Lately, there have been many inquiries on using humidity salt packs to keep cannabis fresh, so hopefully this post will help serve to make an unbiased comparison of humidity beads and salt packs. First, both of these methods are 2-way systems, meaning they emit moisture and absorb moisture as needed, so the relative humidity will never go above or below a certain ratio. Second, both of these systems use a combination of salt and silica. Third, the purpose of both methods is to maintain THC levels and keep the flowers from drying, which ultimately maintains flavor.
Salt packs, like those made by Boveda® come in different sizes and humidity ranges. Boveda®’s most popular humidity ratio for cannabis storage is 62% RH. After The Werc Shop conducted a brief study on relative humidity and its effects on potency, they concluded that after 5 months of storage, the THC levels remained stable. This study also demonstrates the effects of oxidation on THC levels, as the cannabis sample in the storage unit that was opened daily showed slightly less THC than the unit that was shut during the entire period. The life-span of these salt packs, can last up to 5 months before they dry out if you’re regularly opening the container several times per week. The packs need to work harder to maintain 62% RH whenever they are exposed to air, so the longer they are kept in an airtight container, the longer they’ll last. If the razor blade model is okay with you for the short-term, then spending $2-$3 on a pack is no big deal. Like any Gillette® razor blade customer knows, over the long-term, the costs can add up.
Humidity beads, like the Humidity Bead System®, are an alternative to the razor blade model, which only requires rehydrating with distilled water once a month (or possibly more if you live in very arid environment). This system is made with medical grade silica and engineered with micropores for excess moisture absorption, which are impregnated with a salt based formula for precise humidity control. Compared to salt packs, the cost-savings of this product can be recognized within a year if you are responsibly tending to your buds, since these beads last up to 5 years and cost $25 for a small case. Like the salt packs, these beads maintain a constant relative humidity and come in varying RH increments. The 50% or 60% RH case is sufficient for cannabis storage without any risk of mold and will help preserve the trichomes from water loss.
In summary, salt packs are easier to maintain and can last up to 5 months before needing replacement while humidity beads are more labor intensive, yet sustainable and cost-effective for the longer-term.