In most states, patients with a medical card are only permitted to purchase a small amount of cannabis. Enough for a one-month supply. That can be as little as three ounces per month. Patients buy it and use it as required. But generally, most patients purchase the maximum amount monthly that they are permitted to.
Some states, however, accommodate patients with medical needs by allowing them to grow cannabis at home. So, while storing cannabis may not be a problem or concern for most people, if you home grow, it’s definitely a consideration.
When you do not store your cannabis properly, you can lose some of the medicinal content, like terpenes and flavonoids. The potency of cannabis declines naturally over time, but stored cannabis can also grow microbes or mold. And that can be a severe risk to your health.
Now that cannabis is legalized across most of the United States, there are new products to help efficiently store your weed. And if you want to keep the quality of your cannabis intact, that means upgrading from a zip lock bag.
Does Cannabis Go Stale? How THC Content Declines Over Time
Have you ever found an old joint somewhere in your house? Chances are you probably smoked it. And found that while it got you high, there weren’t a lot of flavors. But, you know, waste not want not. As if you are going to throw it out. Nah!
What you need to know is that cannabis retains THC content, but it starts to decline over time. The cannabis you just bought at a dispensary can last from six months to a year. But only if it is stored properly.
Some tests and studies revealed on average; cannabis loses about 16% of the THC content after twelve months. And after twenty-four (24) months, there is a 26% loss of THC. After three years, your cannabis will be 24% less potent. At the four-year mark, THC content has gone down by 41%.
But let’s be honest. Most people will not be storing their cannabis for six months, let alone a year. However, if you are legally permitted to grow your own cannabis, you could have a bumper crop of different strains. In which case, you’ll want to label them and store them the right way.
Checking Your Cannabis for Mold
For most people, a little bit of mold won’t kill you. But smoking cannabis with mold on it is not recommended. And for people who have compromised immune systems, mold can make them very sick. Particularly when inhaled. It can be life-threatening to some patients with weak immunity. It can cause excessive coughing and nausea.
Mold on cannabis buds can be really hard to see. Don’t think that it will look like that cheese you forgot in a plastic bag at the back of your fridge. On cannabis, mold shows up as very small white dots. Or white powdery residue.
Weed that has mold on it smells funky. Yes, raw cannabis usually smells dank, but this is a different kind of smell. It’s like a musty smell you might encounter cleaning a damp area of your house. And if you smoke (which you shouldn’t), it has a weird taste.
On rare occasions, you may buy cannabis from a dispensary that has mold on it. Or, the cannabis goes moldy at your house within a few days. If that happens, put it in an airtight bag and return it to the dispensary. They may issue a credit or a refund for the unused portion. Or simply replace it for you.
Why You Should Only Buy Cannabis from a Dispensary
First, you won’t get in trouble legally. That is a plus. But one of the most important reasons why you should buy your cannabis from a dispensary is to protect your health. Because every product sold in a dispensary is subject to batch testing. Often by a third-party lab.
In order to remain licensed, cultivators, processors, and retailers must submit to product testing. And that is to protect the health of consumers. Aside from being illegal, black market cannabis can be loaded with pesticides. And they can be very harmful to your health.
One of the most common pesticides found in black market cannabis is Myclobutanil. This is a fungicide spray applied to fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Most of it comes off when you wash your produce. And what is digested doesn’t harm your health, according to researchers.
However, Myclobutanil can be deadly when it is heated. So, if the cannabis you purchased was treated with fungicide, there is a chemical reaction when you blaze your bowl. Myclobutanil turns into hydrogen cyanide when heated. That can impair your respiratory system. Your lungs can actually fail if the concentration of hydrogen cyanide is high enough.
How-To Properly Store Cannabis
Storing your cannabis doesn’t require a fancy or expensive container. In fact, one of the best methods you can use is to store your weed in a mason jar as long as the jar has a rubber seal to make it airtight.
You need to store your cannabis in a cold, dark, and dry place. That means direct sunlight (which can heat the cannabis and lead to THC and terpene loss). Avoid storing your cannabis in a moist area. If your containers are not airtight, you could quickly develop mold, fungus, and bacteria on your bud.
If you want to get a little more elaborate and guarantee you are preserving the quality of your cannabis, there are other options. Most stash boxes come with airtight containers to help you store different strains you buy.
Freezing your bud (in an airtight container or jar) is another great method. If you are going to use plastic bags, make sure to double up (bag within the bag) to protect the cannabis from moisture. And use the airtight plastic bags meant for freezing food. They are thicker and offer more protection.
Don’t put your cannabis in the fridge! Even if you think you are using an airtight container, your refrigerator is already full of bacteria and mold. That is because of the other fruits, meat, and vegetables inside the fridge.
If you like to keep your cannabis sticky (instead of crispy after storage), you may want to try Boveda. The company makes two-way humidity control packs specifically for cannabis. Grab a mason jar with a rubber seal, pop one of the Boveda packs inside to perfectly regulate moisture. They can also be used for other smokables, like cigars.