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To Freeze Or Not To Freeze Your Weed?
4 min

To Freeze Or Not To Freeze Your Weed?

4 min
Growing Seedshop

When looking to store their weed for the long-haul, many will turn to the freezer. Is this a stroke of brilliance, or a bad move? We'll dive into the four elements of weed storage—lighting, humidity, friction, and temperature—to figure out if it makes sense to freeze raw flowers, freeze extracts, freeze everything, or freeze nothing at all.

It isn’t surprising that many cannabis users are turning to the freezer to store their bud. As we learned in Game of Thrones, “Fire consumes, but cold preserves”. This adage may be true archetypically, but when it comes to weed, it’s fatally incomplete.

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF WEED STORAGE

First, some general best practices for storing weed. The four main factors to consider are light, humidity, friction, and temperature. The latter may seem most relevant when it comes to freezing weed, but as we’ll see, it’s not the only one that’ll come into play.

LET THERE BE LIGHT?

Let There Be Light

To understand light, we’ve got to understand UV rays. UV rays are divided into three categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC. In humans, UVA rays cause sunburns and tans, while UVB rays are responsible for the deeper tissue damage of sun exposure.

Cannabis is similarly sensitive to the damaging effects of UVB. It causes the breakdown of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. UVB isn’t all bad—many growers swear by high levels of UVB during the cultivation phase to increase trichome production—but during the storage phase, it’s a big-time enemy.

Any good weed storage method will involve blocking out the UVB rays in some way: either by storing your weed in containers like Miron jars (which block out UVB rays specifically), by storing them in opaque containers, or by storing them in total darkness.

HOLLA FOR HUMIDITY

Humidity

And we arrive at the second great consideration in the world of cannabis storage: humidity. When it comes to storing weed, we measure humidity in terms of relative humidity (RH): the amount of water in the air, calculated as a percentage of the total amount that would be necessary to saturate that air.

In cannabis, the good stuff is stored in trichomes. Trichomes feature little resin-filled sacs that contain cannabinoids and terpenes, the molecules responsible for cannabis’ celebrated effects and flavours. Over-drying can cause trichomes to degrade; as such, old, dry weed won’t just be harsh: it’ll be less potent and flavourful.

That said, over-humidity isn’t great either: it can result in the growth of mildew, mould, and all kinds of other unpleasantness you don’t want on your weed.

Some weed aficionados say that relative humidity above 65% can cause mould, while others claim that anything in the range of 55–62% is ideal. This may vary depending on the kind of weed, and additionally, what kind of containers you use: airtight containers will do wonders to prevent mildew and other pests.

The simplest way to preserve weed’s humidity is to use airtight glass containers. If you want to calibrate the relative humidity more carefully, consider a humidor.

Fum Box
View Fumbox

FUN WITH FRICTION

As anyone who’s tried to scrape kief off the inside of a crinkled plastic bag can attest, friction can destroy good weed. The trichomes on the surface of the cannabis flower are fragile, and can easily be broken off. Any storage method where your weed is routinely crumbled, crushed, or sat on is not ideal.

There’s one exception: If your storage method involves a kief catcher, have at it with the friction.

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AND FINALLY... TEMPERATURE

Temperature

If weed and temperature were in a relationship, their status would be “it’s complicated”. When it comes to temperature, you definitely don’t want things to get too hot. Heat can cause your cannabis to dry out, and we’ve already seen the devastation that can cause.

Most expert sources will advise you to store your weed in a cool and temperate environment—somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20–25°C. However, is there any real reason not to go cooler? Even to freezing?

IS FREEZING YOUR CANNABIS A GOOD IDEA?

Is Freezing Your Cannabis A Good Idea?

The main argument in favour of freezing weed is that it’ll slow down the natural process of decarboxylation, by which the naturally-occurring THCA in the bud breaks down into THC, which then breaks down into the sleep-inducing CBN (normally, THCA breaks down into THC as you’re going through the process of smoking it). Freezing may indeed slow down this undesirable process, but it’ll come with a host of unintended side effects you may wish to avoid.

One of the main disadvantages of freezing weed is that it’ll cause the trichomes to become very brittle and likely fall off. This means that the effects of friction will be magnified for frozen weed, and that even the slightest agitation will have you losing trichomes left and right. Rather than preserving weed’s potency, the process of freezing could cause you to lose it.

This isn’t always a disadvantage—if you’re looking to make bubble hash or the like, you can use this property to your benefit. However, if you’re just looking to store some weed to smoke, it’s not going to work out.

Further, if your packaging is in any way not airtight, your weed might get freezer burn, making defrosting it a nightmare. Even in the best of cases, drastic changes in humidity and temperature can make the defrosting process a very stressful one, putting your cannabis at risk of losing its character or attracting pathogens.

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SHOULD I FREEZE OTHER WEED PRODUCTS?

Concentrates like hash and BHO are much more amenable to being frozen than the raw flower. The reason is obvious: the trichomes have already been broken into and processed, so there are no more brittle bits to fall off. To store a concentrate in the freezer, fold it in wax paper, seal it in an airtight glass jar, and wrap it in some kind of opaque covering.

SO, HOW SHOULD I STORE MY WEED?

How Should I Store My Weed?

First off, ditch the crumpled plastic baggies. Invest in some quality glass jars to keep your weed airtight, moist, and friction-free. Some good choices are the Stashbox Tightvac Mini and the Weed Curing Jar. Next, find some way to shield your jars of weed from the light. Put them in a dark place, or else wrap your jars in some burlap sacks. Make sure to find a storage spot where the temperature is 20–25°C.

Stashbox Tightvac Mini

View Stashbox Tightvac Mini

If you’d like to take your weed-storing game to the next level, consider investing in a humidor to maintain better control over your weed’s moisture levels.

Keeping weed fresh is an exact science, and if you follow the above principles, there’s no reason your weed shouldn’t maintain its potency and freshness for up to six months. Avoid the freezer, and keep your weed in a cool, dark, mildly humid, friction-free place—and you’ll be fine!

Arielle

Written by: Arielle Friedman
Arielle is based out of Toronto, Canada and loves topics relating to the brain. When not writing she enjoys making art, learning about bioremediation, and trying to prevent the robot apocalypse.

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