Can Dabs ever go bad?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can dabs go bad?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how to properly store dabs and what changes are observed when dabs go bad.

Can Dabs ever go bad?

Yes, dabs can go bad. Most food items and many meds come with a sell-by or use-by date. These labels let buyers know whether an item is outdated and may not be safe to use anymore. Since dabs are too mainstream, proper labelling and information is additionally needed to include the date of expiration while packaging. 

How to properly store dabs

In order to prolong the shelf life of your cannabis concentrates, you should know how to store them properly. If otherwise, chances are that your dabs will lose their potency and may not hit you the same way as they ideally should. 

Short term storage

If you plan on storing the dabs for a few weeks or months, put them in a silicone jar. These silicone concentrate jars are non-stick and allow only a little amount of air to enter in the container. 

Typically, these jars can hold 4 – 7 ml of liquid concentrate or 1 – 3 grams of solid concentrate; larger jars are also available. Keep the container in a cool and dark place and away from sources of direct heat or sunlight. 

Long term storage

Although short term storage works just fine in most cases, some people may want to store dabs for up to several months or even a year. To make that happen, you need additional layers to restrict the entry of air as much as you possibly can. 

Cover the silicone jars with parchment paper and then put them in vacuum sealed bags. Alternatively, you can purchase specially designed containers made of stainless steel or UV-resistant material that completely isolates the container. 

Doing so can prevent exposure to direct sunlight and the air tight lid will ensure maximum shelf life. It is important to note that different concentrate types should be stored in different containers for best quality and potency.

Read: What Affects a Product’s Shelf Life?

What happens to dabs if not stored properly?

Cannabis concentrates, like almost everything else on the planet, deteriorates over time. After lying on the shelf for a long time, flowers, edibles, topicals, and tinctures all degrade. However, when it comes to dabs, the color will alter, the terpenes will disperse, and the cannabinoids will transition into new cannabinoids. 

THC, for example, degrades to CBN, which is known to make you feel drowsy. When fresh, most concentrates are a light golden yellow or honey color, but they degrade to colors of amber, rust, or even brown over time. 

The color change indicates that terpenes are evaporating, lowering flavor and power.

As concentrates degrade, they go through a nucleation phase. Parts of the concentrate begin to split from one another during the nucleation process. The speed of the process is affected by time, temperature, and the pollutants and lipids in the concentrate.

Take, for example, THC and THCa. During nucleation, the two tend to split. The terpenes that give the concentrate its distinct aroma and flavor separate and coagulate, causing the texture to become gritty or syrupy.

Cannabis is a relatively rapid nucleator. When ordinary buds are left at ambient temperature for a year outside of an airtight container, they lose 17 percent of their potency. The rate is a little faster with concentrates. In the same settings, hash and kief can lose up to 50% of their THC in the same amount of time. 

THCa crystals are the lone exception, as they are quite shelf-stable when kept away from light in an airtight container.

Nucleation, in any case, causes the concentrate’s key components to separate and degrade, resulting in a loss of flavor, potency, and a radical change in appearance. Dabs don’t go bad in the sense that they’re dangerous to smoke, but they won’t smell, taste, or feel the same as they did when you initially acquired them.

Is it safe to smoke old concentrates?

Most concentrates are no longer worth smoking after a year. You don’t have to do anything just because you can. Some forms of hash or rosin have been known to improve with age, but in most cases, they only get worse. Old concentrates turn off-color, become less strong, and lose their flavor.

When it comes to concentration, a decent rule of thumb is that you lose roughly 20% of your potency in a year. If you bought dabs that were 80 percent THC, you’re now down to 64 percent THC and 16 percent CBN, which will put you to sleep.


In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can dabs go bad?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how to properly store dabs and what changes are observed when dabs go bad.


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