It may seem like common sense, but if you want your precious herb to last longer and stay fresh, you need to make sure to store it correctly: Light, mold, heat, humidity and oxygen are the enemy!
Whether you’re storing flower or infused products, proper storage is essential. Tinctures tend to be the most durable, and can last almost indefinitely (as long as they’re stored properly).
Cannabinoids do break down over time, but by following some common sense storage guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy your products for a sizable chunk of time.
For cannabis infused products, such as edibles, body lotions, and butters and oils used for cooking, the most important factor is to prevent exposure to heat, light, and oxygen. Use containers that block these three components from reaching your supply and you will have product to enjoy for weeks (if not months) to come.
Flower is a bit more difficult, as storage techniques differ and it’s important to follow protocol. As you may have experienced, oxygen can quickly dry out your weed. Moisture, which keeps it fresh, can quickly evaporate (leaving you with nasty dried out bud) — which can be pretty harsh to smoke! Sealed glass jars are usually pretty accessible, and while not the perfect storage device, are nonetheless useful. If you store your flower in glass that is tightly sealed, it prevents anything from coming in or out. It will also help preserve the terpenes (which provide a strain's unique aroma and many of its therapeutic properties). And, importantly, it helps your bud maintain its flavor. The one downside of glass? Exposure to light (if the glass is clear). If possible, use dark or opaque glass.
If glass is not your cup of tea, or you want to preserve your flower for an extended period of time, airtight metal containers work great! If you can find a container made of titanium, that will be your best bet. Titanium protects flower from secreting flavor-changing gasses.
One type of container you should avoid: plastic. While plastic might be okay for very short term storage, it's horrible for long-term use. Plastics are highly sensitive to temperature changes and light. In fact, they can easily heat up and contaminate your flower with hazardous compounds. Nobody wants that!
Refrigeration is great method for infusions, and will extend the shelf life of your products at an optimal level. Dispensaries do a great job with packaging, and whenever possible, simply keep everything in the original packaging. If you do feel compelled to transfer your infused products into another vessel, the biggest factor to remember is to opt for glass, never plastic. Ensure that the glass is airtight and opaque (amber makes for an aesthetically pleasing storage option that will also protect your product). Refrigerated storage is not compulsory, but it will extend the life of your cannabis infused products at a higher quality level. Freezing certain infused products, like oils and butters, is a great way to manage your supply and keep it viable for the long-term.
There are also differences between types of infused products, and edibles can be expected to stay fresh for a shorter period of time than other infused products, such as lip balm or other lotions. Baked goods especially need to be closely monitored so as to not exceed their use-by date. Brownies and breads will degrade much more quickly than gummies or other candies. Plan to ingest these more perishable products soon after purchase as they are not known to keep for extended periods of time. The dispensary staff can provide more guidance on each product at time of purchase, so don't be afraid to ask about freshness and longevity.
Not all cannabis products are great candidates for long-term storage, but most are. Experiment a little, and take advantage of the knowledgeable budtenders at your local dispensary, and you will enjoy your products well into the future!
Or, if you want to get really creative, Adam Sandler has a few “tips.” (Or, maybe not, but it’s still funny!)