How To Identify Cannabis That's Gone Bad

Your cannabis can stay good for years if it's stored properly, but like any organic matter, it will lose its potency and degrade over time. Cannabis that's gone bad doesn't smoke well because it's either too dried out or damp from moisture, and if you light it up before checking out the buds you might experience harshness, difficult draws, or a bad taste. Also, you don't want to use bad cannabis to make edibles or other extracts because of its poor quality.

Knowing how to identify cannabis that's gone bad will keep you from wasting your crop or purchasing marijuana that hasn't been kept under the right conditions. Here we offer a quick guide on how to use your senses to tell if the cannabis you're inspecting has gone past its prime.

1. Look for signs of any change in the appearance of your cannabis if you've stored it yourself. Marijuana that's been exposed to too much air dries out and shrivels so that you can easily see stems and any seeds in the flowers. On the other hand, a stash that's been stored in damp conditions can harbor bacteria and mold, which can penetrate the entire flower.

2. Gently handle your cannabis to see if it's brittle and crumbles to a fine powder or is damp to the touch. Cannabis should feel firm and break apart easily into dense nugs, while marijuana that's gone bad will easily disintegrate when broken up if it's too dry and feels compressed when wet. Also, break it apart to look for any mold hidden beneath the surface of the flowers.

3. Smell your cannabis for a musty scent that could be a sign of mold or mildew. Aside from this, cannabis that's gone bad can have a range of unwelcome smells or not offer any scent at all. Also, terpenes (the aromatic compounds that give marijuana its scent, and particular to each strain) are delicate and among the first parts of a cannabis flower to degrade and fall off over time, especially if the marijuana isn't stored properly.

If after your inspection you find that your cannabis looks, feels, and smells good, it's finally time for a taste test. If your cannabis has gone bad, you'll know after your first puff.


As medical marijuana continues to gain ground across the US, more and more colleges are adding cannabis to their curriculum. In fact, more than half of America's pharmaceutical schools (62 percent) now teach students about medical marijuana according to a new survey conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy. "With more states legalizing medical marijuana, student pharmacists must be prepared to effectively care for their patients who may use medical marijuana alone or in combination with prescription or over-the-counter medications," the study's authors wrote.