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Weed in a plastic bag? Is it a good idea for long term storage?



Storing weed in plastic bags is a popular method for many because it’s easier to carry on you than, say, a mason jar. The widespread use of plastic bags for weed has led to a few nicknames: turkey bags, zips (short for ziplock bags), and baggies, just to name a few.

Lose the plastic bud baggies:

And while it’s not the best for the long term, you can store your weed in a plastic bag. You just need to be aware of the things in ziplock bags that will affect the quality of your buds. Doing so might even help you find a better alternative than those silly turkey bags for your weed.

Should You Store Weed in a Plastic Bag?

Ziplocks get a lot of flak for not being optimal storage for your marijuana, and most of it is true. That’s because some of their properties make them unsuitable for long-term storage. Leaching, static cling, and moisture desiccation are the common arguments against plastic bags. But, while they’re not ideal storage for the long term, they still work for short-term storage.

The Truth About Putting Weed in a Plastic Bag

Do plastic bags lower the quality of your weed?

Plastic baggies are either polyethylene or polypropylene. These two types of plastic are the most commonly used in food packaging(1). Both are chemical and corrosion-resistant, meaning they won’t degrade into your buds.

Both plastics also feature temperature-resistant film with low gas permeability. This translates well with storing your buds, at least temporarily. The temperature-resistant film keeps the heat from drying out your buds. Its low permeability means it has a low oxygen transmission rate. Low permeability slows down the degradation of THC into CBN by limiting the amount of oxygen your buds are exposed to. Another advantage of having low permeability is that it keeps the dank smell of your buds contained.

If you’re looking for an ideal weed plastic bag to use, Mylar bags are perfect for short-term storage. They have low permeability and provide protection against moisture, light, and odor thanks to their thick foil laminate layer.

Mylar bags for weed
If you absolutely want to store your weed in plastic bags, Mylar bags are a safe bet

Do plastic bags release Microplastics into my weed? 

While all plastics eventually degrade into microplastics, it would take a very long while for them to do so. Zips won’t sprinkle your buds with microplastics just from being used. But that doesn’t change the fact that polyethylene and polypropylene are two of the most abundant sources of microplastics(1).

Does plastic impact the Inflorescence?

There are a couple of plastics you must avoid when choosing a bag to stash your grass. Avoid them because they tend to leach into your buds. This means they can transfer their chemical composition onto your dried flower. Two noteworthy ones are polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene, which are more commonly associated with pipes and boards in DIY projects. Some ziplock bags include these plastics; they’re unsafe for your weed because they tend to leach vinyl chloride(1) and styrene(2), respectively. Not only will this affect the flavor and smell of your buds, but they’re also possible carcinogens.

In the case of polyethylene and polypropylene, these two types of plastics don’t leach their chemical compositions onto your buds. That’s why they’re safe to use as plastic baggies for weed.

Growing high-quality weed requires careful attention to various factors such as selecting the right strain, providing optimal growing conditions, using quality nutrients, and properly curing the buds. Download my FREE marijuana grow bible now.

Do plastic bags create Static Charge, and does that affect my nugs?

The concern surrounding storing weed in a plastic bag is a static charge. Ziplock bags may become statically charged, which causes the trichomes to stick to the plastic.

Some say it’s a myth; others say it’s a fact. In reality, ziplock bags do generate and hold a static charge. But it depends on the type of plastic. Only some materials become statically charged when rubbed against another material, like the inside of your pockets. In the case of polyethylene bags, they don’t generate or hold a static charge(1). Polypropylene, on the other hand, does become statically charged(2). So what does this say about the myth? Well, it proves that it’s true; polypropylene bags do become statically charged and cause the trichomes of your buds to stick to them.

Polypropylene bags for weed
Turns out that polypropylene bags do become statically charged and cause the trichomes of your buds to stick to them

Plastic Bag Alternatives


TerpLoc’s Grove Bag pouches are a great alternative to replace the sandwich bags you use to store weed. It has every advantage of a ziplock with none of its downsides. It’s durable, reusable, and easy to carry. 

Grove Bags by TerpLoc for weed
Grove Bags by TerpLoc are hands-down the best long-term storage bags for your weed

What makes TerpLoc better than a zip is that it doesn’t hold a static charge, meaning your trichomes won’t stick to the packaging. The material it’s made of also provides humidity control and UV protection. As a bonus, they also come in several sizes, so they are suited for long(er)-term storage of large quantities of your precious herb.  

Airtight weed containers for long-term storage

Airtight glass jars with dark tint for weed
Airtight glass jars with dark tint are best for storing weed long term

An airtight container isn’t limited to glass and plastic. There are also stainless steel containers that can do the job, like Freshtor’s CVault. CVault comes in various sizes, ranging from 7-gram containers you can take with you to a 21-liter for true long-term storage. Lastly, outside of the container, you also receive Boveda Humidipaks to help maintain the relative humidity inside the container.

Airtight glass jars with dark tint are best for storing weed long term

If you’re looking for opaque containers, you could still use mason jars since they do come in tinted versions. A colored glass container gives you the same effect stainless steel or opaque plastic containers provide by protecting the buds from light exposure.

Blackened glass jars for weed storage
The ultimate weed storage solution are UV-guarded, blackened glass jars like this one

A dark-tinted glass jar is also transparent enough that you can see your buds, unlike stainless steel containers which you have to open. Additionally, glass jars are generally considered the safe choice when storing and keeping cannabis fresh since it doesn’t affect the flavor as opposed to plastic or metal.

Can I Use Tinfoil instead of plastic?

If you don’t have any glass or metal containers available, you could use tinfoil. While it is better for long-term storage than putting your weed in a plastic bag, that’s all it has going for it. It’s far from being proper cannabis storage since it doesn’t protect your buds from getting crushed or smushed.


There are a lot of things to consider when choosing where to store your weed. Important factors such as the container’s impact on your bud’s flavor, its ability to be airtight, and whether it will protect your weed against sunlight are all essential. 

Plastic bags are okay for short-term storage as long as it’s the right type of plastic. If you get the polypropylene ones, the trichomes of your buds may stick to the bag due to static charge. But outside of static cling, many concerns with using food bags to store weed are exaggerated at best. 

Your sandwich bag won’t make microplastics each time it’s opened. The widely used plastic for zips is food-safe, meaning it won’t leach into your buds and add a chemical flavor to it. A lot of research goes into finding alternatives for storage, but research will reward you in the long run. Do yourself a favor and make sure the weed you grow is worth storing long-term by purchasing your seeds from

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FAQs About Storing Weed in a Plastic Bag

How long can you leave weed in a plastic bag?

Assuming it’s in a spot where it’s not in direct contact with sunlight, you could leave weed in a plastic bag for at least a month. That’s not to say that you should. If you have the means to get better containers, you should.

What happens if you store weed in plastic?

It depends on the type of plastic and how long you plan to store it there. It’s safe to store weed in polyethylene bags for a couple of weeks. But store it for longer than intended, and your buds will likely develop mold.

Do plastic bags hide the smell of weed?

Ziplock bags hide the smell of weed, but the smell will permeate through the plastic after some time. It’s one of the few caveats when putting weed in bags.

Can you cure weed in ziplock bags?

While most ziplock bags are temperature resistant, they’re not ideal for curing. This is because the higher the temperature they’re exposed to, the more likely ziplock bags will add a chemical flavor to your buds. Additionally, they’re not as airtight as mason jars.

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Weed disease hop latent viroid is coming for your plants




Across North America, something called Hop Latent Viroid (HLV) is wreaking havoc. This virus-like infection can make plants sickly and destroy harvests. It’s highly contagious. Studies have estimated that perhaps 40% of cannabis flower sold legally in Canada carries HLV. As much as 90% of cannabis in California might be infected, costing billions of dollars in lost yields. 
What exactly is Hop Latent Viroid (HLV), how does it work, and what can growers do to protect their precious Cannabis plants?

Cannabis plants can catch HLV when they come into physical contact with infected plants.

Hop Latent Viroid: What are viroids & How are they different than viruses?

Plants with hop latent viroid infection look stunted and mal-developed. (Shuttersotck)
Hop latent viroid infection causes seedling death and stunted growth—and it’s spreading. (Shutterstock)

Viruses are tiny infectious agents. They can infect animals, plants, or single-celled organisms. They are much smaller than even a bacteria cell, consisting of a small piece of genetic material (DNA or RNA) protected by a protein shell. These protective shells help preserve the genetic material of the virus and contain various proteins enabling them to infect specific host cells. 

Viroids are similar to viruses, but different in key ways. Viroids do not have a protective protein shell. Instead, they are small circular strands of RNA. They seem to specialize in infecting flowering plants. In other words, they are tiny, “naked” pieces of genetic material that infect certain plant species, causing disease. When they infect valuable crops grown by humans, such as Cannabis, this can have a devastating economic impact. 

The “goal” of viruses and viroids is the same: replication. They cannot reproduce on their own. They must come into direct contact with the right host cell, smuggle their genetic material inside, and hijack the cell’s replication machinery. Eventually, the host cell fills up with viral particles and bursts open. When you get sick with a viral infection–such as COVID or the common cold–it’s because your immune system is responding to a large number of these viral particles circulating throughout the body.


Marijuana seedling and plant care

Hop latent viroid: What does it do to cannabis plants?

Hop Latent Viroid is a viroid that infects hop plants, which are used to brew beer. Cannabis is a relative of hops. In recent years, HLV jumped from hops to Cannabis. Infected plants show various defects, ranging from stunted growth and reduced foliage to uneven trichome coverage and decreased cannabinoid production–symptoms of what’s been called “duds disease.” This is a huge problem for cannabis growers, whose livelihoods depend on reliably growing healthy, cannabinoid-rich plants with bountiful harvests.

Cannabis plants infected with HLV show obvious outward defects: smaller overall sizes, reduced root development, and discoloration. Here are some pictures. They have smaller flowers (the part of the plant meant for human consumption), and can produce up to 50% fewer cannabinoids, like THC.

How does hop latent viroid (HLV) spread in cannabis

Similar to viruses, viroids like HLV need to come into direct contact with their hosts to infect them. Cannabis plants can catch HLV when they come into physical contact with infected plants. Although HLV doesn’t infect humans, we can spread it between plants through contact with body surfaces, tools, or equipment. Contaminated water supplies are also a major source of infection, as HLV tends to concentrate in the roots. 

All of these potential points of infection enable the rapid spread of HLV, as Cannabis plants are often grown in high density, require human contact at multiple points of the production process, and can be connected to common water supplies (e.g. in hydroponic systems).

Hop latent viroid can also spread from mother plants to offspring, both through clones generated by taking cuttings and through seeds. All offspring can potentially carry HLV if their parent is infected. This makes it essential to identify infected plants, even if there are no obvious outward signs of infection or you’re working with tissue culture systems with physically isolated samples.

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Because HLV is so contagious, it has already spread widely and caused mass losses for Cannabis growers. It is likely to continue spreading. Growers must be prepared.

How can growers protect against hop latent viroid (HLV)?

Whether or not growers are already battling HLV, they need to have processes in place to test and remove infected plants. It is obviously important to learn how to visually identify potentially infected plants, but it’s always possible to miss subtle signs.

As far as I can tell, the only reliable way to be sure whether plants are infected is to conduct genetic testing, similar to what would be done to detect something like COVID infection in yourself. A sample must be taken from a potentially infected individual and subjected to a laboratory test capable of detecting the presence of genetic material from a particular pathogen. 

For Cannabis growers, this means either developing in-house capabilities and purchasing test kits, or sending samples out for testing elsewhere. Any plants known or suspected to be infected with HLV need to be immediately removed to prevent the spread of infection. Plants in close proximity, even if they show no signs of infection, should be quarantined or monitored closely.

Being diligent could mean the difference from a few infected plants vs. the loss of an entire harvest. 

Dr. Zamir Punja’s research team has conducted studies looking at how well HLV infections can be managed using a test-and-remove approach. They were able to reduce the percentage of infected plants from 35% to 7% over a period of seven months. In other words, handling a HLV outbreak is likely to be costly in terms of time, labor, and money. For commercial Cannabis growers, it is advisable to have a robust detection process in place, before isolated infections turn into full-blown outbreaks. Being diligent could mean the difference from a few infected plants vs. the loss of an entire harvest. 

Other preventative measures should also be taken. HLV is surprisingly stable on surfaces, with the ability to survive for days or even weeks on equipment or plant material. This viroid is also apparently capable of withstanding high heat, UV radiation, and disinfectants to some extent. For these reasons, growers need to be proactive and conscientious about hygiene. Are tools and equipment being fully sterilized between uses? Are supplies and staff traveling between rooms with different plants? How often are disposable items being reused and thrown out?


Identifying bud rot, mold, and root rot on marijuana plants

Any large-scale growers with high-density grow operations should be prepared, especially if their plants share common water supplies, nutrient sources, and soil. Given the rapid spread of HLV, Cannabis cultivators everywhere should be prepared. As I’m sure we all know by now, viral outbreaks are difficult to manage and can be highly disruptive. Growing Cannabis is hard. It’s a science and an art form. In an already competitive market with slim profit margins and the inability to deduct normal business expenses due to the schedule I legal status of marijuana, every harvest counts.

Be prepared.

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Got storm damage? Here’s 7 cannabis garden first aid tips




It’s that time of year: the weed plants are flowering but the first storms of fall threaten to damage your garden.

Southern California had the Tropical Storm Hilary coincide with an earthquake. Multiple inches of rain fell in the course of day. Winds howled. On the East Coast, hurricane season is warming up, throwing wind and water at East Coast gardens.

We jumped on the phone with master of cannabis horticulture, Ed Rosenthal, for some first aid plant tips. He said a lot of plant first aid is analogous to human first aid. You have to treat and disinfect wound sites, and bind and support broken branches. Tips we cover:

  • Shake your plants out to get water off the flowering buds
  • Give your plants an air dry—especially the buds
  • Wrap stem breaks and support the injured plant—like a limb on a crutch
  • Re-cover exposed roots to keep them wet and covered from the air
  • Cut away any majorly injured parts, and disinfect the cut site with an alcohol pad
  • Spray potassium bicarbonate to deter mold and mildew
  • Reapply bacillus thuringiensis to deter pests

Listen along for details on the actions you can take to save your crop. Good luck to all the growers—may you have a happy, terpy, bountiful harvest.


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David Downs

David Downs

Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He’s appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.

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What is ‘living soil’ weed and why does it rule?




It’s alive—the soil, that is. 

Living soil is all the rage in cannabis cultivation. Think it’s just a marketing term? Think again: A new study conducted by Columbia University and a group of cannabis farmers compared indoor, hydroponically grown cannabis versus outdoor cannabis grown in living soil. 

The results are staggering

Cannabis grown outdoors boasted a significantly greater diversity of cannabinoids and a greater quantity of terpenes. Have we got your attention? Let’s dig in (pun very much intended).

What *is*soil?

(Jason Henry for Leafly)

Most people confuse soil with dirt,” says Dr. Elaine Ingham, one of the world’s leading soil biologists. “But they’re different things entirely.” 

Devoid of any organic matter, dirt is simply broken-down parent rocks. “They’re simply a mineral component,” she says. You might know your soil to be sandy, silty, or clay, but all three terms are merely textural descriptions. Out of balance, they can make gardening difficult, but even when they’re in ideal proportions (a third of each, known as loam), they don’t indicate soil health. 

Soil, on the other hand, refers to an entire underground ecosystem comprised of dirt along with a whole cast of characters (bacteria, fungi, and micro-arthropods (nematodes, earthworms, and spiders—invertebrates we can see) that work together to break down organic matter and release nutrients in plant-available form, a process known as nutrient cycling. 

Top cover with this to help build soil to grow the picture below. (Courtesy SPARC)
SPARC Terra Luna Demeter crop
A biodynamic cannabis farm in Napa Valley, CA. (Leafly File Photo)

“Soil is very much a living thing,” Dr. Ingham stresses. She refers to the action happening underground as the soil food web.

This is how soil has been built for billions of years. Think of a forest—an incredibly productive environment that uses no synthetic fertilizer. It’s the soil food web that does all the work instead, building richer and richer soil over time. 

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Some issues with synthetic fertilizers

Many cannabis cultivators grow plants in a soilless medium—either coconut coir or rockwool—and irrigate hydroponically with synthetic fertilizers. The origin and application of these chemicals has proven problematic.

Dr. Ingham explains that after WWII ended abruptly, chemicals companies had massive stockpiles of the explosive TNT sitting around. Where companies dumped their TNT, weeds grew better. The nitrogen in TNT is plant food. Thus,  inorganic fertilizer was born. Plants grow fast when gorging on nitrogen. 

“But that doesn’t mean you’re growing healthy plants,” Ingham says. “All you’re putting in is nitrogen when your plants actually need phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, zinc, iron, and more.”

An imbalanced diet makes plants susceptible to disease, and destroys the soil. All inorganic fertilizers are, by definition, salts: An inorganic material that dissolves in water. When you think about salt water, you can’t drink it or you’ll die from dehydration. It’s the same for any microorganisms in the soil: They’re killed by these fertilizers and then, bam—you have dead dirt, not living soil.

Living soil is more sustainable

Biodynamic farming uses all on-farm inoute like manure for fertilizers, instead of synthetic nutrients.
Sources of fertilizer in the SPARC brand biodynamic weed farm in Napa, CA. (Courtesy SPARC)
Biodynamic bud grown in Napa, CA. (Leafly File Photo)

Why do cannabis farmers turn to living soil, aside from the terpiest terps? 

“We were in awe that you didn’t have to throw soil out every year,” says Jake Taylor of No-Till Kings. The Long Beach-based farmers recycle everything back into their soil. No-Till grinds up last year’s leaves and stems into mulch for this year’s crop, introducing even more organic matter to feed their system. “It’s an ecosystem that keeps on giving,” says Taylor. 

Mike Benziger of Glentucky Farms, situated outside of Glenn Ellen, California, didn’t launch his business embracing the way of living soil. For ten years he sprayed everything with fertilizer, insecticide, and herbicide. When a friend noticed there were absolutely no birds around, he realized he had essentially killed the farm. He swung far in the opposite direction and has now been Demeter-certified in what’s dubbed “biodynamic” farming for the past 22 years. 

“I’ve come to realize that by far the number one thing is soil health. Biodiversity is important. Rhythms are important. Good seed stock and genetics are important. But soil health is number one,” says Benziger, whose weed won a gold medal at last year’s California State Fair.

Riding dirty

8 top brands growing indoors in soil beds, or outdoors in living soil


How to order weed delivery online with Leafly

How to start building your own living soil

Living soil starts with compost. (Shutterstock)
Living soil starts with compost. (Shutterstock)

Looking to build your own living soil? 

Step one—keep your hands off those bottles of synthetic fertilizers entirely. Don’t touch them. Walk away.

Second—start adding compost.All those good bacteria, fungi, and micro-arthropods live off decaying organic matter. In other words, if you build it—a compost pile—they will come.

Homemade is best, if done right. You can opt for a worm bin, a thermal pile (built all at once and allowed to heat up), or a cold pile (which you continuously add to). 


How to make organic soil for your weed

Compost—homemade or bought in bags—should never smell any way other than earthy. Whether you make your own from scratch or supplement it with some store-bought black gold, it can be helpful to get one pound of really good compost and add it to your own pile (or your garden bed) to get a jumpstart on good biology. 

Good, bagged compost is hard to come by. Consider microscopically testing your compost to see how it stacks up. You can find a list of labs and consultants who can direct you to regionally specific compost sources at 

There’s so many more resources for this type of farming, commenters will chime in below.


How to Use Cover Crops to Improve Your Cannabis Garden

Saving the terps…and the world

MOCA soil beds in Eureka, CA. (David Downs/Leafly)
MOCA soil beds in Eureka, CA. (David Downs/Leafly)
MOCA flowering room in living soil. (David Downs/Leafly)
MOCA flowering room in living soil. (David Downs/Leafly)

While living soil gives us the best weed available, there are other, headier reasons to build soil. The farmers we spoke to are convinced that living soil can save the world. No, really. 

“Living soil on a mass scale is the way of the future,” says Taylor, of No-Till Kings. “It sequesters carbon and prevents topsoil from blowing away like in the dust bowl, creating a vacuum of fertility. Building soil is precisely what farmers can do to help the environment and build the soil for generations to come.”

For more information, check out our list of other living soil gurus, and feel free to shout out your favorite living soil farmer in the comments below!

Flora and Flame Gary Payton grown in living soil. (David Downs/Leafly)
Flora and Flame Gary Payton grown in living soil. (David Downs/Leafly)

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