How to Identify if Your Cannabis Has Gone Bad

cannabis in jar on desk

Seasoned consumer or not, a smile creeps across the face of the person who finds a stash of forgotten bud.

It’s like coming across a letter from an old friend who you haven’t thought about in ages. Except the letter is green and not really a letter at all.  And you left it for yourself unintentionally.

How do you know if this buried treasure is worth consuming? Keep reading to find out if you’ve struck gold or if your cannabis has gone bad.

What Does It Mean If Your Cannabis Has “Gone Bad”?

Alright, we must address the first truth before continuing — cannabis doesn’t actually “go bad”. 

It ages and loses flavor, as well as its ability to get you very high. It’s still smokeable, however, so long as there isn’t mold.

Why you’d want to smoke bud that doesn’t taste amazing and doesn’t get you high is beyond us. But hey, we’re not here to judge. We’re here to inform you of what you need to do before testing out your mystery cannabis.

The lifespan of cannabis depends on its processing after harvest and its storage after that. For the flower, moisture content should be between 10-12% when dried.

Any more than that, the flower is subject to mold. Cannabis testing labs let distributers know where the moisture content is at to avoid such issues.

If the bud gets handled properly, its lifespan all depends on the storage conditions.

Where’s The Cannabis Been Hiding?

If the answer is anything besides a glass or ceramic airtight container, you should prepare for a disappointing batch. Sorry to be the one to tell you. 

Cannabis that isn’t stored in this type of container in a dark, cool place is subject to faster decay and mold issues.

On the same note — don’t store it in the fridge or freezer. You’ll lose flavor and other important constituents of the flower.

Even if you’ve given your green friend a good place to stay, you should still check these signs for moldy bud before consumption.


Perhaps this is obvious, but we’ll say it in case you overlook it out of your sheer excitement for finding goodies you didn’t account for.

Your cannabis should look like cannabis.

It shouldn’t look like a squished, wet version of the flower you once knew. Nor should it resemble a dry, powdery seasoning.

Pro tip: if it’s not keef and it nearly disintegrates by touch, it’s too old for you. Your cannabis should feel solid yet be easily broken apart.

Inspect the cannabis first by looking for fuzzy, grey-ish white powder. We’re not talking about trichomes here — we’re talking about mold. 

Break apart the bud. Mold on stored cannabis, most commonly of the aspergillus variety, often goes past the surface level.

If you find any suspect spots on any part of the flower, go ahead and toss it. Smoking moldy cannabis (or moldy anything, really) is severely bad for your health.


Terpenes are what give cannabis odor and flavor. Good, fresh cannabis is abundant with terpenes.

Aged flower, however, may smell musty or like mildew. This indicates mold and is the flower yelling at you, “don’t smoke me!”

Also, if your stash smells like chemicals, plastic, or the container you stored it in, tell it goodbye. Your cannabis should only smell like cannabis.

If it’s still alright, you can expect no signs or smells of mold. The smell, of course, will be weaker than when you got it. Terpenes are the first component to go when cannabis begins to age.

No Signs of Mold? Proceed With The Final Test

We’re suggesting this last part loosely, as you may end up taking a puff of an unenjoyable bowl that doesn’t get you high. So long as there’s no mold, you’re safe to try it out.

Again, it should look, smell, and taste like cannabis. If it doesn’t, chuck it.

Our advice is this: rather than extensively looking into if your cannabis has gone bad, why don’t you treat yourself to a new supply?

Regardless of your choice, keep educating yourself about cannabis and its endless possibilities by reading our blog.