Keeping cannabis fresh and potent is as easy as it is essential
It goes without saying that maintaining the freshness and potency of your medicinal cannabis is important. Whether it’s oils or flower, the same four words apply: cool, dark, dry and childproof. Even so, different cannabis products have different shelf-lives and storage requirements.
A little more effort goes into storing cannabis flowers than oils. Firstly, you should store the flowers below 24°C, which is fairly easy to accomplish given it’s close to your average room temperature. Any warmer and you risk the growth of mould or mildew. Common mistakes are storing your cannabis in a cupboard above an electric light or electronic component that gives off heat, or near a window with direct sunlight. In the later case, the UV rays will also degrade your cannabis. It’s best to keep your medicine in a dark cupboard or drawer.
Proper humidity is even more important. Anything above 63 percent relative humidity can bring on bacteria, especially in tandem with too much heat. Humidity below 55 percent on the other hand, can, over time, diminish potency and taste as low humidity dries out both the cannabinoids (the primarily medicinal ingredients in cannabis) and the terpenes which are responsible for giving a particular strain its unique fragrance and flavour.
Humidity is a tougher thing to control because a 60 percent relative humidity level is generally a little higher than that of a typical home environment. There are inexpensive products that you can put into your containers to help maintain the proper humidity. Glass jars are the best containers, as plastic tends to carry static electricity that can affect the product.
It’s also important to keep any pipes or other paraphernalia in a separate spot, as they, too, can affect the flavour and aroma of your cannabis.
Storing cannabis oil is easier. Most oils will last at least a year without any meaningful degradation. And as long as the container is airtight, humidity isn’t an issue. Simply keep your container in a cool, dark place out of the reach of children, like a medicine cabinet,and you’re good to go.
Some people do prefer to ensure oil freshness by storing it in a refrigerator. This is not necessary but also doesn’t hurt the oil. However, it does affect the viscosity, thickening it to a point where you may need to heat the container before use by placing it under a tap of hot water.
Photo by Michelle Tsang
Trickiest of all is the storage of edible creations you might make with your oil. Gauging the perishability of cannabis-infused products involves considering all the ingredients together and using the caution you would in ensuring the freshness of any other food. Always store edibles (and all of your cannabis) in a child proof container out of the reach of children and pets.
Overall, it’s surprisingly easy to keep your cannabis fresh and effective. A little common sense goes a long way.
Written by: John Bissell
John is a freelance writer and editor from Toronto.