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What’s The Best Way to Store Cannabis & Hemp Flower?

From smell-proofing your bud and keeping it fresh for as long as possible, here are the best ways to store your hemp and cannabis flower.

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Daily CBD , last updated on October 8, 2021

Hemp flower (and marijuana) tastes and works best when it’s fresh. Keeping your flower fresh is as simple as storing it properly.

Storing your weed in an airtight container and keeping it in a cool, dry, and dark place will keep the flower fresh much longer. It also keeps external moisture from causing your bud to mold and muffling the delicious scent of the flower.

Learn all you need to know about the storage containers and conditions to store your weed, as well as the shelf life for cannabis buds and some tips on how you can extend it.

How To Store Your Flower

When you buy cannabis or hemp flower, the buds should be moist and sticky but dry enough to break down in a grinder. Most experts recommend a humidity level of 62% for optimal moisture levels in cannabis bud.

It’s more difficult to achieve optimal humidity than it is to maintain it. When you buy your bud, it’s easy to keep the flower fresh using the methods outlined below. But for a company to dry the buds to precisely this humidity level is challenging.

Dry too much, and the flavor dies. Don’t dry enough, and the buds could mold.

Therefore, it’s important to buy hemp flowers that have been properly dried and cured in order to get the best results. Sure, you can revitalize dried weed, but once it’s dried out, it will never be quite the same again.

Here are a few tips for determining the freshness of your flower:

  1. Smell it — Fresh weed has a very strong smell, whereas dry weed has a vaguer herbaceous scent.
  2. Grind it — When you grind the flower, it will fall into loose clumps if it’s moist — similar to kinetic sand. Ground pieces of dry flower look like dried herb flakes and don’t stick together.
  3. Touch it — Pick up a pinch of flower with your fingers. Does it stick to your fingers? If so, it’s probably moist enough. If it’s dry, it won’t feel sticky.
  4. Smoke it — When you smoke moist flower, it should have a strong and pleasant flavor. It should be easy to pull through the smoking apparatus of your choice. If it’s too moist, it’ll be very hard to pull smoke through your joint or pipe. If it’s too dry, it will burn quickly.

If you’re a medical marijuana patient or you live in a state where weed is legal, your flower will probably come in an airtight container. Legal hemp flowers should always come in an airtight container as well.

If your flower arrives in a plastic bag, transfer your weed to a better storage location as soon as you can. Same with those cheap plastic containers you often see at dispensaries. Once the seal is removed, the container is no longer airtight — the buds will quickly start to dry out.

Here’s what you need to keep your cannabis or hemp flower fresh, tasty, and potent.

NOTE: The same info applies to storing marijuana flower and delta 8 THC flower.

Use Airtight Containers

Airtight containers trap all the moisture in your bud and keep it circulating around the air in your container. It also keeps out fresh oxygen which can oxidize and degrade the active ingredients in your hemp flower.

A good airtight container protects your weed from any outside moisture, so there’s no risk of your flower drying out or growing mold.

Glass jars, sealable Tupperware, or double-seal ziplock bags all work great for this.

If you plan on storing your buds for a long time, you may want to consider using a vacuum sealer with an oxygen absorber to get the maximum storage life from your flower.

Airtight containers (and vacuum seal bags) are also the best choice for smell-proofing your flower. The flower is one of the most fragrant forms of THC compared to tinctures, oil vapes, and edibles. If you don’t want to smell your weed all the time, choose a smell-proof airtight container made of silicone or hard plastic.

Avoid High Temperature & Light

Just like most of the household products we use, cannabis and hemp flower should be stored in a cool, dry place. That’s because the heat can interact with the humidity in your airtight container to create a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Smoking moldy weed is usually just unenjoyable — it causes harsh coughing and can make you feel pretty nauseous — but if you’re allergic or sensitive to mold, it can be dangerous.

It isn’t as if exposing your weed to the light of day will dry it out instantly, but it’s a good idea to keep your bud in a place that doesn’t get blasted with sun throughout the day. This keeps it from overheating and getting too humid inside, but it also keeps your weed from drying out if it’s in a non-airtight or clear container.

UV light from the sun will also damage the cannabinoids in the flower — causing the potency to drop over time. It also kills the chlorophyll in the buds and destroys the terpenes — causing your fresh flower to look and taste like grass.

Keeping your storage containers in a dry drawer or cabinet inside is the best way to keep any of this unwanted heat at bay. You can also choose an opaque storage container to protect the flower from light.

Mask The Smell (Optional)

Using an airtight container goes a long way in containing the smell of weed, but sometimes it isn’t enough. It’s an age-old trick to put dryer sheets in your weed drawer to mask the smell, but if you aren’t using a good container, this can make your weed taste like dryer sheets.

Instead, opt for a smell-proof container. If you’re very concerned about the smell, you can nest your storage containers. As aforementioned, silicone and thick plastic go the furthest in keeping that distinct aroma under wraps.

Store It In The Fridge

If you’re going to keep your flower in storage for a long time (longer than 3 months), you may want to keep it in the fridge.

As usual, make sure it’s kept in a decent airtight container to avoid degradation from oxygen and to prevent the fridge smell from contaminating your buds.

If possible, keep your hemp flower in a fridge that doesn’t contain any food to avoid this issue. Beer or wine coolers work great for this and will keep cannabis flowers fresh for many years.

Does Cannabis Or Hemp Flower Expire?

Cannabis and hemp flower do not expire, per se.

The potency and flavor of your flower will change over time, especially if it’s exposed to air. The buds will become weaker as the terpenes and cannabinoids gradually break down. Proper storage doesn’t eliminate this issue; it just slows it down, so your buds remain viable for as long as possible.

Keep in mind that this goes for flowers only. Some other cannabis products, like certain types of cannabis tinctures and edibles, do expire, so make sure to always check the packaging.

Most flower purchased from a medical or recreational dispensary has a harvest date, so you can seek out the freshest weed possible.

Related: Does CBD Oil Expire?

How Long Will Cannabis Store?

It’s best to use your hemp or marijuana flower within one year of harvest.

If stored in an airtight container, away from light, and in a cool location — you can expect your flower to remain viable for around three years (sometimes more).

In the fridge or freezer, cannabis flowers can remain viable almost indefinitely.

The key to long-term storage is to reduce the amount of oxygen in the container. Every time you open the jar, new oxygen is introduced, which will gradually break down the active cannabinoids.

Therefore, the best way to store cannabis for the longest amount of time is to use a vacuum sealer with an oxygen absorber thrown inside and a fridge or freezer.

How To Make Your Cannabis Stock Last Longer

Extending the life of your flower is as simple as storing it properly, but there are also plenty of other ways to make your weed last longer and stretch further:

1. Save Your Stems & Shake

Save all of the stems from your weed. These can be decarboxylated and used to make mild edibles or weed stem tea. You can add your shake to this mixture for tea or use it to fill out a joint to help it burn more evenly.

2. Use A Grinder With Kief Trap

Using a grinder with a kief trap is one of the most effective ways to make your weed last longer.

Instead of breaking up flowers with your fingers, you’ll get smaller bits of weed that are easier to smoke more evenly. You can expose more surface area of the weed to your heat source, so you’re getting more out of each and every puff.

Metal, two-chamber (kief trap) grinders are best for keeping your weed supply as long as possible. The bottom chamber will catch kief, which is ideal for sprinkling into a joint, adding to a bowl, or using in edibles.

If you have a metal grinder, put it in the freezer between smoke sessions. The weed inside won’t freeze, but the trichomes — the crystals on bud that make it smell so good — may be more likely to fall off into your kief catcher after being exposed to the cold. Some say this is because the trichomes become more brittle when they’re cold, but there isn’t a lot of scientific inquiry about this phenomenon.

3. Use A Dry Herb Vaporizer

Using a dry herb vaporizer will extend the life of your flower because it gives you a secondary product to use again later — decarboxylated weed. Instead of being exposed directly to the heat source, the weed is heated in an oven. The “smoke” you consume is actually vaporized THC, which leaves you with an oven full of decarboxylated flowers.

Instead of throwing this out, you can use it to make firecracker edibles, butter, or tea. Keep in mind that since it’s already been heated, you don’t need to decarboxylate it again before using it to make another product.

Make sure to buy a vaporizer with an herb chamber, like the Pax 3, Davinci IQ, or the Volcano, as opposed to a coil that burns the flower directly.

Many smokers prefer this type of vaporizer because it keeps the trichomes and terpenes intact, giving the smoke a nicer flavor.

What Cannabis Products Store the Longest?

Dried and cured cannabis flower will last a long time, but it has the least longevity of any cannabis product.

Concentrates, when stored correctly, of course, will last significantly longer than the raw flowers. Tinctures, capsules, gummies, honey, and other forms of cannabis and CBD products are much more resistant to the effects of oxygen and UV light than flowers — so if your goal is to keep your cannabis products in storage for a long time, these are the better options.

Here’s a list of the estimated shelf-life of cannabis products when stored correctly from longest to shortest: 

  1. HHC (hexahydrocannabinol)(Decades) — This extract is psychoactive but has the longest shelf-life of any cannabis product, by far. This is a true apocalypse weed.
  2. CBD concentrates (~10 years) — Concentrates are highly resistant to mold but are prone to oxidation. Store in airtight containers with O2 absorbers for best results.
  3. CBD capsules & CBD oils (~5 years) — The main limiting factor on these products is the shelf-life of the carrier oil. As long as oxygen is kept out as much as possible, vegetable oils will last several years in storage.
  4. CBD Gummies (~3 years) — Gummies last a long time, but the gelatin base will begin to break down into a sticky, clumpy mess after a couple of years.
  5. Cannabis Flower (1–3 years) — In most cases, cannabis flower will lose most of its potency by the third year of storage. Freezers can extend the shelf-life.

Final Thoughts: What’s The Best Way To Store Cannabis Flower

Storing your cannabis and hemp flower is all about maintaining the right amount of moisture and protecting the flower from light, oxygen, and heat.

Always store your containers in a dry drawer or cabinet that isn’t exposed to much heat or sunlight throughout the day. You can also use a fridge or freezer for long-term storage.

The absolute best way to store weed long-term is to use a vacuum-sealed bag with oxygen absorbers and keep the whole package in the fridge or freezer.

You can also make your weed last longer by using all the components, investing in a good grinder, and using an oven vaporizer to smoke it.

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