One of the questions we get asked most often here at Honest Marijuana is: Does weed go bad?
But seriously, it’s a legitimate question and you’ve come to the right place for an answer. We know everything there is to know about the life cycle of the pot plant and how to preserve it for best effect long after the bud is off the stem.
In fact, we pioneered the science of marijuana perishability to make Honest Marijuana the best organic cannabis in the country.
So, yeah, we know the answer to the question, “Does weed go bad?” even if we’ve never experienced it for ourselves.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the science of sinsemilla spoilage to help you decide what to do with that joint’s-worth of Fruity Pebbles from a year ago you found buried in your sock drawer.
Does Weed Go Bad?
When people ask the question, “Does weed go bad?” they’re usually wondering if it can make them sick like drinking bad milk.
The quick answer is “Maybe.” It all depends on how exactly the weed has gone bad.
If it’s just old, it’s probably safe to consume — meaning it won’t make you sick — but the experience is going to be less than stellar.
Old weed is often harsh. That means lots of coughing and a burning throat. And old weed is a lot less potent than its fresh counterpart. So, depending on the strain, your trip won’t be as trippy or your pain relief won’t be as great.
Going forward, we’ll answer the question, “Does weed go bad?” from the perspective of it just being old.
But there is another way that weed can go bad that can seriously mess with your health. We discuss that in the next section.
One of the worst ways that weed goes bad is when it gets moldy. Moldy weed can cause some rather serious health problems, so it’s vital that you check your bud for rot and know what to do if you find it (hint: get rid of it).
The two most common types of marijuana mold are:
- Botrytis cinerea (a.k.a. bud rot)
Bud rot (Botrytis cinerea) is the least dangerous of the two, although it can still cause serious health problems, like lung damage.
Inhaling aspergillus, on the other hand, can cause infection, aspergilloma (ranging from cough to severe fatigue to bleeding airway), and even invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, which can be fatal if not treated properly.
Avoid both of these molds at all costs.
To help you in this regard, here’s a simple rule to live by:
- Old bud = OK
- Moldy bud = Bad, veeeery bad!
If you’ve come across some moldy bud, check out our article The 5 Best Ways To Check For Moldy Weed, Plus How To Avoid It for tips on how to safely and properly dispose of it so you don’t infect yourself, your friends, or other plants that may be growing nearby.
With that warning out of the way, let’s turn our attention away from the dangerous moldy weed back to the safe-for-consumption old weed.
Drying And Curing Is Key
Whether you grow your own cannabis or purchase it from a reputable dealer, the drying and curing process is key to keeping your weed fresher longer.
Properly drying and curing fresh-cut cannabis performs four vital services:
- It breaks down chlorophyll
- It improves the cannabinoid profile
- It reduces the chances of a harsh or rough inhale
- It prevents mold growth
The less chlorophyll that is present in your weed, the more pleasant flavor you’ll perceive when you smoke it. Too much chlorophyll left over and your ganja will taste woody or grassy.
The second service that drying and curing performs — improving the cannabinoid profile — is, perhaps, the most important to the overall efficacy of your marijuana.
The cannabinoids inside the bud — THCA, THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and others — are what get you high and give you the medicinal relief you’re looking for. Without the drying and curing process, your cannabis would be much less effective and enjoyable.
Finally, drying and curing improves the inhale of your marijuana and prevents mold growth by removing certain chemical compounds in the plant matter that make the smoke burn and excess moisture that is like steroids to mold.
How To Identify Old Weed
The first thing you should do if you find some old weed is check for mold. If you see anything that you even think might be mold, get rid of the bud. Better safe than sorry.
For non-moldy weed, use your senses to identify whether it’s old or not.
Look — Old, dried out weed looks brown and brittle like it’s been sitting in the sun too long.
Smell — Good weed will smell pleasant and give off aromas appropriate to the strain (e.g., skunk, diesel, fruit, mint, etc.).
Feel — Good weed gone bad will feel dry and fall apart at the slightest touch.
Listen — Good weed will snap when you break it off. Bad weed will crack.
Taste — Smoke a bit of the weed in question and, if it tastes awful, you’ll have your answer.
What To Do With “Bad” Weed
If you determine that your weed is no longer any good, the next thing you should ask is, “What should I do with this bad weed?”
Here are some simple suggestions:
- Throw it away (we know it’s hard, but it’ll be okay).
- Compost it to make soil for the next generation.
- Mix a little in with fresh bud when you’re rolling a joint, blunt, or spliff.
- Use it to make cannabis butter and other edibles.
- Extract whatever cannabinoids are left into a wax, shatter, or other concentrate.
So even if your weed goes bad, there’s still plenty you can do with it if you so choose.
Avoid The Issue Entirely By Keeping Your Weed Fresh
Nowadays, most serious stoners make use of airtight glass mason jars of different sizes to store their weed and keep it fresh.
A glass canning jar with a lid is perfect for pot since mason jars are impermeable to oxygen, aren’t affected by residual humidity, and are inert to temperature fluctuations.
Unfortunately, most clear mason jars won’t protect your ganja from becoming dry and brittle due to sunlight or heat damage. That’s why it’s super important that you store your weed in a dark place away from direct sunlight.
When deciding how to store your weed, it’s vital that you keep different strains of weed separate. This helps to preserve each strain’s individual aromas and psychoactive effects.
It’s critical to keep any clear glass jars you may be using for your herb in cool, dark, dry places such as a cupboard, a cabinet, or a drawer.
Placing your ganja jar in a dark paper bag can also help protect your cannabis from harmful cosmic UV rays (That’s sunlight, by the way. A paper bag’s not going to do diddly against actual cosmic rays.).
For longer-term storage, you can also vacuum seal your ganja jars (or just the ganja itself) to reduce the amount of oxygen you expose your cannabis to.
Taking these precautions to keep your weed fresh will help you avoid wondering if your good weed has gone bad.
Will Old Weed Make You Sick?
No, old weed will not make you sick. But moldy weed will. Avoid moldy weed at all costs.
The worst things you might experience with old weed are:
- Bad flavor and smell
- Burning in your throat
- Weak effects
The only thing you have to worry about is the weak effects.
Don’t Risk It — Buy Fresh, Organic Weed
Imagine this scenario: You’re cooking up a batch of your world-famous spaghetti sauce for soon-to-arrive guests Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogan, and Woody Harelson.
You go to the cupboard in search of some oregano — actual oregano, mind you, not the excuse “oregano” we used to use when someone in authority would find our pot stash — only to discover that you’re fresh out.
You rummage around and find an oregano container on its side waaaaaay in the back. You pull it out, look at the label, and find that it’s five years old. What do you do?
Do you risk adding it to your sauce and ruining the whole experience? Or do you pop out to the corner market and buy some new?
We recommend doing the latter — especially considering the esteemed company you’re about to entertain.
The same “don’t risk it” principle applies when you’re staring down at a batch of old bud wondering if weed goes bad.
If you live in Colorado, find some Honest Marijuana and discover what the purest marijuana experience on the planet feels like. You won’t be sorry.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.