Sometimes, we buy things and forget about them for a while. You know the loaf of bread you bought last month? What about the weed you’ve had for a few months? Cannabis, like any other herb, can get old and stale.
Here’s how to tell if your flower is old, how to store it to keep it fresh for longer, and some alternatives for casual consumers.
Does weed go bad?
If it’s properly dried and cured, weed won’t go bad, per se—but exposure to light, shifting temperatures, and oxygen can cause the cannabinoids and terpenes to slowly evaporate. THC, however, doesn’t evaporate like other cannabinoids and terpenes—instead, it first degrades into CBN.
So if your weed has been out for a while, it might be a bit more sleep-inducing than usual, as you’ll lose out on the original potency as well. Eventually, all that will be left is the plant material, which doesn’t have many benefits without its cannabinoids and terpenes. I
So i’s not necessarily that weed goes bad—it’s just that it stops working the way you want it to.*
How long does weed stay fresh?
Weed can stay fresh for a very long time if you store it properly, but all plants are eventually perishable. If you store your weed the right way, it may remain potent for up to a year. If you don’t store your weed properly, it can lose potency in just a few months.
Cannabinoids are very vulnerable. They’re encased in delicate plant crystals on the exterior of the flower, called trichomes. The trichomes are bonded to the plant by natural waxes and oils that the plant produces. If those waxes and oils are gone, the crystals will fall off.
While the plant is alive, it constantly produces the waxes and oils needed to stay healthy. Harvested flowers are no longer living, meaning they don’t have a way to utilize water or receive nourishment. If the flower begins to wither, the cannabinoid crystals can fall away. The only way to avoid the withering process is to keep a controlled amount of moisture within the flower and store it at optimal humidity levels.
Light, air circulation, excessive moisture, and high temperatures can cause cannabis flower to deteriorate rapidly. Storing your weed in direct sunlight or in a container like a clear plastic bag will significantly diminish its lifespan. Cannabis needs to be kept in a light proof, airtight container in a cool, dark place to stay fresh—that means your stock of clear glass mason jars is likely a no-go.
Alternatives to cannabis flower, like gummies, are designed to remain fresh for longer. Most gummies already come in airtight, childproof packaging, so your product will stay fresh and safely concealed. You should also store them in a cool place away from light and fluctuating temperatures to keep them at peak freshness.*
Is old weed dangerous?
Cannabis that hasn’t properly dried can turn moldy, grow mildew, turn damp, or smell rancid. In that case, it’s definitely bad—and you should never use moldy weed or any other old cannabis product that has visible signs of mold, looks or smells mildewy, or smells rancid.*
If your old weed has been stored properly and kept dry, it’s not necessarily dangerous—it just might make you feel sleepy or relaxed, depending on how old it is. The cannabinoids (especially the THC content) will degrade with time, and the weed will lose potency. Without active cannabinoids, your weed is about as good as oregano.*
On the other hand, old THC-infused products are unlikely to be dangerous if they’re still sealed in factory packaging. If you find an unopened package of THCgummies you bought six months ago, it’s very unlikely that they would be dangerous to eat. Most packaging is designed to keep contaminants from reaching your gummies and spoiling them. Worst case scenario, they just might not taste as good as when they were first bought.*
With that in mind, if you’re worried about using old weed, it may be time to consider switching things up and trying a different delivery method, like THCgummies and water solubles.
How can you tell if weed is old?
In a perfect world, everyone would label their cannabis with the date they purchased it. If it’s already too late for that and you have some mystery weed sitting around your house, here’s how to tell if it’s past its prime.
Cannabis produces aromatic compounds called terpenes that give it a very distinct smell. When weed is very fresh, that smell will quickly fill the room. A pungent, musty, or skunky aroma means that your weed is fresh—if you have to hold the weed up to your nose to catch a whiff, this could be a sign that your weed is too old.
The same aromatic compounds that give cannabis its distinct smell will also affect how it tastes. Cannabis connoisseurs choose strains specifically because they love their unique flavor. If the flavor is gone, so is all of the magic.*
If your weed is old, the flavor might taste similar to the way that a brushfire smells. When the terpenes and cannabinoids are gone, you’re essentially burning a dried-up plant.
Change in Color
Fresh, properly dried cannabis should have a bright green color. You may notice flecks of orange from the flower’s pistils or the sugary white crystal trichomes that contain most of the plant’s cannabinoids. If the flower becomes dark green or brown and you can’t see the crystals anymore, the cannabis has likely lost its potency.*
Cannabis can become moldy if it's exposed to moisture and high humidity levels. This usually happens if you store cannabis in a damp place, like in a bathroom, near an air conditioner, or near a leaky window. Mold can also occur if you leave your cannabis exposed to open air in a humid environment. Never try to use moldycannabis, as it can be seriously dangerous to inhale or ingest mold.
What are some other THC options?
A lot of work goes into lovingly producing and curing the perfect plant. If you’re not going to be able to use it within a few months, you might wind up having to toss out your flower (and your money). Alternatives to flower tend to last longer, especially if you keep them in a sealed container until you’re ready to indulge.*
In addition to a longer shelf life and expiration date, alternative THC options also provide other perks that cannabis flower may not. Prepared THC products are generally third-party tested for quality—labs check for contaminants and verify the cannabinoid content of every batch. You’ll always know that the THC you’re using is pure, and you’ll also know exactly how much THC you’re getting per serving. When you’re able to dial in your serving, it’s easier to curate the perfect experience.
Here at Sunmed, all of our products are third-party tested, and our product lab reports are easily accessible on every product label. We prioritize your peace of mind, so you can rest assured you’re getting top-quality products you can rely on.*
Live Resin Gummies
This is our personal favorite flower alternative. Live resingummies contain flash-frozen extract—which is an intense combination of the flavors, aromas, and benefits of whole cannabis flower. This means full spectrum gummies contain more than just THC—you’ll also get the benefits of cannabinoids like CBD and the plant’s unique terpene profile.*
Live resin gummies are also pre-measured servings, which helps take out some of the guesswork—especially if you’re just starting out. Regular cannabis users will easily be able to use an entire package of live resin gummies before the cannabinoids begin to break down. Even if you’re a casual cannabis user who only indulges every other weekend, you won’t have to worry about wasting your gummies.
Try our Beyond Live Resin 2:1 Indica Full Spectrum Gummies for a potent nighttime feel.* They contain 125 mcg of indica live resin alongside 35 mg of hemp extract in a convenient and easy-to-use form.
Water solubles have a very long shelf life, and are sometimes packaged into single-serving sticks—all you need to do is pop one open and pour it into your drink. Water solubles are discreet and portable, meaning they’re easy to keep in your bag if you intend to have “drinks” with your friends.
Water solubles come in the form of single-serving packages you mix into your drink, or in the form of tinctures you can add to your drinks with a dropper. Our Beyond Indica Full Spectrum Water Soluble, for example, is a convenient, on-the-go way to enjoy the benefits of THC.
The packaging of our water solubles is designed to keep damaging factors like light and air out, and keep all the good stuff in—which means our water solubles can last about a year if stored properly.
The Bottom Line
There’s a time and place to enjoy flower, and it’s always a shame to waste it—but flower is fragile, difficult to store, and quick to get old and less potent.
Instead, consider some THC-infused alternatives for your lifestyle. Edibles and ingestibles, like gummies and THC-infused beverage enhancers, are effective and high-quality solutions. Measured and packaged solutions are designed to stay fresh for longer while also giving you more control over your THC experience.