Like any natural product that is derived from a plant, your cannabis is going to have a sell by date. From the moment you first harvest it, your weed will start degrading. This starts with the drying and curing process and carries on when you decide to store everything.
The good news is that this can take quite a while if you put the right storage process in place. It’s something that new cannabis growers can get wrong at the start. The last thing you want is open that jar and find your weed has developed a serious problem with mold.
One important question we often get asked at Seedsman is: What is the best way to store weed?
Here’s our take on what you need to know and the how to keep your cannabis going for as long as possible. First, let’s take a look at the drying and curing process because that’s where it all starts.
Drying and Curing Your Weed
Integral to producing great cannabis, is the drying and curing process. We can never impress enough that you need to take care over this stage and show a bit of patience.
Once you’ve planted your strain, grown it and harvested it, you still haven’t finished. Drying and curing not only helps bring out the flavor and potency of your crop but ensures you don’t suffer from any problems such as mold.
Ideally, you need to spread you cannabis buds and the rest of your crop out over a flat surface that has plenty of air flow around it. This should be something like a dry rack or mesh and needs to be big enough that you can spread your crop out and not pile buds up on one another. Ideally, the slower you dry your weed the better. You’ll know when it is ready once you can snap the buds off easily.
Next is the curing process. Many novices tend to skim over this without realizing it is absolutely vital. You need to put your buds in airtight jars and then place them in a dark cupboard at around room temperature. During the first couple of weeks, you should open the jars and then close them once or twice a day.
Why should you be doing this?
The longer you take over the curing process, the sweeter your cannabis should taste. We suggest leaving it for at least three weeks before sampling small amounts. The length of time will generally depend on the strain that you have produced so it’s worth doing some research to find out what other growers recommend.
You can find out more about drying and curing weed on our blog.
How to Store Weed
Once your cannabis is ready, there’s not much left to do except enjoy it. If you want your crop to last as long as possible, however, you will need to store it properly.
Many people believe that cannabis is a bit like a fine wine and will improve with age. That’s not always the case but having the right storage regime at least ensures your product stays healthy and maintains it quality.
Here are our top tips:
Temperature and Humidity
At any stage of growth and storage, temperature and humidity are pretty important when it comes to cannabis. If you’re new to growing your own, you’ll quickly pick this up.
The dried bud can still be susceptible to mildew and mold once you’ve harvested. These are most likely to occur if you have relatively high temperatures in excess of 77° F. Too much heat can also dry up your cannabis more and reduce the potency of the cannabinoids and terpenes. That’s why the best way to store weed is in a cool place.
Humidity, or how much moisture is in the air, is also another important factor. This usually goes hand in hand with slightly higher temperatures. Humidity can create a breeding ground for all sorts of problems including mold. A lot depends on where you live. If you are in a region with high humidity levels than you are going to need to monitor things. If you’re home is relatively low in humidity, you may not have to think about it at all.
The key here is relative humidity or RH and it needs to kept within 59 and 63% ideally. This is a fairly narrow field but above it you can develop mold and below it you might damage the trichomes of your plant.
The good news is that all you need is a hygrometer. These are readily available from many online stores – place one in your storage area and you can easily check what the levels are at any time.
Why Light is Important
Another key component when it comes to the best way to store weed is light. UV rays can start to break down your cannabis from the moment it is exposed, which is why the curing process takes place in the dark. It’s actually one of the biggest factors affecting how rapidly cannabis degrades. If you can manage nothing else, at least make sure your stash is kept away from the light.
If you have the optimal conditions above, you should expect your cannabis to last at least a couple of years, should you want it to last that long. It’s a good idea to get into the right habits, even if you are a regular user.
What is Air Control?
While it isn’t vitally important, you can also improve storage by controlling the amount of air in your jar. Too little air and your relative humidity can change quickly. Too much and your cannabis can undergo oxidation, with the THC turned in CBN. You can get a range of different air pumps that are used to control the air content but, even for many connoisseurs this is perhaps a step too far.
The Basic Dos and Don’ts and the Best Way to Store Weed
To round up, we thought a list of dos and don’ts would be useful here. If you keep these in mind you should find that your cannabis is kept relatively safe at all times.
- Keep your cannabis stored in a cool, dry place with no light. A cupboard is fine as long as it’s not left open for long periods.
- Choose glass jars which won’t affect your cannabis plant. Metal and plastic containers can often cross contaminate.
- Make sure the jars are vacuum sealable and airtight so that you keep the oxygen level down as much as possible.
- Invest in a hygrometer to help you maintain the right humidity in your storage area. They don’t cost a lot of money and you’ll be glad you got one.
- Make sure you separate different strains if you are storing them, even if you grew the plants in the same space.
- Put your cannabis in the fridge. If you want store your fresh leaves prior to drying and curing, or for cooking edibles, you can put them in the freezer as a last resort. But don’t take your finished cannabis product and put it in the fridge (or freezer) – the changes in temperature and humidity will certainly give mold a chance to take hold.
- Store your cannabis in plastic bags or anything that isn’t airtight. You can get a static charge from plastic which could effect the quality of your crop. We suggest glass, sealable jars for a reason and that’s because they do the job.
- Store your cannabis where there are electrical devices that give off heat. It can mean your crop is being subjected to the wrong temperatures without you even being aware.
- Store your grinders and smoking paraphernalia in the jar as they can contaminate the flavor and smell of your cured weed.
The best way to store weed generally involves using your common sense along with the few tips above. A lot depends on how long you expect your stash to last, of course – if you are a regular user or have a big social occasion coming up then storage might not be top of your list of priorities.
If it is, keep in mind the three main factors – temperature, humidity and light. If these are under control, you should expect to keep problems down to a minimum.
This advice is for your dried and cured buds and other cannabis products may well need different methods of storage. Edibles, for example, are likely to go off pretty quickly so need to be consumed. For some concentrates like shatter, storing in a glass jar isn’t advised as it can stick to the surface. You might want to invest in a silicone jar which is a good allrounder for a variety of concentrates. Some people also use parchment paper for short-term storage.
It pays to do some research on the best way to store weed. That way you can ensure you maintain quality and don’t end up with a degraded product. The great thing is there is plenty of advice out there, including on our own Seedsman blog.