Categories
BLOG

how long does a joint stay fresh

How long does a joint stay fresh

For a seemingly simple question, there are a lot of variables to consider when it comes to how long a joint will stay in one’s system.

It’s important to start by quantifying the amount of cannabis that constitutes a joint. As a unit of measurement, a joint has no definitive volume. This is why extravagant innovations like the tulip are just as much a joint as a pencil-thin doobie cobbled together from shake. In an effort to ensure consistency, this article will operate on the premise that a joint is equivalent to one gram of cannabis flower — though we’re well aware that pre-rolls often include only a half-gram of flower.

In addition, we need to define this unit of measurement by how much THC is in a typical gram. Again, a myriad of factors determine this number on a case-by-case basis, including a given strain’s potency and freshness. Raw cannabis flower is typically considered to contain 10 to 30 percent THC. Thus, 1000mg of cannabis (aka a gram) contains, on average, 100-300mg of THC. We’ll split the difference and call it 200mg of THC for this explainer.

Frequency of use is another important factor in this equation.

Those who regularly consume cannabis should, in general, anticipate THC remaining in their system for a longer period of time when compared with a first-time user. That’s because THC is a lipid-soluble chemical, which means it binds to fat in our body rather than being expelled directly (like alcohol). Thus, factors like increased body fat, improper hydration, or a slow metabolism may all increase the amount of time it takes for THC to work its way out of our systems.

For this article’s purposes, let’s assume someone with no THC in their system has smoked a one-gram joint. What happens next?

Gallery — The World’s Shittiest Blunts:

Smoking cannabis is the quickest method of consumption in terms of the time it takes for THC to hit our bloodstream. By inhaling pot, THC first enters our bodies via the lungs, which absorb the cannabinoid (along with any and all other cannabinoids contained within the strain in question). From there, it hits the bloodstream, where it is ultimately delivered to our brains. That’s where the real magic happens.

Once we’ve stopped feeling high, however, the THC in our systems doesn’t miraculously disappear. Instead, the half-life of THC is typically thought to be somewhere from 20 hours to 10 days, with the higher end of this range applying to heavy users. In relation to the human body, “half-life” refers to the time required for half the amount of a substance introduced to our systems to be eliminated naturally.

Using our baseline of a gram of cannabis containing 200mg of THC – and our premise that the person in question does not have any THC in their system prior to consumption – we can get even more specific. (In reality, we wouldn’t consume every single milligram of THC from a joint since much of it is lost through smoke wisping off the doob between puffs. But let’s keep things simple and just go with that 200mg value.)

For simplicity’s sake, if our first-time smoker consumes 200mg of THC, that means they’ll have roughly half the original amount of THC (100mg) left in their system a day later. Continuing this line of logic, the smoker will have a quarter of the original amount of THC (50mg) in their system 48 hours after consumption. That number is halved again at the three-day mark, and so on.

At this point, it’s time to discuss how we test for THC. There are four main types of testing currently employed to detect THC: blood tests, saliva tests, urine tests, and hair follicle tests. Each one is effective for different lengths of time. Hair follicle analysis, for example, can test positive for THC up to 90 days after consumption. Blood and saliva tests, meanwhile, are both only practical in detecting THC for up to 24 hours following usage. That said, some blood tests will detect THC up to 72 hours after consumption.

Interestingly, these tests are not actually looking for THC but for its metabolites – the metabolic byproducts that accumulate in our fat reserves, which are then released from the fat cells over a period of time.

The baseline for all these various testing methods is the threshold of THC required to produce a positive finding. Simply put, there is a minimum amount of metabolites necessary for a test to catch THC in our bodies. The standard cut-off is 50 ng/mL of THC, though some tests are able to detect THC at a level of 20 ng/mL. If we consider the testing threshold of 50 ng/mL of THC as our baseline, we can establish a general idea of how long a joint remains in our system.

Considering all of the above information, a first-time or infrequent consumer smoking a joint with one gram of cannabis in it that contains 200mg of THC should fall below the testable threshold for THC within three to eight days after last consumption. Of course, every number is best viewed as a general benchmark. As scientific practices continue to evolve, we may reach a day when a more accurate means of determining this information is available, but for now, these figures are the best we’ve got.

Here are the facts on how long a joint’s worth of THC will remain in your body.

Does Weed Go Bad & How Long Does it Last?

It’s a classic scenario: you’re out of bud and in your frantic search for more you discover a long-forgotten baggie of flower somewhere in the back of your closet. You’re excited about your find. But wait: how long does weed last? How long is weed good for? Can you still smoke that old, dried out marijuana? How long does weed stay good, and what happens if you smoke weed that isn’t fresh? This guide has all the information you need.

How Long Does Weed Stay Good: The Basics

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. How long is weed good for? Under ideal storage conditions, cannabis can actually stay relatively fresh for a surprisingly long time.

If it’s been properly harvested, dried, cured, and then stored, you can expect your weed to stay fresh for anywhere from six months to a year.

If you’ve done an exceptionally good job of storing your bud, and you’re a little bit lucky, you may be able to stretch that timeline even further. Possibly to the point of approaching two years.

But for most weed smokers, conditions are less than ideal. In the absence of humidity controlled storage containers, and assuming that your weed will encounter some degree of light and the temperature might be less than perfect, don’t expect to get a full year out of your weed.

So how long does weed last? In general, try to consume all your weed within six months of purchasing it. But, of course, if you’ve invested in high-quality storage equipment, then you can push it out to the year mark.

How Long Is Weed Good For: The Scientific Answer

Now that you have a general idea for how long does weed last, let’s get into the more scientific answer. First, it’s important to understand what actually happens to marijuana as it ages.

Essentially, all the chemicals that make marijuana special break down. Over time, many of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis slowly break down and lose potency.

As the terpenes break down, your bud loses flavor and scent. As a result, old bud is relatively tasteless and lacks that distinctive, sharp odor that fresh weed is supposed to have. Sometimes, old weed will end up tasting harsh and nasty. Either way, when the terpenes have broken down, your weed won’t taste or smell the way it’s supposed to.

Similarly, and probably more importantly, cannabinoids also break down over time. Old, worn out bud won’t be as potent because a lot of the THC will have broken down and dissipated.

And here’s where we can get very precise with figuring out how long is weed good for. Fortunately, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has looked into things for us.

Their researchers found that, on average, cannabis plant matter loses THC potency at this rate:

  • After one year, weed loses roughly 16% of its THC.
  • Two years in storage results in a loss of 26% of its THC.
  • Weed loses 34% of its THC after three years.
  • After four years in storage, weed loses 41% of its THC.

How Long Does Weed Last: Is Your Weed Bad?

Let’s return to that old bag of weed you found at the back of your closet. How do you know if it’s bad? Basically, you’re looking for a few things:

  • Is it moldy? If your weed was too moist or humid, it may develop mold. Do not smoke moldy weed!
  • Is it dried out? If your bud has crumbled into dust, it’s obviously too old.
  • Does it smell fresh? Old marijuana lacks the crisp scent of fresh weed.
  • Does it break apart? If it’s spongy and doesn’t make any sounds when you pull apart a nug, it might be damp and moldy. If it instantly breaks down into dry dust, it’s too old.

How Long Does Weed Stay Good For?

If you determine that your weed has gone bad, it’s not the end of the world. Technically speaking, you can still smoke it. It just won’t taste very good. And since most of the cannabinoids have probably already broken down you probably won’t get very high.

But smoking old weed won’t kill you or make you sick. The only exception is moldy marijuana. If your flowers have encountered too much moisture they might get moldy.

If you see discolored spots, white fuzzy mold, or if it smells like anything other than cannabis, don’t mess with it. Smoking or otherwise ingesting mold can definitely make you sick or worse, so steer clear.

Now that you know the answer to the question, how long does weed stay good, what should you do to keep it fresh? To preserve your bud for as long as possible, practice proper storage techniques.

Try your best to control temperature and humidity. Keep it away from direct sunlight, and store it in a cool, dry, dark location. With a little bit of care and some basic equipment, you can get the most of your bud.

So, Does Weed Go Bad?

Yes, weed goes bad. In fact, there are a couple different ways it can go bad. On one hand, if your weed sits unused for too long, or you leave it exposed to too much light or open air, it will simply dry out and turn into dusty, crumbly, ineffective flower. On the other hand, if your weed is exposed to too much humidity or other contaminants it could go moldy. And you do not want to inhale mold smoke. Doing so can make you sick.

Beyond the possibility of getting sick from bad weed, keeping your weed fresh will give you a better product and a better cannabis experience. The longer cannabis is exposed to environmental factors such as light and air, the more the cannabinoids and terpenes deteriorate. So if you want weed that will taste and smell great, while getting you super high, take care of your bud the right way.

How to Keep Weed Fresh for Longer

Different cannabis products have slightly different needs if you want to keep them fresh and potent. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to keep different cannabis products fresher for longer:

Flower

To keep flower fresh, you need to store it properly. This includes limiting exposure to light and open air, and maintaining a proper humidity level, typically somewhere in the range of 54 percent to 63 percent.

To accomplish all this, store your bud in either a small glass Mason jar or a container designed specifically for marijuana. Keep the lid on tight, don’t open it very often, and keep it in a cool dark place.

And for humidity control, you can either toss in a humidity control pack—check out Boveda, Integra BOOST, or a similar product—or if you want to step up your game to pro level, you can store your weed in a dedicated cannabis humidor such as the Apothecarry, Cannador, or another similar product.

Edibles

To keep edibles fresh, leave them in their original package and store them in a place that’s away from open air and direct light. Be sure they’re in a cool location, as many types of edibles—especially things like hard candies and gummies—can easily melt.

Concentrates

The best way to keep your concentrates fresh and potent is to store them in small containers designed specifically for dabs. These are typically made out of glass, silicone, or a similar material. Keep the lids on tight and store the containers in a cool, dark place.

Vape Pens

As with any other cannabis product, it’s best to keep your vape pens away from direct light. Because the cannabis oil is already inside an airtight cartridge you don’t really need to worry about humidity or exposure to air. As a final tip, store your vape pen standing upright, as this will keep all the oil at the bottom of the cartridge, ready for immediate use.

At some point, most weed smokers find themselves asking, how long does weed last? ]]>