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By Luke Sumpter

Sometimes, things don’t go to plan. Daily responsibilities can call us away from blazing up, forcing us to put sessions on hold. Whether you could only make it halfway through a joint or you have yet to even put a flame to it, there are some key factors that will determine how fresh that fat cone remains. To prevent those cannabinoids and terpenes from degrading, and to keep your half-smoked joints from smelling and tasting unsavoury, we’ve penned a guide to help you out. Follow the tips below to keep your pre-rolls fresh and ready for action.


What Happens When a Joint Goes Stale?

Have you ever picked up an old or half-smoked joint, experienced an off-putting smell, and questioned what you were doing with your life? It doesn’t have to be this way! You already took several steps to ensure your buds stay fresh, from drying and curing them perfectly to keeping them sealed away in appropriate stash jars. Why not treat them the same way after wrapping them in rolling paper?

Several variables can make a joint taste and smell stale and straight-up nasty. First and foremost, you need to make sure you’re dealing with high-quality buds. Grow your own or purchase from a reputable source to make sure they’re not carrying residual pesticides or harmful additives.

Second, both whole and partially smoked joints exposed to excess heat and oxygen over time are going to degrade. Leave a joint lying around too long, and you’ll end up with stale weed that tastes like hay and delivers an underwhelming high. Still, this "expired" bud is considered safe to smoke. But can a joint go bad? If your pre-rolls develop mould or mildew (most often the result of excess moisture), the weed is rendered unsmokable. As opposed to the grassy, uninspiring scent of overly dry weed, mouldy weed will smell rancid and downright gross.

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How Long Can You Store a Rolled Joint?

Even those who roll often may want to prepare themselves for a session or two by dedicating an hour to crafting a cache of jays. But how long do joints stay viable after rolling? Do joints expire? It all depends on how you go about things.

If you keep your joints fresh using the strategies outlined below, you expect to store them for up to 12 months without experiencing too much of a decline in quality. Even toward the tail end of this time frame, you’ll still detect delectable terpenes and feel the power of THC. If, however, you leave them exposed to the elements, quality will start to take a downturn within weeks, getting progressively worse over the months.

How Many Hits Does It Take to Finish a Joint?

Countless variables affect the number of hits in one joint, such as how much bud you use, the type of paper, how thick or long it is, how tightly packed it is, and your own specific inhalation force and frequency. Some users like to take massive and drawn-out hits, whereas others prefer them short and light. All things considered, the best we can do is work off a set model. For most cannabis lovers, anywhere between 0.5–1g is considered a normal joint. Typically, from our experience, it takes around 20–40 hits to finish off a joint of this size entirely.

How to Prevent Partially Smoked Joints From Smelling Bad

Buds smell amazing before rolling, and the scent of smoke in the air during a session is also pleasant. However, things get particularly smelly when you have to extinguish a joint before finishing it. Now, in addition to aromatic bud, your joints also house tar and other byproducts that are hardly a delight for the olfactory system. Nobody wants their smoking area to smell bad, so what can you do to minimise the stench of partially smoked joints?

Aside from following the storage recommendations further below, there are a few preventative measures you can take to keep this smelly occurrence from being an issue in the first place.

1. Roll Smaller Joints

Chiefly, consider rolling smaller joints that you can finish in one go. If you find yourself regularly leaving joints half-smoked, it may be time to cut down the size of your roll-ups. For example, consider smoking an entire 0.3–0.4 gram joint, as opposed to puffing halfway through a 0.6–1.0 gram fatty. Not only will this prevent a bad smell later on, but you’ll be able to get the most out of your bud.

2. Extinguish Properly

One other thing to consider is how you extinguish your joint. Smooshing or rubbing the cherry is never the move; instead, let it go out naturally, then lightly tap away any remaining ash before storage. Also, never place a still-lit joint into any storage vessel. This will only make the smell worse, and could even damage the vessel. Wait until the cherry goes out completely. If you're strapped for time and need to put out your joint before, say, heading in for work, very lightly press the burning end against an ashtray, concrete, etc. until the smoke stops coming. Do not press down with force.

Tips on Keeping a Pre-Rolled Joint Fresh

While you’ll rarely come across mould growing out of the side of a joint (if the bud has been properly dried and cured), the quality, taste, and potency will naturally decline over time. So, whether you’re looking for a way to keep your pre-rolls fresh or want to store a half-smoked joint before your next opportunity to blaze, the solutions below will come in handy.

Generally, you need to ensure that temperature and relative humidity are consistent and within the appropriate range, as these two factors are your buds’ best friend and worst enemy. For cured buds, a relative humidity of 58–62% is considered ideal, at a temperature of 15–20°C. Furthermore, your joints should be kept out of direct exposure to light.

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Best Joint Storage Methods

Without further ado, consider the following methods for storing your unlit or half-smoked joints:

Saverette: Joint saverettes do a great job of keeping cones fresh. Their hinged lids keep the internal environment relatively airtight, meaning they’ll help to preserve those precious cannabinoids and terpenes. Additionally, these storage devices also double up as a transport option and protect joints from getting squashed, twisted, and torn.

Glass Mason jar: Glass Mason jars are the quintessential storage option for cannabis buds. They also work great for joints if you find jars tall enough (although smaller jars are perfect for half-smoked cones). Such jars often feature a metal lever and rubber seal that keeps them completely airtight. Just make sure to keep them in a cool and dark space to stall the degradation process.

Bamboo tray: Bamboo trays are an excellent and aesthetically pleasing option for short to mid-term storage. They won’t entirely shelter your joints from the air, but they will keep them away from light. This is a good option for partially smoked joints, as it’ll allow enough airflow to keep the byproducts of combustion from creating a stale smell in the vessel. These tools also provide other functions, such as doubling up as a rolling surface.

Vacuum sealer: These machines are arguably the best option for long-term storage. Not only do they keep air out, but they remove all of the stagnant air from inside the packaging. Simply load up your joints into the plastic vessel, hit the button of your device, and watch the tech do its job.

Humidor: Typically used to preserve the quality of cigars, humidors are also perfect for the long-term storage of joints. These devices keep the internal environment at the ideal humidity level to prolong shelf life.

Cigar tubes: If you’re a fan of cigars, keep hold of your used cigar tubes. These vessels are very similar to saverettes and help to keep joints fresh and protected. They also work great to keep the smell of half-smoked joints to a minimum, especially when you’re out and about.

Torpedo cone tubes: Torpedo cone tubes are the equivalent of saverettes for those who love a bit of colour in their lives. Use them to stash whole or partially smoked joints. Because many of these products are transparent, you’ll need to keep them in a dark place for long-term storage.

Pill bottle: Empty pill bottles will keep your half-smoked joints safe from air exposure and prevent their smell from permeating every room that you walk into. Because of their compact dimensions, you’ll need to make sure you smoke enough of a joint to fit them inside.

Zip bag: This cheap short-term solution will save you money while keeping your joints fresh for a little while. For the best results, try to expel as much air as possible out of the bag before you seal it, and place it in a dark location.

How to Save a Joint For Later: Problem Solved

There you have it. No longer do you need to worry about your pre-rolls losing quality over time. Moreover, gone are the days spent worrying about odour trails forming behind your every step when carrying half-smoked joints. Whichever option you elect to utilise, you’ll rest easy knowing that your stash of joints won’t rapidly perish any time soon.

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