How long is the shelf life of weed? In reality, cannabis can last indefinitely. This is good news if you have just uncovered a plastic bag of leftover weed. However, proper conditions have to be met in order for your weed to enjoy an unlimited shelf life. If these conditions are met, you can actually enjoy it 10 years from now. Of course, it will degrade in quality but it is often unnoticeable.
It can be tempting to celebrate right away and start smoking the newly found weed with your friends. The problem is it could have gone bad and you surely do not want to inhale a moldy ganja. The weed you discovered could have fungus and it will just make you suffer from a bad buzz. Instead of tasting old weed, it helps if you are aware of the signs. Thankfully, you do not have to be an expert to identify old or bad cannabis – you just have to use your five senses:
Your Sense of Sight
It is almost very easy to spot healthy marijuana because of its wonderful way of displaying its aesthetics. At the same time, it is also quite simple to see if the cannabis is undesirable. Here are some qualities of bad cannabis:
- When you spot old cannabis, it is actually difficult to tell whether or not it is really cannabis.
- Dried out weed will often break apart and turn into powder even if you do not put in an effort. Note that it is not the same as kief because cannabis that has broken down will have particulates, such as seeds or stems. If you have bought cannabis with stems or seeds (or both), it does not necessarily mean that it is bad. Nevertheless, their presence is usually an identifier of cannabis that has gone bad.
- You can find mold in your stash. It is a good thing that mold is easily identifiable even though it can take on different appearances. Mold appears powdery white and typically penetrates the surface of the flower. Do not confuse it with trichomes, which appear like mold. These shiny and sticky trichomes are tiny crystals that are around the buds and leaves of marijuana strains. If you cannot tell by appearance, where they are concentrated can tell you as well. Mold can also be found underneath the cannabis nugs, so you may want to break the flowers apart to know if they are still of good quality.
Before you enjoy that weed, be sure to give it a visual inspection first. Also be wary if there are spores, black spots or any brownness on the weed as these are all signs of mold. You can use a magnifying glass or black light to determine if there is anything unwanted on the stash.
Your Sense of Smell
In addition to a visual check, you should also use your nose to help you determine if it is a dank weed. You already know the typical smell of weed and you can use it as your baseline. When the weed is old though, you can tell that it has that mildew or moldy smell that is comparable to a dirty gym or even rotten onions. Some people even compare it to fecal matter. The bottom line is it will smell like something you would never want to put in your mouth.
There are some strains though that can smell like moldy cheese. You may have heard about those that are described as cat piss or skunk. However, old cannabis is worse than any of them and is definitely not smoke-worthy. Also, watch out for chemical aromas that could come from the weed as these could be tell-tale signs of improper use of pesticides.
If you have stored your cannabis improperly, it will draw its scent from the container. The smell of the weed is a huge indicator of whether or not you should smoke it. If there is any unwelcome smell, you may want to put it down. Similarly, if the weed has no smell, it should be a cause for concern as well.
Your Sense of Touch
When you handle your cannabis, it can be a great way to determine its quality. If the nugs are identifiable, here are some things to watch out for:
- The buds are over-compressed.
- There is moisture.
- The herb crumbles easily when crushed with minimal effort.
As mentioned earlier, you may want to deconstruct the flowers to identify if mold has penetrated your weed.
Your Sense of Hearing
You may think it does not make sense to use your ears when you test the quality of your stash but it can actually help. If you listen to the sounds of the nugs as you break it apart, you can tell if it is already bad. Smoke-worthy marijuana will give you that audible “snap,” especially if it has been dried and cured properly. That sound tells you that the weed is still crisp and does not hide any moisture content.
Meanwhile, brittle and old cannabis will give that crackly sound when you break it apart. At the same time, you will feel the dryness, so you already have two clues. If the cannabis has too much moisture content, you will not hear any sound and it will be quite difficult to pull the flowers apart.
Your Sense of Taste
If the cannabis you have smells and looks good and breaks apart with a “snap” sound, give it a try. You may not want to try smoking weed before you have even inspected it. That said, you can determine if it is bad when you smoke it simply because it will not smoke well. You will know immediately in your first puff.
If the marijuana is still good, it will taste like weed that you are used to, of course. However, if it is bad, the taste will have a few additional flavors that will reduce the experience. You can smoke old marijuana, which is actually similar to drinking leftover beer. As long as there is no mold, you can still get that euphoric buzz although the effects have been diminished.