Cannabis has a shelf life. It dries over time, and that means a significant loss of effectiveness. You must understand that the drying starts well before your purchase.
As cannabis plants grow, they are subject to constant air circulation to avoid dampness, mildew, and pests. That circulation strengthens their growth, but it also risks drying the plant at least on the surface.
When cannabis is harvested, it is cured, usually by hanging in the air. This further dries it for normal uses. Consumers want it slightly brittle, plump, and dry enough to break down into flakes and broken matter to load splits or for grinding into finer uses. And, as cannabis is packaged, transported, and displayed on dispensary shelves, the plant matter will dry some more. So, what is a consumer to do to keep your cannabis fresh longer?
What to do?
You will need some equipment, space, and some good common sense to store the cannabis well. But it will not take much money to do it well.
Freezing the product? Cannabis is an herbaceous plant and will not do well in your freezer or refrigerator, so forget about freezing cannabis in whatever container. The deep cold will destroy its freshness and may ruin it all together. Freezing will return moisture to the plant in ways that ruin its nutrition. The real problem comes from your opening and closing the freezer repeatedly. The change in temperature affects its life cycle and risks external contamination.
Avoid the heat? Conversely, you want to avoid a warm storage space like a cabinet or closet near a heat source or exterior temperatures. The heat will only continue to dry the cannabis making it brittle and difficult to work with. More important it will exhaust the chemical benefits of the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes largely found in the trichomes.
- How about glass jars? Cannabis users have relied on airtight Mason jars for decades. That is only one brand name for the scores of glass containers out there, but the key is in your ability to seal them tight. Among the advantages of clear class is that you can see the product to monitor its condition. However, veteran users recommend strongly that you opt for one of the many dark glass jars available. The dark glass protects the cannabis from heat-producing light and from harmful UB sun rays. You can always label the dark glass jars with the name of the strain and date of storing. Canada’s HerbGuard offers black glass jars in various sizes at very reasonable prices.
- What do you think of plastic? Plastic containers come in a variety of sizes and quality. If you insist on going plastic, you should understand that most plastics will taint the aroma and taste. If you choose plastic, you must choose containers with airtight seals to prevent moisture and contaminants from getting in. One idea for storing a small stash is to use the amber colored plastic containers with childproof caps they deliver prescription drugs in.
Would you vacuum seal? You can purchase a vacuum sealer at big box stores or at online retailers. Vacuum sealers are marketed to let you package produce, meats, and cooked goods without loss of flavor or nutrients. They use special plastic bags from which the machine sucks all the air. If you prefer the bisphenol-free plastic bags, you can vacuum out the humidity and any airborne toxins or contamination. Still other veterans do not like the idea of exposing cannabis to polymers at all, and the vacuuming pressure can damage the quality and potency of the product.
Add that touch of fruit? There has been a long tradition of adding a piece of orange or lemon rind or other organic material that might go nicely with the dominant flavors and aromas. The idea is to let the material absorb unnecessary moisture; however, the added organic material is just as likely to add contaminants and invite mildew and mold.
- Boveda packs are a smarter way to go. They are those little packs of absorbents you find in many package deliveries. They absorb the humidity without inflicting damage to the trichomes and cannabinoids. The Boveda packs contain salts and tiny absorbent beads to control the RH (Relative Humidity) level.
Are you into humidors? Some long-time cannabis users like the formal style of a handsome humidor. The right size humidor holds more than one strain so opening your humidor for a selection of stash might impress your friends and guests. Humidors, like those available for cigars, are airtight with snugly fitted lids. Many have a RH monitor installed to keep the level between 59% and 63%.
- Humidors are made of odor-absorbing natural woods and may contain odor-absorbing charcoal devices or filers. These boxes come in a variety of woods and external finishes, some with inlayed or engraved designs. Some have enough space to store tools and supplies. Apothecary Case offers a selection of attractive options with combination locks, room for several jars, and equipment for prepping your dose.
- Are titanium containers good? Titanium may be the ironically “gold standard” in cannabis storage. Titanium is a pricier option, but it is the best at keeping flavor in and moisture out. A small Lunamax titanium jar is available under $25 at major retailers, but you might look for those that come with grinders included.
Keep it cool, calm, and collected –
Cannabis should be kept in a cool dark environment in containers sealed from moisture and contaminants. Nonetheless, it should be stored with care and plans for use on a schedule that will save its flavor, aroma, and potency. Be prepared to do some research, spend some money, and take your time.