While strain preferences can vary considerably from one patient to the next, there is one thing every medical marijuana patient agrees on: they want their cannabis to stay fresh, flavorful, and potent. Proper storage technique is the key to getting the most of your dispensary purchases. Similarly, improper storage can quickly damage even the finest cannabis flowers. In this article, we’ll look at the key factors that affect the freshness of your flowers and discuss what you can do to keep your cannabis in top shelf form.
Air and Moisture
At the time of purchase, high-quality cannabis flowers have already undergone a lengthy curing process during which exposure to air and moisture is carefully controlled. This stage ensures that patients receive ready-to-use flowers that retain the terpene and cannabinoid content that their flavor and effects come from. Once purchased, you’ll want to ensure that your flowers retain their freshness by minimizing exposure to air and moisture.
The packaging we use at SWC provides some protection, but keep in mind that anytime the package is open, your flowers are more likely to be exposed to environmental conditions. Too much air exposure can quickly cause flowers to dry out, causing a loss of aroma and flavor, and eventually, potency as well. Similarly, in a humid environment, cannabis flowers can begin to retain moisture and run the risk of developing contamination with mold.
The best solution is an airtight container such as a glass jar that forms a firm seal around your flowers. It’s also best to use an appropriately sized container for the amount of cannabis you’re storing, since even air within the container itself can contribute to dryness over time.
In our conversations with patients, we’ve found that light exposure is a commonly overlooked aspect of proper storage. The fact is that UV rays break down organic material over time, damaging cannabinoids and reducing the potency of your flowers. Cannabis should always be stored in a dark place like a drawer or cupboard to eliminate light exposure. Packing solutions that block light can also be helpful for maintaining freshness, but they are not necessary as long as you remember to put your flowers away when not in use.
Although it may take some time for light to badly damage your medicine, securing your flowers in a safe place is a good habit anyway. The last thing you want to do is leave a clear glass jar of quality flowers sitting under a desk lamp overnight. Hours of prolonged light could begin to erode trichomes and expose your flowers to our final remaining risk factor…
Excessive heat is not your ally when it comes to keeping cannabis as fresh as possible. Temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s can promote the growth of mildew in moist environments. In dry climates, high temperatures may simply dry out your buds and damage terpenes and cannabinoids. Your best option is to store your flowers in a cool place, away from sources of both heat and light.
It’s also important to keep in mind that temperature fluctuations can damage the integrity of your flowers. For this reason, refrigerator storage is not recommended due to the temperature changes that occur when repeatedly taking the material in and out of a slightly colder environment (the refrigerator also poses a moisture risk). Finally, you will want to steer clear of the freezer as well, because extremely low temperatures can cause trichomes to separates from the flower. Ice water may be commonly used in the hash making process, but icy temperatures are not your friend when it comes to keeping your flowers intact.
With proper storage, cannabis flowers can stay fresh for a few months or longer, making it easier to keep a favorite strain on hand for special occasions. Many great storage products are also available to help you, and our staff is happy to show you what we have on hand and how to use it. Even if you don’t typically store flowers for long periods, you may find that good storage habits noticeably improve the flavor of your flowers and increase the value of your purchases at the dispensary.