Cultivators, distributors, brands, and dispensaries are carefully preparing cannabis products for the shelves, but even the best bud will be worthless if a business does not know how to store weed properly. When it comes to the preservation of cannabis, professionals face a slew of factors that must be considered.
Airflow, light exposure, temperature, humidity, and container material are all vital elements for a long and healthy shelf life. Industry professionals may disagree about the best way to store weed, but new technology is beginning to redefine the curing and storage process.
Why storing weed matters
Properly storing marijuana is the only way to preserve valuable cannabinoids and terpenes. While the conditions a cannabis plant endures during its growth can determine a lot about the quality of bud it produces, a proper post-harvest process ensures the bud’s integrity. After cannabis is harvested, it must be dried and cured in a controlled environment.
During an effective curing process, the chemical compounds in buds interact and improve the potency of the product. After curing is complete, it is equally important to store buds in appropriate conditions to preserve scrupulously grown, harvested, and cured cannabis flower.
The chemical compounds in cannabis that give cultivars their signature aroma, pigmentation, flavor, and effects are always vulnerable to alteration. The conditions in which cannabis is stored after harvest can either develop or diminish these organic compounds. On the buds of a cannabis plant are tiny translucent appendages called trichomes, which store and produce high concentrations of chemical compounds called terpenes and cannabinoids. It is essential to preserve and protect trichomes so that buds maintain their defining characteristics.
Exposure to excessive heat, light, humidity, and air can cause unwanted oxidation. In the past, experts have assumed cannabis will lose its potency after around 12 months, but the lifespan and quality of cannabis are very dependent upon storage methods.
Exposure to outside air can cause buds to oxidize and mold. Too much heat and light can dry buds out and cause unpleasant consumption experiences. And improper humidity levels can cause similar problems.
Knowing how to store weed correctly to preserve the compounds in trichomes is what can separate top-shelf cannabis from the rest. When trichomes are preserved, high concentrations of CBD, THC, and powerful terpenes with therapeutic properties work in concert when consumed. Emerging evidence suggests the human body processes THC differently as an isolated extract, and the terpenes and cannabinoids naturally present in cannabis plants provide a better, more holistic consumption experience. This theory is known as the entourage effect, and is increasingly important in the cannabis community and among craft consumers.
Cannabis storage factors
The purity of the air in a cannabis storage container is key to the preservation of buds. Outside air contains contaminants that often contain bacteria, mold spores, and other volatile compounds that alter the integrity of terpenes and cannabinoids. If unfiltered air enters the container, buds may grow mold spots and begin to smell foul. When outside air-flow is cut off from a product that is ready for the dispensary, it also eliminates the chance of oxidation.
Avoiding direct sunlight is important in cannabis storage because UV light, especially when combined with heat, degrades and synthesizes cannabinoids. If buds are exposed to light, THC will convert to a less-psychoactive cannabinoid (CBN) and decrease the quality of the flower. Most professionals prevent all direct sunlight from reaching their cannabis after it’s been dried and cured.
Much like other edible plants, the shelf life of cannabis is dependent upon the temperature of its environment. Most experts suggest maintaining temperatures between 60 and 68 degrees to keep cannabis optimally fresh for as long as possible. Extreme temperatures can cause the trichomes on buds to degrade, drying out flower and diminishing its quality.
While it can be difficult to control, humidity levels are extremely important when it comes to curing and storing weed. The average space with air conditioning has humidity levels of 30 to 40 percent relative humidity, which is much too dry to keep buds fresh. When an environment is too dry, buds become brittle and smoke too harshly. If there is too much moisture in the environment, buds will begin to mold.
Ideal moisture levels for both curing and storing cannabis are between 55 and 65 percent relative humidity. Sometimes businesses use humidity packs to maintain ideal moisture levels inside containers, but those can become costly and add a level of inconvenience for workers.
Best way to store weed
While cannabis connoisseurs may argue about the best way to store cannabis, science provides facts. Storing weed properly requires a non-porous and air-tight container with little room for oxidation to occur and minimal exposure to light. Buds can become unsmokable if they become moldy, or if they have other quality problems.
To achieve the correct conditions, many store buds in airtight glass jars in a cool dark place because they seal tightly and do not contain damaging chemicals. Plastic containers like tupperware and plastic bags are made with a lot of unwanted chemicals, and they create static charges that break down trichomes, causing terpene and cannabinoid damage. Storing cannabis in a metal container poses similar problems, as the chemicals in metal can affect the taste and aroma of the strain.
Air-tight glass containers like mason jars are a popular option for long-term storage. While it is easy to place jars in a place without sunlight, some people opt for a UV-proof container that features a tight-fitting silicone sleeve to block incoming light. It is also important to fill jars snugly, so that the buds are not exposed to too much oxygen when the containers are closed. Certain containers can even be vacuum sealed to pull out all excess oxygen.
While the cannabis community has discovered a variety of ways to store buds more efficiently, the curing process, as well as the transition from curing to storage, is subject to human error. Technology like Terploc removes the chance of human error, creates optimized conditions for the preservation of trichomes, and eliminates common problems encountered in the packing process.
Long-term cannabis storage
Cannabis cultivators, distributors, and brands need to know how to store weed properly to keep it fresh and potent. Dispensaries also need to be aware of the proper storage techniques to ensure that their products are of the highest quality.
Grove Bags TerpLoc technology allows the cannabis community to keep their product fresh for 8 to 12 months on the shelf without losing critical terpenes and cannabinoids. This solution provides a tight seal to keep damaging air out and potent cannabis aromas inside. TerpLoc technology also protects from UV rays, creates neutral charges to prevent trichomes from being stripped from buds, and provides humidity and air flow control to ensure a long shelf-life.