While one may think that freezing cannabis could have its perks like slowing down the aging process or helping the buds stay firm, actually the opposite is true.
Most cannabis is aged for multiple days after the harvest to dry out and cure the buds, so by the time it hits the shelves it is already cured and ready to use. However, as cannabis sits, it continues to decarboxylate, which is the process that transfers THC-A into the psychoactive THC we all know and love. Lower temperatures like that of a freezer will slow down if not halt completely the decarboxylation process, leading to less potent cannabis over time.
How to Freeze Cannabis
If you plan on freezing your buds, make sure you handle them with care to avoid breaking apart the trichomes. When you’re ready to use your buds, remove them from the freezer and give them some time to warm up. The thawing process allows you to work better with the material without ruining the preserved trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Also, consider the moisture content. Freezing can cause excess moisture to form ice crystals. Drying the weed appropriately can overcome this issue.
Vacuum sealing your weed can get rid of your moisture problems. Vacuum sealing your dried weed can keep it fresh (without ice formation) for several months. However, vacuum sealing can overly compress your buds if you’re not careful. Some growers choose to use carbon dioxide or nitrogen to remove the excess air through the injection of the container. The excess air exits through a separate hole and the holes are sealed afterward.
Don’t have vacuum sealing capabilities? Don’t worry. Glass containers can do the trick. If possible, opt for glass containers without shoulders. Shouldered containers are more vulnerable to cracking than non-shouldered containers. Don’t have glass containers? Wood or metal storage can work just as well.
Some growers choose to store weed in small containers (about a week’s worth) for personal use. When storing small quantities, choose small containers and store the rest in a separate larger container to leave it undisturbed. A small container can last you a few or several weeks while keeping the rest of your stored buds’ trichomes fresh.
Freezing or refrigeration isn’t always the best idea for some growers. However, when making live resin, for instance, it’s a must. Live resin, a type of high-terpene cannabis extract, is made with flash-frozen cannabis buds. Instead of going through the drying and curing process immediately after harvest, the flower is flash-frozen using liquid nitrogen at extremely low temperatures. Freezing the cannabis preserves the plant’s natural compounds for extraction.
Does the freezer method actually work?
When there’s an overwhelming amount left over after one’s habitual marijuana consumption, some people keep their weed stored long-term in the freezer. This is often done by placing the cured bud into vacuum-sealed packs and putting them in the coldest part of the freezer. The idea is that freezers stop the weed from aging further and “freezes buds in time.”
However, this is not really a good idea; freezers can deteriorate the quality of trichomes, the glands responsible for producing cannabinoids like THC and CBD and aromatic terpenes.
When frozen, the trichomes become brittle. If handled incorrectly, lots of trichomes can be lost in the process of being moved around.
Furthermore, if the freezer breaks or cannot regulate a consistent temperature, the buds can either rot from heat and humidity or become completely freezer-burnt.
Should I freeze other weed products?
Concentrates like hash and BHO are much more amenable to being frozen than the raw flower. The reason is obvious: the trichomes have already been broken into and processed, so there are no more brittle bits to fall off. To store a concentrate in the freezer, fold it in wax paper, seal it in an airtight glass jar, and wrap it in some kind of opaque covering.
Alternatives to Freezing Marijuana
While it may seem obvious that storing cannabis in a plastic bag or a cardboard box is not an effective method of storage, many do so because of a lack of knowledge of the effects over time. Have you ever noticed when you go to take your cannabis out of the plastic baggy it came in there’s little pieces of it sticking to the sides? That’s because plastic can hold a static charge that attracts trichomes, taking away potency every time you take it out and put it back.
The refrigerator may seem like a viable alternative to freezing marijuana since it is warmer than a freezer but still cooler than 77º, but fluctuations in humidity and temperature from opening the fridge constantly can still increase chances of mold and mildew.
The most effective way to store cannabis and maintain its flavor and aroma profiles over time is to store it in an airtight container, like a glass jar (a.k.a “nug jugs”). While oxygen is essential for the curing process, you want just the right amount in your storage container to keep humidity consistent without drying out the bud too quickly.
If you want to go the extra mile, pick up a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in your storage container and make sure the jar you are using is vacuum sealed to reduce exposure to oxygen. Or upgrade your glassware to a UV-blocking Miron Jar by Cannador, sized to fit in on your wine rack. Also remember to keep your cannabis in a separate container from grinders, dirty pipes that need cleaning or other paraphernalia as the smell of burnt cannabis and other resins can stick to the container making it stink over time.
Overall, as long as you have a glass jar, kept it in a dark place that is relatively cool, you don’t have to worry about your cannabis going bad anytime soon.
The Verdict On Weed In The Freezer
Storing your weed properly outside of the freezer is the best way to preserve everything we love about cannabis. Even after the curing process, cannabis continues to decarboxylate, and that process can be completely shut down if you toss your buds in the freezer. If you just keep it in the right container, you won’t have to worry about such problems.
What are your thoughts on keeping weed in the freezer? Share your opinions with us in the comments below!