Croptober is in full swing, and if you are like a lot of my friends you are turning your focus from harvesting your cannabis to storing it. You have spent a lot of time showering your cannabis plants with love, took great care in harvesting and curing your cannabis, and now you want to ensure that your flower stays fresh as long as possible.
Perhaps you didn’t grow your own cannabis, but came across a decent amount via a gift from a friend or made a sizeable purchase at a dispensary. Whatever your situation is, if you are reading this article it’s likely because you want to learn more about how to properly store your cannabis so that it keeps its desirability level (smell, taste, potency, etc.).
I was in that boat myself recently when I was gifted 8 ounces of prime sungrown cannabis from my good buddy Jorge. The flower smelled amazing and I wanted to keep that smell around as long as possible. You may not have realized it, but cannabis storage has evolved a lot in recent years.
Growing up all of the cannabis consumers in my family, as well as all of their friends, seemed to keep cannabis in plastic film containers, like the ones seen below:
It’s easy to see why the film containers became popular for storing cannabis. They were conveniently sized and in decades past they were very common because of how pictures had to be developed from film versus how a vast majority of pictures are now digital.
Storing cannabis in plastic sandwich bags has been popular for a long time too, but that storage method is undesirable for various reasons. Sandwich bags are really cheap so people continue to use them to store cannabis, but consumers are selling themselves short by doing so.
Vacuum food sealers became really popular in the 2000s both for storing food and for storing cannabis. They make it very easy to seal cannabis in a way that virtually eliminates the smell from getting out, which is a big concern for many cannabis consumers who either live in an illegal state or live somewhere in a legal state where they still live in fear of stigma.
All of those storage methods are inferior compared to storing cannabis in a glass container, such as a Mason jar. Plastic sandwich bags, plastic film containers, and plastic sealer bags create static which actually removes some of the trichomes from cannabis. Sandwich bags and sealer bags are flimsy too, unlike a Mason jar, which can result in your cannabis being smashed.
You will want to wrap your Mason jar with construction paper or even duct tape to help keep the light out. Light exposure is harmful to trichomes and reduces the potency of cannabis flower, which is one benefit to the old film containers since they were often very dark but is an obvious flaw in the sandwich bag and food sealer options.
Moisture is a very big concern when it comes to storing cannabis. If cannabis is not properly cured, it doesn’t matter what you store it in, it will result in bacteria, mold, and/or mildew festering and spreading which ruins the cannabis flower. The same is true if cannabis is stored in an environment that is too humid, even if it was properly cured prior to storing.
Incorporating moisture control packs is a great way to keep moisture in check. Some cannabis storage devices actually have moisture meters (hygrometer) built into them, which is a great option if you can afford them. There are also small hygrometers that can be put inside jars with the flower, although they obviously aren’t as easy to see since they are not build into the lid or side of the jar like with some storage products.
The temperature of where you store your cannabis is a big factor in maintaining cannabis quality. If the room or wherever the cannabis is stored is too hot it will dry out the cannabis flower, and if it’s too cold it can result in lost/degraded potency.
Many people will advise storing cannabis in the freezer, which is not optimal. Below is an explanation as to why via Harborside, the world’s largest and most prominent cannabis dispensary:
When you freeze cannabis buds, those potent little trichomes become like tiny icicles. This makes them stiff and brittle and actually makes them fall off and break off the buds. The more you handle the buds in and out of the freezer, the more you lose those active ingredients that help alleviate the symptoms you ‘re trying to address.
Whenever someone tries to debate with me whether or not it’s good to store cannabis in the freezer, I always point out what happens to fruits and vegetables when they are put in the freezer. Have you ever stored a fruit or vegetable in the freezer, pulled it out at a later date, and it was as good or better than when it went into the freezer? Of course not. So why would you expect cannabis to be any different?
You will want to store your properly cured cannabis in an airtight jar in a dark, cool place and monitor the moisture level. If you have a sizable amount, keep the bulk in a larger jar and your daily use cannabis in a smaller jar to reduce handling and exposure to air. That’s the most optimal way to store cannabis. By doing so you will help ensure that your cannabis stays fresh and desirable well into the future.