Updated: Feb 21, 2020
One of the questions we get asked most often is: Does weed go bad? It’s a legitimate question and you’ve come to the right place for an answer. We know everything there is to know about the life cycle of the pot plant and how to preserve it for best effect long after the bud is off the stem. Everything you need to know about the science of cannabis spoilage is about to be revealed.
Does Weed Go Bad?
When people ask the question, “Does weed go bad?” they’re usually wondering if it can make them sick like drinking bad milk. To that we say it all depends on how exactly the weed has gone bad. If it’s just old, it’s probably safe to consume, but the experience is going to be less than stellar. Old weed is often harsh. Lots of coughing and a burning throat. Even worst its a lot less potent than its fresh counterpart. Your trip won’t be as trippy or your pain relief won’t be as great. But there is another way that weed can go bad that can seriously mess with your health. We discuss that in the next section.
One of the worst ways that weed goes bad is when it gets moldy. Moldy weed can cause some rather serious health problems, so it’s vital that you check your bud for rot and get rid of it. The two most common types of marijuana mold are:
Botrytis cinerea (a.k.a. bud rot)
Bud rot (Botrytis cinerea) is the least dangerous of the two, although it can still cause serious health problems, like lung damage. Inhaling aspergillus, on the other hand, can cause infection, aspergilloma (ranging from cough to severe fatigue to bleeding airway), and even invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, which can be fatal if not treated properly. Avoid both of these molds at all costs. To help you in this regard, here’s a simple rule to live by:
Old bud = OK
Moldy bud = Bad!
With that warning out of the way, let’s turn our attention away from the dangerous moldy weed back to the safe-for-consumption old weed.
Drying And Curing
Whether you grow your own cannabis or purchase it from a reputable dealer, the drying and curing process is key to keeping your weed fresher longer. Properly drying and curing fresh-cut cannabis performs four vital services:
It breaks down chlorophyll
It improves the cannabinoid profile
It reduces the chances of a harsh or rough inhale
It prevents mold growth
The less chlorophyll that is present in your weed, the more pleasant flavour when smoked. Too much chlorophyll and your weed will taste woody or grassy. The second service that drying and curing performs is improving the cannabinoid profile. The cannabinoids inside the bud (THCA, THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and others) are what get you high and give you the medicinal relief you’re looking for. Without the drying and curing process, your cannabis would be much less effective and enjoyable.
Drying and curing improves the inhale of your marijuana and prevents mold growth by removing certain chemical compounds in the plant matter that make the smoke burn and excess moisture that is like steroids to mold.
Identify Old Weed
The first thing you should do if you find some old weed is check for mold and get rid of it. Better safe than sorry.
For non-moldy weed, use your senses to identify whether it’s old or not. Old, dried out weed looks brown and brittle like it’s been sitting in the sun too long.
Good weed will smell pleasant and give off aromas appropriate to the strain (e.g., skunk, diesel, fruit, mint, etc.).
Good weed gone bad will feel dry and fall apart at the slightest touch. Good weed will snap when you break it off. Bad weed will crack. Smoke a bit of the weed in question and, if it tastes awful, you’ll have your answer. If you determine that your weed is no longer any good, the next thing you should ask is, “What should I do with this bad weed?” Here are some simple suggestions:
Throw it away.
Compost it to make soil for the next generation.
Mix a little in with fresh bud when you’re rolling a joint.
Use it to make cannabis butter and other edibles.
Extract whatever cannabinoids are left into shatteror other concentrate.
Keep Your Weed Fresh
Nowadays, most serious stoners make use of airtight glass mason jars of different sizes to store their weed and keep it fresh. A glass canning jar with a lid is perfect for pot since mason jars are impermeable to oxygen, aren’t affected by residual humidity, and are inert to temperature fluctuations. Unfortunately, most clear mason jars won’t protect your ganja from becoming dry and brittle due to sunlight or heat damage. That’s why it’s super important that you store your weed in a dark place away from direct sunlight.
When deciding how to store your weed, it’s vital that you keep different strains of weed separate. This helps to preserve each strain’s individual aromas and psychoactive effects. It’s critical to keep any clear glass jars you may be using for your herb in cool, dark, dry places such as a cupboard, a cabinet, or a drawer. Placing your weed jar in a dark paper bag can also help protect your cannabis from harmful cosmic UV rays. For longer-term storage, you can also vacuum seal your weed jars to reduce the amount of oxygen you expose your cannabis to.
Taking these precautions to keep your weed fresh will help you avoid wondering if your good weed has gone bad.
Old weed will not make you sick. But moldy weed will. Avoid moldy weed at all costs. The worst things you might experience with old weed are:
Bad flavor and smell
Burning in your throat
This assumes, of course, that you’re smoking your old weed. If you decarboxylate it and cook up your own edibles or make your own concentrate, you’ll avoid the flavour and burning issue completely. The only thing you have to worry about is the weak effects.