Cannabis products are not only a significant investment but also a precious commodity for those who rely on their therapeutic benefits. Therefore, knowing how to store these products correctly is crucial. Proper storage ensures that your cannabis stays fresh, potent, and safe for consumption. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the knowledge needed to store your cannabis products safely and effectively.
Understanding Why Proper Storage Matters
Before we delve into the specifics of safe storage, it’s essential to understand why it matters. Cannabis contains several sensitive compounds, the most notable being cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are responsible for the plant’s psychoactive and therapeutic effects. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give cannabis its distinct aroma and flavors and contribute to its therapeutic properties.
When stored improperly, these compounds can degrade, altering the effectiveness, flavor, and aroma of your cannabis. Moreover, improper storage can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria, posing potential health risks.
The Four Key Elements of Cannabis Storage
To prevent degradation and maintain the quality of your cannabis products, four key elements need to be controlled: light, air, temperature, and humidity.
Exposure to light, particularly UV light, is the most significant factor contributing to the degradation of cannabis. UV rays break down organic and synthetic materials alike. Keeping your cannabis out of direct sunlight is paramount to preserving its potency and quality.
While cannabis needs some air to properly cure and maintain its quality over time, too much oxygen can speed up the degradation process, while too little can alter humidity levels and encourage mold growth. Therefore, it’s important to balance this factor when storing cannabis.
High temperatures can cause cannabinoids and terpenes to evaporate, leading to a loss in potency and flavor. Moreover, temperatures above 77°F (25°C) can encourage the growth of mold and bacteria. On the other hand, freezing temperatures can cause trichomes (the tiny, crystal-like hairs on cannabis flowers that produce cannabinoids and terpenes) to become brittle and break off.
Humidity control is crucial for preventing mold and mildew. The ideal relative humidity (RH) for cannabis storage is between 59% and 63%. This range maintains the product’s quality while preventing the growth of mold.
How to Store Various Cannabis Products
Dried cannabis flower should be stored in a cool, dark, and slightly humid environment. Airtight glass jars, like mason jars, are perfect for this purpose. They protect against excess air exposure and are non-reactive, ensuring that no unwanted flavors are imparted to your cannabis.
To maintain the right humidity level, you could use humidity packs that regulate RH within your jar. Keep your stored cannabis in a cupboard or drawer away from light, heat, and moisture.
Cannabis edibles are food products and should be stored as such. Most should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer, particularly those that are homemade or without preservatives. However, ensure they are properly sealed to prevent exposure to air and moisture. It’s also wise to label them clearly to avoid accidental consumption.
Cannabis concentrates, including oils, waxes, and tinctures, should be stored in a cool, dark place. Many come in their own specially designed, airtight containers for optimal storage. As with other cannabis products, they should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
Cannabis-infused topicals such as creams, balms, and lotions should generally be stored like regular skincare products. A cool, dark cupboard or drawer is usually suitable. However, follow any specific storage instructions on the product label.
Additional Tips for Safe Cannabis Storage
- Avoid Plastic and Metal Containers
Plastic can cause a static charge that can lead to a loss of trichomes. Also, plastic can impart its flavor onto the cannabis. Metal containers, on the other hand, can affect the taste of your cannabis.
- Keep Out of Reach of Children and Pets
All cannabis products should be stored in a secure place out of the reach of children and pets to prevent accidental consumption.
- Separate Different Strains
Store different strains of cannabis separately to maintain their individual flavor profiles.
- Regular Checks
Regularly check your stored cannabis for signs of mold, mildew, or a change in aroma, all of which indicate that it may have gone bad.
Proper storage of your cannabis products is crucial to maintaining their quality, potency, and safety. By understanding the key elements of cannabis storage and following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you can ensure your cannabis stays fresh and effective for as long as possible. As with all things cannabis-related, remember to consume responsibly and in accordance with local laws and regulations.