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Does Weed Expire?

It's a tale as old as time: you've had a long day, and you're ready to pack your bowl and relax. However, to your surprise, your stash is empty. You scramble around the house and stumble across a long-forgotten baggie of weed in your couch cushions. Who knows how long it’s been there? Then a question flashes through your head: does weed expire? This is a common dilemma for cannabis enthusiasts. To help you figure out if you should spark it up or if it's better to place another order, let’s go over whether or not weed goes bad and how to tell if it's too old to use.

How Long Is Weed Good For? 

So, does weed expire and if so, when does weed go bad? If you've found this article, you've probably come across some message boards with opinions on the topic of cannabis expiration dates or its assumed shelf-life. Regardless of what you've heard, marijuana does not expire or rot like dairy or meat, but it can become stale and "moldy."

When consumed, moldy marijuana won’t cause serious health problems, but it might do serious damage if you have underlying health conditions. If you're completely healthy, you'll notice that it's not as strong as it was while it was still fresh.

If you keep a nug for a year, it won't get considerably less powerful. However, it can be argued that cannabis has an unwritten "best before" date. Older marijuana has a distinct feel, taste, and texture than fresh marijuana, making it unattractive to consumers. You wouldn't want to eat moldy cannabis, so you likely wouldn’t want to smoke it either. That’s why it's best not to store your stash for too long. So, how long does weed stay good? And how long does marijuana keep its potency?

How Long Does it Take for Weed to Go Bad?

Let's get straight to the point. How long does weed last before it's time to chuck it for a new bag? The answer can be somewhat challenging since cannabis may keep relatively fresh for a surprising amount of time in optimal storage conditions. If properly stored, marijuana may last anywhere from six months to a year. However, it begins to lose its strength and that inviting scent once this period has passed.

Can Weed Get Old?

First and foremost, it's important to understand what happens to cannabis as it ages.

In essence, all of the compounds that make the marijuana plant unique start to degrade. Many of the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in cannabis slowly degenerate and lose their effectiveness over time. There's a little moisture in the buds when you buy newly cured marijuana, making them bouncy and sticky. Weed will either dry out or become excessively moist over time, depending on how you store it. 

Plastic sandwich bags allow moisture to escape, resulting in marijuana that crumbles and emits harsh smoke. If you keep your cannabis in the fridge or freezer or leave it somewhere moist, mold will form and it won't burn very well. The best way to maintain the quality of your stash is to keep your stockpile in a sealed container at room temperature.

You may have come across some people who roll up dry marijuana crumbs (known as "shake") or scrape the mold off their weed. Keep in mind that while this can certainly be done, they do it at their own risk — the taste will be horrible, you'll likely cough a lot, and unintentionally smoking the mold may lead to migraines, vomiting, and diarrhea. So, how long is marijuana good for before it starts to develop mold? While there’s not one single answer to this question, the general consensus is approximately six months. 

Old marijuana can have a strong and unpleasant flavor. Your bud loses taste and smell when the terpenes break down. As a result, aged bud has a bland flavor and lacks the novel, pungent odor that fresh cannabis is known for. In either case, after the terpenes have broken down, your cannabis will no longer taste or smell like it should. Cannabinoids also degrade over time, and this is probably more relevant for your purposes. Because a lot of the THC has broken down and evaporated, old, worn-out flower will be less powerful.

So, how long does weed keep? Here’s a quick guide with general estimates:

  • After the first year, it loses 16% of its THC content

  • In the second year, it drops to 26% THC loss 

  • In the third year, it falls by 34% THC loss

  • After four years, you'll lose 41% of your THC 

What is the point of cannabis if it doesn't contain THC? Perhaps you traveled for an extended period or forgot that you had it. So when it comes to the question of “how long does weed stay good for”, the truth is it can last a long time. However, regardless of the reason, you should be deliberate about how you use your cannabis and don't buy in bulk if you won't use it within six months. To summarize, if you have any doubts about the age or freshness of your weed after six months to a year, it’s best to toss it out and place a new order.

How Do You Check for Mold?

Mold can be difficult to see unless you examine your nug closely. White powdery or fuzzy patches are the most common symptoms, some of which might be quite minute.

Moldy weed generally has a musty, hay-like aroma. It also has a somewhat sour flavor to it. Even if your marijuana isn't old, a mold examination is recommended. While mold on cannabis is unlikely to be harmful to your health if you’re healthy, it can induce nausea, vomiting, and coughing. 

If you have underlying health conditions, inhaling smoke from marijuana harboring certain germs or fungus can cause significant sickness or death in those with weaker immune systems. According to researchers from the University of California, Davis, bacteria and mold were discovered on 20 cannabis samples purchased from dispensaries and pot farmers in Northern California in 2019. The moral of the story here is that even if you recently bought it, it's always best practice to check for mold and get rid of it if it looks or smells bad. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to find a high-quality cannabis provider. 

Signs Your Weed is Past Its Prime

So how do you know if your weed has gone bad? Here are a few things to look for when inspecting your flower:

1. Odor

The scent of your marijuana is the first indication that it is old. Pot that has been left too long will have a different scent and aroma from what you initially purchased.

Pay attention to the scent of your cannabis when you first purchase it so that you can distinguish between fresh weed and old weed.

2. Look

The weed's appearance is the next indicator that it is past its prime. When you split a piece of fresh marijuana, it should not crumble or seem spongy. While it may be confusing to look for too dry or too moist, remember that if it seems to be at either end of the spectrum, then it’s likely too old. 

3. Physical Reaction

We hope you don't come across this third symptom since it's not only an indication of expired marijuana, but it also carries a nasty side effect. If you ingest outdated marijuana, you may become ill as a result. The most common symptom is an upset stomach, but reactions can vary wildly if you have a compromised immune system. The best rule to follow is to not smoke any weed that you’re skeptical about.

How to Store Your Weed to Keep It Fresh

Sunlight, moisture, climate, and oxygen can all impact the fragrance, flavor, and potency. Here are some things to keep in mind when storing marijuana to keep it as fresh as possible, for as long as possible.

Storing Flower

Storing flower is particularly finicky. Our best piece of advice here is to get rid of your plastic bags and containers. Plastic collects static, harming delicate trichomes (the tiny, crystal-like hairs on flowers that generate THC and terpenes) and reducing potency. Also, it would be best to avoid those quaint tiny tins — they may look nice but allow in too much oxygen. The best method is to keep your marijuana in a tiny glass Mason jar or a marijuana-specific container. 

When storing flower, keep an eye on the humidity level; it should be between 59 and 63 percent and no higher. If it exceeds this amount, too much moisture will be trapped inside the container, fostering mold growth. If you're uncertain about the humidity, purchase a humidity pack specifically for cannabis. You can either put in a humidity control pack or, if you want to take things to the next level, keep your bud in a specific cannabis humidor.

Essentially you should store weed in a cool, dry, dark location away from direct sunlight. If you leave the weed in the sun, it will decompose, and mold will begin to grow. Keep it in a dark area, such as a cupboard, at a temperature below 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Avoid the freezer

If you put your marijuana in the freezer, it will become brittle and easily snap off. Freezers and refrigerators also expose the flower to too much moisture, which causes mold growth. When trichomes — the microscopic hairs on flowers that generate cannabinoids — are exposed to freezing temperatures, they become rigid and fall off when touched.

Edibles

Leave delicacies in their original packaging and store them away from open air and direct light to keep them fresh. Ensure they're stored somewhere cold since many treats may quickly melt, especially hard candies, chocolates or gummies.

Concentrates

Storing your concentrates in small containers intended specifically for dabs is the best way to keep them fresh and powerful. Glass, silicone, or a similar material is commonly used. Keep the lids on the containers tight and store them somewhere cold and dark.

Vape Pens 

Vape pens, like any other cannabis product, should be kept out of direct sunlight. You don't have to worry about humidity or air exposure because the cannabis oil is already contained in an airtight cartridge. Keep your vape pen upright while not in use, as this will retain all of the oil at the bottom of the cartridge, ready to use.

Amuse Keeps It Fresh 

At Amuse, we know you don't want to have to worry about whether your weed is expired or not. To ensure you always have fresh product, we provide only top-tier, premium cannabis, from conventional flower and discreet edibles to high-tech vaporizers and potent concentrates. Our pre-rolls are an ideal choice if you need something portable and always fresh. Our large selection is organized by strain type (Sativa, Indica, hybrid, and CBD) and impact (sleep, peaceful, relaxed, focused, creative, joyful, energetic) to guarantee you get exactly what you want every time.

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