How to Store and Use CBD

Proper storage is the key to long shelf life for your CBD oil

If you’re investing in CBD, it’s important to know how to store and use it. Perhaps you’re using it as a preventative supplement, or you’re treating a medical or mental health condition. Either way, you’ll want to protect your investment by storing and using it properly.

When buying CBD, there are a couple of points to consider, which we discuss below.

Look for quality CBD oil.

There’s no doubt about it, quality CBD oil tends to have a longer shelf life. If you think about it, it’s the same with most things you buy—clothes, shoes, cars.

Good quality CBD depends on the caliber of the plant and the method used to extract the CBD. A vigorous hemp plant has more vitality, and that comes through in the grade of the extract. Similarly, a superior extraction method will get the most out of the plant. The better the quality of the extract, the less it will degrade over time.

CBD packaging is important.

In most cases, your CBD oil or tincture will come in an amber or blue bottle that protects it from light, heat, and air. Those three elements can wreak havoc on your CBD’s shelf life because they can breakdown cannabinoids and terpenes. Stay away from products that come in clear containers; likewise, plastics. Plastic bottles leach into their contents, not so great for pure CBD.

How to use CBD.

CBD comes in several forms: edibles, sublingual tinctures and oils, and topical. You’ll want the type that’s fit for your purpose.

There’s more to edibles than CBD in your gummies; you can enjoy it in truffles, mints, and smoothies. The beauty of edible is that the food masks the taste that comes from the terpenes and flavonoids of a full-spectrum CBD oil, which some people find unpleasant. Not all, though! In fact, many people love it.

Edibles are also discreet; no one knows you’re taking your daily dose of CBD.

There is, however, one drawback to edibles: the “first-pass effect.” In metabolizing any drug, the concentration level of that drug is reduced before it hits your system. When you eat CBD, it’s partially metabolized by the liver and your digestive tract. It will take as much as 2 hours for the CBD that remains—20 to 30% of the original dose—to be absorbed.

Likewise, as many edible CBD products are housed in candies, there is a risk of “The Littles” in the house getting ahold of them and eating too many. Like any other medicine, keep your CBD products in a safe and secure place that children cannot access.

Sublingual products metabolize faster than edibles.  The CBD absorbs quickly, and you’re introducing CBD into your bloodstream.

Use CBD isolate to avoid any intense flavors or odors.

Sprays, oils, tinctures, and lozenges are ideal products for this method. You avoid the additives—sugar and preservatives—often found in edibles. You’ll also eliminate the dosage loss associated with edibles.

CBD-infused balms, creams, and salves are meant for direct application to your skin. Balms, creams, salves, and even transdermal patches can be an effective way to treat localized joint pain and skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis. Some studies have shown potential for people with arthritis.

It’s difficult to gauge the amount of CBD that topicals deliver. Our skin is designed to be a barrier; that means you’ll need a high-potency topical agent. It also means the effects are extremely localized.

Topicals are not subject to the first pass effect so that the CBD that does penetrate the dermal barrier is as active as it was in its container. You may want to consider a topical CBD product with other analgesics, such as menthol or camphor, for additional benefits.

In addition to CBD, hemp oil contains other ingredients that contribute to skin health: fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins that will nourish your skin.

Finally, suppositories are also sometimes available at medical cannabis dispensaries.

Calculating your CBD dosage.

The general rule of thumb is 20 – 40 mg of CBD per day and to start with a lower dose, increasing slowly. Except for topical or edible CBD, the usual delivery is by dropper. The trick is to know how much CBD is in the dropper. Once you know that, little simple math can help you more accurately estimate the proper dosage.

Say, for instance, you know there are 1,500 mg of CBD in a 30 ml bottle of CBD oil. Simply divide the total milligrams (1,500) by total milliliters (30). In our example, there are 50 mg of CBD per dropper. Adjust the amount in the dropper for your daily dose (half a dropper would be approximately 25 mg of CBD).

Your retailer should be able to tell you how many milligrams of CBD are in each bottle. If they can’t, find another retailer who can confirm to you how many milligrams you’re buying in each bottle.

How to store CBD products.

The shelf life of your CBD oil depends on its exposure to light, air, and heat, as we mentioned earlier. With proper storage, you can expect your CBD to last 1 – 2 years. Exposure to any, or all, of those 3 elements will contribute to the degradation of cannabinoids, including CBD.

Reputable CBD manufacturers sell CBD oils or tinctures in airtight blue or amber glass bottles. Also, you should expect the lid to include an integrated dropper. For those reasons, it’s best to keep your CBD oil or tincture in the original container.

Oxidation, or exposure to air, causes slow changes in the chemical composition of your CBD. Those changes not only decrease your CBD’s shelf life, but they also reduce your CBD’s quality. Be sure to close the lid tightly after every use. 

Exposure to light, even artificial light, is the single most significant factor in the loss of quality. To maintain maximum freshness, don’t store your CBD in any well-lit room. At a minimum, CBD needs to be in the cupboard or medicine cabinet to minimize light exposure.

Similarly, you’ll want to keep your CBD oil in a cool, dry location. Warmer temperatures may cause small changes to the chemical composition of your product. It won’t ruin your CBD, but it can impact the quality slightly. You may even consider the refrigerator for storing your CBD: it’s dark, cool, and relatively low in humidity.

Maintaining the quality of your CBD oil or tincture, even topicals, depends on how you store your product. Depending on your dosage, a 30-milliliter bottle of CBD oil can last 30 – 60 days. 

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Andrew Mattison

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