STORING BUDS FOR LONG PERIODS
For cannabis to remain potent for long periods of time, proper storage is an absolute must. Too dry and you chance reducing quality; too moist and you run the risk of mouldering. These two factors are very important. Make sure your prized nuggets are properly cured to begin with; that is the first step to successful long-term storage. Curing allows for a perfect internal humidity of the plant material. Extracting moisture content preserves quality and discourages mould.
There is no perfect way to store cannabis for long periods. Furthermore, the duration of storage depends on the habits of each individual consumer. In some cases, buds only need to be stored up to 8 weeks for those growing quick autoflowering crops. Or maybe the stash needs to last an entire year until next spring’s outdoor cultivation cycle.
CONDITIONS FOR LONG-TERM STORAGE
The ideal relative humidity (RH) range for storing cannabis is between 55-62%. This range inhibits mould growth, yet guarantees bud quality and resin integrity. A well-balanced moisture content in their immediate atmosphere will keep buds fluffy, aromatic, and potent for months.
With many foodstuffs that are stored long-term, you will see on the label “Store in a cool, dark place.” The same goes for cannabis. A cool, temperature-stable area away from light is perfect for storing cannabis long-term. Light degrades THC and warmth will cause mould.
Mason and preserving jars: Be sure they are the real deal, with durable rubber seals. Food safe integrity is what you need, not just a jar with good looks. Air is your enemy once buds are cured properly. Loosely fill the jar with well-cured nugs and fix the lid tight.
Commercial humidors: If you have the cash, a humidor is a fail-safe investment. Custom made for cannabis, these units keep the humidity perfectly stable every time.
Vacuum seal bags 1: These are the food-preserving type. Depending on machine size, you can vac 50-1000g of cannabis. These bags take out all of the air, which is a big factor in limiting mould production. There is some loss in physical bud quality due to compression, but flavours and aromas remain intact. Weed will last almost indefinitely when cured right and vacuum sealed. Bags are often stored in the fridge or freezer for the very long-term.
Vacuum seal bags 2: These are the clothes-storing type, in which the air is extracted with a vacuum cleaner. These thicker bags have an air-tight zip seal. A vacuum cleaner can attach to a nozzle on the bag to suck air out and keep buds lasting longer and staying fresh. These larger bags are ideal for the seasonal grower. A real enthusiast will need to store kilos to last for twelve months. As will a medical patient making extractions. Like the aforementioned vacuum bags, these too can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Compression: Pressing buds into moulds until they become a hard, hash-like brick will store them indefinitely if they are properly wrapped. While the aesthetic of the flowers will be sacrificed, the weed itself will last forever! Simply slice chunks off when you need it. Some strains will fluff back out considerably and give you a nice surprise. Others remain solid and will need to be treated like hash.
When storing marijuana for the long-term, common sense is key:
- Keep cool. Avoid the warmth. Keep away from pipes, the backs of heaters, hot water systems etc. Brothers and sisters in the tropics, we feel your pain.
- Keep dark. Light degrades THC.
- Be clean. If you are processing significant amounts of herb, you do not want to inoculate anything with spores you might accidentally bring in. Also, make sure jars and bags are clean.
- Cure properly. Long-term storage depends very much on properly cured weed. Curing is a primary skill to develop as a marijuana grower.
- Use glass or glazed ceramic jars. Plastic can encourage sweating.