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Learn | 03.23.2024

Does Weed Lose Potency When It Dries? Insights & Storage

Stale stash? It’s not just in your head.

Have you ever noticed your cannabis getting drier and wondered if it’s losing its kick?

When exposed to air, your cannabis can turn brittle and light, a clear sign that the compound that gets you high, THC, is diminishing. This also means your experience is likely to be affected, too.

Let’s explore how drying impacts your weed and what you can do about it.

How Long Before Weed Loses Potency

While there’s no set expiration date, the potency of your weed can drop significantly after a few years. 

It’s a slow fade influenced by several key factors:

Leaving your bud out in the open or in a plastic bag invites light and air to do their worst. 

The cultivation process can majorly affect the potency of your cannabis. Excessive light bleaches potency, humidity can bring upon mold, and oxygen can slowly erode and degrade THC. Plants nurtured in conditions not optimized for the plant can make for weak THC levels.

Older studies highlight that weed’s THC content decreases over time: 

  • First year: THC reduces around 16%
  • Second year: THC reduces around 26%
  • Third year: Around a 34% reduction in THC
  • Fourth year: THC potency reduces by around 41%. 

How Long Does It Take For Weed To Go Bad?

Similar to loss of potency, determining the exact moment your cannabis loses its charm isn’t as simple as circling a date on the calendar. 

With meticulous storage, your stash can remain in prime condition, potent and fresh, for anywhere from 6 to 12 months. The secret? Striking the perfect moisture balance. Too dry, and you’re dealing with harsh, crumbly buds; too damp, and mold becomes a real threat.

Sometimes, a rapid decline in your weed’s quality could hint at issues from the start. Early dryness often signals problems in the initial drying or curing stages, crucial steps for locking in those cannabinoids and terpenes that define your weed’s potency and effects.

So, there’s no set “use-by” date for cannabis, but a bit of care can extend its life significantly. Keep your jars tight, the humidity in check, and your greens away from the sun’s harsh rays, and you’ll be set for months of quality sessions. 

Can Weed Get Moldy: How To Spot It?

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Yes, your weed can fall victim to mold, which isn’t just a buzzkill—it’s a health hazard. 

Recognizing mold early and knowing how to avoid it is crucial for maintaining a clean and safe cannabis collection.

Identifying Mold

Appearance: Look out for white, powdery spots or a fuzzy white blanket covering your buds. This isn’t to be confused with trichomes, those shiny, sticky crystals that signal good-quality weed. Mold, on the other hand, looks webby with a pale, grey-like coloring. 

Smell: Trust your nose. Moldy weed smells musty, somewhat sour, unpleasant, and a stark contrast to the fresh, herbal scent of healthy cannabis. If it doesn’t smell right, it’s likely not safe. 

Sound: Cannabis that isn’t dried properly feels damp. A lack of the classic snapping sound when pulling apart your bud could indicate conditions are ripe for mold. 

Ingesting moldy cannabis can lead to serious health issues, including nausea, vomiting, and respiratory problems. Always inspect your stash thoroughly before use; when in doubt, throw it out.

How To Prevent Mold: 3 Tips For Best Way To Store Weed

Photo by Terrance Barksdale/ Pexels

Seal It Tight: Use airtight containers to protect your cannabis from air and moisture, which are crucial factors in mold development.

Keep It Cool and Dark: Store your cannabis in a place where temperatures remain between 32°F and 68°F. This range helps preserve its quality over time.

Monitor Humidity: Maintain humidity levels within 59% to 63% RH. This balance is essential to prevent mold growth while preserving the cannabis’s natural moisture.

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