Cigars are notorious for being, um, let’s call it particular. They need special tools and special wrappers and special lighters and a very special container called a humidor in order to stay fresh and smoke well. Because cigar wrappers are made from tobacco leaves instead of non-wood plant fibers (what cigarette joints are wrapped in), they are more susceptible to both excess moisture and the lack thereof. Keeping these special snowflakes in their preferred humidity and temperature (generally regarded as 70 degrees and 70% humidity) prevents the wrappers from splitting and has a direct influence on the cigar’s taste and smokability.
The reason cigars like this kind of *spoken in a French accent* ambiance is because that kind of heat and humidity are endemic to where the tobacco first came from. Places like the Dominican Republic and Cuba are pretty humid and warm, and the leaves do better when they stay consistent even after they’ve been processed into a cigar.
Now you know a little bit about cigars and humidity, let’s talk about cannabis herbs and humidity. Marijuana isn’t necessarily as finicky as its cigar cousin, but you still need to know how to care for your stock to keep it fresh and mold-free. Before the gourmet cannabis culture of today, you didn’t necessarily ask questions about the type of weed you were smoking, but now you have choices, and things can get pretty pricey fairly quickly – especially if you are just starting to get a feel for what strains you like. Keeping your pot in its ideal environment will help it stay tasty and fungus-free, which will mean you get more bang for your buck.
What does cannabis like?
Recently we put out an article about the tiny hairs on the marijuana plant called trichomes. These trichomes have little glands at the tips that are called kief (or pollen or dry sift), and they house all of those glorious terpenes and cannabinoids that make the Devil’s Lettuce so delightful. If you keep your stash too dry, those trichomes will dry up and crack (giving you less intensity and a bad taste), but if you keep it too wet, your whole flower could mold (eww…).
What your green doesn’t like is sunlight, light in general, and a lot of airflow, so you need to keep your flower in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Mold 101 says that fungus grows best in dark, warm, damp environments, so by keeping things cool and controlling humidity, you lower the risk of mold growth. Cannabis stores best between 32 and 68 degrees with 59% to 63% relative humidity.
You might think that storing your buds in the freezer would be a good option to keep the mold at bay, but that harsh, frozen environment can actually damage the kief as well and make your smoking experience less flavorful and potent. If you’re using marijuana for medicinal purposes, storing in the freezer could negate a lot of the benefits of using it at all. The fridge is a poor storage option because, while it is dark most of the time, there is a lot of humidity that can cause your buds to spoil.
What should I use to keep things fresh?
- Containers: The containers you choose should have a tight-fitting lid and should ideally be made of glass or metal.
- Purchase: You can find just about anything on the market nowadays to keep your weed fresh, so it pretty much comes down to preference. For your on-the-go needs, which are shorter term, your primary needs may simply be to manage odors and have compact and organized gear. But for your at-home supply which may need to last several months even, airtight jars or metal food grade containers are ideal.
- What’s the cheapest option? When you’re on a budget, don’t worry. You probably have a Mason jar or two laying around the house. These are great because they have an excellent seal, but make sure that you keep them away from sunlight or wrap your jar in a koozie.
- Humidity: Humidity is important to your buds, and while there are swanky tools out there to keep things just right, there are also many reasonably priced or free options, too.
- Purchase: While cigar humidors are not great for cannabis, there are several styles of humidor out on the market that are specifically designed for good ol’ Mary Jane. We’re fond of this cannabis humidor with Boveda 2-Way Humidity Control that helps add a little moisture to dry buds and take it away if it’s a bit too damp. The walnut or beech wood is not only attractive, but it also comes with additional storage and a key to lock things up for extra security. If you already have your own containers, you can always purchase separate Boveda 2-Way Humidity packs or Integra BOOST humidity control packets.
- What’s the cheapest option? When you can’t get out to purchase humidity control, you probably have something around that can help: citrus peels. Keeping a little bit of peel in with a short-term stash can keep things just the right amount of humid while adding a little bit of a fruity undertone. Make sure, however, to put a little barrier between the weed and the peel – whether it be a perforated bag within a bag or by placing a paper towel between the peel and buds.
Perfectly-kept cannabis will give you a great experience each time you indulge, but if you aren’t careful with your storage techniques, you could experience some less-than-desirable results. It doesn’t take much to keep things in working order, but it’s well worth it.