Does Weed Expire? How Long Does Cannabis Stay Good?
Published on 11/12/22
We've all been there before. You're looking to spark one up, have a great time, or chill out after a long, hard day at work, but your stash is dwindling. Maybe you're down to just the final remnants of your latest pick-up or even resorted to trying to snag that kief build-up from the grinder. If you're desperate, maybe you're even considering using that leftover dried cannabis flower from the bottom of your stash box, the stuff you'd forgotten about and overlooked for the last few weeks. However, we here at Where's Weed are here to explain in detail why that's not the best idea.
Before you grind up that old cannabis and spark up, it's worth considering a few things. One of the most important questions is, can weed expire in the first place? While that might not be something you'd ever considered before, it's important to consider the marijuana shelf life before lighting up some old cannabis flower!
In this article, we'll go in-depth on anything and everything weed expiration date related. Whether it's answering questions like "when does weed expire" or "does weed oil expire,' we're here to do the research for you and save you from punching something embarrassing like "how long till weed expires?" into your search engine of choice.
Does Weed Expire?
While this question might seem simple on the surface, it's actually a bit more complicated and multifaceted than that. There are a few factors to consider here.
First and foremost, cannabis flower can absolutely break down and degrade if not stored properly. Like anything else that goes into the human body in some way, shape, or form, cannabis flower has a shelf life. Despite what you might have heard from your stoner buddies in college, it doesn't expire as milk and eggs do.
Instead of having a hard expiration date, cannabis breaks down and degrades over time. Just like the package of spring mix in your fridge, cannabis is a plant. That spring mix doesn't necessarily "go bad," but it has a clear point where you wouldn't be thrilled to see it on your plate.
Instead of going rotten or spoiling like milk, cannabis instead "goes bad" by its cannabinoids degrading and getting less potent, getting moldy, or just literally crumbling to dust and becoming unsmokable.
So with that in mind, let's dig a little bit deeper into how and why cannabis can degrade and break down over time:
We know it, we love it, and it's widely considered the most important cannabinoid component of the cannabis we know today. THC is a huge factor and major component of most people's cannabis product of choice from their local dispensary. So before you stock up on that high-THC product of choice during the next big sale at your local dispensary, it's worth considering the shelf life of THC.
That's because, with time, THC will degrade and break down. Research shows the average cannabis flower loses about 16 percent of its original THC content after about a year. As time goes by, that THC level continues to drop even when stored properly. After two years, 26 percent is gone. At the three-year mark, 34 percent of that THC is out of here. And after four long years, 41 percent of that THC is gone with the wind.
The longer your cannabis sits around, even if it's stored perfectly, the more THC potency you will lose in the process.
While it might not seem like a big deal on the surface, the question of whether or not your old stash has mold on it is actually more important than pondering "does weed ever expire" in the first place! That's because, believe it or not, you can't just pick the mold off the exterior of your cannabis flower, spark it up, and be totally fine.
It's extremely risky to consume any cannabis flower with mold on it. Inhaling moldy cannabis flower can lead to severe lung infections, digestive issues, serious nausea, and allergic reactions, especially for those already immunocompromised. So with that in mind, how does your cannabis flower end up moldy in the first place? And if it is moldy, how can you tell?
Well, don't worry. We've got your back here! The telltale sign of your cannabis flower getting moldy are discolored spots and white/light green fuzzy patches. And like when you see some mold on a loaf of bread, don't even think about trying to squeeze a smoke session out of this stuff.;
And how did that mold get there in the first place? While many factors play into cannabis molding, like light exposure, humidity, and the temperature the cannabis flower is stored, the simplified answer is incorrect storage. Ideally, cannabis should be stored somewhere that filters sunlight, controls air temp and humidity, and preserves your cannabis flower. Just storing your cannabis properly will go a long way to preventing mold and most other cannabis degradation issues.
Scent and Physical Appearance
Your cannabis flower should really only look a certain way. When the expected scent of your cannabis flower turns sour or foul-smelling or is physically changing appearances, like becoming dusty and crumbly, that's a good indicator that your cannabis is on its way out.
After all, if you've been around the legal cannabis industry long enough, you know what fresh, good-looking cannabis flower looks like. Fresh, smokable, good cannabis should be fresh smelling, well-dried out, and vibrant. Cannabis that has sat around too long would be crumbly, damp, dusty, or even spongy and doesn't make a sound while being pulled apart. Straight up, it's pretty easy to tell if your cannabis has gone bad just by giving it a quick glance, sniff, or feel. Unless you're a complete newbie to the legal cannabis industry, you'll likely be able to know it when you see it.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, while cannabis flower doesn't have a hard and fast expiration date, it certainly has a time frame for best use. Properly stored cannabis flower can be good for somewhere in the range of six months to a full year, but we certainly don't advise having it just sitting around for that long.
We advise using any cannabis flower or other products in about three to four months. Any time frame longer than that would risk degradation and loss of important cannabinoids like THC, along with putting all that cannabis product you purchased at risk of totally going bad if not stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled, sun and oxygen-resistance space. And with the price of both medical and recreational cannabis products consistently rising, getting the most bang for your hard-earned buck is more important than ever before!
So if you do end up finding that cannabis product that's been sitting on the bottom of your stash box, we recommend taking a hard look at it before rolling, grinding, or sparking up that product. If it shows any signs of breaking down or spoiling like we laid out above, don't try to save it or salvage a puff or two out of it. Just save yourself the time, frustration, and physical health risks and throw that stuff in the garbage. While it might be a little bit expensive, go ahead and grab yourself some new products. That's the best way to go!