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Does Weed Expire? Beware the Old and the Mold

Posted by Canna Randa on Mar 21, 2023

There’s nothing quite like opening up a jar of fresh weed to settle in with on an evening. But what happens when you reach into the back of your drawer and you find some buds that slipped your mind? Everyone will forget where they hid their stash at some point, but is old weed safe to smoke? Will weed ever lose its flavor? Does weed expire? 

While exposure to light, air, and moisture are all known to cause marijuana deterioration, the passing of time will eventually start to affect your weed as well. The marijuana plant life cycle is about three to eight months long, but once it's in your hands, you won't have nearly as much time to smoke it.

If stored properly, your dried weed will last up to a year in a tightly sealed glass container.  Technically speaking, your old weed will not “expire” the way that a tomato or a loaf of bread will. Instead, when weed sits past its shelf life, it will eventually start to lose its unique aroma, flavor, and potency.

Signs of Expired Weed

The fastest way to check if your weed is expired is to look, smell, and touch your product before smoking it. Here are a few things to check for while doing a quick test.

  1. Look at your weed to see if there are any obvious signs of dryness. If the color of your weed has faded away from its regular lush green into a grayish green or a brown, then your flower has likely expired.

  1. Smell your weed to find out if it has lost its aroma. If your cannabis has little or no smell to it, it has likely lost its flavors as well.

  1. Touch your weed to test how dry it feels. Where fresh weed is soft to the touch, over time, your product will start to dry out and become brittle.

It doesn’t take more than a few moments to check and see if your weed is expired, so there’s no harm in being safe. 

Effects of Expired Weed

Expired weed isn’t a great danger to stoners or anything. Simply put, expired weed is an inferior product that doesn’t have the same effects when consumed. As marijuana ages, its potency and predictability can decline, altering the psychoactive effect that it would produce when fresh. Regardless of the strain, old and expired weed will usually make you feel tired and might even put you to sleep. 

Moldy Weed

While old weed is still safe to smoke (despite the decline in quality), moldy weed should be avoided whenever possible. Smoking moldy weed is known to cause nausea, coughing, and occasionally vomiting. Although the symptoms are usually more displeasing than they are dangerous, continuously smoking moldy weed has been known to cause lung infections and long-term respiratory issues.

The easiest way to prevent mold from growing on your weed is to be conscious of moisture. If you’re storing your weed in a damp container, mold is bound to grow sooner rather than later. Keep your supply away from windows and away from the bathroom to avoid increased humidity from the rain or taking a shower. Mold can grow in dark places without sunlight, so a drawer won’t do much.

What Does Moldy Weed Look Like?

Some people will associate mold with the color green, but mold on weed appears as a black, white, or gray powdery substance. This can be problematic as some smokers may mistake weed mold for trichomes and vice versa. Trichomes are more crystal-like, while mold is more dull looking, but to many amateurs, the difference isn’t obvious. The easiest way to tell which is which, is by smell. Moldy weed will give off a musty scent, while trichomes will smell more fresh and even floral.

If you suspect that your weed has expired, think twice before lighting up. It may still have some psychoactive effects, but it is best to consider purchasing fresh, high-quality marijuana for a more enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that the effects of marijuana can vary greatly depending on the strain, method of consumption, and individual tolerance, so it's best to approach old weed with caution. That goes double for strains that you are no longer able to identify. If there’s ever a doubt about that weed you’ve been hiding in the medicine cabinet since college, don’t risk it.

Keep in mind that one of the simplest solutions is freezing your weed or edibles. This can extend the shelf life of some of your weed products exponentially and is quite easy.

Have you ever had to throw away moldy weed? Hit me up on social media, and let’s spark up a conversation about it.

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