Does Weed Expire?
Patients and individuals who possess a medical cannabis card may be curious about the longevity of their products, especially if what they purchase from their local dispensary has an expiration date or a use by date. Does weed expire?
The short answer is, unlike a fine wine, weed products do expire, and as a result they may lose potency, have a weaker effect, or cause health problems, especially in the presence of mold spores or bacteria.
In this article, we will explore the shelf life of different cannabis products, how to identify if they have gone bad, and the factors that influence freshness.
Whether you’re a current patient or considering medical cannabis as a treatment option, Compassionate Clinics of America is here to provide expert guidance and support.
Understanding Cannabis Shelf Life: Does Weed Expire?
The type of cannabis products you’ll find at a dispensary when you get your medical cannabis card encompass a wide range, including dried flower, concentrates, edibles, and tinctures.
Each type has its own shelf life and considerations; however, it’s always best to follow label guidelines to ensure your medical marijuana is performing at its optimal capacity.
Let’s delve into the details:
Dried Cannabis Flower
Cannabis flower, or dried flower, often referred to as “buds”, is the most common form of cannabis, often smoked in a joint, pipe, or bong, or vaporized.
When stored properly, dried flower can retain potency and flavor for an extended period, with a general rule of thumb being up to six months. If improperly stored, the THC may oxidize, and covert to CBN (Be sure to read our article “What is CBN?”)
Factors such as moisture content (usually too much moisture), exposure to light, and temperature play a crucial role in maintaining its freshness and the delicate trichomes that provide its aroma, taste, and additional effects.
Cannabis Concentrates & Tinctures
Concentrates, such as oils, waxes, and shatter, have a longer shelf life compared to dried flower. They are highly potent and usually come in sealed containers, usually a glass container, offering better protection against degradation. However, exposure to air, heat, or light can still impact their potency and quality over time.
The form of weed product that falls within the concentrate category that has the best shelf life are tinctures, whether they’re THC tinctures, CBD tinctures, or a mix of cannabinoids.
For alcohol tinctures, the alcohol infusion process using high proof alcohol helps the product stay fresh, for up to a decade if stored properly. However, oil based tinctures may expire sooner; its generally advisable you do not consume an oil based tincture past two years.
Cannabis vape pens, which consist of a cartridge filled with cannabis oil, have a limited shelf life. The oil inside can degrade over time, especially if exposed to heat or sunlight over time or for long periods. It’s recommended to use vape pens within the expiry date provided by the manufacturer.
Compared to other forms of weed, most cannabis edibles have a relatively short shelf life, whether their gummies, baked goods, or other form of edible weed. Cannabis edibles, which include a variety of cannabis-infused food and beverages, have an expiration date that should be closely followed.
Other food ingredients used in edibles can affect their shelf life, so it’s important to check for any signs of spoilage or deterioration, whether the product has perishable ingredients or is designed to be shelf stable and consult the label on the original packaging for the expiration date.
Cannabis topicals, such as creams, lotions, salves, and balms, also have an expiration date. The effectiveness of the active ingredients in these products can diminish over time, so it’s important to use them before the indicated expiry date.
How To Determine if Your Cannabis Medicine is Past Its Prime
Knowing if cannabis has gone bad is essential for both safety and optimal therapeutic effects. Here are some telltale signs to look out for that indicate that your weed has past its expiry:
Examine the color, texture, and overall appearance of the product. Dried flower that has turned brown or has a white powder or white fuzz covering it (usually mold); concentrates with a darkened, oxidized color, or dark spots; or edibles that grow mold should not be consumed.
Cannabis should have a distinct smell that is admittedly skunky, but the smell shouldn’t be unpleasant. If your product smells musty or has a rancid odor, it could indicate degradation or contamination.
Consuming cannabis should provide an enjoyable experience. If you notice an unpleasant or off-putting taste, whether you’re smoking or vaping flower or a concentrate or consuming an edible, it may be an indication that the cannabis product used has expired.
How To Avoid Moldy Weed & Keep Your Weed Fresh
To extend low long your cannabis keeps and to ensure the freshness of your cannabis, follow these tips:
Store Marijuana Medicine in Containers with an Airtight Seal
Use glass jars (i.e. a mason jar) or an airtight container to protect your cannabis from air, moisture, and outside contaminants. However, if you have freshly cured marijuana, your glass jar or mason jars should be “burped” or opened periodically to let out any excess moisture or air.
Control Temperature and Humidity
Keep your cannabis in a cool, dry, dark place throughout, avoiding high temperatures. A suggested temperature range of 60-70°F (15-21°C) and humidity levels below 65% will extend the time before your weed expires.
For the safety of cannabis, both producers and consumers trust in a product called a Boveda, the original terpene shield. Boveda seamlessly integrates with cannabis buds to establish an ideal relative humidity level, ensuring optimal preservation. By introducing the right amount of moisture, adding a Boveda into your glass jars helps cannabis maintain its therapeutic properties, while simultaneously eliminating excess moisture to safeguard against mold formation.
Avoid Exposure to Light
Light can degrade cannabinoids, so store your cannabis in opaque containers or in cool, dark place and avoid direct sunlight. Only keep your marijuana products out in the light for short term storage.
Use Within Recommended Timeframe
For the best experience and therapeutic benefits, consume cannabis within the recommended timeframe indicated on the packaging or provided by your healthcare professional.
Keep Optimal Potency & Freshness of Your Cannabis Products
In summary, the answer to the question “Does weed expire” is yes; cannabis does expire, and it’s important to understand how to identify if it has expired or gone bad so that your medicine doesn’t potentially cause you harm (specifically if you inhale or ingest mold) or unwanted effects.
Factors such as the type of cannabis and storage conditions can influence its freshness and potency. By following proper storage practices and paying attention to signs of mold and degradation, you can ensure the longevity and quality of your cannabis products.
If you’re considering medical cannabis as a treatment option, Compassionate Clinics of America is here to provide expert guidance and support. Our team of healthcare professionals can help you explore the benefits of medical cannabis and assist you in obtaining your medical cannabis card. Contact us today to start your journey towards improved health and well-being.