Does Medical Marijuana Expire?

expired medical cannabis
Medical marijuana, while not perishable like food, does degrade over time, affecting its potency and therapeutic properties. Factors such as light, air, temperature, and humidity play crucial roles in its longevity. Proper storage, including using air-tight containers and maintaining optimal humidity, can ensure the cannabis remains effective for an extended period.
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With medical marijuana becoming legal in more and more states, access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes is growing. However, there is still a lot of confusion around how to properly store and handle medical marijuana products. One common question is: does medical marijuana expire? Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Shelf Life of Medical Marijuana?

Like most consumable products, cannabis does have a shelf life. How long it lasts depends on a variety of factors, though typically dried marijuana can last anywhere from 6 months to 1 year depending on how it’s stored:

What is the Best Way to Store Medical Marijuana?

Proper storage is key to preserving your medical marijuana. Cool, dark places are ideal for preventing degradation from heat and light. Refrigeration can prolong shelf life, but freezing is not recommended as it can damage trichomes. Storing cannabis in airtight glass or metal containers with humidity control packs also helps extend freshness.

Here are some tips for storing medical marijuana to maximize freshness:

– Keep in air-tight glass or metal containers in a cool, dark place
– Use humidity control packs and monitor humidity level
– Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations
– Limit light and oxygen exposure by avoiding plastic containers or bags
– Refrigerate for extended shelf life, but don’t freeze
– Follow guidelines for shelf life from your dispensary

What Type of Marijuana Can Be Stored the Longest?

Flower vs Concentrates

Shelf life can vary significantly between different forms of medical marijuana. Dried flower generally lasts between 6 and 12 months with optimal storage conditions. Meanwhile, concentrates like oils and tinctures can remain potent for 12-18 months when stored properly. The more refined and processed a product is, the longer its shelf life.

CBD vs THC

Another factor is cannabinoid content. Products high in CBD tend to have longer shelf lives than those with dominant THC. That’s because CBD degrades more slowly than THC when exposed to oxygen and heat. So a CBD tincture may last over a year, while a THC vape oil may only stay fresh for 6-8 months.

Packaging and Preventing Exposure

How cannabis is packaged impacts longevity too. If not sealed adequately, exposure to air and humidity can quicken deterioration. Producers and dispensaries should use robust, airtight packaging to protect medical marijuana’s potency and shelf life. Consumers should limit opening products until use to prevent unnecessary air exposure.

How to Tell if Your Marijuana Is Old or Expired

How can you tell if your medical marijuana is old or expired? Signs include:

– Loss of aroma and flavor
– Browning and drying of flower
– Degradation of oils and concentrates
– Loss of therapeutic effects

If your cannabis product is past its prime, it’s unlikely to provide the same medical benefits. The compounds degrade over time, lowering potency and changing the product’s makeup. Expired medical marijuana is unlikely to make you sick, but it won’t be as effective.

Key Takeaways

The shelf life of medical marijuana varies based on multiple factors, but typically falls in the range of 6 months to over a year. Following proper storage methods and being aware of signs of expiration allows you to get the most from your therapeutic cannabis. With proper handling, medical marijuana can retain its potency and effectiveness for many months past purchase.

 

Updated: July 26, 2023

McKenzie Lewis

McKenzie Lewis has been a member of the CannaMD marketing team since 2018. Prior to joining CannaMD, she attended the University of Central Florida where she received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology. When it comes to cannabis research, she is especially interested in the application of marijuana as a treatment method for insomnia.

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