Updated on January 18, 2021.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Long-term storage of cannabis isn’t a problem for most people. You buy what you need from your local medical dispensary. And then you smoke it, or vape it, or eat it. It’s that simple. But in some states where people can now legally grow, storage can be a problem. And you may find yourself with dried weed.
Believe it or not, weed can develop mold and fungus. So too much moisture in a mason jar isn’t a good idea. But without moisture, your buds can go from fragrant green to mummified shake in a relatively short period of time.
Why is it a big deal to protect your cannabis from drying out? Dry cannabis is stale. It doesn’t taste as good because, over time the flavonoids and terpenes disappear. This is another reason you don’t want to buy too much weed (even if you get a great deal from your dispensary).
So, whether you grow and store, or are just a light smoker and hold on to your cannabis for “as needed” use, keeping it moist and green is essential. Check out some of the economical ways (and some traditional hacks) you can use at home to preserve moisture. And some of the high-tech new products that can manage humidity for you. Because, if cigars can have a humidor, why not weed?
Some of these methods not only keep cannabis fresh, but they can actually recharge recently dried weed. If it’s green and just ‘extra crispy’ these methods could help.
What Happens When Weed Dries Out?
The medicinal benefits of cannabis are found in the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of the plant. Each flower or bud has THC, which is slower to degrade. Terpenes degrade when they are exposed to heat and light. And certain strains have terpene profiles that are more susceptible to degrading over time.
Terpenes provide health benefits. First, there is the aromatherapy that they provide. Certain terpenes can help us feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety. While other types can enhance energy and alertness. They also contain antihyperglycemic (blood sugar-regulating) antiparasitic, and antiviral properties depending on the type.
One of the most important aspects of terpenes in medical cannabis is that they can provide natural anti-inflammatory diseases. For medical marijuana uses, this can help reduce swelling, edema (water retention), and improve cellular health and immune defenses.
Keeping your cannabis from completely drying out, helps to retain some of the important medical benefits that terpenes can offer. Until you are ready to decarboxylate and cook with your cannabis or vaporize it in a pipe. Dried weed isn’t bad weed, it just loses some of the potency that can provide health benefits.
RAW Hydro Stones Recharge Dry Weed
You may have already seen this kind of hack in your Mom’s kitchen. Terracotta soaked in water, and then placed inside a container of brown sugar? That’s the secret to making sure your brown sugar doesn’t turn to cement.
They are called ‘brown sugar savers’ and can be the shape of a teddy bear, or a plain circle. Some new moisture seal containers even come with one of these terracotta discs on the lid. Soak, and then snap into place to keep your brown sugar moist.
Who knew that the same thing could be used for cannabis? Advertised on Amazon by RAW to ‘keep your tobacco moist’, the terracotta discs are made in Spain. And a set of three will only set you back about $6 plus shipping if you order online.
Here is how the RAW Humidifying Stone works:
Some people on Reddit are raving about the simplicity of the RAW Hydro Stones. Chances are, they’ve never seen them before. The technology is ancient (like the guy in the RAW video shares). But it can also be hard to control the humidity in your sealed container with a terracotta stone.
You can try to wrap it in plastic and leave only the top part uncovered. That can help prevent your flower from touching the stone directly and developing mold. The RAW Hydro Stones come in a three-pack and are by far the most economic choice for dried weed. And if you collect RAW gear, there’s that cool factor too.
Boveda Humidity Patches
The economical Boveda Humidity Patches offer two-way humidity control. Whether you smoke cannabis or hemp flower, you can easily add one of the packages to your airtight container or mason jar. It will prevent your weed or hemp from drying out.
The patch contains a layer of purified water to protect the flower inside your airtight container. That helps protect and preserve valuable terpenes. The patches retain an optimal 62% humidity level inside a sealed container. The patch can both add moisture and remove it, to prevent mold from developing. That is thanks to the reverse osmosis technology in each patch.
If you are worried about contaminating your weed with the Boveda patch, don’t be. The patch emits purified water vapor. And the vapor and patch meet FDA guidelines. Boveda has more than twenty-three years of experience creating products for humidity control. Cigar aficionados have been using the patches in humidors for decades. They even produce humidor bags for use with the patches.
Citrus Peels Can Help You Keep Your Marijuana Moist
Some strains of cannabis like Strawberry Banana, Quantum Kush, Do-Si-Dos, or Wedding Cake have a high limonene content. This is a citrusy terpene that is responsible for the orange and lemon notes you smell and taste when you smoke weed.
Placing fresh citrus peels in a sealed container with your cannabis can help in two ways:
It can reduce moisture loss and help preserve the cannabinoids and terpenes in your cannabis.
It can actually help infuse your cannabis with more terpenes that naturally occur in the rind of the citrus fruit, like a lemon or orange peel.
There is only one downside to using this cheap and easy method for dried weed. You are also going to infuse your cannabis with the orange or lemon scent. But if you enjoy those flavonoids and terpene notes, that’s no problem. One other precaution, however, is that the citrus oil contains natural bacteria. It can encourage the development of mold. So, keep an eye on your stash, and don’t leave the peels in for too long.
Other low-cost alternatives include soaking cotton balls and placing them with your cannabis. And some people even use tortillas. Although, the natural yeast inside tortillas can also stimulate bacterial growth. So maybe save your tortillas for taco Tuesday instead.