What is the best way to store cannabis?
When storing cannabis, the two most important factors are heat and humidity. If the cannabis is stored in too high of a heat (or too much humidity), mold/mildew can form. Heat can also dry the essential oils and trichomes to make the weed brittle and harsher to smoke.
It’s also important to store in the shade as opposed to direct sunlight, as the UV rays will dry out the trichomes and flower as well.
Cannabis should be stored in a cool (5C-20C or 41F-68F), dry (below 60% humidity) environment, out of direct sunlight and away from strong smells. For best flavor results, keep individual strains separated as well.
The best way to do this is with hermetic glass or ceramic jars. Metal and plastic aren’t recommended as they’ll affect the flavor of the weed (think canned soda vs glass bottles). The static electricity in the plastic will also pull trichomes off the buds.
Mason jars work for small stashes (under an ounce). Although the lid is metal, it’s coated on the bottom, so the buds won’t touch the metal. Mason jars are the easiest to open, though the seal is easy to pop.
Just one step above the mason jar is a wire bale jar, which has the lid attached via a wire clip. The clip and added rubber gasket on the lid forms a much stronger airtight seal.
Wood (which is used in cigar humidors) isn’t recommended, as the wood (typically cedar) contains oils that will affect the flavor of your pot stash. You will still see this at marijuana expos, so there is a market of people who enjoy blunts and prefer the woody taste.
Though vacuum sealing does work for shipping marijuana without smell leaks that could get the package checked and intercepted by authorities, the static in the plastic will rob the stash of precious trichomes.
Boveda used to be called Humidipack, and they manufacture humidity-control packets similar to those found in beef jerky. The difference is these packets are formulated to both add and subtract humidity to keep the RH at the humidity listed on the packet.
The above packets are set for 62 RH, which is perfect for cannabis, though other RH levels are created for other markets, such as cigar and pipe tobacco humidors.
With these packets sitting with your weed in an airtight jar stored in a cool place (not the fridge or freezer) will optimize your marijuana storage, allowing it to last as long as possible.
The longer you store the cannabis, the more THCA decarboxylates into THC and the more THC degrades into CBN. After approximately three months, the levels of THC in the weed will be diminished to such low percentages that you’ll receive much less of the psychoactive benefits, but the weed could last for 6 months to a year theoretically (though I’ve yet to be able to hold on to any long enough to know for sure).
How do you make sure that your cannabis is well dried and cured?
Curing is done during the cannabis harvest (meaning immediately after removing plant from the ground), and by the time you’ve purchased it, it’s either been cured, or it hasn’t. There’s not much you can do about it.
Curing accomplishes the following:
Breaks down chlorophyll and improves taste.
Gets rid of the “cut grass” smell common on newly harvested buds.
Brings out the flavors and smell of each strain.
Reduces harshness of smoking.
Reduces the chance of mold.
After the stalks are cut, they’re often hung upside down in a prepared dry room using dry racks or heavyweight string:
The plants are left for 3 days to a week before removing the flowers from the stalks and trimming water leaves and any protruding stems.
After trimming (learn more about trimming cannabis), the buds are placed in airtight jars with Boveda packs for one to four weeks. During this part of the curing process, it’s important to “burp” the jar by opening it once a day to let the old air out and new air in.
The medical grade marijuana buds you see in High Times centerfolds and winning Cannabis Cups is slow-cured and hand-trimmed through a slow and laborious process. When done correctly, however, the potency and quality of the product increases.
If a bud wasn’t properly cured, (i.e. done too fast using a variety of tools like a clothes drier, microwave, oven, etc.) it will be dry and more harsh. You can add moisture to revive dry buds using Boveda packets in an airtight jar.
What is the optimal humidity for storing cannabis?
The generally agreed-upon humidity for storing cannabis is between 58 and 63 RH (relative humidity). Boveda manufactures humidity packets similar to those found in beef jerky, though the beef jerky packets only remove humidity. Boveda packets remove/add humidity to maintain a specific level listed on the packet:
Boveda makes a variety of packets, and the number on the front is the target RH. The above packet will keep cannabis at 62 RH and can be purchased from Amazon:
Be sure to only use B62 packets, as other packets, such as B72, will leave too much humidity in the container and put your stash at risk of mold.
Anything above the 58-63 RH range will increase risk of mold/mildew. Anything below that range will dry out the buds, removing essential oils and making trichomes brittle, thus losing potency during storage, grinding, and handling.
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in High Times, Cannabis Now, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Hardcore Droid, Gaiam, MindBodyGreen, DumbLittleMan, BBC, and Lifehack.