Scientists Research Optimal Long-Term Cannabis Storage

With cannabis consumers finding easier avenues of access regularly as states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational consumption, there may not be an immediate need to save cannabis long-term. But for those who consume irregularly but want to keep their cannabis at the ready, scientists have devised the best methods of storing cannabis.

Italian researchers recently concluded a four-year study, published in Forensic Science International, in which they tested several different storage solutions for cannabis over that time period. The scientists tracked tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) degradation and the formation of cannabinol (CBN) in six different cannabis products, including herb and resin. CBN is a cannabinoid which develops after THC is exposed to open air for too long and breaks down into CBNA- and then decarboxylation results in CBN.

The scientists also created models that predicted storage, which became more uncertain the longer the cannabis was stored. The cannabis was stored in four situations—a room-temperature room with light, a room temperature room with darkness, darkness and refrigeration at four degrees Celsius, and a dark room at -20 degrees Celsius. Each environment’s cannabis was measured for THC,CBN and CBD composition every 100 days.

The study found that 100 percent of the cannabis stored at room temperature environments after four years had degraded THC content. The temperature changed the speed of the degradation of THC levels, while light affected the chemical changes as well. Refrigeration slowed the degradation of cannabis but did not avoid it, but the cannabis in the below freezing temps did not significantly change.

In all environments, however, the CBD content stayed “relatively constant” for all the samples.

The study is education for giving advice for how to store cannabis properly, especially benefits law enforcement in that they can find out the original THC concentration in cannabis that has degraded.

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