Last week, I struck gold! I found some herb tucked away inside a pair of jeans I had not worn since last summer. I didn’t waste any time at all in popping it into my dry herb vape but it did have me wondering whether time had rendered it impotent.
A study conducted by the University of London concluded that cannabinoids maintain their efficacy for over two years when stored under the right conditions. Furthermore, herbs can be safe to consume for many years - but they will slowly lose their effectiveness and flavour as the cannabinoids and terpenes disintegrate slowly over time.
The four biggest factors when storing cannabis are humidity, light, temperature and oxygen. Similar to wine, dry herbs age best when left in a cool, dark place where there are low humidity levels.
The good news is you don't need a wine cellar to ensure prolong the life of your bud, you can keep them fresh using everyday items in your kitchen!
Below we list four elements that damage the life of your dry herbs and share some useful ways to store them!
Maintaining the correct humidity levels for your herbs is a real balancing act. Too dry and you risk reducing the quality; too moist and you run the risk of mould.
Mould contamination can produce bad odours and flavours for recreational users and is especially important for medical users to avoid.
Direct sunlight is quite possibly the most destructive element; a study in the 1970s found that light can render your dry herbs impotent in a very short amount of time.
Also, light causes THC molecules to break down into CBN, Unlike THC, CBN has no psychoactive properties.
Mildew and mould can be an absolute pain because they are very good at two things:
- Rendering your herbs unusable
- Making more mildew
Temperatures between 25c - 30c are optimal conditions for Mildew to thrive and reproduce. Finally, a climate above 30c will cause your herbs to slowly decarboxylate.
Decarboxylation is the process of applying heat to cannabinoids so they have an effect on the human body. When decarboxylation occurs inside your dry herb vaporizer it is obviously a good thing but we don’t want that happening in storage!
Storing your cannabis in a container with the right amount of air is crucial to keep it fresh and potent. Too little air, and you'll encourage excess humidity and too much air can cause your plant to lose its potency quicker.
The best (and worst!) ways to store cannabis at home.
Did you know that the ever-popular plastic baggies are one of the worst ways to store your herbs? This is because they are transparent and permeable so they do nothing to prevent light, air, heat and moisture from damaging your herbs?
Also, I’d avoid any plastic storage of herbs. This is because plastic has a static charge which can attract the yummy trichomes off your bud.
The good news is that you can effectively store your herbs using everyday items. I keep mine in a glass jar with a seal. The seal is important because it keeps the aroma in and the oxygen out. If you don’t have a jar with a seal, a mason or jam jar will look after your herbs for many months without any noticeable drop in quality.
Once you’ve sealed your glass jar just pop in into a cupboard where it’ll have no exposure to sunlight - simple but effective!
Pro tip: Store different strains of your herbs separate. It's important to protect each strain's unique smell, taste profile and individual effects.