How long does weed stay good? A closer look

Posted by Tom Richardson on

We’ve all been there.

You just ran out of weed, then all of the sudden you find that baggie of bud you thought you lost a few months back.

Right before you get ready to grind it up, a question pops up in your head.

“How long does weed stay good?” “Does weed go bad?” “Can you smoke old weed?”

Get the answer to these questions and more in this article!

how long does weed stay good expired

Weed shelf life 101

Let’s get straight to the point. How long does weed stay fresh? Cannabis shelf life can be surprisingly long if it’s stored correctly.

You can keep weed fresh for six months up to a year if it’s been cultivated, dried, cured, and stored correctly.

Going above-and-beyond with food-grade storage, and a little bit of luck, can stretch the life of your weed to up to two years!

What does this mean for you?

Most of us don’t have the ideal setup to keep weed fresh for a whole year. Unless you’re using humidity-controlled storage with temperature control, don’t plan on your weed lasting an entire year.

How long will weed last, then?

In my own experience:

Weed will last six months after purchase. To push its shelf life to a year, invest in humidity-controlled storage containers.

Why does weed go bad?

Now that we know how long weed can stay good, we have to ask why it goes bad at all.

Here's why:

The same chemicals and compounds that make marijuana unique will naturally break down over time.

Aside from just the shelf life of weed, you may be wondering, “Does weed lose its potency?”

The answer is yes.

As your weed ages, the cannabinoids and terpenes found in it will lose potency.

You may notice that old weed will seem tasteless and lack any of the scent it had when you first purchased it.

This is due to the breaking down of terpenes as your weed ages. Once your weed isn’t tasting or smelling the way it used to, it may be a sign that it’s going stale.

As cannabinoids break down, much of the THC found in your cannabis will break down as well.

This leads to a loss of potency, so you likely won’t experience the same level of effects when consuming stale weed.

“How long before weed goes bad?”

For a more scientific answer to this question, we can turn to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Here are finding from their research regarding how quickly weed loses THC potency over time:

  • Weed loses approximately 16% of its THC after one year.
  • 26% of its THC is lost after two years of storage.
  • After 3 years, Marijuana will lose 34% of its THC.
  • Weed loses 41% of its THC after 4 years in storage.

How do I know if my weed is bad?

Let’s circle back to the old baggie of weed we mentioned earlier. How can you tell if it’s bad? Here are a few red flags to look out for:

Mold - If your weed is stored in a moist or damp place, it can grow mold. Do not smoke moldy weed.

Dryness - If your weed looks like dried out ashes, it’s too old to use.

Smell - Weed that’s too old won’t have the poignant smell of fresh weed.

Final note

You’ve learned that in most cases, weed will stay fresh for about six months.

To extend the shelf life of your weed, consider getting storage containers that offer humidity control.

This can help keep your weed fresh for up to a year, but after one year it will start to lose its THC potency.

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