Does weed expire?

Have you ever found a rogue nug from a stash you thought was used up long ago and wondered if it’s still OK to smoke?

While this might sound like an excellent idea, the reality is that getting stoned from expired weed is not a pleasant experience and could even cause unsavoury side effects, including headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.

That being said, there are also ways to avoid smoking expired weed, preserve the freshness and potency of your cannabis, and ensure that it is stored properly to maintain its longevity.

Read this guide to learn the symptoms of weed gone bad and how to protect your cannabis and preserve its freshness for longer.

Does Weed Expire?

While weed doesn’t go bad in the way that, say, a tub of yogurt does, it does degrade in quality and potency over time.

Cannabis that has been properly harvested and stored should stay fresh and smokable for up to 6 months. It will still be consumable up to the 1-year point, but it won’t taste as good as it did when it was newly purchased. Beyond a year, quality and THC content starts to decrease significantly.

Even if it’s kept in a well-sealed container, weed loses its potency as time passes. 

A study on the THC concentration of stored cannabis shows that THC content will decrease by approximately 16% after one year. This degradation in THC continues year on year, with around a 27% reduction after two years, 35% after three years, and 41% after four years.

How to Tell if Your Weed Has Gone Bad

does weed expire signs

If you are not sure if you should toss your old weed or if it’s still safe to smoke, there are aspects to look out for before making your next move.

Let’s cover five of them below.

Smell

Weed will smell differently depending on the strain. Still, if your weed is fresh, it will have its distinctive bright, green scent that is full of aromatic terpenes.

Stale weed, on the other hand, loses that unique aroma entirely. It may smell musty, or it may just smell like nothing at all. 

That being said, if your weed smells musty, kind of like hay, that means it has gone bad, and it’s time to toss it.

Appearance

Old weed loses its vibrant colour and looks pale, dusty, and dry.

Weed that has been stored with too much moisture can develop mould, which you’ll notice as soon as you start breaking your nugs apart to put in your weed grinder

Pay attention to fuzzy greyish-white spots, and if your weed has any visible mould, you need to dispose of it immediately.

For more information on mouldy weed and how to tell if your weed is moldy, check out our helpful guide.

Texture

cannabis bud

Stale weed feels hard, dehydrated, and crumbly. It will break apart easily, even when handled gently.

However, there are cases when weed gets overhydrated and will feel damp and spongy. It doesn’t break down easily and feels gummy when you try to grind it.

In both cases, for the sake of your health, it’s better to avoid it.

Taste

Older marijuana can also undergo changes in taste. 

Old cannabis usually produces harsh smoke, which irritates the lungs and provides an overall unpleasant smoking experience. Additionally, when smoking old weed, you won’t taste any of the aromatic terpenes abundant in quality, fresh cannabis.

Effects

Last but not least are the effects.

Even if you’re able to get past the bad taste of stale cannabis, you may not enjoy the effects it has on your body and the endocannabinoid system. THC degradation means it will not produce the pleasant high you enjoyed when it was fresh, as well as its many medicinal properties.

Smoking old weed can lead to nausea, headaches, and an upset stomach. Further to this, accidentally inhaling mould spores can lead to serious health issues. Avoid weed that has gone bad, developed mould and tastes harsh.

How to Keep Your Weed Fresh

how to keep cannabis fresh

The first step in ensuring cannabis’ long shelf-life is using proper growing techniques. 

Most growers harvest their buds as cannabis trichomes (the cannabinoid-filled, crystal-like hairs that coat the outside of weed) morph from white to amber; trichomes further darkening and turning red indicate degradation of quality.

After harvesting, the buds are cured by suspending them in a temperature-controlled room to remove excess moisture so they won’t go mouldy once they are packed into storage containers.

Those steps should always be taken before we receive the final product. 

From the time we receive our product, proper storage is essential to keep weed fresh for as long as possible. 

How To Keep Weed Fresh: Best Ways To Store and Preserve

Dispensary containers are usually opaque and well-sealed; but, if your cannabis comes in a bag, you should transfer it to an airtight container. Glass jars, such as sugar canisters and mason jars, are ideal for this task. Keep them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.

If your weed is drying out too quickly despite being appropriately stored, try using humidity packs. 

These packs are either tucked into the lid of your dispensary container or placed directly in with your flower and are designed to balance humidity and keep your weed perfectly hydrated without going mouldy. 

A humidity pack will last up to 4 months, after which it should be replaced.

Some people also suggest storing weed in the freezer to keep it fresh, but we advise against this. Freezing temperatures cause faster degradation and loss of THC. So while your weed will probably survive in the freezer, it will not be fresh when you retrieve it.

Can you Smoke Old Weed?

If your weed shows any indication of mould growth, you need to toss it. There’s no need to save mouldy cannabis, and you do not want to inhale mould spores into your lungs.

If your weed is dried out, you can try rehydrating it. One of the easiest rehydrating techniques is to place a small piece of citrus peel in the container with your dry weed, screw the lid on tightly, and leave it for a few hours. 

The peel will infuse moisture and a subtle citrusy essence into the flower. It’s easy to cross the threshold of over-hydrating your flower, so check on its progress frequently and don’t leave the peel in for too long.

You can also try mixing your older weed into your fresh flower. The fresh cannabis will dilute the harsh taste that comes from the stale bud.

For more tips on how to rehydrate weed, check our helpful guide.

If you don’t want to rehydrate it or mix it with a fresh batch, another option for using up your stale cannabis is to turn it into edibles

Since cannabis must be decarboxylated before infusing it into butter or oil for edibles, it’s no big deal if it’s overly dry. Use it to make cannabutter, cannabis oil, or any other edible of your choice.

Keep in mind; this is only a viable option for dried-out weed. As mentioned, mouldy weed should always be disposed of.

Does Weed Expire? There are Ways To Preserve It

Yes, weed does expire over time. Properly harvested and stored cannabis stays fresh and smokable for up to 6 months and starts to lose its potency as time passes.

Follow our tips to prolong the life of your cannabis and make sure to toss weed that has gone bad and developed mould.

And make sure not to buy cheap weed! Thats the best way to avoid weed from going bad and ensure that the best product goes into your body.

At Herb Approach, we offer high-quality and affordable weed deals. Check out our shop today to shop for the best products!

And as always, happy trails!