Let's talk about storing carefully harvested, cured cannabis. Even an award-winning harvest, if stored under the poor conditions, will taste-off, smoke poorly, and even turn moldy. Although cannabis storage might be the last thing a grower thinks about when they are knee-deep in the arduous task of growing, it ultimately plays a critical role in final product quality.
So, how should you store your purchased or homegrown flower to maintain the quality? Not in a plastic baggy, that is for sure. The dime bags of old are an entirely inappropriate way to store your weed. Proper storage requires four key components to preserve quality: humidity control, temperature control, UV protection, and security.
Considerations for Storing Cannabis at Home
One of the key considerations for cannabis storage is that of humidity. If the moisture level is too high, you risk growing a hotbed of dangerous pathogens. Fungal spores, bacteria, and more exist naturally in the air, and when conditions become too hot, too humid, they begin to flourish. There are genuine dangers, including respiratory infection, to smoking any flower with mold or bacterial growth.
In the same breath, a little humidity is a good thing. Desert conditions dry out the flower until it's essentially unsmokable. Too dry and the volatile terpenes and cannabinoids dissipate into the air. Smoking or vaping a dehydrated flower is harsh and unpleasant. Proper storage finds a balance between these two extremes.
Alongside humidity, temperature is another important component for maintaining the quality of stored cannabis. If it's too hot and humid, the unwanted pathogens thrive, which may lead to dangerous respiratory infections. How to reduce the risk of an infestation? Keep your flower outside of the ideal climatic range for pathogen growth, between 77°F and 86°F / 25°C to 30°C).
What about freezing temperatures? Many growers in the past have relied on freezers to keep their excess nugs fresh. But we now know that subzero temperatures may be just as problematic for cannabis quality as high temperatures. Freezing cannabis messes with humidity, which may mean freezer burn during storage, or mold growth when it returns to room temperature.
Temperature plays a vital role in the degradation of cannabinoids, called decarboxylation. Heat slowly transforms THCa into THC, and then THC into CBN. While not always a bad transformation, most consumers want to preserve the THCa and THC for the experiential benefits.
Light exposure is a big no-no if you are trying to preserve the potent qualities of the flower. Just like sun exposure will slowly fade curtains and paintings, it will degrade cannabis' more volatile compounds.
New research indicates UV light exposure breaks down the cannabinoids. The longer your bud sits under UV light (i.e. sunlight), the faster they will lose potency and medicinal value.
While perhaps not a quality concern, security is especially crucial for anyone with children. Keeping cannabis out of sight keeps it out of the hands of minors. At the very least, all cannabis products should be kept out of reach and out of view of children.
As several studies have now demonstrated, calls to poison control for the accidental or intentional consumption of cannabis by children has substantially increased since legalization. As parents who are also cannabis lovers, it's important to keep your stash out of the hands of kids.
What Are the Ideal Conditions for Cannabis Storage?
- Temperature: 32°F to 68° F (0°C to 20°C)
- Humidity: 58 to 62% Relative Humidity
- Exposure: None
- Storage Container: Sealed, glass container
If stored properly, it's possible to preserve flavor, cannabinoid content, and other desirable organic compounds over the long term. While a few of these factors are easy to manage with a sealed glass mason jar tucked into the back of a cupboard (container, light exposure), what about temperature and humidity? These can be more challenging to maintain, especially in hot, humid climates.
Cannabis connoisseurs have stepped up to design innovative tools for cannabis storage to carefully maintain and monitor temperature and humidity for high-quality harvests. Enter the Cannador, a cannabis humidor inspired by the climatic control of cigar humidors.
Cannabis humidors, like of the Cannador, are crafted using wood (to assist with humidity control), and individual glass containers for the bud itself. These glass containers are either airtight or ventilated, which allows for customization, depending on if you have a humidifier installed, or not.
The humidifier uses rechargeable silica beads to regulate humidity to the ideal level. Even if you have a flower that is too wet or too dry, the humidifier balances the moisture content back within the perfect range. Further control and monitoring capabilities come from a Boveda Hygrometer, which connects to a mobile app.
Cannabis Storage to Preserve Quality
It's no longer acceptable to store your stash in old cigar boxes and plastic Ziploc bags. Ideal storage conditions for cannabis require special attention to four main components: container material, light exposure, humidity, and temperature.
At the bare minimum, you should move your stash into sealed airtight containers, like a mason jar. But that's just the start. With the likes of the Cannador, temperature and humidity monitoring comes into play. Controlling all four factors improves the cannabinoid and terpene preservation potential, which, in turn, improves the smoke. Award-wining harvests, stay award-winning.