This article is contributed by Leafly, the world’s largest cannabis information resource. For more information please visit Leafly.
At some point in our cannabis careers, we're all posed with the question, "How long is my cannabis good for?" Maybe you've found a few nugs tucked in your winter jacket from last year's ski trip, or when harvesting a medical crop you may need a way to safely store the excess buds until you're ready to consume the fruits of your labor. Like a fine wine cellar or whiskey barrel, cannabis is best when kept in a cool, dark place, and while there is no steadfast expiration date for cannabis, there are a few key elements to consider when storing it for any extended period.
Mildew and other molds on cannabis and other organic matter thrive in temperatures between 77°F and 86°F, so basic precautions of keeping your cannabis in a cool, dark place will go a long way. Excessive heat can dry out the cannabinoids and terpenes that have taken months to develop. When these essential oils get too dry along with plant material, it can result in a hot, harsh smoke.
Lower temperatures also slow the process of decarboxylation of cannabinoids, the process that transfers THC-A into the psychoactive THC and eventually degrades into the less-desired CBN. Additionally, warm air holds more moisture than cold air, which brings us to the next consideration.
Humidity control is paramount to keeping mildew and other mold contaminants away from your cannabis. Keeping your cannabis stored in a controlled environment with the proper relative humidity (RH) ranges can be a bit of a balancing act, but the general consensus is to keep cannabis between 59% and 63% RH when stored to maintain and enhance color, consistency, aroma, and flavor. Keeping your RH below 65% reduces the chances for mold to occur. However, if your RH drops too low, you risk your trichomes becoming brittle and drying out the essential oils.