Marijuana Packaging: How To Keep Weed Fresh
Marijuana packaging — and plastic sandwich baggies specifically — have long been a bane of existence for most serious stoners. We’ve certainly had trouble finding high-quality, distinctive pot packaging for our organic, honest marijuana that still satisfies consumer taste and legal demands.
So what’s a concerned cannaseur to do? Learn how to keep weed fresh from the Mary Jane experts at Honest Marijuana , that’s what.
In this article, we’ll present a few fun historical reefer packaging facts and break down the biochemical basis of tried-and-true traditional pro tips. That’s a lot of words for basically telling you how to keep your pot as fresh as possible.
We’ll start by examining the packaging practices of the past.
United States Marijuana Packaging History
Since the mid- to late-1800s, marijuana packaging has been a major priority for big pharmaceutical companies like Park Davis & Co., and S.B. Penick & Co. (now subsidiaries of Pfizer and Siegfried Ltd. respectively). These companies used airtight tin containers to protect their cannabis from air and sunlight and to keep it from losing its potency .
In the early 1900s, apothecaries (the precursors to pharmacists) who sold and distributed cannabis in the United States made use of ceramic jars to keep their ganja fresh. “But wait,” you say, “we’re a long way from the early 1900s! We’re not even in the 20th century anymore. Surely the masters of marijuana have come up with better packaging than tins and ceramic jars.”
You’d think so, right? Well, rest assured that we have. But before we tell you about our awesome new packaging, let’s investigate what makes for a good canna-container.
The Chemistry of Keeping Weed Fresh
It’s important to understand how air temperature, humidity, and light interact with the chemistry of your cannabis. When you know how to control those factors, you’ll be able to keep your reefer really fresh for longer periods of time.
It’s important to store your stash in a spot with cool, but not cold, air temperatures in order to preserve the psychoactive potency of your pot.
Decarboxylation is the process by which raw, organic, cannabinoids in their plant form (such as THC , CBD , CBN , and CBG ) are activated so that the natural endocannabinoid system in your body can reap the benefits .
There are so many advantages to fresh decarboxylated weed that we couldn’t possibly ever list them…even in one single run-on sentence.
The thing is, the THC in your weed will lose its euphoric kick and degrade into the cannabinoid CBN (which will still help you get to sleep but won’t get you high) if you leave it out in the heat.
The aromas and medicinal properties of the terpenes in your weed will also dry out, making your medicine harsher and less healthy to smoke.
And if that’s not bad enough, mildew and other mold may be more likely to manifest on your marijuana from the moisture which accumulates in air temperatures of 77° Fahrenheit or warmer.
Many who read the above information will immediately think, “Put it in the freezer!” But you don’t want to freeze your reefer in an attempt to preserve it in spite of what some sources will suggest.
Yes, super cold ice water, high proof alcohol, and even dry CO2 ice are excellent ways to make the cannabinoid-laden trichome resin freeze up and fall off of freshly harvested sensimilla if you want to make cannabis concentrates for vaporization , edibles , or tinctures .
But if you store your buds in the freezer, the trichomes will break off and ruin the short- and long-term smoking potential of your pot. Don’t do it.
The humidity levels of the spot where you stash your herb has a lot to do with how long it’s medicinal qualities will last.
Too much moisture in the air around your herb will make it susceptible to mildew and mold. Too little moisture will dry the trichome resin right out and degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes — even if the air temperature is optimal.
Research suggests that a relative humidity (RH) level between 59% and 63% is ideal to keep your weed as consistently fresh in terms of potency, aroma, flavor, texture, and color.
An RH level of 62% is thought to be the sweet spot for storing weed for smoking , while people who prefer to vape their weed are leaving it at lower RH levels closer to 54%.
Serious stoners who want to keep their stash as fresh as possible for as long as possible can use products such as the Cannador or salt-based humidity monitoring and control packs from Boveda.
These will help you ascertain, optimize, and stabilize the sweet RH spot for storing preferred strains of cannabis.
Ultra violet rays (light) from the sun can bleach your buds and harsh the mellow of your marijuana just as much as they can burn your skin.
In fact, light exposure was the single most salient factor in the long-term stability rate of cannabinoids from research in which nine samples of weed were left out in various conditions for over two years.
The study conducted in the 1970s by the University of London found that their pot samples could maintain their potency for one to two years in “well-filled,well-closed” containers left in dark, room-temperature conditions.
So now that you understand just how essential temperature, humidity, and light are to the freshness of your marijuana, let’s turn our attention to basic storage ideology.
Weed Storage 101
Believe it or not, marijuana packaging has come a long way since the tin cans and ceramic pots of yore.
Nowadays, most serious stoners make use of airtight homesteading-style glass mason jars of different sizes. They’ll have various sizes on hand for different quantities of bud. And if you’re not familiar with glass canning jars, they’re the containers commonly used for preserving fruit and pickling vegetables. You can pick up a case for cheap at your local hardware or grocery store.
A glass canning jar with a lid is perfect for pot since mason jars are impermeable to oxygen, aren’t affected by residual humidity, and are inert to temperature fluctuations. In addition, glass doesn’t secrete any chemical compounds that will kill the fresh aroma of your cannabis terpenes.
Unfortunately, most clear mason jars won’t protect your ganja from becoming dry and brittle due to sunlight or heat damage. That’s why opaque or dark, tinted glass jars are always your best bet.
If you can’t find a glass container with a lid, an airtight container made of titanium is your next best option to preserve your pot since it doesn’t secrete any ganja-ruining gases.
When deciding how to store your weed, it’s vital that you keep different strains of weed separate. This helps to preserve each strain’s individual aromas and psychoactive effects.
It’s critical to keep any clear glass jars you may be using for your herb in cool, dark, dry places such as cupboards, cabinets or drawers. Placing your ganja jar in a dark paper bag can also help you protect your cannabis from harmful cosmic UV rays.
It’s also very important to make sure that your jars are the right size for the amount of ganja that you need to smoke since extra empty jar space lets more air, with all its unwanted heat, ambient humidity, and all the mold and mildew that can come with it into your herb.
You can also vacuum seal your ganja jars to reduce the amount of oxygen you expose to your medicine.
As you can see, there are a number of elements that come in to play when selecting optimal marijuana packaging .
What You Don’t Want to Do with Your Weed
Now that you know a bit about weed storage, let’s talk about what NOT to with whatever containers you choose.
- Never leave your medicine out in the open on tables or countertops exposed to light, heat, and/or humidity.
- Never store your stash near electronics or other heat generating gadgets since the heat will degrade your dope.
- Never store your reefer in the refrigerator. The temperature fluctuations from opening and closing your fridge door every time you get the munchies will make your marijuana moldy and mildewy.
- Never keep your cannabis on ice in your freezer since this will break trichome resin heads off from the rest of the reefer before you can consume it.
- Never, ever add fruit peels to flavor your weed even if some sources tell you this is ok. Doing so will add unwanted moisture, mold, and mildew into your marijuana.
Never store your weed in direct contact with any other substance with a strong aroma such as makeup, perfume, cologne, deodorant, shaving cream, aftershave, paint, polish, or any other commonly-carried cosmetic which can leach into your medicine. This is also why you want to store your stash separately from your lighters, pipes , bongs , grinders , pokers, and other pot paraphernalia which will get funky with use and overpower the freshness of the pot you are aiming to preserve.
Don’t Rely On Plastic
Plastic, especially the plastic sandwich baggies that most marijuana users keep their cannabis in, are positively the worst way to preserve your weed. Plastic baggies do absolutely nothing to keep light, air, heat, cold, or moisture out of your marijuana.
Even sealable plastic baggies will let lots of odors out from your pot out as well. Plastic is a horrible material for keeping pot fresh since it has a static charge that will pull precious trichomes from the plant matter onto the plastic, creating a fine, sticky, powdery mess that you’ll never be able to get out of the bag into your bong .
When you visit your local dispensary, we highly recommend that you bring your own empty glass jars for your budtender to fill rather than ruin your weed or the environment with plastic baggies.
The Next Step In Marijuana Packaging
At Honest Marijuana we take pride in everything we do. That extends to our revolutionary pot packaging. We put all our buds in resealable cans to preserve the freshness longer.
We even take the extra step of preserving the flowers with nitrogen before sealing the containers. This preserves the cannabis longer and ensures that you see, smell, and taste everything exactly the same way we do at the growery. That’s what good packaging is all about.
Want to keep your weed fresh longer? The experts at Honest Marijuana show you how packaging plays a vital role in keeping your pot potent.
The Best Types of Containers for Keeping Your Weed Fresh
Keeping your weed fresh will help it go a long way.
by Jenn Keeler – August 6, 2020
Why is keeping your weed fresh important? Because smoking weed that’s all dried and crusty isn’t enjoyable. Dried out weed makes for a harsher smoke, which not only can influence the taste but can also make your throat feel like you swallowed a porcupine.
So, how do you keep weed as fresh as possible? Fortunately, it’s not too hard. It begins with understanding what makes good weed go bad – pretty much all elements of nature, including light, moisture, and air. Thus, in order to keep your weed fresh, you must protect it from these elements. And you can do this by:
Getting a good glass jar
Some people opt to buy glass jars designed specifically for storing pot. Others take whatever they can find – a sugar canister, an old jelly jar, a mason jar (just be sure to dump out the moonshine!). The type of jar isn’t as important as the circulation – it must be airtight!
As previously mentioned, air is one of the elements that dries out cannabis. The reason it does this is because of evaporation. Cannabis contains a certain level of moisture and air induces evaporation, causing your buds to dry up. Have you ever experienced dry skin after spending time outside on a windy day? It’s the same concept – air dries out cannabis just as it does skin.
Glass works where other material fails because it doesn’t change – it doesn’t leak compounds or allow the temperature to fluctuate. This isn’t to say no air is introduced into the jar – each time you uncap the lid, oxygen enters. In other words, if you’re opening the jar every five minutes to check in with your buds, you’re not doing Mary Jane any favors. Only open it when you’re taking weed out or putting weed in. And make sure your jar is size appropriate. If you have a small amount of weed, use a small jar.
Glass does have a major fault – it’s not immune to light. So be sure to store your glass jar somewhere dark (like a cupboard or basement shelf). Refrain from keeping it in a shed or garage – you don’t want to store it where it might get too hot. Don’t put it near a heater, either.
Metal is a suitable alternative to glass. But, again, the seal matters: it must be airtight in order to be sufficient. Titanium is most recommended. The reason is that titanium won’t change the flavor of the weed, turning it metallic. Like with glass, be sure that your metal jar (or box) is kept somewhere dark and away from heat.
Plastic is not recommended for weed storage because of its moldability – it does leak chemicals that can change the flavor of weed (or the flavor of anything else). Even cookies stored in Tupperware start to take on a plastic taste if stored long enough. Storing weed in a pencil box for twenty-minutes while your RA conducts room inspections probably won’t hurt anything, but avoid it for anything long-term.
Try a cannabis humidor
Sure, humidors are “so cigar” but they work for cannabis too. A humidor, as the name insinuates, help control humidity, something highly important to cannabis. Humidity acts opposite of air – it doesn’t dry out weed, but it leaves it too moist. And that sets the stage for mold.
Moldy weed is a different ballgame than weed that is simply dried out. The former can be unhealthy for you, especially if you smoke moldy weed routinely. Inhaling mold spores can exacerbate conditions you may already have (things like asthma) while leaving you more prone to lung infections (like pneumonia).
A humidor doesn’t solve the problem of moldy weed entirely – there’s always a chance that the weed was moldy when you bought it. But it does help you control humidity, which will prevent healthy cannabis from growing mold. The best humidity levels are over 50 percent but less than 70 percent.
Of note, most cigar humidors maintain humidity levels higher than what is recommend for cannabis. If you’re using a cigar humidor to store your weed, keep this in mind – it’s probably already programmed at levels higher than you want.
Not putting weed in the refrigerator or freezer
Back in college, when we were young and dumb, weed was stored in the mini-fridge as a routine – heck, if you wanted to keep things fresh, that’s where it went! Some people (i.e. my parents) even put batteries in the fridge or freezer.
But these places are not ideal for cannabis. The freezer is especially bad as it can cause the weed to lose its trichomes, which are essentially the heart of the cannabis plant. The reason the freezer does this is that it causes the flowers to freeze, crystalizing the trichomes and allowing them to break off. This breakage not only lessens the benefits of cannabis, but it can also make it taste funny.
Overall, when storing cannabis, it’s best to keep it in a dark, cool place (but not freezing) free from too much air or too much humidity. Make sure you don’t store it somewhere it may be exposed to periodic heat, such as in the kitchen cupboard above your oven. If you can do all this, you should be able to keep your pot good to go for an extended period of time. Long live the leaf.
The Best Containers for Organizing Your Cannabis Stash
If you plan to store cannabis, it is important to consider these variables so that you can enjoy the most potent version of your medicine for the longest duration of time. Cannabis is best stored in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark room or box, and with a relative humidity (RH) level between 55% and 62%. Cannabis should never be frozen because the cannabinoid-laden trichomes will become brittle and break off. Cannabis also should not be placed in sandwich bags or tin cans. The bags create static that pulls away at the trichomes and the cans let in too much air. Degradation is inevitable, but choosing the right storage container can slow down the process. Here are 6 of the best containers on the market.
1. Cannador – $169-$318
The Cannador is one of the best cannabis storage containers you can get. Aesthetically, the wooden box is simple, elegant, and discreet. Practically, the mahogany interior provides natural humidity control and resistance to swelling. The boxes come with airtight glass cups meant to keep strains separated and that fit perfectly in the wooden box. Depending on the size (from 2 strains to 9 strains), the Cannador comes with either an additional drawer or a nook in the interior for your various accoutrements. The box also comes with a lock and two keys which makes it just that much more secure.
2. SneakGuard – $69.95
With its discreet, smell proof, security, moisture-reducing, and light shielding features, the SneakGuard protects cannabis from every threat. The container’s vaccum system is air-tight, keeping oxygen out and potency in. The SneakGuard is also built with humiddicant holders that keep moisture at safe levels. Odors are sealed into the container because of its dual airtight seals and built in vacuum system. The container’s opaque construction keeps cannabis out of sight, light away from cannabis, and curious eyes out of your business. Finally, the SneakGuard can only be opened with a four-digit code, making it one of the most secure containers on the market.
3. The 4 Strain Apothecarry Case – $259
The Apothecarry Case was clearly designed with the chic, experienced, and discreet consumer in mind. The hardwood case boasts an elegant, rustic design. The box is locked with both a code combination and a key lock, making this a child, pet, and nosey stranger secure cannabis case. The case is separated into two sections to prevent odors from resin spilling over into fresh flower. One side is designed to hold strains and concentrates, the other is meant to hold your tools. The case comes equipped with airtight glass containers and a metal grinder. The glass containers are designed to keep RH levels at 62%. They also come with reusable labels. The container also includes a metal dab stick and food grade silicone dab jars suitable for holding concentrates and waxes. The designers of this box truly thought of everything.
4. Re:stash Jar – $19-$25
BPA free, UV-resistant, eco-friendly, child-resistant, and smell proof, this American manufactured jar has given the mason jar the perfect upgrade for the cannabis consumer. The Re:stash Jar is made with 30% farm waste, which sounds kind of gross, but totally great for the environment. The jar is shielded from light by an opaque silicon koozie with varying designs. In addition to the light protection, the koozie is a great addition to any wide mouthed jar containing a beverage best insulated. It’s also microwave and dishwasher safe. The child proof lid and discreet nature of this container make it a secure and cost-effective option for cannabis storage. The jars come in 4 oz, 8, oz, 12, oz, and 16 oz sizes.
Nobody likes to smoke dried up, crusty weed. Here are some jar tips for making sure your stash stays as fresh as possible, as long as possible.