How to preserve marijuana so that it is always in perfect condition

After investing time and money in growing, harvesting and drying, our marijuana can lose aromatic nuances and potency due to rushing or poor storage. Like a good wine, it needs patience and optimum conservation conditions to not only maintain its properties, but to enhance them. By following this guide and you will be able to preserve and guarantee the best quality of your buds both in the short and long term.

We have dedicated hours, sweat and euros to our beloved crop for months, and a job well done undoubtedly has its reward: a harvest of sensational buds. After cutting them we have dried and cured them with care, and now we have a marijuana with an exquisite aroma and an unbeatable taste, but… for how long? Marijuana can go bad in a few weeks or stay bad for years; the difference is in proper storage. By storing marijuana properly, not only will we prevent it from losing its smell, taste and potency, but we can improve it over time, just like a good aged rum.

Aging marijuana?

Impatience is one of the most common defects among first-time cannabis growers. Experience growing marijuana tells you that the more you rush, the worse the marijuana you get. After a few days of drying the crop, the temptation to smoke is great, but if we are patient we will manage to improve our buds during the preservation process. Due to a series of chemical reactions between the buds and the oxygen in the air, many qualities of our marijuana will improve over time.

During this phase of storage we observe that the buds are turning brown; this is due to the loss of chlorophyll, which gives the plant its green color. But, although it looks a little less attractive than freshly harvested buds, cannabis is undergoing a whole series of internal chemical changes that will make it more attractive. For example, cannabinoids, which are still found in their acid form in the buds, are oxidized by the presence of air and become psychoactive, increasing the potency of cannabis.

THCA becomes THC and CBDA becomes CBD, the two main cannabinoids that will influence our high. All this happens during the first weeks of the cure, when we open daily the bottle where we have stored the buds so that some oxygen enters. If, on the contrary, we don’t have the marijuana in an airtight container, as time passes it will lose its psychoactivity, since the THC will be transformed into CBN, a cannabinoid that is characterized by its narcotic effect.

Store in a cool place away from light

On a professional level, the cannabis industry often stores marijuana in nitrogen or carbon dioxide atmospheres, which prevent the spread of any fungus that may be present in the plant matter of the buds. At user level we do not have so many means, however, we can keep the fungi at bay with an airtight container and a control of the relative humidity, which should be around 55-66 %. This range of humidity inhibits the growth of mold, ensuring the good condition of the bud and its resin. We can get a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity or store the cannabis in wooden boxes that already come with the integrated meter.

However, before storing our crop we must be careful and check all the buds well, as some may have mold or fungus. If so, they could spread quickly and ruin all the buds in the container. This checking exercise is usually done on the so-called ‘work table’, small work tables where you manipulate the buds while you collect the resin through a mesh and then make hashish.

When we have reached the desired moisture point and checked the buds, we can quietly store the marijuana in containers such as wooden boxes already mentioned or glass jars, always with an airtight seal. In this way, we will achieve that all the humidity of the material is equalized inside the container and we will avoid air exchange with the environment outside. However, during the first fortnight it is advisable to open the lid of the jars for about five minutes a day, so that the buds can heal. From then on, the less we open the container the better.

Just as we are recommended with food, marijuana should be stored in a cool place away from light. It is very important to avoid contact with sunlight, since it causes chemical reactions that degrade cannabinoids, which ends up taking away power from our buds. As long as we keep our cannabinoid container in the shade we will be guaranteeing that it remains stable for a long period of time. According to a 1976 study, it could last up to two years in perfect condition if it has no contact with UVA rays.

Another factor to take into account when choosing a storage place is the temperature. When we refer to a cool place, we are talking about a temperature that is around 25 º Celsius. A warmer place could make the buds dry out, causing them to lose terpenes and cannabinoids. On the other hand, colder temperatures would give us problems too, since they slow down the decarboxylation process, which transforms THCA acid into THC.

A dark room, like a pantry, is the best option for storing cans of marijuana, since they are usually free of electronic devices that could play a dirty trick on us in environmental control. It’s not the first time that a cannabis grower ends up crushing his crop by leaving it on the shelf in his room, where it is sensitive to the heat of lamps or computers. As we said before, respecting all these parameters you can have your buds in the same state of grace for a couple of years.

Some users who want to keep the harvest even longer choose to freeze the marijuana. Although this is not a very advisable option, if it is done it should always be in airtight bags or containers, as the humidity from the condensation could excessively wet the buds and spoil them when we thaw them. Another more viable option is to press the buds into molds until they become a solid block, a less aesthetic way to preserve the buds but more effective, since they can last for years.