Does weed go bad?

Published Jan 29, 2019 02:10 p.m. ET

 Technically, no. While a plant has the potential of being destroyed by mold, properly dried cannabis stored in a dry, safe place will never go rancid and would never make you sick. The plant material will eventually break down into little more than dust; there is nothing in the plant capable of going toxic simply from sitting.

What happens when you smoke old weed?

Over time the chemical compounds such as THC and CBD produced by a marijuana plant will break down and become less effective. This process usually happens over months and will happen much slower if the dried herb is stored in the right conditions or if the bud was completely dry in the first place. Saying “Old weed” is vague. Generally, when purchasing dried cannabis products from dispensaries, the buds have already aged for at least a few months before it even makes it into your possession. During the drying process, the cannabis plant continues to produce cannabinoids and does not stop until it is almost finished curing. It isn’t until after that point where you can truly begin counting a buds age.

How to tell if your weed has gone bad?

As mentioned, weed should never go rancid. The only time there is ever any risk to a user's health in ingesting “old” cannabis is if it wasn’t completely dry to start with or if it is exposed to moisture in storage. The most common enemy of the dried bud is humidity. Humidity allows mold and bacteria to flourish. If you were to ingest weed contaminated by mold, it could affect you in a variety of ways such as lung infections, lung irritation, nausea; there is even the potential for an allergic reaction depending on your sensitivity to mold. Mold is not always visible with the naked eye which is why it is so important to buy from a reputable producer. Mold usually has a fuzzy brown, blue or purple appearance and tends to be accompanied by a musty or rotten smell. When in doubt, throw it out. If mold isn’t a concern than potency likely is. Strength is easy enough to check by ingesting a small amount especially if you know what the fresh product tasted, smelt and felt like. If you are noticing more mild effects, then chances are your weed may be getting a little old. That doesn’t mean its garbage material just yet. Quite often more aged buds are used in tinctures of edibles to extract the possible benefit before the compounds break down completely. This adds extra shelf life to the product and allows the user more time to ensure it goes to good use.

How to store dry cannabis for the longest shelf life

Storing cannabis is simple. Dried herb should be stored in a clean, dry sealed container out of the light. THC and CBD will break down twice as fast under constant light exposure and even quicker if there is heat, humidity or moisture involved. It is recommended to store dried cannabis in a cool dark space. If none is available, then the next best option is a safe freezer baggie, doubled up, and then stored inside a freezer. Remember, your biggest enemies when storing cannabis are heat, light, and moisture. Avoid those at all costs and your bud can easily last upwards of a year before degrading.

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