How long does weed last before it spoils?
Since most of us purchase quantities of more than a gram or two, after a while, the flowers may no longer be at their best. Every cannabis consumer asks himself at some point: “So how long does it take for the weed to spoil?”, And we will attempt to give you the best answer.
Here’s a classic scenario: you run out of weed, you search your hiding spot in order to find some small nug to smoke. Then suddenly somewhere in one of the boxes or an old grinder, you discover a forgotten flower.
If it looks a little bad, it’s usually bad!
You are of course excited about the discovery, but just before you start rejoicing, it is important to check: Can you still smoke the old, dried flower you found? Has the nug crossed the threshold on the way to being a “non-smoker” bud? And what are the dangers involved in smoking fresh cannabis? Here is all the information you will need on the subject.
How long does cannabis stay fresh? – The basic things
Let’s start with the most important question: How long does it take for cannabis to spoil? Under ideal storage conditions, cannabis can actually retain its freshness for a relatively long time and even for months.
Assuming the cannabis was grown, treated and stored under the right conditions, and then went through all the harvesting and drying processes in an ideal way that kept it fresh, it can last for a period of between half a year and a year. If you did a good job storing the flowers and are lucky (or a dealer who provides quality, fresh cannabis). You may be able to stretch the timeline a little more, and keep your cannabis fresh even for close to two years!
But unfortunately, for most cannabis consumers the storage conditions are not ideal. In the absence of moisture control in the storage container, and assuming your cannabis may be exposed to some amount of light that may affect the storage temperature, it is likely that your cannabis will not last more than a year.
So how long will the flowers stay fresh? It’s just up to you. In general, it is advisable to consume cannabis within six months of purchase. But of course, if you have high-quality storage equipment, you can also keep it fresh for close to a year from the date of purchase.
What does science say?
Now that you have a general idea of how long cannabis lasts. It’s time to dive deep into it and check out what science has to say about it. First, it is important to understand what process marijuana goes through over time and how it “ages”.
In principle, all the compounds that distinguish the cannabis plant undergo a process of decomposition and slowly begin to weaken. As time goes on, many types of cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis begin to lose their effect and potency. Your old flower becomes tasteless (literally), odourless and lacking in vitality and effect. In short – far from what fresh and quality cannabis it is supposed to be.
Sometimes, old and spoiled weed will just give you a disgusting taste in your mouth instead of a good buzz. Either way, when terpenes undergo changes, they detract from the taste and smell of cannabis. So no matter how high quality your material is, it will not taste or smell as it should.
Similarly and probably even more importantly, cannabinoids also begin to erode over time. An old, worn flower will not contain the same amounts of THC and CBD. Its effect will dissipate and its potency will be lower than normal.
We can now get more accurate data and understand exactly how long cannabis stays fresh.
Scientists found that on average, the cannabis plant loses its THC concentration at this rate:
Cannabis loses about 16% of its THC amount after one year
After two years in ideal storage conditions, the plant loses about 26% of the THC concentration.
After 4 years of storage – it will lose about 41% of its THC content. I mean, a year is fine, and beyond that, you should not take risks.
Let’s go back to our first scenario. To that cute, old nug you found somewhere in the depths of the drawer. How do you know if it is safe to use or if it is spoiled? Basically, there are some signs that will help you know.
When testing for old cannabis you need to ask yourself 4 important questions:
- Is it mouldy? – If your weed is exposed to too much moisture , chances are it has developed mould. In this case, it is advisable not to take a risk and throw away as it is very unhealthy and hazardous to smoke cannabis with mould.
- Is it dry? – If your cannabis crumbles easily into a powder, it is likely that it is too old to use or has undergone excessive drying.
- How does it smell? – It is recommended to train the sense of smell and make sure that the cannabis smells fresh. Old flowers do not have the fresh scent of fresh weed, which is a great way to be safe.
- What is its texture? – If its texture is spongy and it makes no noise when broken up, there is a likelihood that it is damp and moldy. On the other hand, if it is hard and crumbles to dry powder, it is too old.
So how long can you keep cannabis before it spoils?
If you have tested your buds and found that your cannabis is not fresh, it is not the end of the world. Technically, you can still smoke it, it just will not taste so good, and since most of the cannabinoids have faded – you probably won’t really be able to get high either, or in short you better not.
If you notice dark spots on cannabis flowers, blurred white webs of mould, or a strange odour that your flower exudes – do not mess with it. It is best to lose a few dollars than endanger your health, as inhaling or swallowing mould can cause you harm.
Mouldy? Throw away immediately
So now that you know the ways of detecting spoiled cannabis, and you have the answer to the question “how long can weed last?”, You can start testing your old flowers and see if they can still be smoked.
Also, you have the tools to maximize the duration of the freshness of your flowers. In order to keep your cannabis fresh for a long time, you can invest the money and purchase a special storage container for storing cannabis flowers, an investment that will pay for itself and save you the painful disposal of an expired weed.
Furthermore, it is advisable to try your best to control the temperature and humidity, as they are the ones that cause mould to form. Keep the flowers away from direct sunlight, and keep them in a cool, dark, dry place. With proper storage conditions, proper care and basic equipment, you will be able to keep your cannabis fresh for a long time.