5 Tips on Preserving Your Cannabinoids

 If you love cannabinoids as much as we do, you’ll want to do everything in your power to preserve them. Due to unstoppable forces of nature, cannabinoids begin degrading immediately after harvest. Luckily, with proper storage you can extend the life of your cannabinoids by many years, and even keep your terpenes smelling fresh. So whether you use flower, edibles, or concentrates, here are five tips on what to consider when preserving those precious cannabinoids. 

Air

Oxygen is one of the most important contributors of the degradation of cannabinoids. This happens through a process known as oxidation, which is the chemical reaction that happens when a compound loses electrons to another compound (often due to oxygen exposure). In short, this means that in the presence of oxygen, some cannabinoids will change into other cannabinoids entirely, like the conversion of THC to CBN.

While CBN is certainly a valuable cannabinoid, it’s not always the most desirable tool for the job. Products which have degraded due to oxidation may feel less potent than they once were. To protect your cannabinoids, store them in an airtight container, such as a glass jar with a metal lid. Avoid using plastic or silicone containers, as they may be permeable to oxygen and other gasses, even when the container is completely sealed.

Light

Ultraviolet (UV) light accounts for around 10% of the total electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun, and is known to interact with a wide variety of organic compounds, including THC. Unlike exposure to oxygen, exposure to light does not result in a conversion to CBN, but instead reduces overall THC levels, and may affect other cannabinoids as well. 

Degradation from light is easily avoidable by stashing your cannabinoids in a drawer, cabinet, or other closed storage space. If you plan to leave your cannabinoids out for long periods of time, consider using an opaque container, or one which is rated to block out UV light. This is especially important when outdoors, where UV light is strongest.

Temperature

Cannabinoids are best kept at room temperature for easy storage. Use discretion when choosing to store your cannabinoids in the fridge or freezer, as cold air causes condensation to form in moist environments. Cold storage can often be an effective method of preservation for edibles or concentrates, but the crystallization from freezing may damage the trichome structure of flower, and cause cannabinoids to fall off.

Avoid heating concentrates like distillate or isolate for extended periods of time, as it speeds up the oxidation process, and may change the smell and flavor of your terpenes. Do not store cannabinoids near appliances or other sources of heat. Keep containers upright to avoid leakage in warm conditions. 

Moisture

In the presence of moisture, dormant mold spores or bacteria may awaken. These are carried through both indoor and outdoor air, and are usually harmless in small amounts. However, when allowed to propagate they can pose a serious health risk. Moisture levels for cannabis flower can be controlled via the use of humidity packs, which cycle moisture to keep your flower at a pre-determined humidity level. Avoid desiccant packs, which draw moisture from the air, and cause flower to dry up.

High purity concentrates such as distillate and isolate are less prone to the risks of moisture, as they have had most organic matter removed during processing, and thus are better for long term storage. To best preserve your cannabinoids, keep them dry at all times.

Safety

While current research on the potential therapeutic use of cannabinoids is promising, there are still steps that need to be taken to ensure they are stored responsibly. THC poses a significant health risk to dogs and other animals, and high doses of CBD may even cause potential side effects for animals which are not commonly found in humans.

All cannabinoids should be kept out of the reach of children and pets, even if otherwise recommended for use by a healthcare professional. Locked containers, high shelving, and proper labeling are essential to preventing accidental consumption. At the end of the day, it is up to you to keep your loved ones (and your cannabinoids) safe from harm. 

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