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Does Vacuum Sealing Cannabis Increase Storage Longevity?

Sunday August 9, 2020

W ith the coronavirus pandemic still rampant in every state, your best option for staying safe remains sheltering in place. In order to protect your health and the health of everyone around you, this means going out as little as possible, and that includes trips to your local dispensary. When you do go to the shop, be sure to wear a mask, follow all the posted directions, and if you have the budget, you should stock up on as much weed as possible.

Of course, once you’ve amassed a stockpile of bud, the next question becomes “How do you store it?”

Increasing the longevity of your bud is an age-old problem. You want every bowl torched or joint lit to have as fresh a flavor of those terpenes as when you first opened the bag. Even if you can accept a little softening of the taste after a bit, no one wants to smoke old weed. Everyone’s dealt with headaches, cough, or drowsiness you’ll experience as the THC molecule has degraded into CBN, and no one is a fan.

Storing Cannabis Long-Term

Airtight and out of sight is a pot smoker’s maxim for storing their weed. So it stands to reason that the less air you expose your weed to, the fresher and more potent it will remain. The terpenes won’t dry out, trichomes will stay on the bud, and it won’t burn as hot. Keeping your cannabis from the air will also reduce the humidity, which can cause weed to mold. Store it in a cool place to prevent the cannabinoids and terpenes from drying out further. You’ll want to keep it below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, does this work? Is all you need a good jar and a closet or drawer to keep your weed in good condition for the long haul? The answer is yes. As with most things, the fresher, the better, so be sure to put aside some of your purchase to enjoy immediately. However, if you want to keep your cannabis flower in the best condition possible and store it even longer, a vacuum sealer is your best bet.

Vacuum Sealing Cannabis

Once your bud is vacuum-sealed, some strains can be stored for up to a year without losing a noticeable amount of their potency. Even better, vacuum sealers are relatively cheap online. A quick search on Google or Amazon will give you plenty of options. You can find a home use one for around $50-$75 and a jar sealer attachment is only $20.

If you do decide to go with vacuum sealing, jars vs. plastic bags is worth considering. The benefit of plastic bags is their cheapness and ease of storage. If you’re vacuum sealing in a plastic bag, your nugs will get a little compressed and some small pieces may get crunched off. However, the quality will still be exceptional and it’s not like you’re putting them in a showroom. You’re just going to burn them anyway. As long as you keep them out of the light they’ll still be good.

Considerations for Vacuum Sealed Marijuana

Plastic bags have some downsides though. If you’re choosing to freeze your weed to keep it an extra-long time, you have to be extra careful when handling the baggie. Frozen trichomes can break off and remain in the bag, instead of going into your body where they belong. Allow your weed to come back up to room temperature before using it. However, there’s a lot of debate whether or not freezing weed has any real advantages for storage. Many cannabis consumers will say that room temperature works just fine for storage and that between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature range.

A final issue to consider with plastic bags is that plastic can get a very light static charge. This won’t zap you like a metal door handle when you touch the bag, but it’s still strong enough to pull delicate hairs and trichomes off of your weed. This lowers the potency.

Using a jar adapter to vacuum seal your weed is just as easy as sealing plastic and jars have some big advantages over plastic. They’ll preserve the shape of your nugs, you’ll lose fewer trichomes to crunching and static charge, and they’re more earth-friendly.

With jars, there is the issue of storage. Since glass doesn’t bend or flat pack, you’re stuck needing more storage space.

Whether you choose jars or plastic to vacuum seal, the final method to long term weed storage is to use a couple of smaller jars or bags rather than one large container. Every time you open the bag or the jar, you lose terpenes and cannabinoids to the air. By having a couple of smaller containers, you can keep the majority sealed from the air and fresh while you work your way through one. Plus it’s easier to portion out your weed if you’re trying to ration it.

Of course, you don’t need to vacuum seal your weed. Airtight and out of sight works just fine in the short term, as long as it’s not too hot. But it never hurts, especially if you’re regularly buying in bulk. If a small investment is worth having fresher weed longer, vacuum sealing is the way to go. Especially if you’re buying a lot all at once.

Have you ever vacuum sealed your cannabis? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Increasing the longevity of your bud is an age-old problem. You want every bowl torched or joint lit to have as fresh a flavor of those terpenes as when you first opened the bag. Click here to find out some of the best ways to keep your weed fresher and more potent for longer!

Want to seal marijuana odor? Pack it in double vacuum-sealed bags, study says

A real-life arrest has inspired a study that investigated various packaging methods for concealing marijuana odor.

In 2017, a Colorado State Trooper pulled over a car to the side of Interstate 70 for a minor traffic infraction. The police officer, who works on highway narcotic smuggling, claims he immediately sensed a strong marijuana odor once he approached the car. He proceeded to conduct a probable cause search based on the strong smell and “other indicators”, which revealed two vacuum duffle bags filled with 52 pounds of marijuana, a wad of thousands of dollars in cash, and a secondary phone.

Later, in court, the defendant pleaded guilty for possession with intent to distribute. However, he challenged the motive of the search and did so in a highly unusual way for this kind of offense. His lawyer hired Dr. Avery Gilbert, a self-described “smell scientist” and “sensory psychologist”, and Dr. Joseph Diverdi, a professor of chemistry at Colorado State University, who examined the evidence and took samples of air inside the evidence bags holding the vacuum packs.

“There’s long tables just filled with bagged weed. I’d never seen anything like it,” Gilberg told Leafly. The marijuana was still in the double vacuum-sealed bags. “Coming as close as we could to sniffing those packages, I couldn’t smell a damn thing.”

In the lab, the two researchers examined the air samples with a gas chromatography machine, focusing on the concentrations of six terpenes known to give marijuana its conspicuous odor. The examination confirmed the researchers’ initial subjective assessment of the sealed marijuana — the odor molecules were in a far too low concentration to be detected by people.

Although the case was over (the man found with the marijuana in his possession received a two-year deferred sentence, a fine, and community service), the two researchers thought that marijuana odor concealment merits more scientific attention.

Back in the lab, they set up an experiment with 21 participants familiar with the smell of cannabis. The participants had to select the correct packaging that contained marijuana from ten sample pairs. Four different packaging methods were used: Ziploc bags, thin plastic produce bags, pop-top canisters, and a vacuum-sealed heavy plastic bag inside another vacuum-sealed bag. An open glass bowl was also used to act as a control.

The participants immediately recognized the package containing marijuana when it placed in an open glass bowl, the Ziploc bag, and the produce bag. The pop-top dispensary canister yielded mixed results.

However, vacuum-sealed marijuana seems to have been the least conspicuous out of all the packaging methods. According to the results, which were published in the journal Science & Justice, the “material packaged in doubly vacuum-sealed plastic was correctly identified at rates no different from chance.”

Since the experiment showed that people with experience handling marijuana had great difficulty identifying it in a double-sealed vacuum bag, what would be the odds that the officer could smell it (from outside the car while the bag was inside a suitcase)? That’s extremely unlikely.

The findings “may help address issues involving the detectability of cannabis aroma in law enforcement and other scenarios,” the researchers concluded.

A real-life arrest has inspired a study that investigated various packaging methods for concealing marijuana odor.