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Can Weed Expire
4 min

Can Weed Expire? Here's How To Maintain The Quality Of Your Buds

4 min
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When does weed go from fresh to faded? Here's how to recognise buds that have seen better days, and how to make your stash last longer.

Does cannabis have an expiry date? Let's say you're in the midst of spring cleaning and you find an old nug or piece of hash in the back of a drawer somewhere. Your first thought might be: "Score!"—but how long has it been there? If you can't remember, it's probably pretty old. Will this sweet souvenir of days gone by still get you high? Is it safe to smoke?

For the answers to these questions and more, read on.

Can Weed Expire?

Can Weed Expire?

The answer to this question is: sort of. Does weed go bad like spoiled milk, in a gross, make-you-sick kind of way? Not really. Does weed have a best-before date? Definitely.

Unless it's gotten wet or been stored in a moist environment, weed doesn't turn mouldy. That said, it does dry out and become less potent over time. Think of your "herb" like the other herbs and spices in your pantry. Adding some ancient oregano to your cooking isn't the end of the world. You just won't get as much flavour out of it. Likewise, old weed won't make you sick. It just might not do much of anything.

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There's one caveat to this. If your old weed does have signs of mould growing on it, toss it immediately. Not only will it not get you high, it could be dangerous for your health. Mould can cause headaches, breathing problems, and even pneumonia. The substandard high you'll get from smoking mouldy weed is definitely not worth the peril.

Can You Smoke Old Weed?

Can You Smoke Old Weed?

If it's not mouldy, you absolutely can smoke old cannabis. Same goes for old pieces of hash. That said, you might not want to. Old, dried-out weed will create a harsh smoke. Rather than a rich hit full of the flavours and aromas that make your strain special, you'll get a raspy throat-full of campfire smoke. You might find yourself coughing more than usual, and the resulting high could be underwhelming. That said, it's up to you. The potency of super-dry weed depends on how old it actually is, so you might decide it's worth it in a pinch.

Recognising Old Weed

Recognising Old Weed

How do you recognise a stash that's passed its prime? Luckily, you don't need special lab equipment. Some keen observation is all it takes. Here's how to tell if your reefer is due for retirement, using nothing but your senses.

  • Smell

If your cannabis smells like anything other than, well, cannabis, you should be suspicious. Specifically, if your marijuana smells musty like old gym socks or has a distinct scent of urine, you've probably got mould. Time to say a little prayer and toss it in the trash. Likewise, if your weed has been stored improperly, it could have absorbed some of the smell from whatever container it's been sitting in. That's another red flag that means you should probably give this stash a pass.

  • Look

If your stash is powdery, dry, and looks like it could have spent a couple thousand years in an Egyptian tomb, we probably don't need to tell you it's old. Your weed should look like weed, not a pile of crumbly leaves and ganja dust. You can go ahead and smoke it. Just don't expect a pleasant toking experience. On the other hand, if your buds are intact, but have patches of white fuzz growing on the outside, that's mould. Time to bid it goodbye.

  • Sound

Grab one of your rediscovered buds and break it apart. If you hear a satisfying snap, you're good to go. If, instead of a snap, you hear a crackling sound, your weed is probably too dry. You can still smoke it, but expect the smoke to be harsh and possibly less effective. If you don't hear anything, your weed is too moist and you should inspect it further for mould.

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  • Feel

Pick up the old nug and squeeze it. If it feels firm, even a bit sticky, your stash could be in surprisingly good shape. If it crumbles or feels dry, it's seen better days (but is technically still safe to smoke). If you squeeze it and it feels squishy, it's got too much moisture and you should keep an eye out for mould.

  • Taste

If your cannabis appears to be mould-free, and you decide to spark up, you'll be able to taste right away if it's past its best-before date. Anything other than weed flavour is a sign time has taken its toll. We don't mean the subtle aromas that distinguish different strains and terpene profiles—it will taste wrong. If it reminds you of old cheese (not the strain), let that be your last toke. Otherwise, you're probably smoking something that's lost some of its potency, but is just fine overall. If it's not too harsh or unpleasant for you, feel free to keep on tokin'.

How To Maintain The Quality Of Your Buds

When it comes to getting the most out of your stash, storage is key. Properly stored weed will stay fresh for a year (or possibly longer). Here are some tips and tricks for making your cannabis last.

Use The Right Storage Container

Use The Right Storage Container

Proper storage starts with the right container. You'll need something airtight. A mason jar is a great option. You can also get a container that's specially made for storing cannabis, like the CVault. It's sterile and optimised for humidity regulation. The CVault also makes a good curing vessel—ideal for growers and discerning consumers alike.

Whatever you choose, your storage container should be around ¾ full of weed. If there's too much air in the container, your buds will go stale faster. So, if you have a smaller stash, consider sizing down your storage container to match. Importantly, avoid plastic containers. Over time, the static charge of the plastic can ruin trichomes. Plastic also leaves your buds more susceptible to oxidation.

CVaultview cvault

Store Your Weed In A Cool, Dry, And Dark Place

Store Your Weed In A Cool, Dry, And Dark Place

Light, heat, and moisture are the enemies of your precious stash. You want to keep your trichomes glistening and your weed fresh and free of mould. That means being careful about your storage environment. UV light will degrade THC, making your buds less potent. Moisture levels should hover at 50–63%. If you're feeling a little uncertain or live in a humid climate, consider storing your stash with a Humidipak for built-in moisture management.

Boveda Humidipak 62view Humidipak

Refreshing Your Reefer

Refreshing Your Reefer

Unlike wine, weed doesn't tend to get better with age. Prevention (aka proper storage) is key to maintaining the quality of your buds. That said, there are some simple tricks you can use to refresh your stash if it dries out. These won't necessarily reinfuse ancient reefer with the potency of its past, but something as easy as throwing an orange peel in with your buds could make your smoke a lot more pleasant. If your weed has dried out more recently, it could even give it a second chance at life.

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How To Save Your Over-Dry Marijuana

So, can you smoke 10-year-old reefer? If it's mould-free, sure. It's up to you! We don't judge. That said, if you set up a proper storage system, and stick to it, you may never have to make that decision. After all, your cannabis treats you right—doesn't it deserve the same in return?

Cassie S.

Written by: Cassie S.
Cassie is a writer with a background in public policy. She believes in harm reduction, ending stigma, and evidence-based practices. This applies to psychoactive substances, and to life in general.

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