The SmokeSmith Gear Guide To Storing Herbs & Concentrates
Properly storing your legal dry herbs, concentrates, waxes, oils and other legal substances is very important, both in terms of extending the useful life of your stash while also ensuring that your medicine or legal recreational substances maintain their maximum potency and flavor. You are making an investment into these substances, be they for medical or recreational use. And proper storage can help preserve these substances and ensure you are getting the most in terms of medicinal value, flavor and freshness.
Temperature fluctuations, humidity control and exposure to light and air are all factors that can degrade the quality of your legal dry herb. The following guide is designed to help you understand how to properly store your legal dry herb and to inform you of what might happen if you don’t use proper storage methods.
There are a variety of ways to store herbs and concentrates, and a variety of situations that give rise to storage needs. We will examine home storage, travel storage and even pocket storage in this guide.
The Proper Way To Store Legal Dry Herbs & Concentrates
Minimize Exposure To Air
Exposure to oxygen (in the air) can cause legal herbs and concentrates to dry out rapidly. Too much exposure to air can cause bacteria, mold and mildew to grow, which can actually be harmful to your health. Oxygen exposure causes your bud to break down and lose many of its desirable qualities. One of the first elements to be lost to oxygen exposure are terpenes (these are oils produced by marijuana and other plants that give each strain its own scent, flavor, and quality). When these break down legal dry herb turns brown and flat.
Do not use plastic baggies, Ziplocs, foil, pieces of plastic wrap, or any other containers that may have been popular when you were a college student. These are not airtight. Not only will your materials go bad but these forms of porous storage emit odors, which is not helpful for those seeking discretion or people with children.
Minimize Exposure To Harmful UV Rays
Whenever possible you should store your dry herbs in a dark place and use dark tinted storage jars. Exposure to sun and light, which causes UV radiation, is one of the primary causes of cannabis deterioration. UV radiation destroys the bonds that hold different types of molecules together, including those in plant materials. Exposure to lights or the sun will cause the dry herb to dry out and get crumbly, and it will lose its medicinal value.
Find A Temperature Controlled Environment
Just as UV light can affect the bonds that form molecules, different temperatures also play a role in how stable the various chemicals in your herb will be. Higher temperatures will cause you to lose potency of THC, cannabinoids, and terpenes faster than lower temperatures. As temperature rises, molecules evaporate at a faster rate. The ideal temperatures for storing dry herbs is between 32° and 68° F. Temperatures above this range will cause the legal dry herb to become brittle and dry, and they also make it hard to control the humidity as warm air holds moisture. At temperatures above 77° F mold and mildew begin to grow, so avoid direct heat. It is also not advisable to store your dry herbs in a refrigerator or the freeze (this was a popular method when we were younger). Lower temperatures drastically slow down the decarboxylation process of the cannabinoids. Storing in an environment that has inconsistent temperatures can also have detrimental effects. The variations create stress on the plant structure, causing a loss of potency and, eventually, dryness and brittleness (aka “dirt weed”).
Control The Relative Humidity
Relative humidity, or RH, represents the amount of moisture in the air relative to the amount of moisture the air is physically capable of holding at that temperature. RH can affect everything from the smoothness of a toke to the effectiveness of cannabis in treating a given medical condition.
Why is humidity control so important? First off, an overly moist environment invites an array of scourges into your stash. Mold and bacteria, for instance, often grow on cannabis under certain conditions, especially when RH is too high (generally considered to be over 65%). Not only can contamination produce bad odors and flavors for the casual consumer, contaminants are particularly problematic for individuals using cannabis as medicine, especially when their immune systems are already compromised by their condition. If the humidity is too low your legal dry herb will dry out and crumble, losing both its flavor and potency.
Proper moisture levels will enhance flavor and odor as well as the amount and quality of the THC, cannabinoids, and terpenes that make consumers seek legal dry herbs in the first place. According to recent studies and testing the ideal relative humidity (RH) range for legal dry herbs is 59% to 63%. These levels prevent cannabis from losing weight, potency, and cannabinoids while protecting against molds and mildew.
Tools To Prolong The Life Of Dry Herbs & Concentrates
Airtight Glass Storage Containers
To protect legal dry herb from the various external forces that work against it advise the use of an airtight glass container. While there are many cheaper plastic models available for sale we recommend something a stash jar made of glass or metal as these offer better preservation and protect better against odor seepage. Be sure to that the seal created is airtight. For those who use their supplies quickly something made of clear glass is perfect. But if you are planning to store your dry herbs for more than a week something with a dark tint that offers UV protection is preferred.
To control the relative humidity we recommend adding a Boveda humidity pack to your container or humidor. For legal dry herb the 62% packs help achieve an ideal RH level. These packs last up to 4 months and are very easy to use. They offer two-way humidity control, which means they add humidity when things are two dry but they also remove moisture in situations where the RH level is too high.
One of the best ways to store legal dry herb is to use a humidor that is built specifically for this purpose, such as those offered by Cannador. Humidors offer all the elements of protection and storage one could want, especially when paired with humidity packs or more sophisticated tools like bead systems, which ensure that the correct water to vapor ratio is being maintained. In addition, humidors offer a level of discretion and protection (as most of them have locks on them, which is great for people with children). Good legal dry herb humidors should be made of a neutral wood like mahogany, which does not impart any scent or oils (tobacco humidors are typically made of cedar, which is not good for legal dry herbs).
For those who seek discretion and organization when they travel we recommend a travel pack that offers smell proof protection while also working as a handy storage device for both your gear and your supplies.
For proper storage of concentrates many people like to use smaller silicone jars. These provide protection from light and air and offer a convenient way to dig out the small amounts of concentrate necessary for use when dabbing.