What is the Shelf Life of Medical Marijuana?


The shelf life of marijuana is important for many reasons. It only lasts so long, even if it is still unused in a baggie or stored properly. Some people would try to smoke or use it anyways, but there are some general guidelines to follow when thinking about the true shelf life of medical marijuana that may be helpful. 


Why Shelf Life Matters

Under ideal conditions, cannabis can stay fresh for a long time. When harvested, dried, and stored, weed can stay fresh anywhere from six months to a year. This can stretch a little bit but flexibility depends on the type of cannabis and how well it is stored. Humidity, storage containers, and light or temperature can all impact the shelf life of cannabis. Here are some helpful hints about cannabis shelf life:

  • Use it within six months of purchase
  • Invest in quality storage equipment
  • Speak with a budtender or dispensary before using any questionable cannabis products lying around


Length of Time

The chemicals in marijuana break down over time. Like any product (except, maybe, Twinkies), the chemical makeup changes and makes the product less effective over time. The cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis lose potency. This can be dangerous for people using it medicinally, where they need full potency to fight cancer, chronic pain, or other issues. Old weed also tastes really bad and won’t smell the way it used to. This can impact how a person uses or perceives the use of it. Old, worn-out bud, won’t be as potent but also can be wasted when left lying around. Be sure to use it in the right amounts rather than saving some. Fresh is always better. 


Cannabis Gone Bad

Typically, cannabis is like food. It has a certain smell and flavor when it goes bad. Here are a few things to look for when testing out whether that cannabis in the closet is still good:

  • Check for mold that may have developed
  • If it is dried out, or dusty, it is too old to use
  • Crisp, fresh weed is going to smell brighter than old cannabis
  • Cannabis is spongy and doesn’t make sounds. If it is crunchy or breaks apart, it is too old


To keep cannabis fresher longer, it helps to limit exposure to light and open air. Anywhere from 54 to 63 percent humidity is acceptable. Mason jars and containers specifically made for marijuana are always helpful. This will support a better product and keep it fresh as long as possible. Write the date of purchase on the lid or a label and maybe approximate shelf life to be aware of how long you have to use it until it goes bad. 

Mary and Main is a Maryland dispensary that provides premium quality products with professional service. Our dispensary experts can share with you all about the shelf life of different flowers, edibles, and products we carry. If you are concerned about the safety of consumption from previous purchases, call us. We will walk you through how to know what is still good and what has to go.  We can help you select new, fresh cannabis for your condition. Call us today: (240) 838-3660