Freezing Marijuana – Pros and Cons

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When you grow marijuana, you need to know how to store it. After all, you can’t just leave it lying around and expect it to stay potent. Some growers stick to freezing marijuana (or even refrigeration) as a method for long term storage. However, are these the best methods? I’ll discuss the pros and cons below. 

Is freezing marijuana the key?

Thanks to science, we now know that cannabis may have both euphoric and therapeutic properties. As a result, many people now enjoy marijuana for a variety of reasons. For many, the bigger question is how to store their pot.

Should they be freezing marijuana to keep it fresh?

Once marijuana is harvested, it only stays fresh and potent for so long. Just like any plant, as soon as you harvest it, the dying process begins. So, what’s the best way to store your pot for long periods without drying it out or losing trichomes?

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  1. Friction
  2. Humidity
  3. Light
  4. Temperature

Experienced growers know cannabis plants love lots of sunshine and warmth during growth. But once the marijuana is cured, the opposite becomes true. Cured weed stays fresh longer in cooler, dark temperatures with controlled humidity. 

If temperatures go beyond 77ºF, your buds may start growing mold and mildew. And if dry heat exists, you lose most of the plant’s essential oils. So, your smoke becomes crumbly, dried out, and brittle. It may even be harsh. 

As a general guide, here are the best conditions for storing marijuana:

  • Temperatures – Between 50 to 60 degrees
  • Humidity Levels – Between 59% to 63%

ineffective weed storage methods

Cardboard Box

This is an ineffective method. A cardboard box is not airtight and, therefore, doesn’t keep marijuana fresh. Instead, it quickly dries out, losing its potency, as well as its original flavor and aroma.  

Plastic Bag

Plastic baggies can be airtight when properly sealed. However, they also hold a lot of static charges, which attracts your trichomes like magnets. That’s why when you remove marijuana from a plastic baggie, there are little particles stuck to the bottom and sides. 

Those are your trichomes. Every time you remove some flower from the baggie and put it back, it loses more and more trichomes, which means it loses more and more potency.

freezing weed as a method for cannabis storage

Before we answer this question, let’s first discuss decarboxylation. This is the process of activating the THC in your marijuana by applying the perfect amount of time and heat. Until the right conditions exist, you won’t be able to feel any type of euphoria or high.

In other words, you need heat to decarboxylate marijuana to feels its euphoric effects. 

This may sound complicated, but in reality, it is not. Here are a few common ways users decarboxylate their bud without even knowing it:

  • Baking edibles in the oven
  • Creating THC butter on the stove
  • Cooking with weed in a crockpot
  • Creating liquids and topicals in a double boiler
  • Using a lighter to fire up a blunt or pipe

Many users are all for the idea of freezing bud because they believe it delays decarboxylation’s natural process. This means the THC will last longer. 

This is all true, but there are some things to look out for: 

Disadvantage of Freezing Weed #1

When freezing marijuana, you must use an airtight container. Too much oxygen could cause freezer burn. Defrosting freezer-burned weed without it losing quality and attracting pathogens is next to impossible due to the drastic temperature and humidity changes required for defrosting. Those changes could attract mold and mildew. 

Disadvantage of Freezing Weed #2

During the freezing process, trichomes tend to fall off and become extremely rigid and fragile. So, the slightest touch and you lose trichomes all over the place. Although your frozen marijuana may be stuck in the THC breakdown level, you stand the chance of lowering its potency by losing most, if not all, of your trichomes.

However, if you plan to store your cannabis to make bubble hash later, freezing weed is a great way to do it. 

An Alternative to Freezing Marijuana

You don’t have to freeze marijuana to store it. 

One common alternative is refrigeration. This method keeps the temperature under 77 degrees, while not actually freezing the weed. 

However, opening and closing the refrigerator causes fluctuations in the temperature. This increases the chances of developing mold and mildew. 

the best way to store cannabis

Well, remember the four primary considerations: 

  1. Friction 
  2. Humidity
  3. Light
  4. Temperature

These all suggest that an airtight container and darkness are the best solution. In terms of container material, glass containers (instead of plastic) are best. They will help maintain consistent oxygen and humidity levels, which keeps your weed from drying out. 

Expert tip: a hygrometer can monitor humidity levels. 

You also need to protect cannabis from light because it can also cause your weed to dry out. 

Avoid light exposure by storing your weed in a dark space. Alternatively, you can wrap your weed jars with dark paper, burlap sacks, or other types of dark material to block out the light. 

One crucial piece of advice: 

Never store cannabis in the same container as dirty weed pipes, grinders and other paraphernalia that needs cleaning. The dirty resins and burnt weed particles may cause your container to stink, negatively affecting the aroma, taste and quality of your stored bud.

Follow that basic science, and your pot should stay fresh and potent for up to six months.

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