shelf life of marijuana
shelf life of marijuana

What is the Shelf Life of Cannabis? - Does Weed Go Bad?

The Art of Stocking – Finding the Medium between Supply and Demand

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Tuesday Mar 3, 2020

The Art of Stocking – Finding the Medium between Supply and Demand

what is the shelf life of cannabis does weed go bad?

Everything eventually degrades to its base forms. This is the nature of life. You, me and the weed you are smoking right now – all eventually will wither and die.


The Motley Fool recently reported that Canada is sitting on $1 billion USD worth of cannabis inventory sitting idly while sales are sluggish to maintain a balance between supply and demand.


In most industries – having a lot of inventory means you have a lot of opportunities to sell. It means that if you have a steady demand for your product, you’ll be stocked for a foreseeable future. However, unlike the automotive industry – cannabis deals with consumable goods, meaning that there is a definitive period before the product goes bad.


This translates into a direct loss and is something that folks who are interested in working in the cannabis industry should consider.


Additionally, “how long is my weed good for” is something that we as the consumers should be asking. Especially – for those who are doing home grows and have a surplus of weed at home. By understanding the natural degradation of cannabis and what factors either speed up or slows down the process – you can optimize your storage and utilization of the products to optimize efficiency and maintaining the delicate balance between supply and demand.


First thing is first – how long is my weed good for?


What is the Shelf Life of Cannabis?


This is where things become tricky because some dried bud can last for some time. However, most people do find that after a period of 12-months, there is significant changes from when it was first purchased/harvested.


However, most of these “notable changes” relate to terpenes, which degrade far quicker than the cannabinoids. These changes relate mostly to the odor and flavor of the plant whereas the cannabinoid profile would probably still be able to give you an additional 12-months before degrading.


After roughly 18-24 months; THC will begin to degrade to CBN [cannabinol] which still has medicinal properties – but no longer will get you high. In fact, some people believe that CBN helps with inducing states of sleep and could be good against inflammatory illnesses.


Nonetheless – it would be safe to say that the “total shelf life” of retail cannabis should be no longer than 2-Years IF the cannabis was stored under proper conditions.


If the cannabis was not stored under proper conditions – then the product would degrade faster. In fact, if I was a dispensary owner – I’d sell my weed at full price for a year. If that particular strain still had some left over after a year – it would immediately have a 20% discount on it. When approaching the 18-month mark – sell it for 50% cheaper and by the 2-year marker – give it away for free as a promotional tool. After that it would virtually have no more retail value.


What are the conditions that degrade cannabis?


Now that we have a general overview on the “shelf life of cannabis” – let’s take a closer look at the conditions that influence degradation.


The “factors” or “conditions” that influence this process are; Temperature, Humidity, Air Quality, & Light.


Temperature – Essentially, you’ll want to keep your weed from getting moldy or have any other organic externality grow on it. This means to keep your weed at temperatures lower than 77º F [ideally] – lower is better.


Humidity – In the same vein of keeping contaminants out of your cannabis. In terms of relative humidity [RH], most growers/cannabis experts agree that the best for storing your cannabis sits somewhere between 59% - 63% RH. Thus, keeping a hygrometer or some form of tracking humidity levels “within your storage units” is most beneficial. Don’t let the relative humidity drop too low either – this could lead to the essential oils drying out.


Air Quality – Typically, for most consumers and retail dispensaries – you’ll want to keep your cannabis in a tightly compressed storage container since most of the “curing” should have been done prior to the weed reaching you. However, for a grower – you’ll first need to go through the curing and drying processes prior to finally “storing” the product. Once stored – you can vacuum pump a lot of the oxygen out of the container that will slow down the degradation process significantly. However – do this only if you have large quantities you’re not planning on using soon. In other words – it’s okay to vacuum seal weed.


Light Pollution – This is the “mother degenerate” of all. UV rays are considered the be the primary reason why cannabinoids degrade – MEANING – you should always store your cannabis in a DARK PLACE. Be sure to keep it out of direct light as much as possible. Do this – and you’ll significantly extend the shelf life of the cannabis.


The Balance between Supply & Demand


Now – going full circle back to retail cannabis. Understanding that ‘at most’ you have 2-years of shelf life for a product - you can now start playing with your supply & demand dynamics.


Hopefully this article helped put some things into perspective and for those at home, not within the retail market – assisted with helping them preserve their cannabis.








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