We were recently asked a question on The Cannabis Show. The question was how long can one store their medicinal cannabis. The answer provided was: it’s generally accepted that as long as your medicine (both oil and dried) is kept airtight and away from sun, and the moisture content is properly attended to, it can be stable for a year or even longer. Conversely, improper storage can make dried herb less pleasant and effective within days.

Let’s elaborate.

If you are ordering cannabis oils from your licensed producers, it’s more than likely sent to you in a dark bottle with an airtight cap. Just keep it in the medicine cabinet or bedside drawer and you should be fine for as long as a year. When it comes to dried herb from your licensed producer, you will want to store properly to ensure that your cannabis flowers can last from 6 months to a year. (The experts say properly stored cannabis can last 2 or 3 years).

So what determines proper storage?

DO

– Keep it out of direct sunlight.

– Keep the lid on tightly.

– Aim for a temperature a little under room temperature.

– Use the right size of container. If it’s packed too full it will degrade more quickly, if the container is too big for the amount of dried flower it will have too much air space which will also dry it more quickly. Transfer to a smaller glass jar for storage if you need to. (Caveat! keep in mind that if you are taking your medicine out of the house you will need to transfer it back into its original container to be legal (due to your medical prescription label on the Health Canada regulated Licensed Producer’s container).

– If you are storing for longer than a few weeks after opening, make sure that you use something to keep it from drying out. A Bodeva moisture pack or a slightly moistened terra cotta stone will keep the moisture levels at a relative humidity (RH) between 50-68% (this ideal percentage varies with opinions. Just keep in mind that anything above 75% humidity will begin to mold). If you are opting for a cigar humidor, you may have to adjust the RH down a little as cigars tend to need more moisture.

– Check how long your humidity pack is guaranteed. Some need to be replaced every couple of months. Degradation can affect the taste, aroma, consistency and efficacy of your dried product. Sunlight can affect the chemical composition – converting some of the cannabinoids like THC into CBN – (a compound which may help you to sleep).

DON’T

– Don’t keep your cannabis in the freezer, the trichomes can become brittle and break off. The bud can also lose moisture in extreme cold and become dry.

– Don’t break up the buds. Keeping buds more or less intact means that they’ll last longer.

– Don’t add fruit to your storage container with the intention of adding moisture. This will create too high of an RH and will mold your bud. Following these do’s and don’t’s will keep your medicinal cannabis (and you!) in a happy place. When dealing with the dried herb, as always, we do recommend vaporizing over smoking, which will also bring down any harshness that has started to happen with possible degradation.

If you have a question for us, please e-mail thecannabisshow@naturalhealthservices.ca. We will endeavour to give you an answer on our show. If the answer requires some elaboration, make sure you check our blog!

written by Kait Shane, Natural Health Services

For further insight into all things Cannabis, don’t forget to tune in to The Cannabis Show, and make sure to subscribe as there is a new episode every Wednesday.

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