Does Weed Ever Expire?

Stephen Andrews
23 Mar 2023

When stored properly, weed has a long shelf life. However, that doesn't mean you should keep it forever. After some time, cannabis buds begin to lose their aroma, and they also become less potent. Which is not something that promises much of a fun or a good therapeutic experience.

Cannabis is not some perishable food item that spoils quickly. Nor can you say it ages like fine wine. There comes a point when it goes past its prime; you can still smoke it, but it won't be that good. The worst it can go is get moldy. 

Keeping your cannabis in a sealed container and away from the elements of nature will help it stay fresh and potent for anywhere between six months and a year. 

While nothing dangerous happens from smoking weed that's not so fresh anymore, it can still be much less of a pleasure. It may taste and smell weird. Or it could get brittle, which likely means harsh, unclean smoke. Or moldy weed, that will probably make you cough like a sick dog.

The more serious issue with aging weed is that it begins to lose its potency after a while. So, if you are using old buds to medicate a health condition, it might not provide the desired therapeutic effect. 

There is some research that indicates that cannabis loses roughly 15 percent of its THC after a year in storage. Then more THC is lost every other year in storage. Two years means the loss of over 20 percent of THC. Three years translates to the loss of nearly 35 percent of THC. So, this pretty much explains why it's not a good idea to keep weed for such a long period of time. 

How to Recognize Your Cannabis Buds Are Old?

There are several signs that can immediately tell when something is off with your stash. 


The first clue could be the loss or change of smell. There's a timid scent or smells weird when you open it up. You will know it without even having to light it up. Sometimes the weed might absorb the odor of the drawer where it has stayed for too long. 


The appearance can also hint at whether or not the weed has aged. A good bud shouldn't crumble when you break it off, nor should it feel mushy on the touch. If this is the case, the weed is old, or it has simply deteriorated and become too dry or too moist. 


Smoking old chunks isn't harmful in most instances. But if there is mold, it might make you feel sick. The weed can become moldy when it's kept in too humid conditions. The signs of decay are small fuzzy white dots, a dumpy smell, and a funky taste. 

How to Store Cannabis to Keep it Fresh and Usable? 

Even if your weed is just a few weeks or few months old, problems like brittle buds or moldy buds can happen very quickly when not properly kept.

Storing container

Plastic bags can affect the smell and flavor of weed. Small tins can let in too much oxygen. The perfect shield would be a sealed glass jar.


Weed doesn't need exposure to light. The container needs to stay in a dark spot, like a drawer or closet. 


Keep it in a room with a relative humidity of around 60 percent (plus or minus five is okay). Excess humidity carries the risk of trapping moisture, which can lead to moldy weed. Low humidity carries the risk of dry weed. 


The room is neither too hot nor too cold. Temperature around 75°F (23°C) is desirable (plus or minus a few degrees is okay). And don't ever think of putting your weed in the refrigerator. It's not a jar of mayo after all. 

Stephen Andrews