Whether you purchase a single gram of medical marijuana flower or a whole ounce, proper storage is important to preserve the longevity of your medicine. Proper storage of marijuana prevents unnecessary degradation of potency, aroma, and flavor. Just like fine wine, marijuana is best stored in a cool, dark place and while there is no definite expiration date, there are a few key factors to keep in mind when storing your medical marijuana flower for any extended period of time.
Proper environmental conditions while storing your marijuana preserves the resinous trichomes that contain the cannabinoids and terpenes. These are the molecular source of the medicinal efficacy within the cannabis sativa plant. Improperly stored flower can quickly dry out and even grow mold, rendering it dangerous to consume.
By following these simple tips for storing your medical marijuana products, it can remain fresh, fragrant, and potent.
What degrades the quality?
Humidity, light, temperature, and air all have the ability to affect the quality of flower; therefore, simply storing the buds in a plastic bag is not good enough to preserve it for an extended period of time. Marijuana is perishable – as soon as it is harvested it begins to degrade. Once harvested, dried, and cured, keeping it in the ideal environment will extend its shelf life.
High humidity introduces moisture back into the flowers, which can result in mold growth and affected flavors due to the restricted air circulation. Low humidity, on the other hand, can dry the flower out, causing them to become brittle and fragile. Optimally, the relative humidity to store medical marijuana between 59% and 63%. [A]
Exposure to UV light has a high rate of degradation in the shortest time frame. In the same way that harsh UV rays dull the paint on your car, it can affect the valuable components of the marijuana flower. The UV lights break down organic matter at a rapid rate and can only be slowed by limiting the amount of light the flowers are exposed to.
High temperatures can cause buds to dry out and the terpenes to evaporate, while extremely low temperatures can cause trichomes to burst and lose potency. Additionally, elevated exposure to oxygen can speed up the degradation process as well, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can convert to Cannabinol (CBN) in highly oxidized environments.
When storing your medical marijuana products, these tips can help the longevity of the buds:
- Do use a glass container. To protect your buds from the degrading environmental factors, it is recommended that you store them in air-tight glass containers. Glass has a neutral charge, which won’t pull the delicate trichomes from the flower.
- Do use a humidifier packs. Humidifier packs can help you achieve and maintain the appropriate humidity level needed for storing marijuana.
- Do store in a cool dark place. Light and moisture affect the lifetime of marijuana flowers. By storing your products in a cool dark place, such as a bedside table drawer, you can extend the amount of time able to store it.
- Do avoid heat. While moisture can result in the formation of harmful material, too much heat will dry out the herb. This can produce a harsh smoke that results in irritation of the throat and lungs.
- Do store each product separately. Not only does this ensure you do not mix and match different strains, but by keeping lighters, pipes, and grinders away from your medicine you prevent them from absorbing the smells and bacteria from used paraphernalia.
There are a couple of common mistakes to avoid when storing your medical marijuana:
- Don’t use a tobacco humidor. Though it sounds like a good idea, humidors are often made with cedar wood. The oils from the wood can transfer and absorb into the flower, influencing the flavoring and terpene profile. Additionally, they tend to have sponges inside of them that use propylene glycol to regulate humidity which can oversaturate the marijuana.
- Don’t store in refrigerator or freezer. Humidity inside of a refrigerator often fluctuates, increasing the chance of mold and mildew – even when using an airtight container. Freezers, on the other hand, get too cold and can cause the trichomes to break off.
- Don’t store in plastic bags. Plastic often has a static charge to it that attracts the trichomes.
- Don’t store where easily accessible to children. If you have children living with you or you will have your medical marijuana near children, make sure your products are out of reach.
There are plenty of things a person can do to extend the lifetime of their medical marijuana products. If you are interested in seeing if the medicinal values of marijuana can offer you symptom relief from a debilitating condition, our team of highly educated and trusted Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors throughout the state can help. Take our quick and easy pre-qualifying survey to start the process to a better life today!