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Does Weed Go Bad? A Closer Look at Cannabis Shelf Life

December 16, 2022

Does weed go bad? You might wonder how long your stash can last. Just like any organic material, cannabis can expire or go off. It’s natural to want to save the best stuff for fun occasions, but in most cases, fresher is better.

Do you want to learn how to distinguish fresh weed buds from expired ones? Continue reading to discover how long cannabis can last at its best quality and how to prevent it from expiring.

Let’s dive in.

Does weed go bad?

As with most organic items, cannabis does expire. Marijuana can last longer than your average vegetable or fruit if kept in an airtight container.

Expired weed can be stale (brittle, dry, loss of potency) or rotten (moldy). The former typically isn’t harmful, while the latter could cause health problems if ingested.

Does weed go bad

How to recognize expired weed

There are several ways to identify whether or not you have stale marijuana, from white mold on weed to changes in texture. Below are some of the signs to look out for.

Taste and smell

The scent is generally the first sign of bad weed. It may smell musty or even like urine. If your marijuana has this odor, it could point towards mold. If the nugs smell like anything but weed, they’ve likely gone off.

Sometimes, your buds may look fine but taste funny when you smoke or ingest them. Like with the aroma, if the cannabis flavor is different than usual, you probably have expired weed.

Mold appearing

Mold can significantly impact weeds shelf life. It typically appears after you leave organic material in places with low airflow and excess moisture for a long time. Like fresh foods such as vegetables or fruits, weed buds also grow mold.

If you notice small, white, fluffy pieces on your nugs, it’s likely a sign of mold. The risks of smoking stale marijuana may include heart and lung problems. Noticing mold is an easy way to tell if weed has gone bad.

RSO oil is processed using alcohol, which prevents mold from growing.

Does weed go bad

Texture changing

The texture of your cannabis is also a sign of how fresh it is. It’s too dry if it crackles in your hands or feels fragile. If it has a lot of moisture, it could have mold, which you need to look out for.

The texture changing is a sign of weed drying out and can also affect the weed flavor.

Weed shelf life: How long does weed stay fresh?

THC does expire. Researchers found average statistics on how long the potency of buds grown from high THC seeds can last in storage:

  • After One Year: Loses 16% THC
  • After Two Years: Loses 26% THC
  • After Three Years: Loses 34% THC
  • After Four Years: Loses 41% THC

These statistics can differ between different types or strains of weed, from THC buds and tinctures to edibles or vapes. Below are detailed examples of how each category is affected.

Cannabis buds

The shelf life of cannabis buds depends on how well you cure and store them. Whether store-bought or grown from CBD seeds, marijuana nugs need to stay dry without excess moisture to remain fresh.

Avoid keeping them in wet and warm conditions in direct sunlight. It’s advised to use the buds within six months of being in the jar, although they can last up to a year if properly stored.

Weed edibles

Making edibles at home requires perishable ingredients such as eggs and milk, so this weed can expire quicker than usual. These products typically remain fresh for 36 months in an airtight container.

Edibles containing preservatives may last longer, and weed candies usually stay fresh for 6–9 months. Either way, keep your marijuana edibles in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

How long does weed stay fresh

Marijuana tinctures

Marijuana tinctures have the highest shelf life of weed since they’re infused with alcohol, the same as weed oil. These products are typically made from top-quality medical marijuana seeds and can stay fresh for 35 years.

Hash and wax

Cannabis lasts longer if fewer flowers are used in the concentrate or extract of hash and wax. These forms of marijuana need to remain in an airtight container to stay potent. Fresh weed in this category lasts for around 12 years.

How long does weed stay fresh

Weed oil

Cannabis oils are usually made with alcohol. Instead of the weed getting old, this infusion process gives them a longer shelf life of roughly 10 years if stored correctly.

Cannabis vapes

Vape pens generally don’t have a fixed expiration date, so you can expect them to last a few years. Since they contain vape oil weed extract that doesn’t include plant matter, longer life expectancy is higher.

How to store weed for future consumption

How you store cannabis can significantly affect its potency and how long it could last. The best way to store marijuana is in an airtight glass container, in a cool and dark place, away from moisture and sunlight. Otherwise, your weed can go bad.

Keep your cannabis buds at temperatures under 70°F. An environment that’s too hot or too cold can result in the nugs going off. Humidity is also a factor you need to take into account, as excess moisture can harm your weed’s wellness.

FAQs about expired weed

Do you have more queries about whether or not marijuana expires? Below are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Does weed get stronger with age?

No. It’s best to consume weed when it’s still fresh. Marijuana can go bad, so early consumption within the first 6–12 months is best.

Does marijuana lose its potency over time?

Yes. Weed loses its smell, texture, and flavor over time, affecting its potency. Check the table above for how cannabis loses its strength over time.

Does old weed get you high?

In some cases, weed that’s old could still make you high, but it depends on how much potency is left. Otherwise, it typically has little to no effect unless it contains mold, making it a health risk.

What happens when you smoke old weed?

You won’t get sick if you consume old weed. However, mold can make you quite ill, so don’t ingest marijuana with fluffy white spots. Expired edibles also cause adverse reactions. The worst that can happen is a bit of nausea, like with any products past their use-by date.

So yes, weed can go bad

Regardless of your consumption method, weed can expire and go stale. Follow our tips to keep your marijuana fresh and potent. Always store your cannabis products in an airtight container away from light,heat, and air, and consume them as soon as possible.

Looking for more educational content? Check out our blog for more in-depth information on all things cannabis.

About the Author: Kyle Kushman

Kyle Kushman is a legend in the cannabis community. He is the modern-day polymath of pot: cultivator, breeder, activist, writer, and educator. After winning no less than 13 Cannabis Cups, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t know about indoor growing - he’s been there, done it, and is still doing it to this day!

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