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Does Weed Lose Potency When It Dries?

A person is holding a marijuana bud in blue gloves.

Does Weed Lose Potency When It Dries?

Finding a stash of bud that you have forgotten about can be a pleasant surprise. However, you also might wonder does weed lose its potency when it dries or is it still safe to use. You can decide whether or not to use it by learning about what factors impact its freshness and how you can keep future stashes safely stored.

Does Weed Lose Potency When It Dries?

Yes. Cannabis exposed to air will make it dry out and turn it light and brittle, this process destroys the THC in the flower meaning it is less effective at getting you high. 

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How Long Does Weed Potency Last?

The potency of your weed will depend on a variety of factors. One of the most common factors is how you store it and to what elements it has been exposed while it is stored somewhere in your home. It also can depend on where it was grown and cultivated and from where you purchased it.

Fortunately, most stored weed will not lose all of its potency, particularly if it was grown, cultivated and cut by an experienced and knowledgeable producer. Even if your weed is dried out, it still retains some of its original potency.

However, if it has been exposed to moisture and humidity, it may have grown mold or mildew on it. You do not want to use moldy weed or weed that has mildew on it because it can make you very sick. Rather than use it, it is best to throw it out and replace it with fresh bud.

green marijuana leaves in hands cupping the plant
A big factor in how potent your weed remains happens during the growing and drying processes which are often outside of your control.

Conditions that Determine Weed Freshness

Several common conditions found in most homes that directly affect how long your weed stays good for. You need to minimize your weed’s exposure to them to keep it fresh and potent.


High humidity levels can cause mold and mildew to grow on your weed. You should ideally keep the humidity where you have your weed stored between 59 to 63 percent. By maintaining a stable moisture level you keep it dry enough to prevent mold or mildew from growing on it. While also keeping the moisture level low enough to stop the process of drying the marijuana flower.


Exposure to light can break down the chemical components, such as the THC and CBD, in your weed. The UV rays from light can have a harmful impact on them and make your weed lose potency over time. Even if cannabis is in a proper storage container, any direct light will cause the air in the container to fluctuate in heat which will result in the cannabis drying out.


Weed best retains its potency when it is stored in a dry and cool environment. However, do note not to keep it in the fridge or freezer. The temperature fluctuations when you open and close the door to the fridge or freezer will let in humidity and moisture, which is not good for cannabis flowers.

various dried buds of weed on a white background
It is impossible to tell the potency of your bud just from looking at it but if it is looking very dry you can be sure the potency levels have suffered.

Effects of Stale Weed

When your weed goes stale, it may not pose much of a risk to your health or safety. However, it does lose its potency. It also loses its flavor and aroma.

These factors can negatively impact your enjoyment of using the weed you had stashed for several months or longer. In the worst case scenario, your stale weed may be so dry it crumbles when you touch it or try to pick it up.

Still, if you are intent on using it, your stale weed can be safe to use. You may not get the same enjoyable experience you get from fresh weed. Likewise, if you see any mold or mildew on it, you should throw it out and not try to use it. Mold and mildew look like gray or white powder and often makes your weed smell rotten or damp.

How to Keep Weed Fresh

dried medical marijuana in a small zip lock baggie
Although it is a very common way to receive cannabis, a zip lock bag is a bad longtime storage solution as the porous plastic lets air seep in.

The key to keeping your weed stash fresh lies in how you store it. To keep it as fresh and potent as possible, it is vital you store it in airtight containers rather than zipper storage bags (plastic baggies) or flimsy plastic boxes that let in air, light, heat and humidity.

Instead, you can use any number of airtight containers you probably already have around your home. Some of the best examples to use for storing your weed and keeping the cannabis fresh and potent include:

  • Glass jars with airtight lids
  • Prescription medicine bottles
  • Vacuum sealed bags
  • Airtight plastic containers

These types of containers are ideal for storing weed in them. They are effective for protecting your weed from conditions that can cause mold or mildew growth and negatively impact your weed’s freshness.

You can also buy specially made containers for storing weed online. These containers likewise can protect your weed from harmful elements, such as heat and humidity, that can cause it to lose its potency and make it less than ideal to use.

Final Points

The question of does weed lose potency when it dries can be answered by taking several factors into account. Stale weed may still be safe to use as long as it does not have mold or mildew on it. You can also keep your future weed stashes fresh and potent by storing them in airtight containers like glass mason jars, prescription pill bottles or airtight food storage bags that you might already have available in your home.

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