Is That Old Marijuana You Found In Your Couch (Or Elsewhere) Safe To Smoke?

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Anyone who has ever stumbled to the bathroom in search of a pill to take away a real beast of a hangover has discovered, at least once, that the drugs they so desperately need have expired. They’re standing in front of the medicine cabinet with their left eyeball in the palm of their hand, and every freaking bottle of Advil, generic ibuprofen, aspirin, all of it, shows that it was best used before 1986. After some quick finger math, it is realized that we’re now smack dab in 2020, and it is possible that consuming these medications might resort in an instant stomach embolism that drops them dead right there on the shithouse floor. Or then again, perhaps the medicine is just old and won’t do the trick. After all, everything in this existence, pharmaceuticals included, must expire at some point or another, am I right?

But how about those times when your crew is so desperate to catch a buzz, only there’s not even enough money to afford a measly dime bag. That’s when it is called upon for everyone to start ripping apart the house for lost weed. They tear into the couch cushions, crawl underneath the beds, scour every nasty, gnarly nook and cranny in the kitchen in hopes of finding so much as a morsel of dope that may have been dropped during a previous smoke session. It’s a long shot, for sure, but where a bunch of stoned bros hang out getting red-eyed and ripped on the regular, it is always well within the scope of possibility that those bastards did, in fact, drop a bud or two one day. It’s just a matter of finding it. All of a sudden, just when every smidgen of hope is gone, someone cries out from the living room, “I found something. I think it might be weed.”

There’s no doubt about it, something that resembles pot has been found in the back crack of the Lazy-Boy – the one that reeks of cheese and hard liquor. But after careful inspection, a process that involves the removal of sofa lint and what appears to be a pubic hair, it is determined by the house council that the tiny nugget-like object may, in fact, be marijuana. I mean, they all concur that it’s green and smells sort of like it, so it must be okay to smoke. “It’s better than nothing,” someone says.

Only there’s this one pessimistic turd standing on the sidelines, yammering on about how the green discovery might not be fit for consumption. The dude is worried about catching coal miner’s lung, Ebola or some bizarre strain of jungle clap if they dare take a chance on turning it into smoke. This, of course, sparks outrage among the crew, and a vicious argument ensues over whether marijuana is like other medicines and has an expiration date. The crew is divided on the issue. Some say the weed is fine, while others are worried that ingesting it might make them sick.

But who’s right?

Well, let’s just say that nobody is wrong in this situation. The thing about marijuana is that it does have a bit of a shelf life when left out, in say, the cracks of the living room furniture, but it does not go bad in the same manner as something like gas station sushi. The plant is going to degrade when left exposed to things like air, farts and bad breath. This is when the stoner cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, makes a transformation to a less intoxicating chemical. Without getting overly scientific, the THC slowly converts to a compound called Cannabinol (CBN), which is known for its power to put people to sleep – not get them high.

Basically, the potency of pot decreases over time.

On the bright side, however, the weed found in your couch cushions isn’t toxic or dangerous in any way. It’s just not going to be strong enough to knock your dick in the dirt. But we would suggest removing any and all pubic hair and sofa lint before putting it in your pipe and smoking it. We don’t know that it’ll get you sick, but it’s just foul and disgusting to toke on pubes, you know?

Edibles are a different story.

If a stale pot brownie is discovered in the couch cushions, it is probably a good idea to toss that shit in the trash. Smoking old marijuana isn’t going to make someone ill, but eating any food product that hasn’t been stored properly isn’t safe. Edible pot products, some of which contain milk and eggs, should always be kept refrigerated and treated like any other nutriment. Sure, expired edibles might still get a person high, but they could also give them a mean case of food poisoning. And if you show us someone who has been stoned whilst yakking up their guts and shitting their drawers, we’ll show you a motherfucker who is now deathly afraid to use his mouth for anything but to yell for help.

Want to stay safe? Just keep your buds stored in airtight glass containers and your edibles refrigerated, and nobody in your crew should ever have to worry about getting sick from them. And always remember, when in doubt, toss that shit out. Because while being stoned is a lot of fun, diseases like salmonella and E. Coli should be considered some of the most brutal gateways to Hell.


Mike Adams is a freelance writer for High Times, Cannabis Now, and Forbes. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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