If you feel like cannabis in recent years is substantially better than cannabis in years past, you’re right. But it may not be for the reasons you think it is. Growers produce cannabis according to best practices and send it to dispensaries that store it properly.
While a huge part of this boost in quality comes from the love and care that cannabis growers put into their crop, everything that happens afterward is just as important.
Maintaining relative humidity is one of the most important aspects of cannabis storage. You might find small packets (similar to the ones in bags of jerky or other dried snacks) in the packaging from your dispensary.
Here’s why you need to use one of these packets when you store your cannabis at home.
What Happens When Weed Is Harvested?
When you bring top-shelf cannabis home, it probably looks like it was freshly plucked from the plant. Looks can be deceiving. Your cannabis had to undergo a complicated drying and curing process in an environment with highly controlled conditions to preserve it properly.
Once you have a better understanding of this process, it’s very easy to understand and appreciate why humidity plays such a crucial role in keeping cannabis fresh. The grower spent a tremendous amount of time getting that flower to cure properly, and you should be maintaining those efforts when you purchase that flower.
It’s Removed From The Plant
Cannabis is harvested from the plant while it’s at its prime. Growers perfectly manicure the flowers to send them to the next process, where they will remain for the next several weeks.
Flowers that haven’t been dried cannot be preserved. If you’ve ever received a bouquet or picked a flower from a garden, you know that it withers up and dies very quickly. The environment might have taken its toll and either caused the flower to wither or rot with moisture.
Cannabis has to last a long time. After all, it needs to go through a distribution chain before it finds a customer. Properly drying the cannabis is what preserves it until it finds a new home.
Cannabis cannot be placed in a dehydrator, pressed, or dried with heat. It’s not like the dried cooking herbs you buy at the grocery store. Cannabinoids and terpenes, the two important compounds in cannabis, are extremely sensitive.
Many of them crystallize on the outside of the flower in the form of trichomes, which almost look like frosted sugar. Extreme shifts in temperature or humidity can damage these trichomes, causing them to snap off.
Cannabis is also very sensitive to light. After the flowers have been harvested, they can no longer produce new cannabinoids or terpenes. They have to be kept away from anything that resembles the sun or emits high temperatures.
Cannabis must be air-dried in an environment with adequate air circulation and controlled humidity. This can take up to seven days and growers need to routinely check the flower’s progress to assure that the moisture is leaving as expected.
Throughout this process, a significant portion of the plant’s natural terpenes will evaporate. There’s no way around that. When the cannabis is dry enough to be cured, it is encouraged to hold onto as many terpenes as possible.
Even though the exterior of the flowers may be completely dry from the drying process, cannabis flowers are highly dense. There’s still moisture on the inside, and it needs to be coaxed to the exterior.
Cannabis is loosely placed into airtight vessels during this process. This is a make-or-break moment. If the cannabis is too dry, curing it will destroy it. If it’s too wet, it will mold and create a strong ammonia smell if the humidity isn’t detected on time. If this happens, cannabis can’t be fixed. The whole vessel goes to waste.
The grower has to pay careful attention to the cannabis at this time, using a hygrometer device to measure each vessel’s relative humidity. During this phase, the moisture has to be maintained between 55% and 65%. The cannabis needs to be allowed to dry further if moisture accumulates within the jar.
This process takes place in a dark room with a stable temperature over a period of several weeks. Some strains can be cured for up to six months, allowing their flavorful terpenes to develop and saturate the buds. Just like finely aged wine or scotch, the same level of care goes into its preparation.
It’s Packaged for You
After all that, they package up the cannabis and send it to the dispensary. The dispensary maintains proper storage conditions until you purchase the cannabis. Aren’t you really glad that you didn’t have to do all that work?
What Happens After That?
You can’t just take that stuff and put it in a plastic bag or a mason jar. It’s like drinking a 60-year-old vintage from a red plastic party cup. It just feels wrong. Many people took a lot of care to make sure the cannabis they served to you has the highest possible quality, and all you have to do is make sure it stays that way.
Many people, especially new cannabis users or casual cannabis users, are surprised to learn how much goes into this process. They don’t understand why it’s not a wise idea to toss it into any old jar and stick it in a sock drawer or put it near a windowsill.
For many cannabis users, the entire process is new news, and they weren’t aware they were supposed to be doing something special to keep their weed fresh.
Keeping the humidity conditions ideal can technically extend the life of your cannabis for well over fourteen months. Every time you use your cannabis, even if you only use it once a month, it will taste just as fresh as it did the day you bought it.
Stori and Boveda make it as easy as humanly possible to keep your cannabis perfectly preserved. You’ll hardly have to lift a finger except to roll a joint.
All You Need Is a Stori Pod and a Boveda Pack
The system or device that people use to keep fine herbs (like cannabis or tobacco) perfectly preserved for an extended period is called a humidor.
High-quality humidors can be expensive and wood humidors should not be used to store cannabis. We replicated the conditions in a much simpler way.
The Stori case is outfitted with six special pods made of lightweight food-safe aluminum. These containers are a lot like curing vessels. They block out the light, and the child-proof lids are secure enough to keep air and contaminants out. They also happen to be perfectly portable and virtually unbreakable, unlike glass containers.
Inside of the color-coded lids of each Stori pod is a little place to insert a size 1 Boveda pack. Simply popping in the pack turns each Stori pod into its own little humidor, helping to preserve your weed in the pristine state the grower left it in.
The Boveda pack manages the humidity without your help. It lays down a monolayer of purified water on top of your cannabis flowers. This layer protects and preserves the terpenes, preventing them from evaporating. The pack keeps relative humidity at an appropriate level and generally works for months. It helps to write the date on the pack when you first stick it into your pod.
You’ll know it's time to change the pack when the whole thing starts to become uniformly firm. It's normal for the corners to harden up or for hard spots to appear throughout the pack. It's only spent and due for a replacement when the whole thing starts to feel a little bit like a burnt cookie.
And that’s it. That’s all you have to do.
Put your cannabis in a special jar with a special pack, and swap that pack out every few months when it's lived out its lifespan. Your cannabis will always be fresh and tasty, and you’ll be paying respect to the people who’ve worked really hard to deliver you a beautiful strain.