How to Store Medical Cannabis Properly
Proper medical cannabis storage is essential regardless of how or why you use it. Storing cannabis properly keeps it fresh, pungent, potent, and perhaps most importantly, makes sure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
This article explains how to store dry cannabis flowers but many of these points also apply to concentrates and extracts. If you’re storing edibles, follow general food safety rules and make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Let’s start with how to store cannabis to keep it fresh and potent.
Storing Cannabis to Keep it Potent & Fresh
When you order cannabis from an LP it comes in specially-designed packaging. You can use the original packaging for storage, but not all LPs use packaging which is ideal for long-term cannabis storage. If you order from INDIVA, you can keep your cannabis in the original packaging.
Containers like ours help keep your cannabis potent and fresh with features like smooth interior surfaces and non-conductive material, both of which help prevent trichomes from breaking or rubbing off.
Ever notice the fine dusty powder which accumulates in a cannabis container? Those are dislodged trichomes – the tiny resin glands which produce terpenes and cannabinoids.
Containers which have irregular surfaces or static charge can dislodge trichomes and denigrate the quality of your cannabis. When you lose trichomes, you lose potency and flavour.
Picking A Cannabis Container
If you don’t wish to use original packaging, use a container which doesn’t build up static electricity, has a secure lid, and has smooth interior surfaces.
Don’t use metals since they are more conductive than plastic or glass. Avoid containers like plastic bags, envelopes, and tin-foil. Use them sparingly, if at all. Most people use them for transporting their cannabis, but there are ample alternatives available.
Remember that although a container may appear smooth it may still have irregularities you can’t see. These factors can pull the trichomes off of your cannabis and reduce potency and aroma, so stick with plastic or glass.
You’ll find suitable containers at most grocery stores and online.
Keep in mind how much cannabis you need to store when choosing a container. The less empty space, the better. More air in the jar will cause your cannabis to dry out faster. The effects may be subtle, but they add up.
If you are a patient who requires a large amount of cannabis it’s best to keep your supply for daily use separate from the bulk of your prescription.
A container for storing cannabis should have the following features:
- A secure lid
- A smooth interior surface
- Opaque material
- Low conductivity
A secure lid is important for keeping air out of the container and the smell of cannabis out of the air. If odours are escaping it’s a sign that moisture is being released and your cannabis is drying out.
A small amount of moisture is essential to long term cannabis storage because when cannabis dries out completely it takes on an unpleasant taste and can lose potency. Dry cannabis also results in a harsh, uneven burn if smoked.
Cannabis should also be kept out of direct light. Heat from the light can cause it to dry out and may affect the structure of the trichomes, making them less potent. An opaque container, like the one INDIVA uses, works best – especially if your cannabis container will be exposed to light.
Where to Store Medical Cannabis
Once you have a proper container, you to find the right place to keep it. Cannabis should be stored in a cool, secure, dry place where it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight or moisture. It’s also important to consider responsible use when choosing a place to store your medical cannabis. Keep it out of sight and out of reach so it doesn’t fall in the wrong hands. If you have young children around it’s better to take extra precautions.
Since heat rises you should avoid storing the cannabis too high up on shelves or cupboards. Don’t store it near a heat source like a heat vent or kitchen appliance.
Find a location with consistent temperature and humidity, and you’ll have a good place to store your cannabis.
Optimal Temperature for Storing Cannabis
The optimal temperature for storing cannabis is below room temperature. You could keep it in the freezer, so long as it doesn’t get jostled around. Since you’re likely using the freezer for more than storing cannabis, there’s a risk of bumping around your cannabis container and dislodging the trichomes.
In lower temperatures the trichomes freeze, and just like an icicle they become brittle and break off if the cannabis moves around too much.
At INDIVA we store our packaged products suspended in a frozen state inside a freezer designed to store cannabis. The cannabis is placed in this state after we cure it to a specific level of humidity. The packages are stored securely so the trichomes aren’t disturbed to retain as much flavour and potency as possible.
If you can make sure your cannabis container doesn’t get bumped around too much, the freezer is a reasonable location to store it.
While the freezer may be suitable, the fridge isn’t necessarily a good place because the fluctuating humidity and temperature can harm your cannabis even if it’s in an airtight container.
Conversely, if it’s too hot cannabis can start sweating and cause moulding. Heat can also cause it to dry out and become brittle and harsh if smoked or vaporized.