How do you know if you’re storing your nug appropriately? Over time, a number of environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and exposure to light and oxygen will affect the freshness and potency of your flower. Let’s take a closer look at the biggest threats to your cannabis during storage and how to control them.
How Does Light Affect Cannabis Products?
The biggest threat to the deterioration of your flower is light, specifically ultraviolet (UV) light, a.k.a sunlight. As we know, sunlight is essential to the growth of any plant. However, once harvested and packaged, you cannabis products should see minimal exposure to sunlight.
This is because UV rays break down organic materials. Have you ever noticed how lush, green landscapes turn to crisp, brown settings? A similar dehydration process occurs when your cannabis is exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time.
The moisture of your flower is extremely important to cultivators, that’s why you’ll see many products packaged in opaque packaging. The opacity ensures that a minimal amount of light can access your flower. So, while the crystal clear packaging may seem like a more appealing option, keep in mind that it has been exposed to the sun more so than darker packages and will, therefore, degrade the quality of your smoke sesh.
With that being said, you should always store your cannabis out of direct sunlight, especially if it is in clear packaging. Stashing your flower out of direct light will also allow you to monitor its temperature better.
In a perfect world, you should keep your bud stored around room temperature (72 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures higher or lower than that will have negative effects on your flower, but higher temperatures can actually put your health in danger.
High temperatures can lead to mold and mildew growth on your product. Mold can grow in temperatures between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but growth is most active between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
High temperatures will also dry out your flower and destroy its terpenes (link to Oasis terp blog?), causing the smoke to taste much harsher. You don’t want to lose your terps; they are responsible for the taste, aroma and effects of your bud.
Lower temperatures don’t pose a health concern, but they will reduce the potency of your flower. When cannabis flower is stored at temperatures less than 72 degrees, the trichomes become fragile and end up falling off the nug. You don’t want to lose your terpenes and you definitely don’t want to lose your trichomes because that’s where all the THC is, so keep your cannabis at room temperature!
The relationship between water and temperature is known as humidity. In the cannabis space, cultivators are still trying to pinpoint the exact science between proper moisture and growing mold. What we do know is that when the humidity levels within the cannabis flower’s packaging are over 65%, the likelihood of mold development increases significantly.
Keeping your cannabis stored in an environment with the appropriate humidity ranges can be a trial and error situation, but in general, research suggests you should keep your cannabis between 59% and 63% RH to maintain all of the precious terpenes and other cannabinoids.
One of the most common methods to control the moisture during storage is Boveda’s humidity control packs, but there are many other brands to choose from. If all else fails, it is a good idea to invest in a cannabis humidor box, which has been designed to maintain the ideal humidity for Cannabis.
Similar to the effects of light and temperature, when cannabis is overexposed to oxygen, essential terpenes will oxidize, changing the overall aroma of the flower into an unpleasant, grassy. Having too little air can have negative effects as well. Insufficient airflow will greatly increase your relative humidity, especially if the cultivator does not completely dry the bud before packaging.
Don’t worry; it’s super easy to control oxygen and regulate airflow. To reduce the amount of exposure to oxygen, always store your weed in an airtight container, not in an open jar, unseal baggy from your dealer, or on the coffee table. You should also try to store your bud in the smallest container possible. Storing small quantities of bud in large containers leaves too much air to circulate around. Lastly, just be mindful of how long you leave the lid off your jar during a sesh!
As you can see, many different factors play into keeping your Cannabis’s quality, flavor and aroma. You don’t have to go to crazy extremes to ensure you’re storing your cannabis properly, either. Simply store it in a dark, airtight container, around room temperature and you will be golden.
Edibles and concentrates have different storage protocols and shelf lives than flower products. For example, edible food and drinks that are infused with cannabis are perishable and you should always check the guidelines on the packaging for storage recommendations and “best by” dates.
Concentrates and tinctures last longer and are less susceptible to mold, mildew and other contaminating factors because they contain less biomatter than cannabis flower. However, you should still recommend the above guidelines for storing your concentrates. Better safe than sorry!