Why Does It Matter How I Store My Cannabis?
A recent study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology found that cannabinoids can remain stable for up to 2 years if the flower has been cured and stored properly! While pricing in Ohio dispensaries is steadily dropping, you still want to ensure that you are not wasting any cannabis and, therefore, money. Poor storage practices can lead to cannabis degradation, which means less relief.
"So, you're telling me that, putting cannabis in a plastic bag, is going to ruin my cannabis?"
Not exactly, however, depending on a few different variables, this can absolutely become a possibility.
Factors That Affect Cannabis Storage
While time is most often the primary factor leading to cannabis degradation, there are a few other variables that you will want to keep an eye on:
Mildew and other molds on cannabis thrive in temperatures between 77 degrees and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, while excessive heat can dry out the cannabinoids and terpenes that make cannabis such an ideal treatment option. A basic rule of thumb is to keep your cannabis in a cool, dark place; lower temperatures will slow down the process of decarboxylation of cannabinoids, keeping your flower fresh and maintaining the medical efficacy.
One of the primary factors for effective cannabis storage is humidity control. Generally, it is suggested to maintain cannabis between 59% and 63% RH (relative humidity) in order to maintain and enhance color, consistency, aroma, and flavor. Keeping your RH below 65% reduces the risk of mold, however, keeping your RH too low will run the risk of drying out the essential oils (terpenes).
Make sure to keep your cannabis away from any harmful UV rays! Cannabis will degrade incredibly quickly, in the same way that grass turns brown in the hot summer months, when exposed directly to UV rays. A study in the 1970s found light to be the single biggest factor in the degradation of cannabinoids, claiming that cannabinoids can maintain stability for up to two years when stored under the proper conditions.
Air & Oxygen
This can be a rather difficult variable to balance, as too little air can greatly affect the RH, while too much air will speed up the degradation process. Make sure that you have tightly closed the lid/bag of the package, and ensure that the inside of the jar does not have too much "dead" space.
Best Cannabis Storage Practices
First and foremost, it would be beneficial to purchase containers with a neutral charge, such as glass mason jars ,and ensure that you are storing the jar out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry area. It is also advised to separate your strains in order to maintain their individual terpene profiles, although you can always mix them if that is your prerogative.
From there, there are a number of different products and tools designed to help you better store your cannabis. For example, you can utilize a hygrometer in order to more accurately monitor the RH levels in your jar, or use products such as Boveda humidity packs to control RH levels. Vacuum seal jars can also be a great storage container as it allows for minimal oxygen exposure and air control. Additionally, there are tons of companies like Cannador and The Bureau that are constantly innovating in cannabis storage methods.
It is also important to go over some of the storage practices to avoid:
Do not store cannabis in the refrigerator due to the fluctuating humidity and temperature. This also includes storing cannabis in the freezer, as it will cause the trichomes to break off - great for extraction purposes, yet not ideal for patient consumption.
Try and avoid plastic bags or containers, as plastic often has a static charge that will pull away trichomes.
Do not store in an area above or around any appliance that gives off heat. Heat rises, so opt for storing your cannabis in a lower area.