Is there really an expiry for cannabis? Does it really go bad? How long does cannabis last? And how do we know your cannabis has gone bad?
These are common questions in the mind of every new cannabis user. So there is no shame in asking your retail store attendant or your cannabis dispensary. Nevertheless, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First, cannabis does not go bad in the same way that milk, meat, and fruits go bad. However, it is also not like wine, which becomes more potent and better-tasting as it ages.
Like other plant products, such as a head of lettuce, a broccoli, or a mushroom, cannabis does go bad eventually. But there is still debate on the exact date of expiry.
The expiry date for cannabis mainly depends on what strain it is. And for other cannabis products like extractions and oils, the extraction method used and the processing also contribute to their longevity.
As a rule, commercial cannabis products are likely to last longer than products you make at home.
For a perfectly cured cannabis flower, the commonly agreed lifespan is about one to two years. Assuming, of course, that the flower was stored properly. And by proper storage, it means an airtight jar kept at room temperature and away from humidity, light, and heat.
Meanwhile, a flower that was improperly stored may lose its potency and its cannabinoid content may experience some changes, too. You may no longer get the high you are expecting or the desired medicinal effect.
Needless to say, learning how to properly store your cannabis is important as it helps extend the product’s lifespan.
Don’t get us wrong, though. Even properly stored cannabis will still lose its potency and its cannabinoid content will shift over time.
Your bud will dry out or will become damp, depending on the storage technique used. Keeping your bud in a plastic sandwich bag, for instance, will let the moisture out and will therefore dry out your bud. And when this happens, your weed will crumble easily and will give off harsh smoke when it gets lit.
Placing your weed in a damp place, such as in a freezer or in a refrigerator, on the other hand, may cause mold to grow. And when your stash has gone moldy, the only thing left for you to do is to properly dispose of it.
Now, let’s say you discovered a stash of weed hidden in a drawer. How do you check it and determine whether it is still good for use?
Smell it. Old and dried out cannabis has a distinct yet very subtle smell. The aromatics have long gone and the bud will no longer smell delicious. On the other hand, if it is already moldy, it will have a stale and musky smell.
The rule is very simple, really. Trust your nose. If you find that the cannabis smells funny, then it is most probably is.
Look at it. Look at the color of your leaves. Old weed looks bleached while moldy weed looks darker than the original color. Moldy spots on your bud would also be very visible. However, when you look at your weed and see something white and fuzzy, you should make sure it is not the trichomes. Mold and trichomes may be confused with one another. There are also black molds, so watch out for black spots, too.
Touch it. When you touch a good bud, it would feel sticky and slightly springy. However, if it is an old and stale stash, it would crumble even with a gentle squeeze test. If it crumbles into dust, this means your weed is way past its expiry.
When it comes to other cannabis products like oils and shatters, it can be a little more difficult to determine their exact lifespan and to tell when they have gone bad. However, because of the solvent used in the extraction process, the final cannabis product is likely to have a longer and more stable shelf life.
With proper storage, a high-quality extraction can be expected to have a longer shelf life compared to a standard bud. Its main risk is a change in its consistency and texture. Shatters, for example, may have a sugary texture instead of a crystallized one.