Yo, so I went to this dope event at a lit dispensary and consumption lounge in West Hollywood not too long ago. I copped three jars of fire flower, each one a strain that’s my current favorite and that I’ve smoked a million times before. I was hyped to show off to my homies and coworkers what I was about to roll up.
But damn, when I opened the first jar and took a whiff, I had to close that shit up real quick. The nugs were straight up dead and lifeless, with no smell or flavor. I thought maybe it was just a fluke, so I opened the other two jars, but they smelled like straight hay too. Turns out, the first jar had been packaged 54 weeks before I bought it and harvested four months before that.
It’s such a bummer that weed being old by the time we get it is a common problem, especially with sun-grown flower. See, indoor growers can harvest whenever they want, but sun-grown farmers only get one shot a year in October. And since rural farms are farther away from dispensaries than urban ones, the weed has to travel a long-ass way.
The way the cannabis industry is set up in legal markets doesn’t help either. Once the flower leaves the farm to be transported to the dispensary, there’s no oversight. The dispensary ain’t responsible for transportation, and the farmer has no clue what’s happening to their buds during the journey. Shit, if the driver decides to stop for food on a hot summer day, the whole crop could get ruined in minutes.
According to Alec Dixon, the founder of SC Labs, a quality control center for weed, it takes about 30-45 days for the herb to reach us consumers with all the steps it has to go through. And if it’s not kept refrigerated like lettuce throughout that whole time, 60-90% of the terpene content is gone by the time it hits the shelves. Terpenes are what give weed its flavor and aroma, so losing them is a major buzzkill.
Chiah Rodriques, a regenerative cannabis farmer in Mendocino, knows this struggle all too well. She said the farmer gets screwed over because once their flower is at the distribution center, they don’t technically own it until it’s sold to a retailer in packaging. The distributor can mess up the product during storage or delivery, but the farmer still has to take the blame. It’s some messed up shit.
Now let’s talk about old weed. There are two types: mature and dead.
Mature weed is that old-school dankness that’s been properly cured under the supervision of a master grower. It might be farther from its harvest date, but it’s still bomb as hell. Some folks even argue that mature weed is better than freshly harvested bud.
Dead weed, on the other hand, is flower that’s been exposed to all kinds of degrading factors while curing. It loses all the good stuff that gets you high and gives it flavor and smell. Dead weed is like a zombie – it looks like weed, but it’s lost its soul.
But here’s some good news: if your weed is mature and has been dried, cured, jarred, and stored correctly, it can hold its chemical makeup for at least another year after harvest. Swami Chaitanya, a legendary grower who’s been in the game for over fifty years, believes that weed actually gets better with age. He says it takes several months for cannabis to reveal its true nature and that even after it’s technically dead, it’s still biologically active.
But here’s the problem: a lot of buyers won’t touch flower that’s more than three months past its packaging date. And sometimes, the flower gets messed up during transportation, like when the driver takes a detour to get a hot dog on a scorching day. It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed in the industry. We need to know where our flower is at all times.
So how can you tell if your weed is dead? Here are a few signs:
1. It smells like hay: If your weed has lost its smell and tastes like hay, it’s probably dead. The good stuff is long gone, and all that’s left are terpenes with high boiling points that smell like grass.
2. You bought a pre-roll: Those pre-rolled joints you find at dispensaries are often filled with shake and stems, not high-quality flower. Plus, grinding the weed for pre-rolls exposes it to degrading factors.
3. The weed is fully tan or brown: Brown weed isn’t necessarily bad if it started out purple and just lost some of its green color. But if it’s completely tan or brown and doesn’t have much of a smell, it’s probably dead.
4. Check the harvest date: While the dates on the jar can be misleading if the flower has been exposed to degrading elements, it’s still a good idea to check the package and harvest dates. If it’s over a year old, ask for your money back. Dead weed ain’t worth full price.
Since we can’t see or smell the flower before buying it in a legal dispensary, we often don’t realize it’s dead until after we’ve spent our hard-earned cash. So make sure to check the appearance, smell, and harvest date of your newly purchased weed to avoid getting stuck with some dead-ass buds.
In conclusion, old weed isn’t always a bad thing if it’s mature and has been properly handled. But dead weed is straight up trash, and we need better regulations and oversight in the industry to prevent it from reaching consumers. Stay woke, my fellow tokers.