One of the advantages of concentrates over flower is that their potency lasts much longer.
The cannabinoid and terpene rich trichomes that cover the surface of well-cured bud begin to dry out the moment you open the packaging.
Concentrates, whether vape cartridges or dabs like wax and shatter, will keep their potency for a lot longer.
However, the same detrimental forces of environment and time that lower the potency of flower also affect concentrates. Concentrates stored in poor conditions may begin to degrade in a matter of weeks. Properly stored concentrates, on the other hand, can last for over a year with barely any change in potency.
Luckily, keeping your concentrates as tasty, smooth, and strong for the long-term is easy with the right storage methods. That’s why Cannabest is here with some tips on the best ways to store concentrates.
Best Storage Methods for Vape Cartridges
Vape cartridges are one of the most popular methods of concentrate consumption.
They’re portable, cheap, and easy to use. Just screw your cartridge into the battery, then hit the button and inhale (if it takes that much effort.) The most common type of vape cartridge contains about a gram of extracted THC concentrated suspended in oil, which vaporizes off of a metal plate that’s heated by the battery.
The main issues that affect a vape cartridge’s longevity are exposure to heat and light.
Any oil, including the oil inside a cartridge, is made up of molecules called lipids that form long chains. Over time, the links in these chains will weaken and break, especially when heated.
Since the tubes used in a vape cartridge are generally made as cheaply as possible, they transfer outside heat into the oil pretty easily. This heat can come from your pocket, the inside of your car, or from the battery itself. Similarly, although THC molecules are pretty stable, exposure to heat will degrade the molecule into the non-psychoactive CBN cannabinoid.
Light is the other enemy of potency.
When THC is exposed to light, and especially sunlight, the particles snap off the delicate hydrogen chains that make THC do the fun stuff in your brain. The resulting CBN is great if you’re looking for a restful night of sleep, but that’s probably not why you bought the product. Because vape cartridge tubes are transparent, light has plenty of entry points to hit those suspended THC molecules.
Unscrew Your Cartridge
When you’re not using your vape cartridge, be sure to unscrew it from the battery.
If the metal plate at the bottom remains in contact with the battery, a small amount of power will continue draining into your cartridge. This causes a low level of heating that will damage your oil and cannabinoids over time. Unscrewing your cartridge also helps prevent leakage and breakage, as does storing your cartridge upright when it’s unscrewed.
Keep It Cool
Store your cartridge in a cool, dry place.
Once the oil gets above 70 degrees fahrenheit the THC molecules begin to degrade into CBN and the oil starts to denature. Given that the human body also tops 70 degrees on a regular basis, carry your cartridges in a small, protective case if you keep them in your pocket regularly.
Stay Out of The Sun
Keep your cartridges out of direct light, and especially sunlight. Excess light can turn the oil brown and break down the THC molecules, which means losing both potency and flavor. Sunlight also means extra heat, which as mentioned above will damage the cartridge even more. A drawer, box, or even a closet shelf works great.
If you are carrying your cartridges with you regularly, we recommend buying a case to keep them potent. On the high end, Vessel makes an excellent vape pen case which stores multiple cartridges and batteries.
On the less expensive end, Grav makes a protective case for multiple cartridges that’s discreet and easy to carry.
Best Storage Methods for Dabs
Dabs such as wax, shatter, or budder, are light to dark brown, THC-rich concentrates that are sticky to the touch.
These concentrates are made by spraying a solvent onto plant matter, then isolating the THC through a chemical process. There are other concentrates such as rosin and bubble hash that are made through different methods, but generally the same rules apply when it comes to storage.
Since dabs are not contained like vape cartridges, storing them is a bit more of a challenge and in some ways more important. Improperly stored dabs can end up both weaker and harsher tasting because of the chemical breakdown.
Just like with vape cartridges, It’s important to keep your dabs away from direct light and heat. Both of these will break down the THC molecule into CBN.
You’ll also need to store them as airtight as possible and away from moisture. Air will dry them out and any moisture that gets into your concentrate, through either humidity or condensation can make the dab hit much harsher because of the excess water content.
The good news is, keeping your dabs away from air, heat, light, and moisture means that they’ll stay potent for the long term.
Of course, the length of time that you need to store your concentrates depends on the consumer. Some dab fans will rip through their supply in a week, while others will want their purchase to be as flavorful, rich, and potent a year from now as it was when they bought it.
Determining how long your dab is going to be sticking around will determine whether you want to use a silicone jar or a glass jar.
Silicone Dab Containers
Silicone dab containers are the standard due to their low price and user-friendly material.
Concentrates won’t stick to silicone, which makes it easy to scrape your desired amount out of the container with your dab tool. They are also totally opaque, which protects against light damage, and don’t absorb heat as easily as other materials.
Another dab container option is to use a wax wallet which is a more portable way to store your dabs.
One drawback with silicone containers is that they’re not airtight, so choose the smallest one that’s still able to hold all your dabs. This means less air inside drying out your dab.
The second drawback is that the material. While dabs won’t stick to silicone, the concentrated terpenes (and some trace chemicals from the extraction) will react with it. Over time, dabs can break down and dissolve your container. This ruins both your container and your dab, since you don’t want to be inhaling vaporized silicone.
Glass Dab Jars
Glass jars are the better option when it comes to longer term storage.
Dabs won’t chemically react with it and jars are more airtight as long as you have the right lid. To minimize the air inside, find one just small enough to hold your dabs and try to find a lid lets you “burp” out excess air.
One drawback with glass is that some concentrates like wax and shatter stick to it much easier. This is why it’s a good idea to wrap small pieces of your concentrate in parchment paper before putting them in the jar.
The second drawback is that glass lets in far more light than silicone, and more heat as well.
Best Storage Methods for Dabs Based on Time
The container and methods that you pick for storage depends on your timeline.
That’s why we’ve broken it down below.
Short Term Dab Storage (A Week or Less)
If you’re going to be refreshing your dab supply within a week, pick a silicone container, or even just wrap them in parchment paper.
Keep your dabs in a cool, dry place and don’t leave your container open any longer than you have to.
Scrape out your dab at your leisure, then give it a wash out once you’re done so that any remaining residue doesn’t damage the silicone.
Medium Term Dab Storage (A Couple of Months)
If you’re hitting dabs less often or keeping a larger supply, a proportional glass jar is far better than silicone since it’s airtight.
Wrap your dab hits individually in parchment paper so that they don’t stick to the glass and screw the lid down tight. Remember to burp the air out as best you can after opening it.
Keep the jar in a cool, dark, dry place away from any light or heat sources.
Wrapping the glass in an opaque material can help preserve your concentrates, but darker material can also heat the jar if left in the light.
Long Term Dab Storage (Up to a Year)
In order to preserve your concentrate’s consistency, potency, and taste over the long term, you’ll need to refrigerate or freeze it.
The main challenge with this method is making sure that moisture doesn’t get in through condensation.
Therefore, your best bet to store concentrates over the long term is to wrap them in parchment paper individually, then vacuum seal them in plastic. The less air that’s inside the plastic, the less moisture that can condense and damage your dab.
Just be sure to let it come to room temperature before you open the packaging back up. That way, moisture won’t be pulled from the air into the concentrate.
When it comes to storing concentrates in the short or long term, the keys are to keep them out of the light, away from heat, and when it comes to dabs, airtight and dry.
As long as you follow these helpful tips, you’ll be savoring the smooth, potent, tasty hit of your concentrate until it runs out.