STORING CBD: HOW TO KEEP CBD PRODUCTS
As CBD is an organic molecule, it degrades over time. While the normal shelf life for CBD products ranges between a year and two years, things like the quality of the product and how it is stored can impact how fast it breaks down. Store in a cool, dark room for quick access, or consider storing the CBD in the fridge for ultimate longevity.
Cannabidiol CBD has huge potential as a therapeutic treatment for a variety of ailments, from anxiety and depression to chronic pain, and is now available as an oil for food supplementation, vaping e-liquid, and in capsule form. Due to the farming, extraction process, storage and transport, high quality CBD is not a cheap product!
Firstly, the hemp plants are grown and harvested, the CBD is then extracted using one of several extraction processes - some of which are better and therefore more expensive than others. Solvent extraction, for example, has the potential to extract other compounds from the plant, like chlorophyll, making it a less desirable method.
The CBD is refined, then processed into the oil for use in CBD products, ranging from oral drops to CBD vape juice. CBD capsules use the refined powder, and this is not considered as effective as the oils because the powder passes through the digestive tract, to then be processed by the liver, before getting into circulation round the body - this reduces the bioavailability of CBD, meaning that less is taken up by the body, compared to other delivery methods.
Given that CBD oil based products are the more effective way to get CBD into your system, how can we store these products for minimal degradation, and maximum utility?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO STORE YOUR CBD PROPERLY?
CBD is an organic molecule - it contains carbon-hydrogen bonds - and so can degrade over time. Certain environments will hasten the breakdown of CBD, so in order to maintain the quality of your CBD products - the flavour and the potency - it’s important to store them correctly so the efficacy does not wane, and your hard-earned money doesn’t go to waste!
DO CBD PRODUCTS EXPIRE?
As mentioned, CBD can degrade over time, which means that CBD products can indeed ‘expire’. This will lead to a loss of the therapeutic effect of CBD due to the CBD degradation, and may taste and smell a little off, but is unlikely to cause any harm.
Learning what affects CBD products in storage can help you extend the shelf life of the product, allowing you to get the most from your CBD right up to, and possibly beyond, the expiration date.
WHAT DETERMINES THE SHELF LIFE OF CBD PRODUCTS?
The shelf life of CBD products should be indicated on the label by an expiry date, though expiry dates are essentially a timed guarantee that the product is stable and safe for use. It may be that your CBD product will last beyond the expiry, if it is a good quality product and is stored appropriately.
When addressing the product itself (and not how it is stored) there are several factors that will contribute to the products effectiveness and how long it stays effective; this comes down to the quality of the product - like good quality active ingredients, a great extraction process to get those ingredients from the hemp plant, and a quality carrier oil for the active ingredients to be stored in.
A 2020 evidence review from the University of Nottingham did include one study showing that CBD dissolved in MCT oil - oil containing medium chain triglycerides - saw no evidence of oxidation, suggesting that MCT oil is possibly a better medium for CBD than olive oil or hemp seed oil. Palm or coconut oil are good sources of MCTs so are often used to make MCT carrier oil.
Storing CBD oil is the next factor that plays a part. Things like exposure to air can hasten the CBD degradation - oxygen present in the air will oxidise the CBD over time - and light exposure can speed this reaction up.
TIPS FOR STORING CBD PROPERLY
Top tips for proper storage of CBD include:
- Using an airtight bottle to prevent oxygen in the air oxidising the CBD.
- Store in a cool dark place to avoid light exposure - this can speed up oxidation.
- Avoid extreme temperatures, heat sources and store at room temperature for quick access.
Storing your CBD at room temperature means it is ready to go when you need it, but one scientific report showed CBD samples stored at 37℃ degraded by about 20% over the course of 30 days. As CBD products can be refrigerated, CBD users living in hot climates are likely to see better shelf life if they keep their CBD oil in the fridge.
SHOULD CBD PRODUCTS BE REFRIGERATED?
Storing CBD products in a cool dry place is sufficient, but refrigerated storage might be the right option for some people, depending on local climate, and how they plan to use the product, and how much of it they keep!
Storing CBD e-liquid in the fridge won’t ruin the CBD in the liquid, but it can cause crystallisation of sugars in flavourings, which can lead to muted flavours. This may be an advantage for those who aren’t big fans of the earthy taste associated with CBD.
Lower temperatures can encourage CBD crystallisation too - crystallisation can occur naturally with products containing upwards of 80% CBD, so the better the product, the more likely you are to see crystallisation of the CBD.
This isn’t problematic, and applying gentle heat can encourage the CBD to re-dissolve, so refrigerating CBD e-liquid is great for long term storage, but it might be a good idea to get CBD out of the fridge and get it warmed up before vaping.
Cold e-liquid means your battery will need to work harder to heat it up, draining the power faster and stressing the battery more than necessary: that is a one way ticket to a dead battery!
When it comes to CBD gummies, think about how you would typically store normal gummies: away from the Sun, in a cool, dark, dry environment - those instructions will serve CBD gummies too.
The only possible exception to make would be long term storage (again), so if you bulk buy CBD gummies, keeping an open packet in a cupboard will be fine, and keeping the rest in the fridge will allow you to keep them fresh for as long as possible.
CBD oils can be treated similarly to CBD e-liquids, or even cooking oil: they are fine to be stored in a cool, dark place - but storing in the fridge may help to ensure you get the longest possible shelf life out of the product.
Much like CBD e-liquids, if the CBD content is high in a CBD oil product, the CBD can crystallise - this means that CBD is being taken out of the solution as it crystallises, reducing the potency of the rest of the CBD oil. Needless to say, this leads to inaccurate dosing, and money down the drain as the consumer is not getting all the CBD from their product.
The storage practice is essentially the same here then - for long term storage, a fridge can help maximise the shelf life, but a bottle of CBD oil currently in use is fine to be stored in a cool, dark cupboard.
STORING CBD: HOW TO KEEP CBD PRODUCTS: CONCLUSION
Whatever type of CBD product that catches your fancy, the storage instructions are pretty similar - long term storage? Put it in the fridge. The packet on the go? Keep it in a cool cupboard.
As far as a freezer goes, it is possible to store your CBD oil or e-liquid in there without affecting the quality, but this will then require a longer wait when you get it out for use. Refrigeration is likely to be all that is required to give you time to get through a handful of bottles before you approach the expiry date.
Storing CBD gummies in the freezer works too - it helps prolong the life of the product, and as the gummies don’t actually freeze, it makes them a bit chewier - an experience that many consumers may actually prefer! Fancy giving it a go? Try freezing a packet of SMOKO’s CBD gummies for a new CBD experience!
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