Find some old weed you forgot about? We've all been there. But before you toss it, read on to learn about our five recommended uses for old weed.
Can you smoke old weed? Is it safe?
If stored properly, flower can be kept for up to two years. After that, it begins to lose significant amounts of quality, potency, and flavor. But, smoking old weed is usually not a serious health hazard. Unless it's moldy, it's likely still safe. It just isn't as effective as fresh flower.
Keep in mind that weed can go bad after a while if stored improperly, though. Before putting that old nug you found in your couch cushion to the test, check that it's safe to consume. If you see mold, rot, discoloration, fuzz, or smell a funny smell, don't consume it.
Can old weed still get you high?
Old weed can still get you high, but it loses potency and its distinctive aromatic properties over time, as its cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid content decrease. According to current research, cannabis loses about 17% of its THC content after one year and continues losing it each year thereafter. THC is the primary cannabinoid responsible for cannabis' intoxicating effects.
Additionally, according to a 1995 University of Mississippi study, weed stored at room temperature loses nearly 30% of its terpene profile in just one week. Terpenes are the organic compounds in cannabis responsible for its aroma, flavor, and other therapeutic benefits.
So, what can you do with old weed?
Because old weed lacks moisture, flavor, and potency, it may not make for the most pleasant smoking experience. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. There are several other enjoyable uses for old weed that can salvage the plant's remaining psychoactive compounds.
1. Vape your old weed
If you still want the experience of puffing clouds, loading your old weed into a vaporizer is the way to go. By vaping your old weed, you can inhale what's left of the plant's psychoactive compounds. Since smoking cannabis inevitably burns off valuable cannabinoid content, vaping may be a more efficient way of salvaging what's left in old weed.
Keep in mind that the terpene profile in old weed is lower, meaning it won't taste as flavorful. Otherwise, vaping is a convenient, controlled, and discreet way of consuming old cannabis.
2. Turn old weed into edibles
Cooking with cannabis is always an option, and perhaps an even better one when you've got old weed you're not sure how to use. Turning old weed into edibles may help you get a little more potency out of weed's psychoactive ingredients by using the second-pass effect to produce stronger, longer-lasting effects.
The second-pass effect happens because, when digested, THC metabolizes into a compound called 11-Hydroxy-THC. This form of THC is more efficient at crossing the blood-brain barrier and generally produces more potent effects than the delta-9 THC we all know and love.
Edibles are made using cannabis-infused butter or oil, which can be done at home. From the classic brownie to a more sophisticated dish, you can have some fun turning your old, stale weed into something new and delicious by pairing your cannabis experience with interesting flavors, textures, and aromas.
3. Turn old weed into kief
One handy use for old weed is to turn it into kief, a dry, solventless cannabis concentrate that contains more cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids than whole buds. Kief, also known as dry sift, refers to the loose trichomes that have been separated from cannabis flower.
Trichomes house the highest concentration of cannabinoids, including THC, in the cannabis plant. When extracted, this concentrated form of weed can produce powerfully potent effects. The easiest way to turn your old weed into kief is by using a dry herb grinder to sift the dry flower through a series of screens. Kief can then be sprinkled on top of a bowl or added into a joint and smoked.
4. Make another kind of cannabis concentrate
Kief is not the only concentrate that old weed can be transformed into. For the truly dedicated cannabis lover, it's possible to concoct even stronger homemade concentrates like bubble hash and infused tinctures. Concentrates maximize potential therapeutic benefits due to their potency, and they can be consumed in a variety of ways.
5. Rehydrate your old weed
Cannabis loses moisture over time, becoming extremely dehydrated and dried out with age. To give it some life again, rehydrate your old weed by reintroducing moisture into its environment.
This can be done in a few ways. The first involves the addition of salt-based control sachets called humidity packs, which are sold in most licensed dispensaries. Simply add the sachet in with your weed and change as needed.
The second method is one of the most popular DIY rehydration techniques — the citrus peel method. Adding a fruit peel in with your old weed does a great job of transferring moisture and citrusy flavors to your otherwise flavorless bud. Leave the peel in with your weed for no longer than 24 hours to avoid humidifying the container too much, which increases the chances for mold.
If you don't want to use plants or foods, you can also place a wet cotton swab, cotton ball, or similar product into your container of old weed to rehydrate it. Don't let it directly touch your buds, however. You don't want to get them wet. Similar to the use of humidity packs, this method will slowly reintroduce moisture back into your old weed's environment.
While it may not be the ideal use for your old weed, you can also just smoke it knowing that it will produce milder effects and probably won't taste as fresh. As long as it's not moldy or off-putting, you can still put that old weed to use.