Edibles are already a staple of many people’s cannabis lineup, and lately, due to the pandemic, some may even be choosing to forgo smoking entirely and switch to edibles due to health concerns.
Much like rice, pasta, and toilet paper, perhaps you’re thinking about stocking up on enough edibles to last through your period of self-isolation, but unlike the former, edibles tend to be perishable. So you may be wondering—how long do edibles stay fresh?
Do edibles have a similar shelf life to regular foods?
According to Scott Riefler, Chief Science Officer at SōRSE Technology, the answer is yes. “If the cannabinoid is introduced in an appropriate manner … we would not expect it to alter the shelf life of the food platform itself.” Meaning, for example, that a cannabis-infused chocolate bar should last as long as a traditional one.
Starting from there, a lot will be common sense—check the best-by date on the package to ensure a nice long shelf life and maximum flavor and texture in the product, and pay extra attention to the expiration date, which will indicate when a product is no longer safe to consume. And much like foods found in every grocery store, edibles with preservatives will last longer than those that are preservative-free.
Overall, this is good news for those wanting to buy in bulk. “Most edibles have very good shelf life,” said Riefler. “If you are stocking up, we would suggest that for any food platform, that you not buy beyond six months ahead.”
But what about for those who are crafty in the kitchen and want to make their own edibles?
“First, consider the non-infused counterpart of what you are trying to make; think about how you store it and how long it takes you to consume it or use it. The cannabinoid content will not impact the shelf life of [the] food itself,” said Riefler.
Do edibles lose potency over time?
So how rapidly will potency in an edible degrade? Riefler explained, “Potency of THC tends to degrade very slowly with time. The shelf date [or] expiration date speaks to the food platform, not the cannabinoid as an ingredient. If we are talking about a three to six month window of time, the potency should remain the same unless it’s being abused in storage … in edible form, THC will retain its efficacy up to six months.”
When asked if all cannabinoids are created equal, Riefler said “CBD is a very stable cannabinoid. In contrast, THC does degrade slowly over time.”
But what about the differences between various types of edibles?
“What can contribute to degradation is oxygen. In a material that is solid in form, like a gummy or lozenge, the availability of oxygen in the interior is much less than that of a bottle of a beverage,” said Riefler. “What also might accelerate loss of potency might include very acidic or basic environments. The method of presenting the cannabinoid into the edible matters.”
Check the label for other important info
Beyond the expiration date, the label on an edible, and any cannabis product, has a ton of other important information that consumers should check out, including guidelines on dosage amount and storage, nutritional value, and a batch number in case a product needs to be recalled. And if you have special dietary restrictions, definitely check out the label.
All in all, edibles can have a long shelf life and common sense is your best tool in deciding if something is past the point of safe consumption. Consider how long it will be until your next shopping trip, and feel safe stocking up by checking labels, expiration and best-by dates, and pay attention to proper storage.