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Does weed go bad? And other questions on when to trash your stash, answered

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Did you know that cannabis flower will lose around fifteen percent of its THC after just one year?

Just like almost any other plant or edible product, cannabis can go bad and lose its potency and effectiveness.

So, when is it time to trash your stash?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as we’d like it to be. So we’ve created a guide to determining when your weed is expired and the causes of degradation for different cannabis products. We’ve also included some tips for what you can do to extend the shelf life of your weed.

Let’s dig in.

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Cannabis shelf life by product type

The shelf life of cannabis depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the storage conditions, the form in which it is consumed, and the quality of the cannabis itself.

Here is a breakdown of the expected lifespan for different forms of cannabis.

Cannabis flower

When stored properly, cannabis flower can last for several months, and sometimes over a year. The key to extending the shelf life of cannabis flower is to store it in a cool, dry place away from light and air.

Avoid storing cannabis flower in the fridge or freezer, as these environments can lead to moisture buildup and the growth of mold.

Cannabis tinctures

Cannabis tinctures are a liquid form of cannabis that can be taken orally or applied topically. Tinctures can last for several years if stored in a cool, dry place away from light.

Make sure to keep the lid tightly sealed to prevent evaporation and contamination.

Cannabis edibles

The shelf life of cannabis edibles depends on the type of food and its ingredients. Homemade edibles might not last as long as store-bought edibles because store-bought edibles usually contain preservatives.

In general, edibles made with perishable ingredients like dairy or fresh fruit will have a shorter shelf life than those made with non-perishable ingredients like nuts.

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Why you shouldn’t consume expired cannabis

Consuming old or “bad” cannabis can be dangerous for several reasons. Most obviously, consuming cannabis that has gone bad can lead to a less enjoyable and potentially unpleasant experience.

Cannabis that has lost its potency or has developed an off-putting smell or taste runs a higher risk of failing to provide the desired effects, and consuming it may even increase your risk of experiencing negative side effects.

Another concern with consuming old cannabis is the risk of contamination. Cannabis that has been stored improperly or for an extended period of time may be at risk of contamination from mold or bacteria.

Inhaling or ingesting contaminated cannabis can cause respiratory or digestive issues, as well as other adverse health effects.

Also keep in mind that cannabis contains a range of compounds, including cannabidiol (CBD) which is touted by many users as having pain-relieving and anti-anxiety effects, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which, among other reported effects, produces the high people associate with cannabis. Over time, these compounds will lose their potency, making them less and less effective.

How to determine when your weed is expired

There are several signs that your cannabis may have gone bad. Here are some things to look for.

  1. Off-putting smell or taste: Fresh cannabis products should have a pleasant, earthy aroma and a smooth, pungent taste. If your cannabis product has an unpleasant smell or taste, it may be a sign that it has gone bad.
  2. Visible changes: Look for any visible signs of degradation. This might include discoloration, brittle or crumbly texture, or the presence of mold.
  3. Excessive dryness or stickiness: Cannabis flower that is excessively dry or sticky may be past its prime. Dry cannabis flower can become brittle and may be more difficult to break up and roll, while sticky cannabis flower may be more prone to clumping.

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Good cannabis: What to look for

To know what’s bad, you have to have a sense of what good looks like. The best time to consume cannabis is when it’s at its peak potency.

Cannabis that is fresh and properly stored will have a more pleasant aroma and taste. It will also have a higher concentration of active compounds like CBD and THC.

What to do if you think you’ve consumed expired weed

If you accidentally consume cannabis that is expired, it is important to pay attention to any changes in your physical or mental state.

Expired cannabis can do more than just fail to produce the desired effects. It also might cause negative side effects such as dizziness, nausea, or headache.

If you experience any of these negative side effects from expired weed, just try to stay hydrated and sit somewhere comfortable until the effects have passed.

How to store cannabis so it stays fresh as long as possible

Proper storage is key to keeping cannabis fresh and potent. Here are some tips for storing cannabis to help ensure that it stays fresh as long as it can.

  1. Choose the right storage container: Cannabis should be stored in an airtight container to keep out light, air, and moisture. Glass jars with tight-fitting lids are a popular choice, as they provide a barrier against these elements.
  2. Keep it in a cool, dry place: Cannabis should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent premature degradation. Avoid storing cannabis in areas with high humidity or temperature fluctuations, as these conditions can quickly lead to mold growth and a loss of potency.
  3. Keep it out of direct sunlight: Light can damage the active compounds in cannabis, so it is important to store your stash in a place that is out of direct sunlight. Avoid storing cannabis near windows or near sources of artificial light.

When it comes to deciding when it’s time to trash your stash, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Cannabis expiration dates depend on the product you purchase and the way you store it.

While cannabis flower will start losing its potency after several months, some cannabis products like tinctures can last for years if you store them correctly. When it comes to edibles, treat them like you’d treat food. Brownies will only stay good for a couple weeks at most, but gummies could stay good for months.

By using best practices to stash your hash, you can make sure your precious greens never go to waste.