When we were younger, the only correct answer to the question “What’s the best way to store weed?” was “Hide it somewhere where the parents can’t find it or smell it.”
That wasn’t the wrong answer at the time. But we’re all at least a little older now, and the question deserves a more serious discussion.
You might be thinking that there’s only one correct answer to this question – you keep it in an air-tight jar and not a baggie. You’re partially right; that’s one very good answer. But there’s more to it than that.
Before deciding where to keep your stash, it’s best to understand a little about pot and its properties.
How to Store Marijuana
Cannabis, even if it’s been cured, has four natural environmental enemies: moisture, light, oxygen and high temperatures. That’s why “air-tight jar” gets only partial credit on our quiz; it’s a good start, but just not enough to fully protect your weed.
Let’s talk about each of those natural enemies.
A study done nearly 50 years ago was the first reliable evidence to support what most stoners of the 1970s already knew: light is weed’s biggest enemy. The worst culprits are the UV rays produced by the sun, but common CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs also emit a good deal of ultraviolet light, and even regular fluorescent bulbs can damage your herb.
THC is extremely susceptible to UV rays because it’s a relatively unstable compound. Over time, the light will cause THC to degrade and turn into CBN (cannabinol), which doesn’t get you very high at all. Other cannabinoids like CBD will also suffer degradation with prolonged exposure to light.
That’s one reason why “air-tight jar” wasn’t 100% correct. Mason jars are terrific in sealing out the oxygen (we’ll get to that in a minute), but clear ones won’t stop UV light from slowly destroying your pot. Brown ones will, which is why you should ideally use brown air-tight jars (that’s why you often see beer in brown bottles). Green is a decent second choice since it will filter out about one-third of the UV rays.
And keeping the jars in a dark closet, drawer or pantry will go a long way toward protecting your flower from the light.
You already know that an air-tight jar is the best container for storing weed, and you can probably guess why. Too much air – more specifically, too much oxygen – can speed up the THC degradation process in the same way that light does, turning it into CBN. It can also oxidize terpenes and affect the taste and aroma of the bud.
An air-tight jar is crucial for storing your cannabis, but it shouldn’t be too large since that will leave lots of oxygen trapped inside. Choose one which is just big enough to comfortably hold the buds, but won’t force you to pile them on top of each other. Too-close quarters will increase humidity and create moisture – and as you’ll learn shortly, that’s another big enemy of pot.
Weed stored in high temperatures won’t last long without losing most of its potency, aroma, and flavor. Heat, of course, dries out the flower, and also causes terpenes to evaporate. Needless to say, that’s not what we’re looking for. In addition, once the temperature inside the storage jar gets close to 80°, moisture will develop and make the environment perfect for mold growth.
That means you want to store your cannabis in a dry, cool place where the temperature won’t vary very much. Storage closets, basements and even drawers that aren’t regularly opened regularly and are in a cool area of the house are your best choices.
Properly-processed pot is dried and cured and then packaged with the optimal amount of moisture to keep it fresh and not brittle. When things are done right, buds will be packaged when they have moisture content somewhere between 5% and 10%.
When you store it at home, your goal should be to maintain that amount of moisture. If it becomes drier some of the weed’s terpenes are likely to evaporate, altering its taste, its aroma – and a good deal of its potency. Additionally, trichomes (which contain the THC and CBD) will break down and may even break off completely once nugs become brittle.
On the other hand, if more moisture is absorbed by the flower, you can have an even bigger problem: mold, which proliferates in moist, humid conditions. Cannabis which has been exposed to high humidity levels for even a few hours can start to grow mold within a day. Not only can that ruin your stash, consuming moldy weed can make you quite sick.
Any moisture that may be created in your pot container is closely related to temperature and light, which we’ve already discussed. But one key to properly storing your cannabis is maintaining the right relative humidity inside the container, keeping it between 55% and 65%.
“Yeah, but how do you do that?” we hear you ask. Actually, it’s not hard. There are humidity control packets like Integra Boost or Bodeva which can be put right into your jar, and control capsules from companies like Evergreen Storage, which do the job for you and are worth the investment.
Best Ways to Store Weed – Putting it All Together
You’ve probably been taking a mental inventory of your home or living space while reading, to figure out a spot that meets all of these criteria. Houses and apartments vary, of course. But generally speaking, you want to store your weed in a brown mason jar (or other glass containers) that’s kept in a cool, dry part of the home that doesn’t experience temperature variation and doesn’t get much (or any) light.
Have a basement with a closet that doesn’t get ice-cold in the winter? That’s the obvious winner. Otherwise, pick the spot that comes closest to meeting the conditions which will preserve your pot for the longest period of time.
Why do we specify a glass jar instead of plastic? The discharge of static electricity is common with plastic of any sort, including containers, and that will blast the weed’s trichomes to kingdom come in a flash. You should also avoid keeping your bud in baggies for the long-term, not only because of static discharge possibilities but because static attraction can pull trichomes off of the cannabis and leave them stuck to the side of the bag. Baggies aren’t really air-tight, either.
What about the Refrigerator or Freezer?
Refrigerators are an often-used but less-than-ideal locations for storing weed. Their temperatures and humidity levels can fluctuate quite a bit, often leading to mold or THC degradation. They’re better than leaving your bud sitting out on a kitchen counter, but not by a lot.
Many people keep their mason jars in freezers for long-term storage, since the temperature and humidity don’t usually vary much. However, freezing makes the trichomes brittle and if the jar isn’t treated extremely gently, they can fall off. If you’re going to freeze your weed, be very careful handling it, and be sure to defrost it completely (letting the jar come to room temperature before opening it) to minimize the danger of ruining your stash.