Is freezing your weed a good idea?

Is freezing your weed a good idea?
Steven Voser

You might assume storing weed in the freezer to be a perfectly viable option—but we're here to tell you otherwise. Read on to learn why you shouldn't freeze your cannabis, followed by some advice on properly storing weed for maximum quality and flavour.

If you've ever found yourself with too much weed on your hands (like that's possible), you might have considered sticking your surplus bud in the freezer. And you're not alone; after all, we stick all kinds of things in there, so why not store weed in the freezer too? Well, there are a few issues to consider. Read on to find out why not to store cannabis in the freezer.

What Happens When You Put Weed In The Freezer?

Is freezing your weed a good idea?

When you put weed in the freezer, any water molecules it contains will expand, destroying the cells' structural integrity as they reach freezing temperature. Then, when you take your weed out of the fridge and thaw it, those chemicals contract, leaving you with a mushy, moist mess. If you don't believe us, try freezing any other flower or herb and see for yourself.

If you manage to dry the mushy, messy buds you rescue from your freezer and smoke them, you'll likely notice they’ve lost some of their potency, flavour, and aroma. That's because the resinous trichomes that contain cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and terpenes—the chemicals that give weed its pizazz—crystallise in the freezer. As a result, the trichomes become super fragile and easily dislodge from the buds, often falling to the bottom of whatever container they're being stored in. By the time you've taken your weed from the freezer, thawed it, dried it, and managed to roll it into a joint or pack it into a bong or vape, a good degree of its quality may be lost.

Doesn’t freezing weed kill mould?

The internet is rife with rumours suggesting that storing weed in the freezer kills mould spores. And again, it's a logical assumption to make; after all, moulds tend to struggle to survive in the cold, dry environment of a freezer. However, sticking your weed in the freezer is not the way to protect it from high humidity. The best way to prevent mould from forming in harvested buds is by following the right drying/curing process post-harvest, and storing your buds per the tips outlined further down in the linked article.

Can freezing weed turn it purple?

Another misconception some growers have is that freezing cannabis will help to turn it purple. But that simply isn't true.

Some cannabis plants turn purple due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Strains that already have a genetic predisposition to turn purple are more likely to do so when exposed to cooler growing temperatures, particularly during the final weeks of flowering. However, buds will never radically change colour once they've been cut from a plant. At most, they might lose some of their green colour if stored for long periods of time, but they won't magically turn purple if stored in the freezer.

Making Live Resin or QWISO: The Only Times You Should Freeze Weed

Can freezing weed turn it purple?

The only time it is acceptable to freeze cannabis flower is if you're making live resin or a Quick Wash Isopropyl (QWISO) extraction. Live resin is a type of concentrate that, as the name suggests, is made using “live” cannabis buds. Once they've been cut and trimmed, these buds skip the drying and curing process and instead are flash-frozen to preserve as many terpenes and cannabinoids as possible (which normally begin to degrade during drying and curing). The frozen buds are then subjected to a solvent, such as butane or propane, to extract as much resin as possible. The extract is then purged, leaving behind a concentrate rich in the cannabinoids and terpenes naturally present in live marijuana plants.

Note that making live resin involves specialised equipment to effectively freeze and process fresh cannabis buds. We do not recommend making live resin or any other butane or propane-based extract at home, as these compounds are extremely volatile and dangerous to handle outside a controlled, professional laboratory.

QWISO, on the other hand, is something that can be made easily at home and involves freezing your bud for a couple of hours in high-proof alcohol. This process removes the trichomes and absorbed them into the alcohol, with plant mater filtered out at a later stage (so it doesn't matter that it goes mushy).

How Should I Store My Weed?

Can freezing weed turn it purple?

Now that you know how not to store cannabis (i.e. in the freezer), you're probably wondering what to do with the surplus bud you've got on your hands (other than smoking it). Below you'll find an overview of the most important things to keep in mind when storing cannabis.

Avoid these three threats

To keep your buds smelling, tasting, and smoking their best, you'll want to keep them away from the following:

  • Light: Direct UV light, whether natural or not, will degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes in your buds and dry them out.
  • Humidity: Excess humidity can put your buds at risk of becoming mouldy.
  • Temperature fluctuations: Cannabis buds shouldn't be stored in extreme heat or extreme cold, as both will degrade the buds faster. Constant temperature fluctuations can also cause issues and reduce the viability of your stash.

Use the right containers

One of the keys to properly storing weed is using quality containers. Mason jars or other glass jars with a good seal are perfect, as they'll help to protect your buds from humidity, dirt, dust, bugs, and germs. If you want to get fancy, consider investing in jars with a UV-proof finish or a dark brown or green tint to further protect your buds from light degradation. Storing clear jars in a pantry, drawer, or similar dark places will also do the trick.

Invest in humidity packs and a hygrometer

The ideal relative humidity for weed storage is between 58 and 63%. The best way to control this is by investing in humidity packs specifically designed to keep weed at optimal humidity (to keep humidity in your storage containers optimal) and a hygrometer (to regularly measure the humidity in your containers).

Other things to consider when storing weed

When storing weed, remember the following to preserve the flavour, aroma, and effects of your buds for as long as possible:

  • Always clean and sterilise your containers before using them to avoid contaminating your bud with germs, dust, or other contaminants.
  • Use glass storage containers whenever possible. While plastic and metal containers do the trick, using them for long-term storage will affect the flavour of your weed.
  • Store different strains in separate containers to avoid mixing their flavours and aromas.
  • Remember to keep conditions dry, dark, and cool around your buds.

Finally, we will reiterate that you should avoid freezing marijuana if at all possible. As we saw above, while a freezer might meet the dark and cool requirements of cannabis storage, it will quickly turn your delicious, hard-earned buds into a mushy mess. Instead, invest in some quality glass containers, humidity packs, and a hygrometer, and follow the weed storage instructions outlined above to keep your weed tasting, smelling, and smoking great for a long time to come.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser

Steven is a long-time veteran of cannabis journalism, having delved into every aspect of the subject. His particular interests lie in cannabis culture, the emerging science of cannabis, and how it is shaping the legal landscape across the globe.