What Happens to Pre-Rolls When They Age?

Cannabis pre-rolls are convenient and save you time and energy when you’re ready for a smoke sesh. Having several pre-rolled joints as backups can be extremely helpful unless they start to go bad and stale from poor preservation. Here is how you can keep your pre-rolls potent and fresh and how to avoid all the signs of a pre-roll going bad.

How Long Does Weed Last?

Marijuana, on average, can last anywhere from 6 month to 1 year if stored properly. As weed begins to age it will start to lose potency and aroma. This doesn’t mean you can’t smoke it or that you won’t have a psychoactive experience, but it wouldn’t be as strong as when you first got the weed.

As your pre-rolls age, they begin to degrade in the quality level because of exposure to other chemicals in the air. There have been studies that show marijuana THC levels drop up to 16% after the first year it has been stored. These levels continue to increase over time as two years causes a 23% drop, three years a 34% drop, and four years a 41% drop in THC. This can be alarming if you are using weed to help with anxiety or other physical ailments and are not getting the treatment you were expecting.

How To Tell If Your Cannabis Is Old

Although you won’t be able to tell if your buds are losing their THC count, you will be able to determine how they smell to see if they are old or not. Older buds produce a faint aroma compared to the pungent smell you had when you first purchased the flower.

Some older buds may not have a smell at all if they have been sitting for too long. Depending on the environment conditions, a flower bud might even have a harsh smell or taste if improperly stored.

The paper used on pre-rolled cones will also start to change color and might even yellow if using a white paper. Hemp papers can fade in color and won’t have the same vibrant brown hemp color you are used to seeing.

Typically, when a pre-roll gets old it starts to lose flavor and aroma that causes your experience to diminish the older the pre-roll is. The only harmful aging characteristic you need to watch out for is if your weed is starting to grow mold. This can be harmful if smoked and could cause you to get sick.

old marijuana pre-roll with gross weed

How to Keep Pre-Rolls Fresh

There are some tricks you can employ that will help to keep your pre-rolls from going bad over time. These will help you preserve the taste and aroma so your pre-rolls last much longer.

Airtight Container

The more air that gets to your buds, the more degradation will take place. The air acts as a catalyst to break down your weed during a process called oxidation.

If you are able to get an airtight container for your weed then you won’t have to worry about the oxidation process lowering levels of THC and affecting terpenes.

Ziplock bags are airtight containers but they are also very malleable and could accidentally crush your pre-roll before you have a chance to smoke it. You can use bags if you plan on storing your weed in a drawer or some other isolated place where there is no chance for damage.

Otherwise, you will want a hard material container to store your flower. Plastic containers could work except the plastic static can affect the trichomes. These are the tiny hairs that produce cannabinoids and terpenes and if your plastic container disturbs them you could have less potent aroma and strength.

Glass containers that are able to be airtight like mason jars are the best solution for keeping your pre-rolls fresh while storing in your home. You could also store other items inside your container like a light or your medical marijuana card used for online purchases.

Protect From Physical Damage

As mentioned above, you want to store your weed in a container that will stay durable and protect your weed from any damage. This is especially important if you plan on doing any traveling and need to transport your weed. The more movement your pre-rolls go through, the more potential there is for a threat.

It’s even important to think about how your pre-rolls will do inside the container once they are being moved. It’s one thing for another object to come in contact with your container, but another for the pre-roll to hit the container itself.

If your pre-roll has too much space inside the container to move around it could hit the sides frequently and this could cause damage to the pre-roll. If you are only storing one pre-roll inside a mason jar, you will want to pad it with soft materials like cloth to keep it in one position.

If possible, a storage container with built-in slots that could secure your pre-rolls would be ideal. You can try and find these at dispensaries or make one of your own at home.

Keep it Dark

Just like with air, if your pre-roll comes into contact with too much light, it will cause degradation and less potency. You need to keep your pre-rolls in a fairly dark place if you want them to keep the same aroma and THC levels as the day you bought it. Try storing your container in a closet or pantry where there isn’t much light.

Even if you can’t find a dark spot to keep your weed in, don’t place it directly in sunlight. Keep it away from window sills or where the light streams into your home.

Keep Out Moisture

Too much moisture and your pre-roll can start growing mold, too little moisture and your pre-roll will dry out and become brittle, making it burn faster.

The sweet spot is to keep your marijuana pre-rolls around 59-63% humidity so they don’t become over or underexposed. This can be hard to do if you aren’t being proactive in controlling the level of humidity. In order to keep your pre-rolls in this range, you need to purchase humidity packs you can slip into your containers. Because your containers are airtight, they won’t allow moisture to enter

inside. So, to keep them from becoming too dry, you will add a humidity pack that will balance out the levels.

If you want to take it up even one level higher, you can purchase a humidor that can keep your pre-rolls at the exact temperature you want. Cigar aficionados use this method to keep their premium cigars in top shape.

Preserving Your Pre-Rolls

Pre-rolls can lose significant amounts of THC and terpenes if not stored properly. You will notice a difference in potency, aroma, and taste when your pre-rolls start going bad. They won’t reach a point where you can’t smoke them unless there is mold growing. Use the tips in this article and you will have fresh pre-rolls every time you want to smoke.

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old cannabis joints and grinder

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Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness.

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