Studies show that the stability of stored cannabis varies over time
Studies have verified that aged cannabis has a different effect than fresh cannabis and this is due to changes in cannabinoid concentrations. The THC present in cannabis flowers can lose up to 5% of its value per month on average. And what about expired (aged) THC?
When cannabis begins to age, two major changes occur:
- Its psychoactive effect wears off and it becomes at least euphoric.
- Its numbing effect becomes stronger and becomes much more tiring and calming.
The reason for the first change is a decrease in the concentration of THC, the main cannabinoid in cannabis and responsible for most of its psychoactive effect. The second change is due to an increase in the concentration of lesser known cannabinoids: CBN (cannabinol).
THC becomes CBN in ancient cannabis
It is not a coincidence that the CBN concentration in the cannabis era increases as the THC concentration decreases. CBN is a cannabinoid that is actually formed from the expiration of THC over time, meaning the older the cannabis gets, the more CBN it gradually contains.
The effects of CBN have yet to be fully studied, but its strong anesthetic effect is well known and is indeed its hallmark. The CBN concentration is usually very low and only increases after a long period of obsolescence. In contrast, in cannabis and other extracts, CBN concentrations are, in most cases, much higher than in flowers that need to age for at least several years to obtain similar CBN data.
Increasing CBN is not the same as reducing THC
However, not all of the THC “lost” during the aging process of cannabis is not immediately converted to CBN. A study from 1976 and 1978 raised a big question mark as to the hypothesis that all the THC in cannabis eventually breaks down into CBN.
In 1979, researchers at the University of Mississippi published the theory that, although THC in cannabis is converted to CBN as it ages, it does so in stages, so decreasing the concentration of THC n ‘does not result in immediately the same increase. in CBN concentration.
According to this study, as cannabis ages, most of the THC in it is oxidized and converted to CBN in a gradual process that involves several intermediate steps along the way. The main reason why the decrease in the percentage of THC during aging does not immediately translate into the same increase in the percentage of CBN is that some of it is still in one of those intermediate stages on the way to becoming CBN , which takes time. .
read : What you need to know about THC Delta-10
Another reason for this discrepancy is that part of the delta-9 THC (which we normally call simply THC) does not oxidize but over time becomes delta-8 THC, a derivative that is very similar in chemical structure but with a much weaker effect. psychoactive effect. Delta-8 THC is found in fresh cannabis in a very low concentration (generally less than 1%), but with obsolescence some of the “normal” THC is converted to it and its concentration increases.
Delta-8 is much less euphoric but it is also much more chemically stable (it holds up over time). Converted THC will take much longer to age and convert to CBN than normal Delta-9 THC. This is another reason why increasing CBN is not equivalent to reducing THC, some of the lost THC gets ‘stuck’ like Delta-8 THC, and it will take a long time to reach its full potency. The final product, which is CBN.
More recent studies support this theory, but argue that it also cannot explain the complete difference between reducing THC and increasing CBN. It is now widely accepted that CBN is the end product of THC, but it is not the only one and this is another reason why the total percentages of THC and CBN after aging will always be lower than the initial percentage of THC. THC.
So how long does it take for THC in various cannabis products to age and turn into CBN? To answer this question, researchers at the Technical University of Bucharest carried out a series of experiments in which they followed the changes in cannabinoid concentrations during the aging of various cannabis products for 4 years.
The numerous cannabis products the experiment was carried out with were seized by the Romanian police and included different types of cannabis flowers and concentrated cannabis oil. Each of these products was divided into two identical batches, one was stored in the dark at a temperature of 4 degrees and the other was stored in a lighted room at a constant temperature of 22 degrees.
The goal was to see if different temperatures and lighting conditions have an effect on the rate of obsolescence of cannabis and the conversion of THC to CBN. It was assumed that cannabis stored in the cold and dark would be preserved over time and that the aging rate of THC for CBN would be slower.
In the study, only the cannabinoid concentrations of CBN, THC, and CBD were tested in older cannabis products, and nothing else, and it should be noted that long-term cannabis can become toxic for reasons other than those related to cannabinoids, such as plant decay and mold growth, that is, if not properly dried and stored.
How long does it take for cannabis to age?
The assumption that cannabis stored in the cold and in the dark will retain its THC for a longer period has been found to be particularly true when it comes to flowers and especially with a high THC concentration. The aging rate of THC in the cold and dark samples was slower compared to the sample stored at room temperature, although the difference was not that great.
read : The long life of THC in the body
After one year of aging, the CBN concentration in two inflorescences increased from 0.9% to 3.5%, and the THC concentration, which started at 19.9%, decreased to 10.9% in the refrigerated sample and 8.7% in the same stored sample. at room temperature.
The results mean a decrease of up to 56% in THC in cannabis stored at room temperature for the first year, or up to around 5% per month on average. In the inflorescence stored in the refrigerator and in the dark, the drop in the first year was about 49% of the initial amount of THC, up to about 4% per month on average.
That is, even a sealed and light-sealed bag, for example, that was bought at a pharmacy and contains 20% THC when it was made two months ago, cannot today contain more than 19.2% THC. After another 4 months (six months in total), the THC concentration can drop to 15.2 per year after 10.4%.
After two years of confinement, the concentration of stored CBN was higher (4.9%) than the remaining concentration of THC (4.8%). The refrigerated sample will not reach this state until six months later. After 3-4 years, the gap between CBN and THC continues to widen.
This result was obtained for all types of cannabis tested in the study, so light and temperature conditions appear to have almost no effect on the aging of THC in cannabis. Regardless of storage conditions, the aging rate of hashish is also more uniform, it loses a similar percentage of THC with each passing year, unlike the flower that fades faster in the first year than in subsequent years.
Regarding the second most important cannabinoid in cannabis: cannabidiol (CBD) : There is a hypothesis that some of the THC in cannabis becomes obsolete, but it is not clear if this is true. Research has shown that it is possible for some of the THC to become obsolete with CBD, but exactly how much it is is not known.
As with THC, the concentration of CBD in cannabis also decreases the longer it is stored. However, unlike the rapid and marked decrease in THC concentration during aging, the decrease that occurs at the same time as the CBD concentration is much slower and more moderate.
One possible explanation for this slow decline is that CBD actually declines faster than THC, but since some of the THC becomes obsolete with CBD, this decline is offset by this addition and somewhat mitigated.
In summary, these studies add to the knowledge gained from consumer experience over the years and recommend storing cannabis in a light-tight container in a relatively cool place. Do you want more tips on how to store cannabis correctly? See conservation
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