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Does Weed Expire: Maintaining Marijuana Shelf Life

Unfortunately, I must be the one to tell you that, yes, your weed has an expiry date. 

But the good news is that you can make your cannabis products like flower, concentrates, cannabis edibles, and topicals last over six months with proper storage and care. 

The key things to focus on are light, temperature, humidity, and packaging. If you store most cannabis products in mason jars in a cool, dark, low humidity state, you will get the most out of your medical marijuana.

But, remember the primary rule of storing a cannabis product. When in doubt, throw it out.

bad weed illustration

How To Tell If Weed Has Gone Bad


Over time, if you do not store your fresh cannabis product carefully, mold can grow on your cannabis. 

To tell if your cannabis is moldy, your best bet is to smell it. It has a distinct odor, like a musty or mildewy scent, and it may even smell like hay. 

To your eyes, you may see a gray-white color coating the outside of the bud. Many people can confuse trichomes with mold. So inspect it carefully.  

Trichomes are sticky, shiny crystals that look like tiny hairs and glitter a bit in direct light. But, on the other hand, mold looks more powdery. 

We don’t recommend you smoke moldy cannabis because it may cause symptoms like coughing, vomiting, nausea, and inflammation of the sinus and lungs. This is especially so if you are allergic. 

So, if you think your stash is moldy. Throw it out. 

It’s not worth the chance of potential harm. And if you think you can just cut off the moldy part, it’s not recommended. 

It will taste and smell foul, not to mention it might make you feel sick. As sad as it is, throw the bud out.

high thc gone bad

It Crumbles

If your cannabis is crumbling, it is definitely not ideal and has lost a lot of its moisture, and it will burn more harshly and lack potency. 

The perfect humidity to smoke cannabis at is 11-13% moisture content, and anything lower gets harsher until it crumbles away to dust and is unsmokable. 

Crumbliness is a surefire sign you have bad weed, and if it doesn’t leave any oils on your hand when you touch it, it is too dry.

When your cannabis loses too much moisture, then it also loses terpenes and cannabinoids. This is why you lose potency your cannabis has dried out, primarily due to oxidation. 

So safe and proper storage is essential to prevent your cannabis from turning to powder. 

As a rule, you should not smoke cannabis that has been exposed to the elements after three months. Even though there is usually no expiration date, over time, it still will degrade. 

But there are ways to rehydrate your cannabis, though it won’t get the potency back, sorry to say.

As they say, prevention is the best method of all. But since that isn’t always the case, you can use humidity packs to store your cannabis product to improve its moisture content. 

Or, you can use bread, lettuce, or a moist paper towel. There is also the method of using fruit peels, the most common being an orange peel. 

Just stick it in an airproof container with your cannabis, and the moisture will spread into your dry bud, hopefully restoring it enough to be smokeable.

Note – your bud will also take on the smell of the terps in the peel. Good or bad…You decide!

cannabis mason jar

Loss of Aroma

When you sniff your cannabis, and it no longer seems to have an aroma, this is a sign that many of the terpenes in your cannabis have been oxidized, which is not good. 

Terpenes are essential in creating that specific marijuana taste or smell. 

There are hundreds of terpenes, many of which can be found in your cannabis, like myrcene and limonene. Limonene, for example, provides a citrusy scent and taste. 

While you can still smoke this cannabis, it will not be as flavorful as you want. But the most significant loss when your terpenes have been oxidized is the entourage effect, which makes the potent combo of cannabinoids and terpenes that really hits you.

No rich aroma means your recreational or medical marijuana is degrading.

Is Expired Weed Dangerous To Consume?

According to research, If you smoke cannabis that contains certain mold species, it can be detrimental to your health, especially in people with compromised immune systems. 

This is particularly true with the fungi Aspergillus, Mucor, and Cryptococcus. These can cause serious, even deadly, infections that affect the lungs, your central nervous system, and the brain. 

So don’t take the risk. Toss it out. This is also true with edibles. Yes, edibles can expire too.

How to Maintain Cannabis Shelf Life

Cannabis naturally degrades over time, and in particular, THC turns into CBN when exposed to the elements. 

The raw cannabis flower is the most likely and the easiest to degrade over time. But all forms of cannabis products can degrade and go bad, from your concentrates to your edibles. 

Here’s how you protect different kinds of cannabis products:

Marijuana Flower

Storage is everything to prevent old weed from becoming moldy, drying out, or having a loss of odor. 

Also, temperature, light, humidity, and oxygen exposure are vital to extend shelf life and keep your cannabis stay fresh.

For the longest time, people used to store their cannabis in the fridge or freezer. But this is not ideal. 

The temperature is too low, and the perfect temperature is 77°F (25°C). Secondly, putting it in the fridge also exposes it to too much moisture, which can cause mold to proliferate.

The best storage containers are those you buy at the dispensary, a standard mason jar, or a similar glass container. 

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These containers help limit oxygen and moisture exposure, helping your dried cannabis flower stay fresh for a more extended period. 

Also, make sure to keep it in the dark and a dry place. Direct sunlight and moisture are a big no-no. 

Direct sunlight may cause the medical marijuana to heat up and create more moisture, so keep the container out of the sun. 

I like to put mine in my closet in a mason jar. These jars are handy and usually cheaper than a container you’d buy at a store.

We also recommend that you vacuum seal cannabis that you don’t intend on smoking for a while. Store it in the dark and ensure that it is UV light protected. 

Overall, the best bet to avoid moisture is to throw a boveda humidity pack into the container. You can usually pick them up at a dispensary or online, which can last months. It’s a good investment.


If done correctly, you can store your cannabis seeds for up to five years! People tend to forget that seeds are alive, and they can die if you don’t take care of them properly. 

You must keep light away from your marijuana seeds. Once exposed to different temperatures or light, they may be triggered to germinate and use up their nutrient storage. 

Storing weed seeds at the right temperature is also vital. It must be cool and between 43 and 47 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Some people keep them in the fresh vegetable part of their fridge. But you can’t always depend on this because your fridge may not have the proper humidity, and if you open and close it, it causes temperature fluctuations that are bad for your seeds’ health.

The ideal humidity level for cannabis seed storage is 21-30%. Any higher, and your seeds will be triggered to germinate. 

Be especially careful with the humidity zone because if your humidity goes over 80%, your seeds will die within 12 hours. 

For short-term storage, place the seeds in a container with a humidity control pack. Then seal it, keep it cool, and store cannabis seeds in the dark like a rarely used cupboard drawer.

Use an airtight container like a mason jar or Ziploc bag for mid-term storage. The seeds should be put in a cool area with a steady temperature, like a spare fridge that rarely gets used.

And lastly, for long-term storage, use a vacuum-sealed container. You can then place them in a fridge or freezer. But if you freeze them, you must germinate them once they defrost.

storing dabs

Wax Concentrates And Dabs

When it comes to concentrates, generally, it is best to store them in a cool and dark place. 

Depending on the concentrate, you should keep some in glass containers, while others are fine in a silicone container, like live sauce or live budder. 

For oily concentrates like live resin or wax, it is best to keep them in airtight glass containers. This will help preserve the moisture and texture of the cannabis concentrate better. 

As a rule, you should store most concentrates in airtight glass containers because this will help preserve the potency. It would be best if you even kept it in the parchment paper it was wrapped in because it will prevent the sticky transfer to the glass container. 

In my experience, It is best to store live resin and live rosin in their original packaging and place them in the fridge away from excess moisture. 

Most concentrates will last up to six months if stored appropriately with proper care. This includes RSO and syringe oils. 

Please don’t waste your dabs. Store them right!

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For the most part, edibles have the same shelf-life as their non-infused counterparts. 

But the great thing is that most cannabis edibles like cookies, brownies, and other baked goods can be stored in the freezer for later use. 

Just label the bag to know how long it’s been in storage.

The best containers for cannabis food products are silicone containers, anything that is airtight and opaque (since you don’t want light hitting your goodies), or glass mason jars. 

If you go for mason jars, wrap the sticky edible in parchment paper. Keep them out of the light. 

Before eating a marijuana edible, look for signs of discoloration, mold or mildew buildup, changes in odor, condensation droplets in the container, or if the edible feels rough and dry. 

If they do, it is better to toss your cannabis edibles in the trash. Also, check the package for a use-by date. 

Or if the cannabis food product does not have an expiry date, throw it out. Your tummy will thank you!

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Vape Cartridges

If you are looking for the best way to store your medical marijuana vape cartridge, the first rule is to avoid direct sunlight. 

What you are ingesting when you use a vape is cannabis extracted into cannabis oil, which means it is a perishable cannabis product. 

UV light will degrade the cannabinoid content, so stick it in a box with a lid or another cool dark place.

Also, avoid heat with your vape pens. The best temperature to keep vape pens and cartridges at is roughly room temperature, and heat can also cause cartridges to leak. 

When exposed to high heat, you may notice discoloration and darkening of the oil and an odd flavor to your vape pens. This is a sign it may lose potency.

Vape cartridges can handle the cold pretty well. But don’t store them in the freezer. The cold can cause moisture to condense into water inside the cartridge, which may cause your vape cartridge to malfunction, so avoid that at all costs.

Topical Creams

In most instances, the medical marijuana topicals you purchase at a dispensary come in a non-transparent container for storing the balm or lotion. 

The best thing you can do is keep it in the dark, in its original packaging, and in a cool place. 

Some people place it in the fridge, but it can be shocking when applying it to your skin. So, unless the package says explicitly to refrigerate it, set it in a drawer that does not get opened a lot. 

As for when your topical may expire, most packaging that comes from a medical marijuana dispensary will tell you the expiry date, which is typically between 1-2 years.

Frequently Asked Questions: Cannabis Product Shelf Life

Does THC Expire?

Yes. Over time, THC will degrade into CBN. 

This will happen even if you store your cannabis flower perfectly. But keeping it with an airtight seal and in an opaque container and placing it in a dry and cool place will definitely help preserve your fresh weed.  

But after a year, you may notice changes in the scent of your cannabis products, their taste, or their potency. If you see a difference and there is no expiration date on the product, it is better to toss them in the garbage.

Does Marijuana Go Bad?

Yes, marijuana does go bad over time. If it’s over a year, has a gray-white mold growing, crumbles into dust, or has lost its aroma and potency, then it is most likely better for you to discard it. 

You don’t want a harsh toke or exposure to toxic molds. This is why proper cannabis storage is essential to preserving your cannabis and its by-products.

Do Marijuana Seeds Go Bad?

Yes, marijuana seeds do go bad. The color and feel of a seed can tell you about its germinating potential. 

If you can press the seeds between your fingers and no damage is done, you likely have a mature marijuana seed. On the other hand, if the seed is green and has a soft outer shell, it is likely an immature seed.  

One handy trick is to place the seed in spring or distilled water. Seeds that sink are likely healthy and should germinate well, while seeds that float should be discarded. Make sure you wait for at least one to two hours to see whether they will sink or swim. It’s as easy as that!