How To Properly Store Cannabis For Longevity And Potency
When stored properly, cannabis seeds and oil can remain viable for years, and buds and leaves can retain their potency for months. The ideal storage methods vary slightly depending on what form your cannabis is in, but in all cases you’ll want to keep them away from light exposure and at room temperature or lower.
Storing Leaves and Buds
If you’re looking for a low-cost solution, mason jars are probably your best bet. A true mason jar has a rubber gasket on the underside of the lid that creates an airtight seal when the band is screwed down. They’re sometimes also called canning jars, and are easily found at major retailers like Target and Wal-Mart. They’re generally sold in cases of 12 for about 10 or 15 dollars. A dark-colored jar would be ideal as you want to keep light out, but you may have trouble finding anything other than clear jars. Clear jars are fine if you plan to keep them stored in a dark place, however.
If you’re willing to make a bit more of an investment of time, money and effort, you can also use a kitchen vacuum sealer. Vacuum sealers can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on their size and build quality, but you’ll generally spend $100-150 minimum to get one of good quality. Vacuum sealers have the advantage of ensuring that your cannabis is stored completely and totally airtight with no possible mechanical or operator failure, but the disadvantage of being less accessible than simply opening a mason jar.
Plastic bags aren’t a good idea for long-term storage. They’re fine for conveniently storing some cannabis that you plan to use within a week or so, but longer than that is problematic as rubbing against the bag can actually reduce potency. If you do use plastic bags, shell out a bit more for a quality brand of freezer bags with a good press-to-seal closure; a study by Consumer Reports found these were less likely to leak than the bags with slider seals.
The ideal temperature is about 20 degrees or so lower than standard room temperature, but storing at room temperature is fine so long as your cannabis is kept out of direct light as much as possible. Kept at room temperature and out of direct light, you can still get full potency for six months or so. Ignore any advice that you get from stoners about putting leaves or buds in the freezer. Freezing will make the delicate trichomes (which are the tiny hair like crystals on the flower) brittle and can easily cause them to fall off.
Seeds will last the longest when stored in the refrigerator in a mason jar or other airtight container. You’ll want to include a food grade desiccant pack to combat moisture – they’re the little packs of silica gel you find in new clothes or luggage, but you need a particular kind that meets FDA requirements for food preservation. They’re available by mail from many sources – look at restaurant and food production supply companies if you want to buy them locally.
Seeds can be stored for a few years in a refrigerator provided you don’t allow too much moisture to reach them. They can also be successfully stored at room temperature in a dark place for about two years.
Storing Hemp Oil / Simpson Oil
If you’ve purchased hemp oil or Simpson oil made by someone else, it most likely came packaged in an airtight syringe. It’s fine to leave it stored that way – as with all other forms of cannabis, just try to keep it out of direct light as much as possible and try not to let it get above room temperature. The incredibly high concentration of THC in these oils means that it may remain potent for even longer than any other form when stored properly.
You’ve undoubtedly noticed that the common theme here is keeping your cannabis away from light and moisture as much as possible. Refrigeration is appropriate for seeds, but won’t benefit other forms of cannabis unless you live in an unusually hot area and don’t have a climate-controlled environment. With proper storage you’ll be able to enjoy your cannabis for years.