I’ve been vaping cannabis since 2009, and I’ve come to learn over the years that one thing that most people don’t realize is how big of an impact storing bud has on your vaping experience. Depending on your smoking rate and how much you buy at once, you may end up smoking some of cannabis a month or more after its been harvested. If stored improperly, your bud will quickly dry out, resulting in harsh vaporizer hits which make you cough much more than normal. Moreover, rehydrating or trying to keep your bud at the right moisture level can encourage mold growth (moldy cannabis should not be vaped under any circumstances!) unless you take the necessary precautions. In order to get the best possible experience from your vape, I’ve decided to come up with this guide in order to explain the importance of proper cannabis storage as well as provide some good solutions!
One of the reasons why vaping cannabis can feel harsh sometimes is due to the moisture level of your bud. I find that dry cannabis tends to produce a hotter and harsher vapor, and this makes me cough more than I would using fresh bud. The ideal relative humidity for cannabis is between 59% and 63% RH, and keeping your bud within this range will preserve its color, aroma, flavor, and consistency. An RH lower than 50% creates a dry environment which produces harsher hits and also causes the essential oils and trichromes in your bud to dry out, resulting in a weaker high. If you have an RH higher than 64%, you risk creating an environment in which mold can grow easily. If you choose to rehydrate your bud with a sponge and water rather than a humidipak, I highly recommend using distilled water as regular water can carry spores which can contaminate your bud with mold! Also make sure to use a hygrometer to measure humidity levels, as a wet sponge can create an RH quite a bit higher than what is ideal for cannabis.
Once cannabis has been harvested, it is a good idea to keep it in an airtight container to avoid oxygen exposure. Over time, oxygen can degrade the potency of your bud by breaking down cannabinoids and other psychoactive components. Most Ziploc baggies breathe (as well as some plastics), so I recommend keeping your bud in a glass jar or steel container which keeps air out.
UV rays emitted from the sun are known to break down the active constituents of cannabis rather quickly. In fact, a study performed by the University of London in the 1970s found that light was the single largest factor in the breakdown of cannabinoids! However, the study also found that when cannabis is stored in the right conditions (no light or air), cannabinoids can remain active for up to two years. Therefore, always make sure that aside from being airtight, your storage container should also be opaque and block all light from entering.
Another important aspect to consider while storing cannabis is temperature. Storing your bud in warm temperatures can quickly dry out the essential oils and plant matter which results in a harsh vape, especially if the bud is dry. Furthermore, warmer temperatures (above 77F/25C) can also promote the growth of mold when combined with a high humidity level. Whenever possible, I recommend storing your cannabis in a cool environment no warmer than 73F (23C).
My favorite accessory to store my bud is the CVault series which I’ve reviewed here. Not only are the CVaults durable and easy to clean (made out of stainless steel!), they’re also airtight and use inexpensive humidipaks (just make sure to get the right size!) to keep your bud at the perfect moisture level. I usually divide my bud into different containers depending on strain and quantity. For daily use, I like to use a smaller CVault while I keep the rest of my bud in a ‘deep storage’ CVault which I open only to refill my daily container. This minimizes my bud’s exposure to air and ensures that I get a great vape every time!
Although some people swear by it, I don’t recommend using a cigar humidor to store your bud. Most cigar humidors are lined with cedar which has oils which can transfer to your bud and influence the flavor. Moreover, keep in mind that most cigar humidors are designed for a higher RH (68%-72%), so make sure that you maintain the right humidity level in yours! You can also use a glass mason jar and some kind of humidity pack, but keep in mind that most jars are clear and will expose your cannabis to light so I recommend using one which is opaque.
As you can see, there’s a few different methods you can use to store your bud properly, and by doing so you’ll notice a big increase in potency and a reduction of harshness even if your bud is more than a few weeks old. As usual, if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to let me know in the comments!