Has My Weed Gone Bad? How To Tell If Your Bud Is Past Its Prime

Picture this: you’re rifling through your closet, and at the very back, you find an old jacket that you forgot about. You take a moment and dip through each of the pockets when suddenly you find… a dime bag of your favorite indica! But wait, don’t get too excited yet and start making any plans – is the weed even still good enough to smoke? Does weed even go bad? Really, you don’t even know when you actually tucked it away. It could have been a year, two years since you’ve worn the jacket last, so can you even smoke it still? We’re here today to answer that age-old question: can weed go bad? 

Is There A Timer On Your Bud? 

Timer On Your Bud

The simple answer is: no, bud doesn’t really go bad. But, the longer, more complex answer is that over time, the chemical composition changes. Just like any plant, the makeup of the marijuana plant breaks down, molecules oxidize and can lose efficacy and potency. While it’s true that smoking old bud won’t put you in the hospital, it also probably won’t get you as high as fresher weed will. The precise longevity of marijuana truly relies on a variety of factors, but one of the most glaring is how you store the weed. 

How To Store Weed Properly

How To Store Weed

Avoiding loss of weed and an ultimate wasting of budget, the best way to avoid weed going old is to just store it properly in the first place. Sure, dime bags served their purpose, but once you get home the goal is to throw that bud into an airtight, cannabis-specific container. 

Some tips. Go for glass or ceramic and make sure whichever type you use is airtight. This will help you avoid smell transfer and will keep your weed flavors intact. Once in the container, store your cannabis in a dark, cool place. A dark, cool place like the back of a cupboard would work well – just ensure that there is no mold or dampness. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want to store anything in the refrigerator or in the freezer; putting your cannabis in sub-zero or cool environments drain the leaves of its natural moistures, leaving you with dry, dry herb. Also, when you freeze weed, it becomes brittle once you attempt to defrost it.  

Whether or not it’s at a cool temperature, one fact remains true: if improperly stored, cannabis is prone to drying out and can easily become too harsh on your lungs to smoke.  If stored correctly, on the other hand, weed can stay fresh, moist and potent for months and months, maybe even years!  

How To Tell If Your Weed Is Old

Old weed

There are several ways that you can test out if that weed you found in your jacket pocket is still good to consume. Here are the best, and quickest ways to test out if your weed is still palatable using just your senses. 


Smell of weed

If your weed has been poorly stored, terpenes don’t last long. This means that the natural, pleasant scent that comes with the marijuana plant – no matter the strain – will be gone. Weed without this smell is a good indicator that your weed is going stale. If your weed has taken on a smell reminiscent of mildew, then steer clear! It’s an indicator of mold growth. On the other hand, you may catch a whiff of a more chemical smell, which would denote the use of chemicals and pesticides to treat the weed during the growing process. 

Texture And Appearance

Texture And Appearance

Simply breaking apart the nuggets of bud can give you a good sightline into the state of your cannabis. Note if any moisture exists or if the weed is exceptionally dry. Unlike old cannabis that cracks and falls apart in your hands, the well-cured and dried herb will naturally make a snapping sound. 

On just sight alone you’ll be able to discern whether your weed is still good to smoke. Older, dried out weed will crumble easily into a fine powder. Stale marijuana may look normal, but you can identify mold once you know the signs. This handy guide can help you tell if it’s either mold or a trichome on your cannabis. A general rule of thumb: most noticeable when you break apart the nugs, mold grows overtop trichomes and looks like a layer of powder engulfing your herb. 


Weed Taste

Once you have checked out the above tests, the final one is taste! Don’t go all in – just smoke a small amount to ensure you won’t get sick. You’ll know almost immediately if the weed isn’t fit for consumption. 

Ultimately, smoking past-the-expiry-date won’t kill you or put you in the hospital (unless it contains mold), but it will take away from your experience. If older, it will be less enjoyable than the fresher herb, and have a reduction in THC content, meaning you’ll experience less of a high. On top of that, it probably won’t taste good and can be really harsh on your lungs and throat. By simply storing cannabis correctly in the first place, you can avoid losing a good batch. We hope you enjoy your newly rediscovered weed!

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