Like homeopathic cold remedies or hangover cures, everyone seems to have some advice on the best ways to store your cannabis. Unfortunately, only a few of the more common theories actually hold water. Preserving cannabis is all about protecting trichomes, those sticky secretions that are the source of psychoactive THC. Temperature and light are important considerations, but so are less obvious things like the texture of your container and the amount of air circulation. These handy dos and don’ts will help you keep your stash fresh and potent for long-term home storage. You spent good money on that Blue Dream – don’t let it go to waste.
Although these guidelines mostly apply to cannabis in bud form, there are some tidbits on storage of concentrates and edibles as well.
Refrigerate or freeze your bud
Although this is popular recommendation, and common sense would maintain that refrigeration maintains freshness, very cold sustained temperatures can actually stress out trichomes, making them susceptible to damage when you’re handling the bud.
Store anything above an active heat source like a stovetop or a radiator. Heat rises, and direct exposure can both dry out your bud and create a warm environment that fosters the growth of bacteria.
Just leave it in the container
Most dispensaries and delivery services provide great solutions for short-term storage like plastic baggies or prescription-style bottles.
Unfortunately, these containers are rarely airtight or UV-protective and aren’t the best idea if you’re looking to store your bud for longer than a week or so.
Use plastic storage solutions
Transparent plastic bags left out in the open will allow light to dry out your bud and damage the trichomes and terpenes, making for a bland and boring smoke. Also, flimsier plastic bags can create a static charge when manipulated, making trichomes even more vulnerable to manual damage. That said, small plastic containers like tupperwares can be very useful in short-term storage situations, as they allow for portability and odor-proof discretion; just don’t leave them out in direct heat or sunlight, as high temperatures can release harmful chemicals in the plastic and create unwanted artificial tastes.
Handle your bud too often
Breaking off pieces of flowers for smoking or grinding is fine if you’ll be going through your supply quickly — but if you want to keep some cannabis for future use, it’s a good idea to maintain two separate stashes: one that’s easily accessible for the short term, and one for the longer term in an airtight jar that won’t be exposed to light or heat every time you dip in.
Refrigerate your edibles
The THC in cookies, brownies, and other processed preparations can’t be damaged by exposure to cold, as it has already been extracted through the process of decarboxylation and dissolved into fats and lipids. If you’re going to keep your edibles around for future use, refrigerate them like any other perishable — depending on the preparation, they can last up to a week in the fridge or several months in the freezer.
Terpenes and THC crystals are best preserved in a cool, dry environment. Glassware like Mason jars or pickling jars and stoneware like coffee or sugar canisters provide an ideal form of temperature control. As long as your jar has a totally airtight seal, you’re golden.
Make sure your storage area stays dark
Even if you’re using a jar to protect your cannabis from temperature fluctuations and light, glass isn’t resistant to harmful UV rays. Avoid keeping any glass containers near a source of natural light — if you can’t find an enclosed place to keep it, you can wrap your jar in a hand towel for added protection.
Keep your container proportional to the size of your stash. If you’re only storing an eighth or two, try not to use a quart-sized jar, as too much air can dry out your bud much faster.
Store your bud in a cool, dry place
Pantries and cabinets are obvious choices, as are bedside table drawers. Be wary of keeping your bud too dry, though — if you notice that flowers are getting stale or dusty, toss a citrus peel into your jar for a few days to infuse some moisture and a little extra flavor. You can also invest in moisture packets for humidity regulation; Boveda makes packets that maintain an ideal 62% level of humidity.
Use a humidor
If you’re also a cigar connoisseur who takes your tobacco seriously enough to own a humidor, you can use it to regulate storage of your cannabis as well. A few caveats, though: cannabis needs a constant humidity of around 60%, while cigars require 70% humidity … so you won’t be able to store both at the same time. Also, if you’re a smoker who values the taste and scent of your bud, be warned the powerful aroma of pure, fermented tobacco can leech into anything else that’s stored in a humidor.
In a pinch, use aluminum foil
Foil isn’t just great for leftovers, it can also keep naked bud dry and fresh for a short amount of time when no other options are available. Wrap your cannabis in a tight foil packet, but avoid rumpling the foil or handling it too often, as the rough or sharp surfaces of crinkled foil can easily scrape off and catch all those valuable trichomes.
Make bubble hash
If you’re a home grower and have especially large quantities of cured bud, consider extracting the active THC into an easily-preserved concentrate. Traditional hashish is painstakingly made by manually separating the resin from buds and pressing it into a solid, brick-like form. Water-purified hash (or bubble hash), on the other hand, is a time-tested and relatively easy preparation. You’ll need a few supplies, many of which you can find cheap on Amazon. By combining trimmed bud with ice and then steeping the mixture in water, you can extract the THC crystals by straining bud through progressively larger grades of mesh bags. Dry the final sifted resin on some wax or parchment paper. You can even fold the paper over and apply some heat to turn the bubble hash into shatter. There’s a great step-by-step video here to walk you through.