Does weed go bad? Here's everything you need to know about consuming old marijuana.


Does weed go bad? Here's everything you need to know about consuming old marijuana.
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Whether you stored it away intentionally or forgot about an old stash, most pot consumers have wondered whether or not their weed has gone bad at some point. The short is answer is no — but that depends on your definition of "bad," as well as the method in which you stored it. 

Technically, weed doesn't go bad in the sense that it will have a negative effect on the user. Antique pot won't poison you or have a dramatically different impact on your body. But its potency can certainly decrease or, at the least, be altered if not stored properly. 

Marijuana plants have a number of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids present in their flowers. When these buds are dried out and subsequently heated, the cannabinoids are converted from biosynthetic acids into the weed's psychoactive substances in a process known as decarboxylation. The most notable transformation is Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) into THC, which is the primary mind-altering property of cannabis.

Marijuana joint
Source: 
PEDRO PARDO/Getty Images

According to the Colorado Pot Guide, THCA can be converted into a different cannabinoid called CBNA (and thus CBN) if the cannabis is exposed to excessive heat or sunlight. CBN is less psychoactive than THC, meaning its consumption does not get the user as high.

Additionally, Merry Jane pointed out that overly dried-out weed can be uncomfortable to smoke, as it tends to burn the throat when inhaled. Lastly, weed that's been overexposed to moisture can become moldy and have serious medical repercussions if consumed. 

In most cases, though, smoking aged weed won't do anything other than giving you a lower high than usual. If stored right, marijuana can remain fresh and potent for months or even years. Keeping it a glass or ceramic jar in a cool, dark and dry place will do wonders. And if you really want to ensure maximum freshness, consider vacuum-sealing it. 

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Aric Suber-Jenkins

Aric is a writer covering technology. His work has appeared in Newsweek, Maxim and Brooklyn Magazine. He is based in New York and can be reached at aric@mic.com.

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