When it comes to keeping bud fresh, most cannabis consumers are pretty familiar with some basic, familiar do’s and don’ts:
- Do keep it out of reach of children
- Do keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place
- Do keep it out of direct sunlight
- Don’t store your stash in a plastic bag or in the freezer
- Don’t use food like tortillas or an orange peel as fresheners
- Don’t store the skunkier strains with those that are lighter and brighter on flavor, smell, and taste.
However, there are ways to store your bud that go beyond a plastic baggie or mason jar, ways that can help keep terpenes (compounds that give plants their distinct flavor and aroma) intact, lower the chances of mold and bacteria ruining your flower, lengthen its expiration date, and ultimately, save you money because you’ll have to buy less frequently.
Savvy cannabis consumers are already in the know about how humidity affects the quality of your weed. Academically speaking, relative humidity (RH) is the ratio of the current absolute humidity to the highest possible absolute humidity, depending on the current air temperature. In other words, 100 percent RH means that air is saturated with water vapor and can hold no more, so rain is most likely on the way. RH can impact cannabis in ways big and small — affecting the smoothness of your toke to the effectiveness of your medicine.
Too little humidity will break down cannabinoids, terpenes, and trichomes, which will reduce a strain’s signature smell, as well as its medicinal benefits — an important consideration for medical marijuana patients. On the other hand, too much humidity (around 65 percent RH) creates the perfect environment for an invasion of mold and bacteria. This contamination may simply inconvenience a healthy consumer by ruining the taste and flavor of their stash, but for consumers with medical issues, mold and bacteria may exacerbate pre-existing conditions.
Dan Cleveland is the vice president of marketing for Boveda, a company whose business is protecting, preserving, and optimizing moisture sensitive products like musical instruments, food storage, tobacco, and cannabis. For Cleveland, there are reasons both practical and aesthetic to control the humidity of your weed.
“Storage becomes critical if you’re storing something for more than four-to-six hours,” he tells Civilized. “If you’re smelling that wonderful strain’s signature smell, that’s actually terpenes, THC, and cannabinoids that are evaporating outside your terpene head. With proper humidity around your bud, you can maintain the quality and value of your product, and help retain the good stuff in bud, like potency. At some point, if you let your flower dry out, it loses its appeal.”
This is important not only for cannabis consumers, but also for dispensaries with an interest in keeping product as green and intact as possible. To keep weed fresh, Boveda has created a salt sachet made from a food safe combination of pure saturated water and salts. “Once the pack, or sachet is exposed to air, just tuck it into your mason jar or whatever and it will help to maintain your flower,” he says.
Gary Swanson is the president of CVault, a company that produces stainless steel, humidity-controlled curing and storage containers for medical and adult use cannabis. For Swanson, properly curing and storing your stash requires more than just a standard glass jar. “With a mason jar, you have to open it up and pour [the cannabis] out, which takes away trichomes and other stuff,” Swanson says. And jars with lids like those on mason jars can be problematic for medical cannabis patients or consumers who may have difficulty using their hands.
A cigar smoker and occasional recreational cannabis consumer, Swanson knew Boveda from their presence in the cigar industry, and quickly realized that a combination of Boveda and Cvault was an intuitive match. “With the Boveda pack, I knew you could throw [the Boveda packet] in and not have to think about it," he says. "I asked Boveda if they would be agreeable to making a pack for me. They were like, ‘We can do this,’ and the rest is history.
Swanson says that using Boveda and Cvault together will enhance and prolong the life of your bud because it keeps the humidity consistent, ideally between 58 and 62 percent RH. “We did a study with a company called The Workshop in Seattle, and they held [the cannabis] for 168 days in a Cvault and Boveda,” Swanson says. “And in those 168 days there was zero weight loss, and it held consistently in that 62 percent RH range.”
Now, Cvaults are designed to hold Boveda packets. “The combo of the two is what makes it works as well as it does,” Swanson says. “We literally tell customers, you put your [Boveda] pack and your cannabis in the Cvault, and you don’t have to think about it.”