It’s an inevitable fact of life that most consumable goods expire at some point. From the loaf of bread in your pantry, to the head of lettuce in your vegetable drawer, and even that bottle of Tylenol that you’ve had in your medicine cabinet for a few years, everything has that printed ‘best by’ date that offers a bit of insight into the product’s suggested timeline.
However, unlike that bag of broccoli at the back of your fridge that you’ve been avoiding for a few weeks, your weed stash most likely won’t go bad anytime soon — provided that you’re well-versed in each product’s estimated shelf life as well as proper storage techniques.
So, Does Weed Expire?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Well, that’s a bit more complicated.
Sure, weed does expire at some point; afterall, it’s a plant. If it didn’t expire, we’d probably question its safety and maybe not even partake… but let’s not think about that.
If the cannabis plant is properly harvested, dried, cured, and stored, then it should stay fresh anywhere from 6 months to a full year. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the plant itself — we’ll get into the shelf life of concentrates, vapes, tinctures, and edibles a bit later.
The key to quality weed that stays fresh for that year-long timeline lies in the moisture content and curing process. If you haven’t already, click here to read our blog that discusses everything you need to know about that process.
In the meantime, just for context, the moisture content should ideally remain between 10 to 12 percent. With that in mind, the entire process from start to finish should yield a properly cultivated harvest that’s unable to grow mold or other toxic pathogens. Keep in mind that even though flower can last a while, it does begin to lose potency at around 6 to 9 months and always tastes better when fresh.
Here at HyperWolf, we have a few systems in place to ensure that our bud is always fresh and potent. First, we use Boveda two-way humidity control packs to save the terps, and second, we only keep bud on the shelf for 3-6 months before reevaluating any unsold units for quality control purposes.
Here’s the Shelf Life of…
6 to 12 months; however, the shelf life of flower can be extended up to 18 months given proper storage. More on that later…
Given that edibles tend to contain perishable ingredients, they inevitably have a shorter shelf life; however, the exact timeline largely depends on the type of edible. For example, homemade cookies and brownies usually only last a few days, whereas edibles brands such as Dr. Norm’s may last longer. Candies or gummies, for example, most likely last, and maintain their potency, between 6 to 9 months.
When in doubt, always check the expiration date printed on the packaging.
Unsurprisingly, tinctures have the longest shelf life of any cannabis product. Could you even imagine a short shelf life on a product that boasts upwards of 1000mg per bottle?
Anyways, different extraction processes yield different shelf lives. Tinctures infused with high-proof alcohol can last up to 10 years if stored properly; however, oil-based tinctures are only good for about 2 years.
The shelf life of your favorite concentrate depends on its type — are you noticing a trend here? Obviously some cannabis products last longer than others, and concentrates are no different. Given that hash contains the most plant material, its shelf life is similar to that of a jar of flower: anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Hash is also more prone to growing mold if not stored properly.
Other concentrates such as wax, badder, shatter, sugar, etc. can last up to 2 years, but they lose potency fairly quickly at 12 to 18 months.
Given that vape cartridges do not contain any plant material and the oil inside is well-contained, they don’t actually have an expiration date and don’t lose much, if any, potency the longer they’re stored. The estimated life of a vape cartridge is usually set at 2 to 3 years, but, as with all cannabis products, proper storage can extend the life of your favorite cartridge.
Speaking of which…
Best Storage Practices
Most of the above shelf lives can be extended given proper storage conditions. While your weed stash may contain a wide variety of products ranging from tinctures and gummies to flower and bubble hash, the storage conditions must remain relatively consistent. So without further ado, here are our suggestions to keep your weed fresh and maybe even extend its shelf life:
- Keep your products in an airtight container, preferably glass jars or mylar bags.
- Store your products in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and high humidity.
- If applicable for edibles or cannabis drinks, refrigerate after opening and as directed.
Is Your Weed Expired?
While most regular consumers probably can’t even imagine the day they still have a jar of live rosin 12 to 18 months after purchasing, some people may not use their products as often as others.
If you’re still hanging on to a part of your delivery order much longer than the expiration date, here are a few signs you may want to consider throwing that product away:
- It smells bad, almost rancid.
- The texture is vastly different compared to when you first purchased the product.
- You notice mold growing on the nugs.
So let’s recap… yes, weed loses potency and ultimately expires. Yes, the shelf life depends on the product. No, you can’t get away with lazy storage practices. And yes, you’ll be able to clearly determine when your weed has expired. We hope we’ve answered all of your burning questions — thanks for reading, and we’ll catch you in the next blog!