Photo Credit: The Weedis
There isn’t any hardcore proof that cannabis can expire, but the one thing known by cannasseurs is that the potency and the profile change over time. GreenBroz Inc.,a cannabis manufacturer in Las Vegas, NV says: “after all, the way a cannabis plant is harvested and/or
processed after the harvest will have a significant impact on the quality, potency, and longevity
of the finished product”.
Cannabis requires a certain level of care pre and post harvest. Cultivators, aspiring, cultivators, and cannabis lovers overall should familiarize themselves with these post harvest tips:
● Remove large fan leaves and trellis (an architectural structure made to support and display climbing plants).
● Dry in a space dedicated for drying that is ventilated with gentle air flow, and is temperature and humidity controlled.
● Cure by cutting the stems leaving just enough to keep the nug together, place into an airtight container, and make sure the container(s) are “burped” (move lid) multiple times a day.
● Trim when curing is complete and place in proper, quality packaging to preserve freshness.
The culture recognizes and utilizes multiple types of cannabis packaging. State laws are a contributing factor for the type of packaging seen in the market. Much of the required packaging isn’t good for the environment or for keeping cannabis fresh; but that’s a conversation for a different piece.
New Print, a company that offers high-quality online printing at wholesale prices, says this about
the type of cannabis packaging that keeps cannabis fresh: “a glass container inside a paper box; this type of packaging gives more protection. Of course, this is a packaging type predominantly used with CBD oil for extra safety and security.This is the best cannabis
packaging for keeping things fresh and safe”.
Hear from Cannasafe, a Cannabis Testing Company
cannabis shelf life.
Can you describe the process for testing cannabis/hemp?
“We have a team of top-notch scientists who specialize in certain assays of required testing. In California, compliance testing consists of potency, pesticides, microbial, heavy metals, foreign matter, and terpenes (if labeled).
Our scientists use various solvents to extract target analytes, and then process those that extract on the associated analytical instrumentation.
Those extractions and analytical techniques are all unique to the assay, so the process is quite complex and requires specialty trained analysts.”
Photo Credit: the Daily Bruin
What are the standards for a pass?
“The assays mentioned above, and California has particularly strict pesticides testing requirements. For instance, Category 1 Pesticides fail when they are detected on our instrumentation, therefore there is 0 tolerance for their use.”
What can cause a failed test?
“There can be various reasons for a failure, but we see pesticides and mold failures most often. Sometimes the pesticide fails are caused by usage in neighboring farms. Mold testing is tricky due to most states requiring presence/absence testing. This means that any DNA picked up by our instrumentation will be determined a failure, and there aren’t many vendors who have testing methods that were developed using the cannabis matrix.”
It is said that cannabis can have an indefinite shelf life, but only if all of the proper
conditions have been met; what are some of the best, and safest post-harvest processing
strategies that cultivators should be aware of?
“There is no perfect science to this yet. That said, our experience is based with both cultivation and final packaging for the patient. For cultivators, we see a lot of mold issues introduced during post-harvest since some people get more relaxed with procedures outside of the grow. The HVAC layout also plays a huge role in how contamination may develop and spread.
For patients, you want to avoid things that could degrade the plant: light, heat, moisture loss, etc. Packaging issues are only compounded by the childproofing laws, so sometimes quality is sacrificed for compliance”.
I know we can’t give concrete- information on expiration dates due to the state of federal legalization; however, I’d love your opinion on cannabis having an expiration date.
“This question is tough. The obvious is that you don’t want any microbial growth to happen during storage. This is impacted by numerous things, including how long the plant is originally cured. But beyond that, it’s really your preference. Some people don’t like dry or harsh smoke in their joints, so they would say cannabis ‘expires’ sooner than someone who uses a water bong.
The beauty of cannabis degradation is that the cannabinoids continue creating new cannabinoids. So, you most certainly won’t be getting the same effect in month 12 vs 1, but you may have created a ratio of cannabinoids that is better for your ailment.”
Cannasafe did research on the degradation of cannabinoids, and found that packaging plays a large role, can you share additional insight?
“Packaging affects how quickly moisture leaves the plant so it will impact quality and potentially allow microbial growth. We have also found that heat and light accelerate the degradation of cannabinoids.”
How often do you all see failed tests because of processing and degradation?
“Not often since we don’t see anyone re-submitting compliance flowers. COA’s currently last for 1 year, and flowers are normally sold by that time. We have seen from R&D that flowers can fall outside of the 10% label claim within a few months if stored in poor conditions”.
This piece was originally written by the author for Grow Magazine and it has been slightly edited for republish on the Traveling Vegan Cannabis Writer blog.