You may be elated if you stumble upon a bit of wax leftover in the back of your desk drawer. Although good wax is easy to come by these days, thanks to medical and recreational dispensaries, it’s hard to let a drop of wax go to waste. So, if you happen to have found an ancient stash, or if you’re just wondering if your wax has gone bad, there are a few signs you can look for. You never want to smoke or vape any wax that could be potentially harmful. But how do you know if that is the case? What is the worst-case scenario? Allow us to put your fears to rest with a bit more information.
The old saying goes, “nothing good lasts forever”, and that holds true with wax. You can take careful measures to store your wax properly and extend its shelf life. However, wax will eventually age. But what happens when wax ages naturally? And can it still be safe to dab or vape?
When wax is exposed to air in, then the quality of the dab can begin to degrade. Wax will not necessarily dry up and disappear, but the terpenes and cannabinoids start to. Over time, the cannabinoids and terpenes present in wax can start to degrade, leaving you with less potent, less flavorful, and less aromatic wax.
If the wax is exposed to too much light or direct sun, it can also start to change in color and become darker. However, much worse can happen if your wax is exposed to high temperatures or too much moisture. When exposed to high heat, wax will change in consistency and texture, and change the nature of the wax you first purchased. Or if wax is exposed to too much humidity or moisture, it can mold and go bad entirely.
To be on the safe side, you should count on wax lasting an average of eight months to a year. If you store your wax properly, then you can avoid it aging rapidly or potentially going bad though. But to keep your wax in prime terpene and cannabinoid condition, you should ideally consume it within four months.
If you still want to take a gamble on your ancient stash of wax, then there are few things you should note. When wax is exposed to air, time, heat, or contaminants, it can go through a process referred to as “nucleation”. During nucleation, the particles within wax will begin to separate. This also leads to the accumulation of lipids, which begin to clump together to form white or yellow clumps in the wax. These lipid clumps should be avoided when dabbing since they can be harmful if inhaled while smoking or vaping. Thankfully, you can easily spot if your wax has gone through nucleation since it will become ‘frostier’, or sugar-like in appearance. You can choose to take a chance and just separate out the yellow or white lipid clumps with a dab tool, but that is a risk that may not be worth taking.
As wax ages and goes through nucleation, it also begins to lose its potency and terpene profile. The cannabinoids and terpenes begin to separate during nucleation, as well as the lipids, with exposure to light, heat, or age. This means that the wax is naturally losing its cannabidiol or tetrahydrocannabinol percentages as it converts these molecules into CBN. The CBN developed will create a darker, rust tone in the wax and potentially make you sleepy instead of high.
The loss of terpenes will also leave your wax less flavorful and aromatic, making for less tasty hits. But, even though wax does not get better with age like a fine wine, it can still be smokable. However, any wax that has aged for longer than one year will lose an average of 15 percent of its potency. And that percentage quadruples when it sits as long as two years. So, what can you do to extend the shelf life and potency of your wax?
If you take the quality of your wax seriously, then you will want to be sure to store it properly. Storing your wax away from potential heat, light, air, and moisture exposure is critical to preserving the quality of it for longer. And there are ways to do this properly, both in the short run and the long run.
If you have a small portion of wax that you plan on dabbing within a few days, then you can use a short-term storage method to keep it fresh. This is where your standard silicone dab container is ideal. These containers can hold anywhere from one to three grams on average, which makes it the perfect size for short-term storage of small amounts of wax. They are also incredibly durable, practically airtight, non-stick, and heat-resistant, making the perfect container for storage and to use with a dab tool, nectar collector, or dab pen.
You can also take the easy route and just fold your wax into a piece of parchment paper to help preserve its freshness. However, silicone dab containers are incredibly affordable and built to last a lifetime. So if you’re serious about dabbing it’s best to make the investment in a few small dab containers for short-term storage. No matter what short-term storage method you use though, you should store your wax in a cool, dark, and dry location to extend its shelf life.
If you tend to purchase larger amounts of wax or have a varied collection of different types of wax, then you should prepare some long-term storage methods to keep your stash fresh. Wax that is winterized or de-waxed can have a longer shelf life, such as n / . More surgery wax, like live resin or sauce, will be a bit more unstable, and should be stored with care. But even shatter needs to be stored properly to preserve its potency and texture.
If you want to keep your wax collection fresh for longer, then it might be worth investing in a wax mini fridge. These coolers look a bit like a wine fridge or a mini fridge that belongs in a dorm room, but they are perfect for storing your wax. If you live in an especially hot or humid location, then the fridge is a worthwhile investment though. But you must be careful to not keep the wax too cold, since this could decrease the potency or change the texture of the wax as well.
Although most dabbers won’t be willing to buy a mini fridge after they have invested so much in a dab rig. And if you live in a relatively cool and dry environment then that should be no issue at all. You should still store your wax in an airtight container though, and you can take the added precaution of wrapping it in parchment paper as well. The parchment paper also makes it easier to scrape up the wax later, when you pull it out of storage for a session. You can go one step further and even vacuum seal your wax or place it in an airtight bag inside of the airtight jar. A container that is opaque or UV-resistant is also ideal, to help prevent the wax from being exposed to light degradation. The most important element to control though is the humidity, and where you place your storage jar matters. Find a cool, dark, and dry location to store your wax for the long haul and you will be thankful that you did months down the line.
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