Cannabis How-Tos

How to Properly Store Cannabis

Here’s your guide to everything you need to know about storing dried flower to better preserve its aroma, colour and potency potential. Plus, get safety tips for storing edibles and other cannabis products. 

Image of several cannabis products in jars

Learning how to properly store your cannabis can help preserve a strain’s unique flavours, aromas and colours. Although packaged dried cannabis does not generally include an expiry date, using the right storage solution for cannabis will help keep it fresh and maintain its maximum potency potential, so cannabinoids like THC and CBD won’t degrade as quickly.

Dried bud, pre-rolls and other cannabis products, such as edibles, also need to be stored safely to reduce the risk of accidental consumption. Read on to learn how to properly preserve and store your cannabis products after purchase. Keep tabs on humidity, temperature, airflow and light — which can cause adverse effects if left unchecked.

Factors to keep in mind for proper cannabis storage

When storing cannabis, keep tabs on the humidity, temperature, airflow and light — all of these factors can cause adverse effects on the product if left unchecked. Take the following into consideration when choosing a storage spot.

  • Humidity: Ideally, cannabis should be stored at a relative humidity of 59% to 63%. Too much moisture, and mould and bacteria will grow, producing unpleasant flavours and odours. At the same time, too little humidity in your storage container will cause the trichomes that contain the terpenes and cannabinoids to break down, and the essential oils will dry out. The amount of moisture in the air can be checked with a hygrometer. 

  • Temperature: The temperature you store cannabis at affects its overall freshness — warm air holds more moisture than cold air, so it’s best to keep cannabis below 25°C to reduce the opportunity for mould to grow. The ideal range for storing dried flower is 19ºC to 21ºC.

  • Airflow: Oxygen is a tricky element to regulate, but having an excess of it in your storage container will increase the speed of degradation. Not having enough oxygen, however, can affect the humidity, especially if the cannabis is not quite dry to begin with. Choose a container that’s airtight and just the right size for the product: Don’t overfill it.

  • Light: Above all, limiting exposure to light plays the largest role in preserving dried cannabis. Use an opaque container or one made of a UV-blocking material — or simply store cannabis products out of direct sunlight — to prevent them from breaking down too quickly.

Image of a large jar filled with big dried cannabis flowers

How to keep cannabis fresh

Consider these five ways to keep your dried cannabis and other cannabis products from degrading in quality, potency and moisture.

  1. Keep cannabis in a cool and dry spot. Cannabis is best kept in a cool, dry location, such as a low shelf or basement. Ensure it’s in a secure container and stored away and out of the reach of children and pets — we recommend using lockable containers. 

  2. Do not store dried cannabis in the fridge. Refrigerators have fluctuating temperatures and moisture that can promote mould. Freezing is out, too, as the low temps can cause the flower’s trichomes to become brittle and break easily when handled. 

  3. Store edibles in the fridge or at room temperature. Edibles and other cannabis products, such as oils or capsules, can be stored at either room temperature or in the refrigerator, but always follow the manufacturer’s directions before doing so. Remember to clearly mark any products that you store in a refrigerator. 

  4. Choose the best materials. Non-reactive materials, such as glass and stainless steel, will maintain the correct humidity. Wood and other porous materials may absorb moisture, while plastic can have a static charge that will attract the trichomes. Avoid using a tobacco humidor, since they’re often made of cedar and can add oils to the product. If a cedar humidor is your only option, prevent direct contact with the wood by storing flower inside a jar made of non-porous material. 

  5. Use the right storage accessories. There are a lot of storage containers and accessories available to help you keep track of elements such as moisture, humidity and oxygen when storing your cannabis. 

Hygrometer Measures the amount of moisture in the air 
Humidity pack  Controls or adds moisture 
Electric or hand pump  Vacuum-seals storage containers to regulate the amount of oxygen  
Humidor Controls moisture
UV-blocking jar or container Limits exposure to light 

Why is it important to store cannabis properly?

Properly storing cannabis is important for several reasons, especially when it comes to safety — cannabis can pose serious health risks when consumed unknowingly. Here are a few key goals for keeping cannabis in the right place.

  • Safety. Ensuring cannabis is stored away from children and pets is the number one priority. Find tips for safely storing cannabis

  • Maintaining potency. Cannabis can lose its potency over time if it is not stored properly. Exposure to air, light, and extreme heat and cold can cause the terpenes and cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) in cannabis to break down, resulting in a less potent product. 

  • Preventing mould growth. If cannabis is not stored in a cool, dry place, it can become a breeding ground for mould and bacteria, which can be harmful to your health. 

  • Preserving flavour. Proper storage can help preserve the flavour profile of a cannabis cultivar. 

If you suspect a child has ingested cannabis: Dial 9-1-1 immediately or call the Ontario Poison Centre at 1-800-268-9017. If possible, write down the time of consumption, symptoms and how much has been ingested, and keep any packaging. If a pet has consumed cannabis, call your veterinarian or nearest animal hospital.

How to know if cannabis is no longer fresh

There are several signs that can indicate the quality of cannabis has degraded. Take a look at these characteristics.

  • Appearance. Fresh cannabis should be green and vibrant, with visible trichomes (the tiny crystals that cover the buds). If the cannabis is brown, dry and brittle, it may no longer be fresh. Inspect the buds for white powdery or fuzzy spots, which could indicate mould. 

  • Smell. If the cannabis smells musty, mouldy or like hay, or has no aroma at all, it’s not likely fresh. 

  • Potency. Age and improper storage can reduce the levels of THC and other cannabinoids. If consuming the cannabis does not produce the effect you expected, it may have lost potency due to age or improper storage. 

  • Moisture content. If dried flower seems crumbly, it may be too dry. If it’s spongy, it’s possibly too moist. Either way, the freshness will have been affected. 

When storing cannabis, there are a lot of factors to consider, so do your research. But above all, rely on your senses to determine whether the quality has changed — if the cannabis has no aroma or smells “off” in any way, it’s best to dispose of it.

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