Baggies of bud may have been the go-to back in the day, but we’ve graduated as a community, we’re past that, so save the plastic and start adulting your storage. Today, there are more effective ways to make sure that the contents of your stash jar keeps fresh and flavourful. Perhaps you’re building a library of strains/cultivars, or you simply want to maintain the freshness of your favourite flower-- proper preservation can help you get the best out of your bud.
Storage solutions keep your cannabis safely out of reach from any curious kids or pets and do so in a discreet manner that maintains the desired aromas and humidity levels for maximum freshness. It’s not just a safety matter, as correct cannabis storage is essential for preserving the precious trichomes that contain the potent cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and are also home to fragrant terpenes.
How has Legalization Affected Cannabis Packaging?
Health Canada mandates that Licensed Producers must dry to specific humidity levels that are lower than most black market cannabis, which was often more moist to boost the weight and aromas. ‘Wetter’ cannabis is more prone to mould and as black market cannabis is untested, it could potentially cause health issues, which is why Health Canada calls for lower levels of humidity.
Post-legalization packaging has been designed to be child-proof, big enough to include all of the required information on the label, and secure for transit-- which means lots of extra oxygen in the package, so it’s a good idea to store your cannabis in another container once you get it home.
Slow Curing at Tantalus Labs
The flower we grow at SunLab¹ is slow cured at cooler temperatures providing a dried bud that is springy and flavourful with maximum terpene retention. We strive to ensure that our cannabis is as fresh as possible when it reaches stores, so when you first open the package you get the best representation of the terpene profiles developed from longer flower cycles under full spectrum sunlight.
Our packaging is blacked out to reduce the risk of light affecting the quality of the flower and causing degradation. Once you open your package, oxygen will begin to do its work degrading the terpenes. After opening, storage becomes more important for the casual consumer to ensure your last smoke is as potent and flavourful as your first.
Why it is Important to Store Cannabis Correctly
Incorrectly stored cannabis can quickly degrade when exposed to light, oxygen, heat, and moisture. In the same way that your car will rust if it’s left out in the elements, the THCa in cannabis degrades into cannabinol (CBN), which is thought to have a sedative effect but it won’t get you ‘high’. The same signs that can tell you if your cannabis is high-quality and well cured, such as a springy bud with a sticky texture, and pungent aroma, can all be damaged by incorrect home storage.
Ineffective storage can also have an effect on the potency of the terpenes, which will affect the taste and aroma of your flower-- you may experience a grassy or dry hay-like aroma that means the flower has lost much of its natural scent. Moisture loss can also affect the weight of a product by drying it out and this can make your flower crumbly and harder to roll. Maintaining moisture means that your flower will smoke cleaner and slower, so your stash will last longer and there will be less waste.
Not enough humidity can dry out the bud and cause the trichomes to break down, whereas too much humidity can cause problems with mould and mildew, which is a particular concern for medical patients with autoimmune challenges. Plastic bags can leach chemicals into the cannabis and the static charge attracts trichomes, meaning there are fewer of them left on your cannabis when you consume it.
The good news is that there are ways to keep cannabis as fresh and flavourful as when you buy it.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Cannabis Fresh?
Generally, your cannabis will be at its freshest in a cool, dry, dark place… but not the fridge or freezer (unless you’re making rosin). Freezing your flower can cause it to become brittle and you’re more likely to lose trichomes in the process, so room temperature is ideal.
Choose a container with a ‘neutral charge’ such as a glass jar, which will be airtight but won’t attract trichomes. In addition to avoiding exposure to heat and light, you need to ensure that air and moisture are at optimum levels.
If you’ve let your cannabis dry out and you’re looking for a short-term solution to rehydrate your bud, then there are a few hacks that may work for a quick fix. Be careful not to add too much moisture though, or you run the risk of creating conditions that could lead to mould. Some people swear by citrus rinds and add orange or lemon peel to their flower to pep it up, and others add a paper towel that has been soaked in distilled water. Peels can be left in for a couple of days, but wet paper should only be introduced for a couple of hours to revive dry flower. However, there are other options to revive flower that are much more scientifically sound and easier to control.
RH and 2-Way Humidity Control
The measurement used to check moisture content in your storage space is RH, or Relative Humidity, which is a measurement of the water vapour in the air in relation to the air temperature. RH can be measured with a hygrometer but the easiest way to regulate this is with an adaptive 2-way humidity control pack. These saltwater sachets come in various sizes and formats and last a couple of months. Boveda is one of the most well-known brands and its packs come in a choice of 58% or 62% RH. It comes down to personal preference but the general consensus is that somewhere between 55-65% RH is ideal for cannabis storage (and is ideal for curing and ageing too). Boveda packs add a ‘monolayer’ of moisture that protects the terpenes and stops moisture loss. This monolayer is only the thickness of one molecule but it is enough to protect against mould and maintain freshness by protecting the weight and flavour of your cannabis.
If you can smell a lot of terpenes when you open the jar then it may be a sign that the terpenes are evaporating - so, using a 2-way humidity control pack might make the protected terpenes smell less pungent until after the flower is ground. Change up the packs when they start feeling ‘crispy’. And don’t worry about putting in too many packs as the RH level will only ever reach a maximum of what is stated on the package.
Some people choose to beef up their stash jar by using a humidor, which is a specially designed wooden box that traditionally was used for cigars to allow them to breathe but also control airflow to keep optimum conditions. Now you can buy custom-designed humidors that are intended for use with cannabis and have spaces for jars and accessories, and some products even include a Bluetooth-controlled hygrometer.
Cannador is a humidor designed for ideal cannabis humidity levels, as some cigar boxes can maintain a higher humidity, which may create mould. Instead of cedar wood, which can impart flavour into the flower (a desired trait for adding spice to cigars), Cannador boxes are made of mahogany, which is resistant to swelling with heat and is better at controlling humidity. Boveda packs can be used in a humidor to support the work already being done by the wood itself as it also controls the moisture level in the box. VaporBeads can also be used inside the Cannador and these are made of medical-grade amorphous silica, which is fully synthetic and impregnated with a salt-based solution.
Whether you buy a purpose-built humidor or create your own stash jar in an airtight mason, just remember to keep it in a cool, dry, dark place and add a 2-way humidity control pack to keep your flower at its freshest.