Whether you’re a casual cannabis enjoyer or a full-bore hobbyist, you’ve undoubtedly heard the conventional wisdom around storage. Every article from a reputable cannabis publication says the same thing: control the heat, control the humidity, and keep it out of sunlight.
But what these bold proclamations often miss is the “why.” Why do you need to control the temperature of your bud? Why is it best practice to prevent humidity fluctuations with a Boveda packet? And why is a little sunlight such a bad thing (isn’t the sun supposed to be good for flowers?)?
That’s the million-dollar question tackled in this article. You’ve heard the procedures around proper storage. Now, here are four reasons why you should store your cannabis properly.
Firstly, let’s delve into cannabis’ unique tastes and odors. These flavors – which run the gamut from piney and earthy to citrusy and candy-like – each owe their existence to a class of compounds called terpenes. You can find terpenes in most botanical products, but they feature prominently in cannabis.
If you store your flower incorrectly, you run a real risk of degrading or outright destroying those terpenes. Low humidity environments (like most locales in North America) cause the terpene-rich trichomes to break away, and what’s left of the terpenes to evaporate. Hence the Boveda packets everyone encourages you to buy. Humidity control packets keep the moisture locked in, so your terpenes stay bright and flavorful.
Sun plays a pivotal role in cannabis growth. But once the grower shears those buds from the stalk, the sun is the enemy.
Several studies show that prolonged exposure to sunlight greatly reduces the overall cannabinoid potency in cannabis. If you want to read a peer-reviewed article supporting this conclusion, here’s a four-year study conducted for Forensic Science International. Incidentally, the study also found that air exposure and improper humidity also negatively impact cannabis potency.
The bottom line is this: if you bought your cannabis for the THC/CBD effects (as most people do), correct storage ensures that you preserve their potency.
Picture yourself at a campground, building a campfire. If you reach for the freshly cut wood, you prepare for a slow, lasting (and quite aromatic!) burn. If you reach for the dry tinder and twigs, you can expect a fast, hot burn.
Now, the latter is usually preferable for a campfire. But the former is undoubtedly better when you’re smoking. Like that tinder, old and desiccated cannabis burns fast and hot, creating a harsh smoke and accelerated smoking time. The fresh stuff, which you’ve appropriately stored, burns slowly and sweetly.
Correctly stored cannabis lasts longer than its mishandled alternative, point blank. As we’ve seen, humidity, sunlight, and heat affect the taste, potency, and burn over time. But there’s more to it; keeping your bud in a tightly sealed, humidity-regulated, opaque container shields it from ambient contaminants (like dust) and mold growth. Hypothetically, you should be able to open the same jar after six months (replacing the humidity control packet every once in a while) and stare down at the pristine flower.
If you’ve read all the articles on how to store your cannabis, but never understood why, we hope this article clears the air (but not the smoke).