Marijuana packaging — and plastic sandwich baggies specifically — have long been a bane of existence for most serious stoners. We’ve certainly had trouble finding high-quality, distinctive pot packaging for our organic, honest marijuana that still satisfies consumer taste and legal demands.
So what’s a concerned cannaseur to do? Learn how to keep weed fresh from the Mary Jane experts at Honest Marijuana, that’s what.
In this article, we’ll present a few fun historical reefer packaging facts and break down the biochemical basis of tried-and-true traditional pro tips. That’s a lot of words for basically telling you how to keep your pot as fresh as possible.
We’ll start by examining the packaging practices of the past.
United States Marijuana Packaging History
Since the mid- to late-1800s, marijuana packaging has been a major priority for big pharmaceutical companies like Park Davis & Co., and S.B. Penick & Co. (now subsidiaries of Pfizer and Siegfried Ltd. respectively). These companies used airtight tin containers to protect their cannabis from air and sunlight and to keep it from losing its potency.
In the early 1900s, apothecaries (the precursors to pharmacists) who sold and distributed cannabis in the United States made use of ceramic jars to keep their ganja fresh. “But wait,” you say, “we’re a long way from the early 1900s! We’re not even in the 20th century anymore. Surely the masters of marijuana have come up with better packaging than tins and ceramic jars.”
You’d think so, right? Well, rest assured that we have. But before we tell you about our awesome new packaging, let’s investigate what makes for a good canna-container.
The Chemistry of Keeping Weed Fresh
It’s important to understand how air temperature, humidity, and light interact with the chemistry of your cannabis. When you know how to control those factors, you’ll be able to keep your reefer really fresh for longer periods of time.
It’s important to store your stash in a spot with cool, but not cold, air temperatures in order to preserve the psychoactive potency of your pot.
Decarboxylation is the process by which raw, organic, cannabinoids in their plant form (such as THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG) are activated so that the natural endocannabinoid system in your body can reap the benefits.
There are so many advantages to fresh decarboxylated weed that we couldn’t possibly ever list them…even in one single run-on sentence.
The thing is, the THC in your weed will lose its euphoric kick and degrade into the cannabinoid CBN (which will still help you get to sleep but won’t get you high) if you leave it out in the heat.
The aromas and medicinal properties of the terpenes in your weed will also dry out, making your medicine harsher and less healthy to smoke.
And if that’s not bad enough, mildew and other mold may be more likely to manifest on your marijuana from the moisture which accumulates in air temperatures of 77° Fahrenheit or warmer.
Many who read the above information will immediately think, “Put it in the freezer!” But you don’t want to freeze your reefer in an attempt to preserve it in spite of what some sources will suggest.
Yes, super cold ice water, high proof alcohol, and even dry CO2 ice are excellent ways to make the cannabinoid-laden trichome resin freeze up and fall off of freshly harvested sensimilla if you want to make cannabis concentrates for vaporization, edibles, or tinctures.
But if you store your buds in the freezer, the trichomes will break off and ruin the short- and long-term smoking potential of your pot. Don’t do it.
The humidity levels of the spot where you stash your herb has a lot to do with how long it’s medicinal qualities will last.
Too much moisture in the air around your herb will make it susceptible to mildew and mold. Too little moisture will dry the trichome resin right out and degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes — even if the air temperature is optimal.
Research suggests that a relative humidity (RH) level between 59% and 63% is ideal to keep your weed as consistently fresh in terms of potency, aroma, flavor, texture, and color.
An RH level of 62% is thought to be the sweet spot for storing weed for smoking, while people who prefer to vape their weed are leaving it at lower RH levels closer to 54%.
Serious stoners who want to keep their stash as fresh as possible for as long as possible can use products such as the Cannador or salt-based humidity monitoring and control packs from Boveda.
These will help you ascertain, optimize, and stabilize the sweet RH spot for storing preferred strains of cannabis.
Ultra violet rays (light) from the sun can bleach your buds and harsh the mellow of your marijuana just as much as they can burn your skin.
In fact, light exposure was the single most salient factor in the long-term stability rate of cannabinoids from research in which nine samples of weed were left out in various conditions for over two years.
The study conducted in the 1970s by the University of London found that their pot samples could maintain their potency for one to two years in “well-filled,well-closed” containers left in dark, room-temperature conditions.
So now that you understand just how essential temperature, humidity, and light are to the freshness of your marijuana, let’s turn our attention to basic storage ideology.
Weed Storage 101
Believe it or not, marijuana packaging has come a long way since the tin cans and ceramic pots of yore.
Nowadays, most serious stoners make use of airtight homesteading-style glass mason jars of different sizes. They’ll have various sizes on hand for different quantities of bud. And if you’re not familiar with glass canning jars, they’re the containers commonly used for preserving fruit and pickling vegetables. You can pick up a case for cheap at your local hardware or grocery store.
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. In addition, glass doesn’t secrete any chemical compounds that will kill the fresh aroma of your cannabis terpenes.
Unfortunately, most clear mason jars won’t protect your ganja from becoming dry and brittle due to sunlight or heat damage. That’s why opaque or dark, tinted glass jars are always your best bet.
If you can’t find a glass container with a lid, an airtight container made of titanium is your next best option to preserve your pot since it doesn’t secrete any ganja-ruining gases.
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 cupboards, cabinets or drawers. Placing your ganja jar in a dark paper bag can also help you protect your cannabis from harmful cosmic UV rays.
It’s also very important to make sure that your jars are the right size for the amount of ganja that you need to smoke since extra empty jar space lets more air, with all its unwanted heat, ambient humidity, and all the mold and mildew that can come with it into your herb.
You can also vacuum seal your ganja jars to reduce the amount of oxygen you expose to your medicine.
As you can see, there are a number of elements that come in to play when selecting optimal marijuana packaging.
What You Don’t Want to Do with Your Weed
Now that you know a bit about weed storage, let’s talk about what NOT to with whatever containers you choose.
- Never leave your medicine out in the open on tables or countertops exposed to light, heat, and/or humidity.
- Never store your stash near electronics or other heat generating gadgets since the heat will degrade your dope.
- Never store your reefer in the refrigerator. The temperature fluctuations from opening and closing your fridge door every time you get the munchies will make your marijuana moldy and mildewy.
- Never keep your cannabis on ice in your freezer since this will break trichome resin heads off from the rest of the reefer before you can consume it.
- Never, ever add fruit peels to flavor your weed even if some sources tell you this is ok. Doing so will add unwanted moisture, mold, and mildew into your marijuana.
Never store your weed in direct contact with any other substance with a strong aroma such as makeup, perfume, cologne, deodorant, shaving cream, aftershave, paint, polish, or any other commonly-carried cosmetic which can leach into your medicine. This is also why you want to store your stash separately from your lighters, pipes, bongs, grinders, pokers, and other pot paraphernalia which will get funky with use and overpower the freshness of the pot you are aiming to preserve.
Don’t Rely On Plastic
Plastic, especially the plastic sandwich baggies that most marijuana users keep their cannabis in, are positively the worst way to preserve your weed. Plastic baggies do absolutely nothing to keep light, air, heat, cold, or moisture out of your marijuana.
Even sealable plastic baggies will let lots of odors out from your pot out as well. Plastic is a horrible material for keeping pot fresh since it has a static charge that will pull precious trichomes from the plant matter onto the plastic, creating a fine, sticky, powdery mess that you’ll never be able to get out of the bag into your bong.
When you visit your local dispensary, we highly recommend that you bring your own empty glass jars for your budtender to fill rather than ruin your weed or the environment with plastic baggies.
The Next Step In Marijuana Packaging
At Honest Marijuana we take pride in everything we do. That extends to our revolutionary pot packaging. We put all our buds in resealable cans to preserve the freshness longer.
We even take the extra step of preserving the flowers with nitrogen before sealing the containers. This preserves the cannabis longer and ensures that you see, smell, and taste everything exactly the same way we do at the growery. That’s what good packaging is all about.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.