Preserving cannabis is crucial to maximizing profits
By Allison Cohn
Preserving your cannabis is important on every level, from growers and buyers to consumers. We can all agree that no one wants dry, stale cannabis or sad, moldy flower.
For growers, preservation is about protecting their investment. While some farms harvest every week or so, many farmers remain full season farmers. This means that they traditionally plant their crop in the spring and harvest in the fall. When all of these cannabis growers harvest at the same time, the prices come down due to basic supply and demand economics.
This is why it’s so important to practice good cannabis preservation techniques.
The growers who are able to successfully store and preserve their crop can save it and continue to sell throughout the year. By waiting for the overall supply to go down before selling, these farmers can maximize their profits in the long run by selling when the demand is higher, for a higher price. Farmers who harvest just once annually are able to preserve their crop and have a monthly cash flow because they can continue to sell fresh (and consistent) cannabis throughout the year, usually by establishing a commercial retail account (now that cannabis is legal). If growers preserve their cannabis properly, they’ll be able to promise these accounts a predetermined amount of cannabis each month and its quality should remain true.
Preserving helps growers to increase their profits by allowing them to get consistent, high quality prices throughout the year versus selling their entire yield all at once for a discounted price. There are a few critical elements to properly storing cannabis that will best preserve its quality, from managing the moisture content to protecting its structure and delicate trichomes. Proper preservation is vital in maintaining the flower’s integrity so that the growers can continue to deliver consistently high quality product that scores well when graded.
USE A PROPER, WELL-SEALED CONTAINER
Gasketed, airtight and opaque containers are all great for properly preserving cannabis. Five gallon buckets with gasket lids or totes with gasket seals and/or locking clamps on the lids are also very effective. Stay away from plastic bags or trash bags, since light, oxygen and moisture can penetrate them. Sure, it’s okay to keep your weekly stash in a sandwich baggy for a short while — but glass or non-transparent plastic jars are preferable to maintain freshness and flavor.
If you want to take the bag route, nitrogen flushed Mylar bags (picture a puffed up bag of unopened chips) will preserve your cannabis better and for a longer duration. Nitrogen flushed Mylar bag packaging uses a system that replaces the oxygen in the bag with nitrogen and then tightly seals it shut, protecting the delicate product inside the bag.
BLOCK OUT THE SUN AND OXYGEN
Exposing cannabis to sunlight or oxygen can cause oxidation, which is bad for the flower. Oxidation has a negative effect on trichomes and you want to preserve all those sticky, sparkly trichomes in order to receive a good grade — and therefore receive a higher market price. Healthy trichomes contribute to the flower’s fragrant smell and flavor quality, and they stay better preserved with little to no exposure to both sunlight and oxygen.
GIVE THE FLOWER ROOM — BUT NOT OXYGEN — TO BREATHE
One key thing not to do when packing up your cannabis to store and preserve it is to pack it in too tightly. Roughly five pounds of cannabis should fit together in one bin or bag before the flower starts to get squished or collapse in on itself. Flower should be allowed some personal space to maintain its prized structure and trichomes.
Remember: structure plays an important role in the grading process, and if the buds become too smashed or crumbly from improper storage, this will negatively affect the cannabis’ grade and market value in the long run. Storing the cannabis too tightly can also lead to those pretty trichomes rubbing off of the flower and falling to the bottom of the bag or container.
ELIMINATE MILDEW-CAUSING MOISTURE
Another crucial aspect of proper cannabis storage and preservation involves the moisture content. You want to be sure the flower is properly dried and cured before packing it up in a bag or container. If the cannabis is too moist, it can end up growing mold or mildew, which will destroy the plant.
“STORE IT IN A COOL, DRY PLACE”
You’ve undoubtedly read this advice on every packaged product, ranging from food and makeup to medicines and cleaning supplies. Well, the same goes for cannabis.
Organic matter tends to thrive in temperatures above 77°F, especially mold. So keep your cannabis away from any heat or moisture producing appliances. Warm air also tends to have a high moisture content, and you want to be sure your cannabis isn’t being exposed to any humidity while it’s being stored. On the contrary, you definitely don’t want to store your cannabis in the refrigerator or freezer either. Whereas fresh frozen can be great for extract purposes, freezing weed for preservation is a very different, and not beneficial approach. Fridges often have fluctuating humidity levels, which can actually increase your chance of growing mold. Freezing your flower could cause the trichomes to become brittle and fall off (this is how people typically will make hash!), therefore ruining the flavor and quality of the cannabis.
Allison Cohn loves gold spray paint and nonsense. She also has a very difficult time sitting still and keeping quiet. She can often be found dancing like a fool when she isn’t hiding out in her mountain lair or gallivanting around the globe.