Learn How to Store Weed So It Lasts!
When it comes to storing your cannabis, the method you choose makes a huge difference in how long your buds maintain potency and freshness! But what’s the best way to store weed? Is it vacuum-sealing? Will freezing your buds hurt them in any way? I’ve tried a few different methods for storing marijuana over the years, and today I want to share what has and hasn’t worked for me!
Properly stored buds have some natural color and don’t crumble apart
Properly stored weed looks full and sparkly, with at least a little color life. Marijuana buds are often green with orange hairs, but sometimes you’ll see other colors like purple or pink.
Improperly Stored Buds Start Turning Brown and Crumbly
Brown or tan weed isn’t necessarily bad, as well-cured cannabis also loses color, but brown and crumbly nugs are often old or weren’t stored in an airtight container. If there are random brown patches on otherwise good-looking weed, it could also be a sign of mold!
These brown, crumbly buds weren’t stored properly
Note: Some people actually prefer the effects of wet-cured or very long-cured buds, which may offer unique smells and tastes. This typically causes buds to take on a mostly brown or tan appearance. Buds that are still good usually “stay together” as opposed to being crumbly. Although there are exceptions, usually buds that have turned brown are losing their overall potency and smell as time goes on.
How to Store Cannabis to Last for Years
If you grow a lot of cannabis at once, you want it to last long enough to use it all. Outdoor growers usually harvest once a year and may need to store buds until the next year’s harvest.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy and cheap to store your buds. You don’t need any special equipment besides an air-tight glass jar.
Air-tight glass jars are one of the best places to store cannabis buds
But that’s definitely not your only option!
Here are the main methods and tools for storing cannabis, with the pros and cons of each:
What Are the Best Ways to Store Cannabis?
1.) UV-Proof Glass Stash Containers
If you need to store a small amount of bud, a UV-proof glass stash box works wonders. These glass containers not only prevent smells from leaking out, they can also help fresh buds continue curing to improve the quality.
This glass stash box is both UV-proof and smell-proof. The perfect place to store small amounts of weed!
2.) Stash Boxes
These boxes are super fancy and classy. They contain compartments to hold various tools or different strains of weed.
When choosing wood, some woods are better than others. Avoid cedar (for example many cigar humidors) as it leaves a cedar taste. Cannabis-made humidors or stash boxes are usually made out of things like teak, bamboo, acacia, mahogany, cherry or walnut wood. These woods won’t affect the smell/flavor of your buds.
This bamboo stash box is smell-proof and includes air-tight containers and a built-in rolling tray. Besides bamboo, other great wood options include teak, acacia, mahogany, cherry, or walnut. Avoid cedar boxes!
This decorative stash box is not only smell-proof but waterproof
3.) Glass Mason Jars in Cool, Dark Place
A cool (60-70°F or 15-21°C) dark place is the most popular way for growers to store buds and is one of the best and most effective. Quart-sized glass mason jars are found everywhere from grocery stores to home improvement stores. These are often used for cooking (making preserves or marinades for example), but when it comes to storing cannabis they help maintain potency by protecting buds from moisture and air. Glass jars will also completely contain smells while preventing buds from getting crushed during handling. Make sure jars are at least 3/4 full so there’s not as much air being stored in with the cannabis (if you have less bud, use smaller glass jars). Buds stored in airtight glass jars in a cool, dark place will maintain their potency for a year or more.
Wide-mouth quart glass mason jars are an excellent place to store weed (note: it’s usually much cheaper to buy in a store than online)
Add a 58% Boveda pack to help maintain the proper humidity levels in your jar to prevent buds from drying out (62% Boveda packs are better if you prefer softer buds)
4.) Freeze Your Buds (Best for Long-Term Storage)
If buds are completely dry, you can freeze them and they will maintain their potency for years.
Some growers double-bag buds in Freezer bags and then wrap the bags in foil. This works okay but you can actually store your buds directly in glass mason jars. If you’ve got a lot of bud that needs to be stored for a long time (years), the freezer is the best way to do it.
One option is to store buds in double-bagged Freezer bags (the freezer kind is more air-resistant than regular plastic baggies) and wrap it all in aluminum foil. Squish all the air out at each step, or even vacuum seal them first. Don’t forget to add a label with the strain and date!
Or put in the freezer inside glass jars. Using jars instead of bags helps prevent trichomes from breaking off during handling. Pack each jar tight!
Avoid handling buds when they’re still frozen as the trichomes (glitter) become brittle and easily break off at freezing temperatures. Freezing off trichomes is actually how you make bubble and dry ice hash. Always let frozen buds come to room temperature before handling.
Note: Moisture is associated with mold/bacteria growth and faster degradation in long-term storage. Buds should be stored at normal temperature for several weeks before any long-term storage method to make sure all moisture in the middle of each bud has worked its way out. If you’re using a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels, it should consistently stay below 55% for at least a week before long-term storage. If you’re having trouble drying out your weed because your local humidity is too high, a 49% Boveda pack can help lower the humidity and remove moisture as you prepare buds for storage.
Buds that are frozen properly will maintain their potency for years
5.) Refrigerate Your Buds (Avoid!)
Buds stored in the fridge tend to mold after a while, even in air-tight containers. Either keep buds outside the fridge or put them in the freezer. If you must use the fridge, it’s especially important to make sure buds are completely dry to avoid mold, and keep them in the back in a crisper where the temperature and humidity don’t fluctuate as much. But again, if possible you should avoid using your refrigerator to store buds just in case; a regular cabinet or drawer is usually better!
6.) Plastic Baggies (Avoid!)
Although this is the most common way for non-growers to store cannabis, it’s one of the worst. Buds lose their smell and tend to get dried out and brittle in plastic baggies. The potency degrades quickly, and the lack of protection means that handling the buds tends to crumble them. Plastic baggies should only be used short term, or avoided altogether.
Don’t use a plastic baggy!
7.) Vacuum Sealing
You can use a vacuum sealer to take all the air out of a container before long-term storage. You tend to get the best results when vacuum-sealing bags, though some growers use these machines to vacuum seal mason jars.
Vacuum sealing is recommended if you plan on storing buds for a long time. However, even if you do vacuum-seal your buds, make sure to still follow all the other steps. If buds aren’t properly prepared (for example if they’re still wet), vacuum-sealing isn’t as effective at slowing down the bud degradation process.
The ultra-cheap way to “vacuum seal” is to get a stash jar that lets you create a vacuum when you close the top. These help slow down bud degradation a little. A decent option for small amounts you plan to use in the near future.
But if you’re serious, an actual vacuum sealer will take all the air out of a bag of weed before storage
What about vacuum-sealing buds in mason jars? When I experimented with vacuum-sealing buds in mason jars using an accessory for a compatible vacuum-sealer, I found that the vacuum-sealed buds didn’t seem to be any different from the same batch of buds stored in non-vacuum sealed jars. After a year of storage, they looked and smoked the same as far as I could tell. If you do plan to vacuum-seal, use the included plastic bags.
More on Freezing vs Refrigerating Buds
Freezing buds is controversial because it’s easy to lose trichomes when moving frozen buds. You do need to be extremely careful when handling frozen buds as the trichomes (glitter) become brittle and can easily break off at freezing temperatures.
However, if this does happen you can still collect trichomes from the bottom of the container and use them (just like the kief that falls to the bottom of a grinder!); the trichomes do not “vanish” into the ether!
Additionally, you can dramatically reduce this problem by always letting buds come to room temperature before handling them. The fact of the matter is that buds will stay potent for longer in the freezer than if kept at room temperature, so it’s up to you to decide whether the risk is worth the reward. I can tell you that many growers freeze their buds for years to maintain potency, especially outdoor growers who may harvest pounds at a time.
So if you want to use the refrigerator to store buds, don’t risk mold by using the fridge portion – put your buds in the freezer!
Weird fact: Ever notice that the word ‘refrigerator’ doesn’t have the letter ‘d’ in it, but the word ‘fridge’ does? Although ‘fridge’ and ‘frig’ are technically both acceptable spellings, one proposed explanation is that the word was originally spelled ‘frig’ but adding the ‘d’ and ‘e’ became much more popular since the word is pronounced as if it rhymes with ‘ridge’.
Using Glass for Storage
- Air-tight and smell-proof
- Doesn’t stop the curing process, and buds may actually continue to cure and gain potency over time
- Doesn’t affect the natural smell/taste of buds (unlike plastic, metal and some types of wood)
- Won’t cause trichomes to break off due to static
- Buds last for 1+ years in a cool, dark place without losing potency
Boveda Packs – A Helpful Storage (and Curing) Tool!
Sometimes called Humidipaks (their old brand name, which I thought was muck more descriptive), the renamed Boveda Packs can basically turn any airtight space into a cannabis humidor. The 58% and 62% Boveda Packs are both specifically designed for storing cannabis and can be placed in a sealed container with your buds to regulate the humidity to the ideal level for marijuana storage. The 58% version is better for storage, while the 62% version makes softer buds.
Boveda packs also help keep buds from getting dried out or brittle (and can re-hydrate buds that are too dry).
Bonus Use: In addition to storage, for those who have trouble getting buds to cure properly, these can be a valuable part of the curing process! Simply place them in your jars a few days into the jar-burping process to help regulate the humidity.
Buds Must Be Dried and Cured Before Storage
If buds are still fresh and green, they need to be cured before being put into long-term storage.
Example of Fresh Bud (May Feel Wet and Usually Appears Very Green and “Plump”) – Never put fresh bud into long-term storage!
Cured Buds (Color Has Darkened Slightly, Buds Feel More Dense and Are Completely Dry) – Always wait for buds to cure for at least 4 weeks before long-term storage!
Whenever Storing Cannabis Long-Term, Make Sure….
- Buds Have Been Cured for 4+ Weeks – Buds should be cured at least 4 weeks before being put into long-term storage. The potency and smoothness of your buds is greatly improved during the curing process, and you want to make sure they’ve reached peak potency before you put them in storage. Additionally, the curing process is integral to setting a good moisture level for buds about to be stored long term.
- Buds Are Dry Enough – Buds should never feel moist and jars should never “sweat” during the curing process. These are signs the buds still contain too much moisture and aren’t ready for storage. Why? Even in a sealed container you can still get mold, and wetness causes potency to deteriorate faster (and buds turn brown and crumbly)! This is really important because buds being too wet is one of the biggest factors that cause buds to degrade early. If you have a humidity monitor, you are aiming for humidity under 55% RH before putting them into storage. This recommended humidity is a little lower than what’s generally recommended for curing, but helps prevent unwanted biological processes during long-term storage.
- Keep Buds in the Dark – Avoid letting buds be exposed to light because UV rays cause bud potency to diminish
- No Heat, No Middling Temperatures – Avoid letting buds be exposed to heat or middling temperatures. The temperature should be 60-70°F (15-21°C) or under 32°F (0°C) for the best results. Don’t let buds get cold, then hot, then cold, etc. Don’t store them near electronics that may heat up. Try to maintain a steady temperature until you’re ready to use your buds.
- Glass is Best, Avoid Plastic or Metal – Although plastic and metal can be used to store buds in the short term, they can start to affect the smell/taste after a while. Therefore they are not recommended for long-term storage. Plastic also tends to be “static-y” which can cause trichomes to fall off the buds and stick to the sides or the bottom of the container. Your best bet is glass, which is completely airtight and nonporous. Quart-sized mason jars are a tried-and-true storage container, which is why they are so popular for cannabis growers.
- If You Do Go For a Wood Container… avoid cigar humidors as they can impart a cedar taste. Cannabis-made humidors are usually made out of things like teak, bamboo, acacia, mahogany, cherry or walnut wood, as these won’t affect the smell/flavor of your buds. However, wood doesn’t seem to be as effective as glass when it comes to cannabis storage, and buds won’t last as long when compared to being stored in glass.
- Avoid the Refrigerator – Although refrigerators might seem like a great idea, they don’t maintain a consistent humidity and temperature. These fluctuations increase the chance of mold and other unwanted biological processes. Keep your buds at a cool room temperature or in the freezer.
Now that you know how to store your marijuana properly, you can enjoy every big harvest for years to come!
Is it Bad Practice to Vacuum Seal Weed? [EXPLAINED!]
It is always a good feeling to ‘find’ cannabis nugs we had completely forgotten about. It saves you a few bucks and a trip to your nearest dispensary. However, is it safe to use weed you discover after a few weeks or months? The answer depends on how the marijuana was stored. If it has been left exposed to heat or sunlight, its THCA will be converted into CBNA, which is then converted to CBN when heated.
As a result, you won’t enjoy the same psychoactive high and may even feel a little dizzy or nauseous. On the other hand, cannabis with a lot of CBN is still potentially useful as a topical. If, on the other hand, your marijuana has been stored in an airtight container in a place shielded from sunlight it could be ‘good’ for up to two years according to most experts.
There are several popular methods of storing cannabis and vacuum sealing is the subject of much controversy. Some users claim it is a fantastic method of keeping bud fresh for a long time, while others suggest it will ruin your weed. What is the truth?
What is Vacuum Sealing?
It is a method of packaging popular in the food industry and involves removing air from the package before you seal it. You can place the items in a plastic film package to remove air from the outside, and shrink film can be used in a pinch. The goal is to remove oxygen from the container to extend the shelf life of products.
It makes perfect sense to vacuum seal marijuana because the process reduces atmospheric oxygen and also prevents the evaporation of volatile compounds. Moreover, vacuum sealing also inhibits the growth of bacteria that would otherwise ruin your marijuana. Once you place your vacuum sealed weed in storage away from sunlight, it should theoretically be usable for years.
There are a variety of machines on the market that do the hard work for you. It is also possible to create your own vacuum sealed product using a Ziploc bag and water. Place the item in the bag and seal it but leave an inch of the seal open. Lower the bag into a tub of water, and be amazed as water pressure pushes the remaining air out of the bag. Seal off the opening before the bag becomes submerged and pull the bag out of the tub.
Is it a Good Idea to Vacuum Seal Cannabis?
On the face of it, there is no reason NOT to vacuum seal cannabis. The main thing is to ensure that the material you use does not contain harmful chemicals. For example, some plastics contain BPA (bisphenol A) which is an industrial chemical that seeps into the material and can imitate the body’s hormones and hurt several bodily functions.
It is better to vacuum seal marijuana than keep it in plastic baggies. These containers do little to prevent air, light, heat, cold or moisture from coming out of the herb. Even sealable baggies are not effective storage options in the long-term. Perhaps the biggest issue with vacuum sealing is the use of plastic. Plastic has a static charge that pulls trichomes from your plant matter onto the material.
It is common for marijuana users to vacuum seal their weed and then freeze it. The process of vacuum sealing eliminates issues with moisture, but you could end up crushing your buds. Freezing can also cause the trichomes to become brittle and break off when handled. Therefore, if you elect to freeze your weed, you have to be incredibly careful when taking it out.
There are usually two types of vacuum seal bags people use. The first option is a food-preserving bag which could allow you to seal up to 1,000 grams of weed depending on the size of the bag. These containers remove all of the air, a huge factor in reducing the risk of mold. The process of compression may reduce the quality of the bud, but at least you keep the aroma and flavor intact. When properly cured, dried, and vacuum sealed, marijuana could last for several years.
The second type of vacuum seal bag is the type that stores clothes. A vacuum cleaner is used to extract the air, and these thick bags have a zip seal that is airtight. You attach the vacuum cleaner to the bag’s nozzle to suck out the air and keep the buds nice and fresh. These bags are the right choice for those who grow marijuana on an industrial scale.
Storing Marijuana – Best Practices
No matter how you store your weed, keep the following factors in mind because they dictate how fresh your cannabis remains.
This process involves heating raw cannabis to activate its cannabinoids. It automatically happens when you smoke a joint or vaporize the herb. If you need to make edibles, you have to place the raw cannabis in the oven to ‘decarb’ it. When your weed is exposed to sunlight, its psychoactive THC degrades into CBN. The result is marijuana that provides a more sedative high.
The temperature your weed is exposed to makes a BIG difference to its quality. It is important to note that common molds and mildew thrive in temperatures of between 77- and 86-degrees Fahrenheit on weed and other organic matter. If you store your cannabis at a temperature higher than 86 degrees, you will dry out the terpenes and cannabinoids.
Terpene molecules vary in size with the smaller ones evaporating at temperatures in the high 60s Fahrenheit. On the other hand, excessively low temperatures could damage your trichomes and slow down the decarboxylating process where THCA is turned into THC. While you could store your marijuana at a temperature of between 32 and 68 degrees, in theory, it is best to keep it between 60 and 65 degrees in practice if at all possible.
This is one of the single most important storage considerations. If the humidity is too high, there is an increased chance of mold growth. If it is too low, the trichomes can break off, and the essential oils dry out. Ideally, your weed will be stored at a relative humidity (RH) of between 59% and 64%, with 62% often classified as the ‘sweet spot.’
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your buds and interfere with how marijuana affects you. Research has revealed that light exposure is the biggest factor in cannabinoids’ long-term stability rate. The study was admittedly conducted in the 1970s but looked at nine samples of weed left out in different conditions for two years. It found that weed retained its best condition in well-closed containers that were well-filled and left in a dark place at room temperature.
How Should I Store My Marijuana?
In the good old days, it was common to store weed in a ceramic pot or a tin can. Vacuum sealing works just fine as long as the material used does not contain any harmful chemicals. Avoid plastic if possible because it can damage the trichomes. When performed correctly, vacuum sealing prevents airborne damage of your nugs, removes oxygen from the equation and can also stop over-exposure to humidity.
You could vacuum seal individual doses and place them in an airtight glass jar. Perhaps the best method of storing weed IS the glass mason jar. It doesn’t allow oxygen in when tightly sealed, is not impacted by residual humidity and prevents your weed from being damaged due to temperature fluctuations. Glass is a great storage material because it doesn’t secrete any unwanted chemical compounds that could interfere with the aroma and flavor of the weed.
If you can, purchase a dark, tinted, or opaque jar to stop sunlight from causing damage to the cannabis. If you can’t find a glass mason jar for some reason, an airtight titanium container is another solid choice. No matter what option you choose, make sure the container is stored in a cool, dry, dark place which could be a cupboard or a drawer in your home; and keep it out of reach of children!
Final Thoughts on Storing Marijuana
In answer to the title question: It is NOT necessarily bad to vacuum seal weed. It keeps your cannabis fresh for years, but it is important not to use plastic if at all possible. Here is an overview of good and bad storage practices:
How to Properly Store and Preserve Cannabis Seeds [Explained]
If you don’t begin with great seeds, you can forget about producing a harvest of high-quality marijuana. A lot of growers seem to forget one simple fact: Your seeds are alive! Although cannabis seeds are fairly durable, improper storage can ruin them. If you’re paying $10-$20 a seed, losing a full batch is an expensive mistake.
Before your marijuana seeds germinate, they are in a similar state to animals when they hibernate. Like all living organisms, your seeds can die if you don’t take care of them correctly. The good news is that cannabis seeds can last for five years after harvest with proper storage.
In this guide, we outline how to store and preserve your cannabis seeds. We focus on the following:
- Insects & Pests
- Germinating old seeds
Keeping Light Away from Your Marijuana Seeds
You must keep your seeds in a location that is cool, dark, and dry. It is best if you keep the seeds in their original packaging. When they are exposed to temperature changes or light, cannabis seeds begin using their store of nutrients. This is a disaster because they ultimately won’t have the nutrients to germinate.
When they are exposed to temperature changes or light, cannabis seeds begin using their store of nutrients.
Make sure your seeds remain away from light, as it can directly trigger germination.
What’s the Right Storage Temperature?
The best temperature to store your cannabis seeds at is between 43- and 47-degrees Fahrenheit. The lower the temperature, the less likely your seed is to germinate unexpectedly. Experienced growers tend to have special refrigerators to store their seeds. Ideally, your fridge is a no-frost model. If you can place the seeds in the fruit and vegetable section, that is even better.
Another option is to freeze the cannabis seeds. If you go down this route, please ensure that you vacuum pack them first. Then put them in a dark container. Also, it would help if you germinated these seeds immediately once they come out of the freezer. Don’t allow them to thaw first.
What About Humidity?
Here is a quick overview of what will likely happen to cannabis seeds at different humidity levels:
Your cannabis seeds need a certain level of moisture for germination. If the humidity level gets too high, your seeds will rot in storage. An extremely low level of humidity of around 8-10% is suitable only for long-term storage. If it drops below 8%, you offer any insects present in the seeds the chance to become active and start reproducing.
The Right Storage Options for Your Cannabis Seeds
You now understand that you must store the seeds away from direct light. We have also outlined the need for relatively low humidity and a refrigerator-level temperature. Different options are available depending on how long you intend to store the seeds.
If you only require short-term storage, a dark drawer or cupboard is sufficient. The most important thing, regardless of the duration of storage, is to avoid temperature and humidity fluctuations. Rapid variations in temperature, in particular, can destroy your seeds. If you live in a location with warm daytime temperatures and cold nights, avoid outside storage.
For short-term storage, place the seeds in a container with desiccant. Seal it, and place it in a cool, dark place.
Once you enter medium-term storage (a few months), it is time to use an airtight container. Examples include a mason jar or Ziploc bag. Place this sealed container in the fridge. Remember that opening your fridge can cause significant temperature fluctuations. As a result, it is ideal if you have a second fridge that is seldom used.
Also, you should note that modern fridges have low humidity levels. If the humidity is too low, your seeds will begin using up nutrients.
If you want to store your seeds for at least six months, use a vacuum-sealed container. You can achieve this effect by removing all the air from a Ziploc bag. There are also special vacuum-sealed containers available online. Put the sealed bag in a dark container and put it in the fridge.
You also have the option of placing the seeds in the freezer. Remember, though; you need to germinate them immediately upon removal.
A Note on Insects & Pests
Imagine paying $100+ for seeds, going to the trouble of storing them, only to find that insects ruin them. Unfortunately, all you need is one insect in a container to destroy all of your seeds. The first consideration is to avoid exposure to ultra-low humidity. However, for long-term storage, this is precisely what you are supposed to do!
One option is to spread diatomaceous earth (D.E) where you store them. This is a type of sand that has a fossilized algae base. Crucially, for our purposes, it serves as an excellent natural insecticide. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t use D.E if you plan to store your seeds in a fridge with other food.
Imagine paying $100+ for seeds, going to the trouble of storing them, only to find that insects ruin them.
It would help if you also stored your seeds as high above the ground as possible. This reduces the possibility of a pest like a rodent coming in and feasting on the seeds.
Insects and pests also thrive in dirty storage areas. As a result, you must ensure the storage area remains clean. Otherwise, you won’t just attract pests to your seeds; microbes will form and damage the seeds. Do you want to consume marijuana from contaminated seeds?
You can ‘test’ your seeds once you have removed them from storage. Place them in water. If they sink, they should be fine. However, if they float, it is more likely that they are bad seeds. You can still try to germinate, but there is a greater risk of producing poor-quality cannabis, or else the seeds fail to sprout. You can keep floaters in water for approximately 72 hours to see if they sprout a tail.
If you have old seeds not stored in ideal conditions, there are still a few ways to germinate them.
- Remove the hard ridge with a sharp knife.
- Soak the seeds in carbonated water with germination booster, fulvic acid, or hydrogen peroxide. Use room temperature water, and perform this pre-soak for at least 12 hours in a dark area.
- Scratch the tough outer shell with sandpaper. Believe it or not, this process could help warmth and moisture get inside. This process is called ‘scarring’ and should happen before you soak the seeds.
- Make a small cut into the shell as a last-ditch attempt to get it to sprout.
Final Thoughts on Storing and Preserving Cannabis Seeds
If you purchase marijuana seeds and intend to use them almost immediately, you should have no issues. Even so, it is probably best to keep them away from direct light. In the short-term, a dark cupboard is sufficient as long as the temperature and humidity are reasonable.
Once the goal is to store cannabis seeds for months rather than days or weeks, everything changes. You need an airtight container, which you should store in a fridge. Include a vacuum-sealed container if you plan to store the seeds for several months or longer.
When storing cannabis seeds, you must ensure they are not exposed to germination conditions. This means keeping them away from direct light. Also, store in 20-30% humidity (8-10% for long-term storage) and a cool temperature. Keep the environment clean to avoid pests, and consider the tips above for germinating old seeds.