Article by Lin Shen, Cannabis Life Network
Ever wonder what has happened to the weed you found in an old ziplock bag hidden in the depth of your closet? Because same. Now, before you grind that up and smoke it, read this article first to find out what happens behind the scenes when your weed gets old.
To smoke or not to smoke
Weed doesn’t technically expire as food does. Smoking old weed won’t poison you like drinking spoiled milk does. Long story short, as long as it isn’t moldy, you can still smoke it. However, the effects certainly won’t be as good as a fresher weed. How long your weed stays good depends on the storage method you use. Air-tight glass jars are your best bet at keeping your weed fresh for the longest possible time. You can read more about how to properly store weed here.
One of two things could’ve happened to that old weed– it either dried out, or moisture snuck in. If it is dry and crumbly, you can attempt to make the best out of that weed by rehydrating it with a humidity control pack such as Boveda. Alternatively, you can use a citrus fruit peel such as orange or lemon; but be careful not to leave those in with the weed for more than a day or two as it can get moldy real quick. Dry one feels harsh on your throat and does not make for a good smoking experience; however, you don’t want it to be wet either.
On the other hand, if your weed feels spongy, smell it and break it apart to check for bud rot. Bud rot is a type of mold that grows in the dense core of a cannabis bud; it spreads like an infection and breaks down your weed. You should avoid smoking it if it smells like mildew or urine, or if there are white or black fuzz on it. Smoking moldy one may cause a variety of repercussions on your health such as nausea, intense coughing, and sometimes even lung infections and death. Learn more about how to identify moldy weed here.
Changes in effect od weed overtime
Weed also loses two things over time– its terpenes and psychoactive potency. Terpenes evaporate into the air and are the first to go. Your once skunky, citrusy, meaty bag of weed will have little or no scent the older it gets. Smoking weed with no terpenes is like drinking cheap, watered-down orange juice– it’s not ideal, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
The next thing to decrease is potency. Weed is filled with cannabinoids; the most notable one which gets you high is THC. THC is first in the form of THCA in freshly harvested weed which can’t get you high. When the buds get exposed to heat, light, and oxygen the THCA then transforms into THC– a process called decarboxylation. Consuming weed without heating it up won’t get you high. However, when it is exposed to excessive light, heat and oxygen over time, the THC will convert into CBN which is less psychoactive than THC (but more psychoactive than CBD). CBN has similar effects as CBD; additionally, it has strong sedative effects. Therefore, when you smoke it, you may find yourself feeling very tired and relaxed which may or may not be a good thing depending on what kind of effect you’re consuming weed for.