July 13, 2021

The information is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve readers of their obligation to obtain qualified medical, legal or other professional advice.

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How did my weed go bad so fast? Hopefully, you've never had to ask yourself that question. But all too often, every product from flower to edibles to top-shelf cartridges can go bad.

Stale bud, broken cartridges, and melted edibles aren't the end of the world, but they sure do sting from the loss of THC and money. More importantly, if your bud is getting stale, it's because air is getting in and out, and that means the smell is too.

Avoid this pain by learning the best way to store weed to keep your marijuana products fresh, potent, and flavorful and odor-free for longer. Weed is like any other product. It's susceptible to degradation, but a few precautionary steps ensure your products stay fresh for as long as possible. 

Most people find the best way to store weed is in glass.


What Happens When You Don't Store Your Cannabis Properly

Nature does a number on cannabis. If you don't know how to store weed, it can be exposed to elements like heat, air, and UV light that will lead to changes in the plant's cells, degrading its potency and effects. 

Improperly stored weed can become moldy.

Changes include impacts to the vast cannabinoids in the system, like THC and CBD. Cannabinoids can even synthesize into other compounds. Marijuana's cannabinoids are stored as acids and aren't considered bioavailable in their raw state. Without heat, often called decarboxylation, many compounds can't synthesize.

The most well-known version of cannabinoid synthesizing is THCA to THC. The latter is the cannabinoid known for creating psychoactive effects in cannabis. THC is only bioavailable after heating THCA. 

Cannabis consumers who don't learn how to store marijuana could accelerate the synthesis from THC to CBN, a cannabinoid known for its drowsiness traits. While CBN is excellent for many uses, THC consumers might not be looking for sleep. 

If you want to keep your THC for as long as it can, store it properly--more on that below. Doing so helps preserve potency, texture, flavor, and effects.  

Light

UV light rays are powerful, particularly UVA and UVB. THC loses potency when exposed to UVB light. Storing flower in UV-protected jars in a cool, dark place is the best bet at limiting exposure. 

UV light will deplete marijuana's potency.

Temperature

"Cool" can be subjective. So, be sure to store your flower at around 60°-70°F and in a dry place. Otherwise, flower gets exposed to heat and moisture, which leads to mold. 

Remember, keep it cool, not cold! Don't put flower in the refrigerator. Can you freeze weed instead? Yes, but you really shouldn't unless you want to make solventless extracts. Freezing your marijuana can lead to trichome loss, affecting aroma, flavors, and plant potency overall. 

Marijuana should be stored at 60°-70°F for best long-term potency.

Air

Cured flower should be exposed to minimal amounts of oxygen. An abundance of O2 leads to rapid cannabinoid deterioration and synthesizing THC to CBN. Keep flower fresh and your experience at an optimal level by storing your nugs in an airtight, UV-protected container made of glass or silicone. 

Silicone food containers make surprisingly good weed storage.

Moisture

Moisture levels are critical. Keep flower dry but not deprived of moisture. Otherwise, you risk turning your flower brittle and flavorless. Flower that is too damp reduces airflow, creating mold and bacteria. Meanwhile, too much humidity and stale air can negatively impact flavor due to excess ammonia in the chemical equation. 

Regulate moisture levels with freshness packs (also called humidor packets). These products have helped cigar makers and consumers control humidity levels with relative ease for ages.

Excess humidity can ruin marijuana within days.

Can You Freeze Cannabis?

As mentioned above, freezing cannabis flower is only a good idea if you're looking to make top-tier solventless extracts like bubble hash. Most of us aren't going to be making bubble hash 

so it's best to avoid the freezers. 

Freezing flower degrades the plant quality as trichomes freeze and snap off the bud. The loss of trichomes affects the plant's profile, decreasing its cannabinoid content while lessening the taste of the product when consumed. 

Freezing buds will cause the trichomes to become brittle and break off.


Is It Better To Store Cannabis In Glass Or Plastic?

You must have an airtight, non-porous seal to store cannabis long-term without the smell. Plastic is not non-porous, so if you store your weed in Ziplocs or Tupperware, your weed will smell and dry out. Silicone and glass make much better storage options to avoid cannabis odors and maintain freshness.

For the best way to store marijuana, look to glass containers. Glass is by far the best option for storing cannabis. Using a glass container provides you with an airtight storage method that won't allow unpleasant smells or aromas to interact with your nugs. On the other hand, plastics are known to leach unpleasant aromas into nugs, including chemicals from the plastic itself. 

Another benefit of glass is that it allows you to showcase your marijuana! That is, as long as you keep it in a UV-protected glass in a dark place. Of course, that may negate the showoff status of your stash, but it's a fair trade-off for fresher flowers.

If glass isn't available, look for an airtight silicone container. Silicone isn't as good as glass because trichomes tend to stick to it a little. Also, sometimes silicone containers have plastic mixed in as a filler. These containers will absorb odors over time, so you should avoid anything but pure silicone. You can tell if plastic is mixed into the silicone by bending the container. If the material turns white at the crease, it's not pure silicone. Pure silicone won't change color when bent or twisted.

Glass cannabis storage containers don't have to be expensive. You can even reuse old food jars as long as you can completely remove the food smell from the lid.


How To Store Cannabis Correctly

Storing Cannabis Flower And Prerolls

As mentioned above, flower deteriorates when exposed to the elements. Don't opt for a cheap storage option, like a sandwich bag. Baggies are NOT the best way to store weed. Weed lasts for between 6 and 12 months in a Ziploc baggie, but the precious trichomes on your nugs tend to stick to plastic due to static electricity. If you have NO other option than a baggie, at least put the baggie in a cool, dry place to extend the life of the bud.

Whenever possible, use UV-protected glass kept in cool, dark places.

Baggies are NOT the best option for storing prerolls.


Edibles

Do edibles lose potency over time? Not really, but if you want to enjoy those edibles for more than one use, you better store them properly or risk losing their freshness. The key is always to pay attention to the packaging. Shelf life varies depending on the edible and its ingredients. First, check each item for its best use, sell-by, and/or expiration date like any other grocery item. Then, look for storage instructions, which typically include information on how long the product lasts and whether it needs to be refrigerated. Ask your budtender for any info you can't find. 

Most drinks and edibles can go into the fridge. Exceptions apply for chips, popcorns, and other snacks that typically do fine at room temperature. CBD oil doesn't need to be refrigerated, but it maintains its best freshness at between 60 and 70 degrees in a dark place. If this isn't possible, then it can be stored in the refrigerator too. 

If you don't like your edibles cool, take them out 5-10 minutes before consuming to allow the room temperature to warm them a bit. If a package isn't resealable, use a Ziploc bag or an airtight glass container; though most dispensary edibles, like gummies, come in resealable, childproof packaging. 

You can store CBD edibles in the freezer if they're the type that freeze well. Brownies and cookies often freeze well and will last up to 3 months. To extend storage time, you could freeze edibles to solidify them and then vacuum seal them for long-term storage. Be sure to freeze them before you vacuum seal them, or they will most likely be reduced to mush when the vacuum pressure sets in. This will work well for soft cookies, but not well for crispy types. Gummies freeze surprisingly well too!

If you aren't using infused butter or olive oil daily, put it in the freezer for longer storage. Typically, they should last for up to six months. Take out your oils or butters when needed, and be sure to give them a few hours to defrost. 

Brownies freeze very well for long-term storage and can last for up to 3 months.

Concentrates

Concentrates, similar to edibles, offer an immense variety of options made from many extraction processes. The result is distinct textures and effects like rosin, shatter, badder, resin, and crumble. Concentrates offer more potent experiences than flower. Extracts also often come with an arguably cleaner high and more complex taste. 

That said, inadequate storage is detrimental to any positive characteristics. If you're wondering how to store dabs, storage is simple. Often lasting six months or longer when properly stored, concentrates like dabs, sauce, butter, and crumble should be stored in thick glass jars or an airtight silicone container. Smaller options, like shatter, are often packaged in plastic cases or envelopes, though exposure to the elements remains an issue. When using these methods, the product tends to be wrapped in parchment paper to reduce exposure to air.

Cannabis concentrates have a very long shelf life when well stored.

Vape Cartridges

Like most cannabis products, vape carts need to be placed in a cool, dark space to preserve their qualities. Remember to store your carts vertically when not in use. Not doing so can lead to leaks and clogs. Moreover, be sure to remove the cart from your battery when not in use. Doing so should lessen the chance of any heated oil leaks. 

Keep in mind that many carts are made using cheap plastic that tends to clog and break. You may not want to spend more than $60 per cart, but doing so may help avoid such issues as more expensive options tend to use stronger glass and metal. Still, oil viscosity can fluctuate, leading to jamming in any cart. Warming the cart in your hands or taking several short, small puffs may help resolve the issue. 

Vape carts need to be placed in a cool, dark space to preserve their qualities.

Tinctures

Tinctures have the longest shelf life of any cannabis product, typically lasting two to three years. The long shelf life is credited to its alcohol-based extraction. Just find a UV-protected bottle, if the tincture didn't come in one already, and store it in a cool place when not in use. 

Tinctures have the longest shelf life of any cannabis product, typically lasting two to three years.

Topicals

Topicals have a long shelf life as well, often lasting one to two years. Like tinctures, the ingredients used in topicals are almost always shelf-stable and come with their own protected container. Be sure to keep your topicals closed and in a cool, dark location when not in use. 

Be sure to keep your topicals closed and in a cool, dark location when not in use. 


‍Examples Of Cannabis Products That Already Come With Great Packaging

Cannabis Flower And Prerolls

Find a company using product packaging that promotes freshness and longevity. Flow Kana are leaders in using UV-protected, amber glass jars. Meanwhile, THC Design stores its prerolls in tins, containing six joints per container. Each comes with a placeholder and a humidity pack from leading producer Boveda. 

Edibles

Remember that storage varies greatly with edibles. While some items are made for multiple uses, coming with resealable containers, many fail to do so. When choosing a multiple-use edible, buy from a company that uses resealable packaging. Finding such a company should be easy enough, as most states mandate strict child safety standards on packages. Delta Effex Delta-8 rainbow gummies are resealable and UV-protected, and the design is pretty cool as well. Look for a jar instead of a bag? Try Pure Craft's Delta 8 infused gummies.

At this point, if a company isn't offering this feature, you may want to look elsewhere unless you really want to support that company. 

Concentrates

Choose a brand that puts its concentrates in resealable, UV-protected containers. Heavy Hitters and Alpine Vapor are both great examples of companies creating cool, easy-to-use products that last longer thanks to their packaging. 


Vape Cartridges

Look for a brand that uses quality components to build its batteries and carts, like dosist. Also, be on the lookout for a brand that provides a carrying case for safe transportation. AbsoluteXtracts are a great example to check out. 

Tinctures

The ideal tincture is made using top-quality weed that is then stored in adequate containers. Choose a bottle made from UV-protected glass with a measured dropper for easy dosing. Humboldt Apothecary is an excellent choice from a reliable brand, just like Papa & Barkley

Topicals

Look for a cannabis topical much like you would any other skin treatment. Look for an option that protects products from the sun without causing any messy leaks. Awakened Topicals is an excellent choice, no matter if you're buying a roll-on stick or balm in a jar. 

In the end, keeping your weed fresh is rather simple: Keep it in a cool, dark place that’s free of UV light and oxygen exposure. So, make sure your baggies are zipped and your weed is chilling in or around room temperature. Doing so should make sure it lasts as long as possible. 



Andrew Ward
Andrew is a Brooklyn, New York-based writer with a degree in Creative Writing from Montclair State University in New Jersey. After years of working in freelance and offices, he embraced the future of work and re-entered the independent workforce. Today, he provides creative solutions to Nugg and other respected cannabis companies.

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