Should You Freeze Your Cannabis?
Whenever there’s an excess of buds, they must be stored somehow. Check out if freezing your buds is a viable long-term storage option.
In the best of cases, cannabis growers produce more buds than they can possibly consume in the near future. This leads to the obvious question of how the remaining buds should be stored. The logical answer is to keep them somewhere we usually store greens for the long-term—the freezer. However, even though cannabis doesn’t look all that different from your classic veggies, it’s not the same thing.
The best answer to the question of whether one should freeze cannabis is that it should be avoided if possible, and only considered as a last resort. Of course, we don’t live in a fairytale world where cannabis never degrades and OG Kush buds are raining from the sky. That being said, let’s take the storage process step-by-step and present the smartest options.
When talking about storing cannabis, it’s usually assumed the bud has already been dried and cured. When the curing process finishes, the buds are ready for consumption, and there are three common ways to proceed: directly consuming the cured buds, storing them for ready access, and storing them long-term.
The best way to store buds for ready access is to place them in a coloured mason jar, which is then kept in a dark and cool space. Keeping the temperatures in the jar at around 20°C with approximately 60% RH (relative humidity) should do the trick. Now, for long-term storage, generally longer than 3 months (although the time span greatly depends on personal preference), placing buds in the freezer may be a practical alternative. But if one’s going with the latter option, one should do it correctly.
When freezing the buds, it’s recommended to first remove as much air as possible because oxygen degrades the quality of cannabis over time. Some prefer to place their buds in vacuum-sealed packaging before placing it in the freezer. However, the plastic can have a static charge, which makes the trichomes stick to it, so many prefer to use airtight mason jars instead.
Also, when the buds are frozen, one should refrain from opening the vacuum packaging or the jar on a regular basis. This is to prevent air from seeping in and thus detaching the brittle trichomes from the bud. It’s shrewd to have as little engagement as possible with the frozen buds until they’re ready to be permanently removed.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU STORE YOUR WEED AT ROOM TEMP?
According to research conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the degradation of cannabis quality, at room temperature, after one year is 16.6%. After two years it’s 26.8%; after three years it’s 34.5%; after 4 years it’s 41.4%. This means that even though the quality of cannabis decreases when stored at room temperature, it’s not as catastrophic as it’s being presented by many growers. Sure, the bud will contain more CBN, making the effects more sleepy, and the terpene profile will reduce significantly; however, with freezing comes problems like potential mould, rot, detachment of trichomes, and more. Of course, mould and rot can also develop when cured buds are stored at room temperature if they’re not handled correctly. Ultimately, it’s about formulating a plan and sticking to it as well as possible.
CONCLUSION: DON’T FREEZE UNLESS YOU HAVE TO
Since you have important and heavy thinking to do about the future of your buds, we’ll keep it brief. Avoid freezing if you can, but if you must, use a coloured glass mason jar, keep it airtight, remove as much air as possible, and make sure your freezer is not prone to random outages. Touch the flower only when you place it into the freezer, and when you remove it.
Can you Freeze Cannabis?
Many home growers produce around 2-3 crops per year. Once they have harvested their plants they usually have an immediate surplus of cannabis buds.
But what’s the best way to keep those premium quality buds in optimum condition?
Many people store their buds in glass jars or plastic containers. But can you really freeze cannabis? Are there any downsides to keeping your stash frozen in the freezer? What are the benefits of freezing cannabis, if any?
THC slowly degrades at room temperature
The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC, is an organic chemical which slowly decomposes at room temperature over several years.
THC doesn’t decompose at a catastrophically high rate at room temperature. Many of us will have found a small bag of weed which we didn’t realise we still had a couple of years later.
Often you can smoke buds that are a year, or more, old. Even though the aroma and taste may be a long way past their best, you can still get high from these buds. THC still remains active at room temperature for a couple of years but not for ever.
Storing any organic material at room temperature means that, over time, it will start to slowly react with atmospheric oxygen.
THC levels in your favourite buds will inevitably lose a few percentage points each year. So if you have some surplus buds to store, you may want to consider the freezer.
You can freeze buds to keep them for a longer time.
The advantages to freeze cannabis
For many people, having a large stash of extra buds is nothing to worry about.
Many home growers consume their cannabis within a year. So a little bit of decomposition may not seem like a big deal.
But some connoisseur cannabis growers like to maintain the highest possible quality levels for their stored cannabis buds.
The best way to preserve the quality and flavour with cannabis is just the same way you would use to extend the shelf life of many foods – with reduced temperature storage.
Some people like to keep their buds stored at low temperatures in order to give them the maximum possible life. The two obvious options for the quality conscious grower are to store their cured buds in the fridge or freezer.
What about storing your buds in the loft?
Anyone who has made the mistake of storing their jars of cured buds in a hot loft over summer is unlikely to repeat the mistake.
Loft spaces can get very hot in summer, temperatures of 40-50ºC are not unheard of. At these temperatures your buds will not retain optimum freshness, flavour and potency for long.
The delicate terpene and cannabinoids unfortunately don’t survive long in poor storage conditions and mold is a constant threat.
But if you think about it, you wouldn’t store any valuable ‘perishable’ product in a hot loft, so why would cannabis be any different?
Cold storage is the best way to preserve your precious buds for the long term.
Freezing or refrigerating your cannabis buds
Once your buds have been properly dried and cured you have 3 main options for storage.
Many people, especially those intending to consume the buds quickly, will simply store their buds in glass mason jars in a private storage area.
Some will put the containers of buds in the fridge at around 4ºC.
Others will keep them in the deep freeze at around -20ºC.
The best way to preserve the quality and flavour with cannabis is just with reduced temperature storage.
Advantages of freezing cannabis buds
One of the main benefits of putting your dried and cured buds in the deep freeze is that they will be preserved for many years.
The low temperatures in your freezer are proven to stop decomposition of foods/vegetables and the same science also preserves your buds.
If you have an excess of buds from your harvest and don’t know where best to store them, the freezer is a great option.
Advantages of refrigerating your buds
If you don’t have a freezer and you don’t want to allow your premium quality buds to slowly degrade then a fridge is another good option.
A fridge isn’t as cold as a freezer, but at 4ºC it offers superior storage conditions compared to simply leaving your jars behind the sofa or under the floorboards.
Your buds will remain in great condition after a year or two in a fridge. But for the best longer term storage, a freezer offers the ultimate preservation.
Disadvantages of storing your cannabis in the freezer or fridge?
You may notice a slight cannabis aroma when you open your fridge or freezer. That seems to be the main disadvantage of cold storing your buds with your food. One way around this is to use air-tight containers.
When it comes to keeping the aroma inside the container, a glass mason jar with a rubber seal is far superior to a cheap plastic container with a clip-on lid from the supermarket.
Some professional growers have dedicated freezers which they use only for cold storing their cannabis buds.
The advantage of this arrangement is that the freezers are not used on a day-to-day basis, you can keep your buds stored separately to your food.
If you don’t have a freezer, a fridge is another good option.
Storing your cannabis safely at cool temperatures
Not everyone wants to keep their buds stashed in the freezer.
These days, many home growers convert any excess harvest to into cannabis concentrates, such as hash, cannabis oil, shatter, etc.
But for those growers that love growing cannabis seeds and having a generous stash of buds, a fridge or a freezer is a good choice with no real downsides.
Our best advice is to use high quality storage containers with an air-tight seal, such as professional glass mason jars.
Good luck with your harvest and don’t be afraid to cold-store your buds if you haven’t tried it before!