How to Identify Old Marijuana
Posted by Glenn Beierle on 02/10/2017 in Medical Marijuana
Updated on December 21, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
If maintained and stored properly, cannabis can have an indefinite shelf life. A high level of care, however, has to be in practice for all stages of the plant’s life — from the growth and harvesting to processing and sale.
People who buy marijuana have virtually no control over how the product has been handled prior to purchase, so a consumer’s best defense against old marijuana is to know how to identify it. At the end of the day, we all want to be sure we’re getting what we’re paying for.
Tips to Identify Old Marijuana
Would you buy a car without knowing what to look for? Would you rent an apartment without going to look at it first? Your cannabis purchase should be just as informed as those decisions. Here are a few ways you can tell if your cannabis is new or if it is past its shelf life:
1. Know How Cannabis Is Supposed to Look
There should be a lot of crystals. Look closely — if you don’t see a lot of crystals, it’s likely old. Old and dried-out cannabis will also fall apart very easily in your hands and resemble a powder, while properly maintained cannabis should be sticky and make an audible snapping sound when broken apart. Keep an eye out for mold, too, which grows both below the surface of the nugget and over the trichomes. The mold normally looks like white powder.
With respect to color, marijuana should be all green or mostly green. If you see too much brown, that’s not a good sign, but hints of purple, red or orange are actually great indicators of the quality. It shouldn’t have sticks or seeds in it, either. Seeing a lot of sticks or seeds isn’t necessarily a red flag for the age of the marijuana, but it definitely is indicative of the quality of the product.
2. Know How to Identify the Ideal Moisture Levels
Cannabis should have a bit of moisture to it. If it looks dried up, or if you pick it up and don’t feel a degree of stickiness, the marijuana is probably old. It shouldn’t crumble in your hands easily, and the nuggets shouldn’t be over-compressed.
If the cannabis is overly difficult to pull apart, this could indicate too much moisture. Too much moisture is a better problem to have than not enough moisture, although neither is ideal for getting the maximum benefits.
3. Know What High-Quality Cannabis Is Supposed to Smell Like
Terpenes are the main aromatic ingredient of marijuana, and they give the plant its distinct smell. If you don’t smell that, it typically means the cannabis is old. Other smells that indicate the weed is good include citrusy flavors like lemon, grapefruit and orange, or even diesel or jet fuel.
Even cannabis that has its distinguishing terpene smell may still have more subtle aromatic cues that could indicate it is past its prime. Make sure you don’t pick up on any moldy or musty smells, as well as a chemical-like smell, which could indicate improper pesticide technique or storage in a compromised container.
What Are the Consequences of Ingesting Old Marijuana?
Smoking weed that contains mold, chemicals and even pieces of bugs isn’t good for you or your lungs. Weed that hasn’t gone through the proper flushing technique can also be harmful.
Beyond the dangers of mold and chemicals, smoking old marijuana isn’t bad for you, per se, but it likely indicates it has lost a lot of its potency. This, of course, means the symptoms of your health condition won’t be treated as effectively, either.
Common medical conditions for which medical cannabis is prescribed include:
- Chronic pain
- Joint pain
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Muscle spasms
It’s also worth noting that smoking old marijuana tastes just plain terrible. It can have a moldy, musty or metallic taste.
Talk to a Health Professional About Your Questions and Concerns
In addition to not purchasing low-quality medical marijuana, you shouldn’t deal with shady sellers, either. You need to find someone that has your best interests at heart — not just their own economic incentives. If you have any questions about the use of medical marijuana, your best resource is to get in touch with a doctor that is well-versed on the subject and is trained to help you.
Beyond the product’s age, it’s important to know which type and strain of marijuana is likely to work best for you. Please visit us today to get in touch with a physician near you who can provide you with all the information you need.
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