The Canadian government proposed in June that legal cannabis must sold in generic packaging to display warnings and other necessary information such as a legal excise stamp which differs in colour for each province or territory, and a universal cannabis label that can be clearly seen. However, it is not mandatory for licensed producers to label the expiry date of the cannabis on the packaging.
So the real question remains, does cannabis really expire?
Most dried flower has somewhat of a “best before” date, but it is dependant on what you buy, and the environment and packaging in which it is stored. The general rule of thumb is about a year of full freshness if properly stored. After that, dried flower tends to lose it’s pungent smell and the buds may harden. The THC won’t degrade quite as quickly, but the quality would start to degrade somewhat subjectively.
The lack of smell of a dried flower is typically a good indication that it’s degraded in quality and may not have been properly stored. Terpenes are what gives the flower it’s strong, pungent smell. With time, the terpenes degrade and the smell becomes less strong. If stored for an excessive amount of time, upwards of 3 years, the chlorophyll evaporates rendering the dried bud brown in colour. You will know after this that it is time to invest in some new bud.
You will want to store your cannabis bud in an air tight container, typically a glass jar or wooden compartment. You can also invest in a smell-proof container if you are trying to be discreet with your possession, or a container with a lock that will keep your cannabis away from children and pets. Light degrades the THC, so it’s best stored in a dark place. Health Canada recommends storing your herbal marijuana in a cool, dark, dry place out of reach of children and pets.
The medical and chemical components will change in time, rendering the product slightly altered than when it was purchased. However, it’s still completely safe to consume, albeit just no longer what it once was.