Many home growers produce around 2-3 cropsper year. Once they have harvested their plants they usually have an immediate surplus of cannabis buds.
But what’s the best way to keep those premium quality buds in optimum condition?
Many people store their buds in glass jars or plastic containers. But can you really freeze cannabis? Are there any downsides to keeping your stash frozen in the freezer? What are the benefits of freezing cannabis, if any?
THC slowly degrades at room temperature
The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC, is an organic chemical which slowly decomposes at room temperature over several years.
THC doesn’t decompose at a catastrophically high rate at room temperature. Many of us will have found a small bag of weed which we didn’t realise we still had a couple of years later.
Often you can smoke buds that are a year, or more, old. Even though the aroma and taste may be a long way past their best, you can still get high from these buds. THC still remains active at room temperature for a couple of years but not for ever.
Storing any organic material at room temperature means that, over time, it will start to slowly react with atmospheric oxygen.
THC levels in your favourite buds will inevitably lose a few percentage points each year. So if you have some surplus buds to store, you may want to consider the freezer.
You can freeze buds to keep them for a longer time.
The advantages to freeze cannabis
For many people, having a large stash of extra buds is nothing to worry about.
Many home growers consume their cannabis within a year. So a little bit of decomposition may not seem like a big deal.
But some connoisseur cannabis growers like to maintain the highest possible quality levels for their stored cannabis buds.
The best way to preserve the quality and flavour with cannabis is just the same way you would use to extend the shelf life of many foods – with reduced temperature storage.
Some people like to keep their buds stored at low temperatures in order to give them the maximum possible life. The two obvious options for the quality conscious grower are to store their cured buds in the fridge or freezer.
What about storing your buds in the loft?
Anyone who has made the mistake of storing their jars of cured buds in a hot loft over summer is unlikely to repeat the mistake.
Loft spaces can get very hot in summer, temperatures of 40-50ºC are not unheard of. At these temperatures your buds will not retain optimum freshness, flavour and potency for long.
The delicate terpene and cannabinoids unfortunately don’t survive long in poor storage conditions and mold is a constant threat.
But if you think about it, you wouldn’t store any valuable ‘perishable’ product in a hot loft, so why would cannabis be any different?
Cold storage is the best way to preserve your precious buds for the long term.
Freezing or refrigerating your cannabis buds
Once your buds have been properly dried and cured you have 3 main options for storage.
Many people, especially those intending to consume the buds quickly, will simply store their buds in glass mason jars in a private storage area.
Some will put the containers of buds in the fridge at around 4ºC.
Others will keep them in the deep freeze at around -20ºC.
The best way to preserve the quality and flavour with cannabis is just with reduced temperature storage.
Advantages of freezing cannabis buds
One of the main benefits of putting your dried and cured buds in the deep freeze is that they will be preserved for many years.
The low temperatures in your freezer are proven to stop decomposition of foods/vegetables and the same science also preserves your buds.
If you have an excess of buds from your harvest and don’t know where best to store them, the freezer is a great option.
Advantages of refrigerating your buds
If you don’t have a freezer and you don’t want to allow your premium quality buds to slowly degrade then a fridge is another good option.
A fridge isn’t as cold as a freezer, but at 4ºC it offers superior storage conditions compared to simply leaving your jars behind the sofa or under the floorboards.
Your buds will remain in great condition after a year or two in a fridge. But for the best longer term storage, a freezer offers the ultimate preservation.
Disadvantages of storing your cannabis in the freezer or fridge?
You may notice a slight cannabis aroma when you open your fridge or freezer. That seems to be the main disadvantage of cold storing your buds with your food. One way around this is to use air-tight containers.
When it comes to keeping the aroma inside the container, a glass mason jar with a rubber seal is far superior to a cheap plastic container with a clip-on lid from the supermarket.
Some professional growers have dedicated freezers which they use only for cold storing their cannabis buds.
The advantage of this arrangement is that the freezers are not used on a day-to-day basis, you can keep your buds stored separately to your food.
If you don’t have a freezer, a fridge is another good option.
Storing your cannabis safely at cool temperatures
Not everyone wants to keep their buds stashed in the freezer.