How to store hemp so that it retains its properties?

At some point in our cannabis adventure, we've all asked ourselves, "How do I store cannabis properly?" If you need to store your CBD dry for an extended period of time so it doesn't lose all of its properties, then this guide is for you.

If you have already purchased Cannabis Light, then of course you can store the dry in the glass jar you received the dry in. There is a membrane underneath each cap that is designed to maintain the proper moisture content, and glass itself is the best possible material used to store dried cannabis. Storing cannabis in plastic or paper packaging has many drawbacks, although many companies still opt for this type of packaging.

Like wine or whiskey barrels, cannabis is best stored in a cool, dark place, and while cannabis doesn't have a specific expiration date, there are a few key elements to consider that are necessary to store cannabis for an extended period of time.

What to store cannabis in?

Before we get into the properties of glass and plastic, let's take a look at some of the more common containers that people use to store cannabis. Some people keep their dried in string bags, while others keep it in a tin box. Others choose plastic packaging, cardboard boxes, and even paper packaging, which is definitely not a good idea.

Glass - best for storage

Although glass jars are definitely more expensive than plastic or paper packaging, there's a reason why we pack Cannabis Light in glass rather than plastic jars. Glass, being the only material that is practically inert to cannabis, does not give off any unpleasant odours, so the cannabis flowers do not absorb the aroma of the packaging and retain their flavour for a long time.

If you really want to keep your cannabis in the best possible condition, glass is by far the most suitable choice. A good sized glass jar will also present your cannabis flowers in a much more visually pleasing way.

Why you shouldn't store your cannabis in plastic

Although plastic seems to be the ideal material for storing cannabis, there are many reasons why glass is definitely the better option. Many types of plastic can transfer chemical smells and substances to cannabis, making the smoke very unpleasant.

Another reason why plastic packaging is a bad way to store cannabis is that it can create "static cling". Static cling occurs when the plastic packaging has an electrostatic charge. When this happens, some of the THC and other cannabinoids get separated from the flower and stick to the plastic packaging...

Ideal temperatures for storing cannabis

Mold on cannabis and other organic matter thrives at temperatures above 25°C, so the primary precaution for storing cannabis is to keep it in a cool, dark place. Excessive heat can dry out cannabinoids and terpenes. When these essential oils and the plant material itself dry out too quickly, the result can be hot, pungent and throat-scratching smoke.

Lower temperatures also slow down the decarboxylation of cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Decarboxylation is the process by which THCA is converted into the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC. THC eventually degrades into CBN, which has different properties and produces effects different from THC. Also, warm air retains more moisture than cold air, which brings us to our next point.

Humidity and cannabis storage

Moisture control is extremely important to keep mold and other contaminants away from your cannabis. Storing CBD flowers in a controlled environment with an appropriate range of relative humidity (RH) may sound a bit vague, but the general rule of thumb is to keep humidity between 59% and 63% RH so that your cannabis retains its aroma, flavor, and color.

Keeping the RH below 65% reduces the risk of mould. However, if the RH drops too low, the risk of essential oils drying out increases, and the hairs on the flowers can become brittle and start to fall off.

Light vs. storage of cannabis

Harmful UV rays break down many organic and synthetic materials. Similar to the way grass turns brown at the end of a long sunny summer, or how car paintwork starts to fade when not garaged, UV rays also degrade cannabis over time.

A study conducted at the University of London in the 1970s found that light was the most important factor in cannabinoid degradation. The same study found that cannabinoids remain stable for up to two years if stored under proper conditions, although their quality can be maintained for longer if all cannabis storage rules are followed.

Air control during cannabis storage

While cannabis needs oxygen during growing and curing, storing cannabis in a container with the right amount of air is crucial to maintaining its freshness and quality in its original form. Too little air can significantly affect the relative humidity, especially if the flowers are not completely dried before storage.

On the other hand, too much air will accelerate the degradation process as cannabinoids and other organic substances are exposed to oxygen. There are a variety of manual and electric vacuum packs that will help minimize oxygen exposure.

How to store cannabis

  • Store out of direct sunlight - in a cool, dry place
  • Store in neutrally charged containers such as glass jars.
  • Use hygrometers or products such as Boveda sachets to monitor and control relative humidity levels
  • Use glass vacuum jars to minimize exposure to oxygen
  • Separate your strains to preserve their individual flavor and aroma profiles

How not to store cannabis

  • Don't store in the refrigerator. Fluctuations in humidity and temperature can increase the risk of mold.
  • Don't store in the freezer. Temperatures below freezing cause the hairs on the flowers to become brittle and break like small icicles.
  • Don't store in plastic bags or containers. Plastic often has a static charge that can attract precious trichomes and hairs. If you must use plastic containers, use them only for short-term storage of small amounts of cannabis.
  • Don't store cannabis over or around electronic devices or devices that give off heat. Instead, store your cannabis in a cabinet, on a shelf, or in the basement of your home, much like you would store wine or whiskey barrels.
  • Don't store dried cannabis with pipes or other accessories that you use to smoke. The ash and resin from burnt cannabis tends to carry a not-so-pleasant smell into any container it is placed in.

Other factors

Products containing hemp, such as food products and CBD oils, will have different storage guidelines. Follow the directions on the packaging and store them according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

Tinctures and other hemp concentrates seem to be less susceptible to mold and other contaminants due to the reduced amount of bio matter. However, we still recommend following the basic guidelines outlined above to protect the valuable cannabinoids and minimize possible contamination.

See also