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Every product derived from cannabis comes with a use-by date. Consuming marijuana when it’s at its freshest is crucial to harness the therapeutic benefits of its cannabinoids. With appropriate storage – sealed in an air-tight container and kept in a cool, dark, and dry location – most marijuana varieties can retain their freshness for a minimum of a year. The longevity of cannabis heavily relies on the specific product type and its ingredient composition.

Does Marijuana Expire? 

Yes, cannabis can expire. Understanding when your medicinal marijuana expires is essential, which can be done by examining the product label or seeking advice from a medical professional. Here are some general expiry guidelines for various cannabis products:

Edible Marijuana Expiration

The lifespan of cannabis-infused edibles is determined by their ingredient composition. Edibles that incorporate perishable ingredients have a relatively short shelf life. For example, cookies and brownies containing eggs and milk typically last around 2-3 days with proper storage. 

Edibles purchased from dispensaries often include preservatives, marginally extending their shelf life, but it’s still crucial to inspect the packaging for an expiry date. In comparison, cannabis-infused candies generally have fewer perishable ingredients than baked goods, enabling them to stay fresh for roughly six to nine months. All edibles should be kept in a location that’s cool and dry.

Cannabis Buds (Flower) Expiration

The longevity of cannabis buds is contingent on their curing process and storage conditions. If these factors are optimal, the buds can remain usable for up to eighteen months, although they typically lose potency after half a year. Hence, it’s recommended to use them within six months due to the challenges of maintaining perfect storage.

Vaporizer Expiration

Vaporizer pens, devoid of any plant material and well-enclosed, can maintain their potency for around two to three years. Some may even surpass this timeframe.

Topical Applications The expiration dates of cannabis topicals vary. Gels, creams, and oils can last for about two years if stored properly. Similarly, cannabis-infused cosmetics may also last up to two years, depending on their composition. Furthermore, soaps, due to their alkaline properties, may exceed the two-year mark.

CBD Tincture Expiration

CBD tinctures have amongst the longest shelf lives. They’re generally alcohol-infused, allowing them to stay fresh for as long as ten years if stored correctly. However, oil-based CBD tinctures may last up to two years.

Concentrates: Hash and Wax Expiration

 The lasting period of hash or wax is determined by the quantity of flower they carry. Cannabis concentrates with less flower content tend to have a longer lifespan. To avoid mold development and potency loss, these should be kept in a cool, dark, and dry location. Hash, which usually contains more flower, lasts approximately eighteen months, while wax can last up to two years, with potency diminishing between twelve to eighteen months.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) Expiration

RSO, typically alcohol-infused, boasts an impressive shelf life of about ten years when stored correctly.

How to Check if Your Marijuana is Expired

Recognizing the signs of spoiled cannabis is relatively straightforward. Here’s what you should be vigilant about:

Altered Scent

A significant indicator that your weed may have expired is a noticeable shift or complete loss in its aroma.

Freshly cured marijuana exudes a unique smell, varying from skunk-like to diesel or cheese, depending on the strain. However, the scent of expired marijuana can become musty or even disappear.

Changed Texture

Alongside an altered smell, the texture of your weed can also reveal if it’s past its best. Freshly cured marijuana tends to be sticky and pliable. You should be able to break it apart easily. On the other hand, expired weed will feel dry and dusty, possibly crumbling upon touch.

While you can still smoke overly dry cannabis (though with a less pleasant aroma and flavor), moldy weed should never be consumed. It could potentially cause illness or severe medical complications such as lung infections.

Altered Taste

Just like its aroma, marijuana has a distinctive taste profile when consumed or smoked. This is not the case with expired weed. As the flower dries out, the flavor diminishes. The lack of moisture can also result in a harsh taste and increased throat irritation.

Presence of Mold

Lastly, the most critical sign that your weed has gone bad is the development of mold. In most cases, mold will appear as discolored spots or white fuzz on or within the cannabis flower.

Detecting Mold on Cannabis

Unfortunately, spotting mold on cannabis isn’t always straightforward. It requires careful observation and attention to detail. We delve into this process in our article on All You Need to Know About Moldy Weed.

Various types of mold can grow on marijuana, with Powdery Mildew and Botrytis Blight (Gray Mold) being the most common. These molds appear as white powder or fuzz on your marijuana.

Regardless of the type of mold that has infected your cannabis or when you purchased the flower, the presence of mold renders the product unsafe for consumption. A study by UC California, Davis, found bacteria and mold on 20 cannabis samples recently bought from dispensaries. Hence, it’s always best to thoroughly inspect your purchases every time you visit a dispensary.

How to Properly Store Marijuana

Here’s how you can extend the shelf life of your weed and prevent it from expiring prematurely:

Use a Sealed Container for Storage

Avoid using plastic bags or containers that are not completely sealed as they expose your cannabis to oxygen and light, accelerating the drying process.

Instead, opt for airtight glass containers – something along the lines of a mason jar. This method provides the best chances for your stash to last between 6 to 12 months, if not longer.

You can easily find these containers at affordable prices, often even at your local dispensary.

Maintain the Right Humidity Level

Excessive humidity can severely affect the quality of your bud.

Aim to maintain a humidity level between 59% and 63%. Any higher than this range, your cannabis becomes overly moist, fostering an environment conducive for mold and bacteria growth. Below this range, your weed will dry out rapidly, reducing its lifespan.

Thankfully, there are numerous products available, such as weed humidity packs and humidors, that can help you regulate the humidity levels within your cannabis containers.

Keep Cannabis in a Dark, Dry, and Cool Environment

The final, and arguably most crucial, tip to prolong the freshness of your weed is to store your airtight container in a location that is cool, dry, and devoid of sunlight.

Excessive heat, moisture, and light can all shorten your cannabis’ shelf-life.

Extended exposure to direct sunlight can cause your cannabis to lose potency swiftly. Research indicates that every hour of direct sunlight exposure results in a 0.5% decrease in THC levels.

High temperatures, especially when combined with excess moisture, can promote mold growth on your weed. However, storing your cannabis in extremely cold conditions isn’t advisable either. Stashing your marijuana flower in a fridge, freezer, or similar cold areas can speed up the drying process, leading to a loss in flavor and potency.

Cannabis Doctor X

Cannabis Doctor X operates numerous medical marijuana clinics throughout Florida. They are renowned for their superior service and competitive pricing on evaluations for Florida’s medical cannabis cards, renewals of these cards, and transferring patients.

If you have any questions regarding medical marijuana in Florida, please feel free to reach out to us.