Storing THC-O

by Kat Austin June 14, 2022 7 min read

Storing THC-O - Vida Optima™

If you’re familiar with cannabis, you know that it needs to be stored properly to maintain freshness. This is also true for cannabis derivatives, like hemp-derived cannabinoid products. One hemp extract in particular–THC-O acetate–is newly legal and in high demand, and most people still have a few kinks to work out along the path to the best THC-O dosing experience.

For starters, you should definitely take a look into storing THC-O before you stock up on products. The way you store your THC-O products will have a heavy impact on how long the product maintains its potency over time, and therefore on the effects you experience with each dose.

So, let’s jump straight to the point! Here’s how to store THC-O to keep it fresh and potent as long as possible:

Table of Contents
Does THC-O Go Bad?
How Fast Does THC-O Degrade?
Tips for Storing THC-O
What is the Shelf Life of THC-O Products?
How to Know When Your THC-O Has Gone Bad
Is Old THC-O Dangerous?

Key Takeaways

  • THC-O is more shelf stable than traditional THC, but it still needs to be stored properly to guarantee a lengthy shelf life.
  • THC products are sensitive to oxidation and sun exposure, so store them in a cool, dark place.
  • Different types of products may need to be stored differently and may have different shelf lives.

A model of the THC-O acetate molecule and the natural hemp material it's sourced from

Does THC-O Go Bad?

The good news is that THC-O, similarly to Delta-8 and Delta-10, is more shelf stable than traditional Delta-9-THC. Delta-9, as a natural cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, degrades into CBN overtime, which may be why cannabis that has aged may make you feel more sleepy (a testament to CBN’s potential sleep-enhancing effects).

Because of the way that THC-O is made, it’s not as sensitive to the elements. For now, we don’t have any data to compare its degradation rate to other THC products, but we do know that the stability of some hemp-derived THC products may make them a better candidate than traditional cannabis in some future pharmaceutical applications.

The best way to explain this is by looking at Delta-8–which is the hemp-derived material used to make THC-O. As one study notes “The major chemical difference between them is that delta-9-THC is easily oxidized to the biologically inactive cannabinol (CBN); delta-8-THC is stable, does not oxidize to cannabinol and has a very long shelf life.”

In other words, Delta-8, and therefore THC-O, is an “already degraded” form of THC, making it much less volatile when exposed to the elements.

So, How Fast Does THC-O Degrade?

THC-O is much more shelf stable than traditional cannabis, but it will still expire eventually. If you have a few aged products that you pulled from the back of your stash, we’ll cover a few ways you can determine if they are still any good down below. But first, let’s look at what you should know about storing THC-O in order to make your products last as long as possible:

Tips for Storing THC-O

Since THC-O isn’t very sensitive to the environment, storing it is simple. Still, you should be mindful of other ingredients in your THC-O formula. For instance, certain carrier oils can go rancid more quickly than others, and terpenes and other hemp-derivatives may be more sensitive to spoilage.

Still, it’s not difficult to store your THC-O. Here’s how you should store the most common types of THC-O products available on the market.

Where to Store THC-O Vape Cartridges

Consider storing THC-O vape cartridges in an airtight container in a dark area away from direct sunlight when not in use.

Generally, the cartridge itself is made to protect the extract material from oxidation over time, meaning they will stay fresh even when carried in your bag or pocket. Vape cartridges are already built to last, but you can extend the shelf life of your product by keeping it in a cool, dark place.

Our Delta-8 + THC-O Vape Carts are sealed in high-quality glass and ceramic cartridges, so they keep fresh without much extra thought.

Where to Store THC-O Tinctures

Tinctures, especially those bottles in a dark glass bottle, are another product that is designed to last. Tinctures likely have the longest shelf life of all THC-O products. Still, it’s best to store them in a cold, dark place, out of direct sunlight.

Where to Store THC-O Edibles

Certain edibles (like excess baked goods) may do well when stored in the freezer inside an airtight container. This applies mostly to edibles that are not individually wrapped. Other edibles, like candies, should stay in their individual wrappers until you’re ready to enjoy them.

Most items need to be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight to protect the integrity of the THC material. While a room temperature area that is away from sunlight (like a pantry) may do the trick for certain gummies and hard candies, softer candies and chews may melt more easily. If you notice that your THC-O product is too soft at room temperature, you can probably store them in the refrigerator.

In general, you just want to avoid exposing any cannabinoid products to extreme temperatures, water, or direct sunlight, and you don’t want to let them dry out.
THC-O flower and THC-O carts, two different THC-O products with very different shelf lives.

What is the Shelf Life of THC-O?

It’s an important question for every THC-O consumer–how long does THC-O last on the shelf? Unfortunately, it’s a tough one to answer. The truth is, the shelf life of THC-O varies greatly by formula, and it’s usually the other ingredients (like various minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavor additives) that determine the shelf life of the product and not THC-O itself.

We also don’t have a ton of data to help us understand the shelf life of THC-O, but we do know that it lasts longer than traditional THC. Most people assume it's more in the ballpark of CBD or Delta-8 products, meaning THC-O extract could stay fresh and potent for years when stored properly.

Because there are so many variables, it’s important to check the expiration date on your particular product. Generally, THC-O products will last for several months, and a high-quality hemp manufacturer will only use other ingredients that are shelf stable as well.

In short, if you buy a high-quality product and store it properly, your THC-O products should last for 6 months or more.

That means you can buy in bulk when you see a great sale, or you can buy a wide variety of THC-O products at a time to keep a small stockpile of options without worry that it will expire before you can use it all up.

Vida Optima THC-O Cart

Do THC-O Carts Expire?

Yes, THC-O carts expire eventually, but it won’t happen overnight. THC-O is not as sensitive to oxidation as traditional THC products, and a high-quality vape should be well sealed in order to keep it fresh. Keep it out of direct sunlight to keep it potent even longer.

In general, carts carry an expiration date that is at least a year after the manufacturing date.

Do THC-O Tinctures Expire?

THC-O tinctures are the longest-lasting THC-O product on the market, but they still expire eventually. Generally, a tincture may have an expiration date that is up to two years after the manufacturing date.

Do THC-O Gummies Expire?

Certain types of THC-O edibles, like hard candies and gummies, are generally less susceptible to oxidation than other edibles. Some of the more delicate edibles (like cookies or brownies) and flower are a bit different since they will oxidize over time, and they may have a naturally shorter shelf life.

Gummies do still expire, but the expiration date is usually 1 year to 18 months after manufacturing. For most people, that's plenty of time to enjoy a bottle of THC gummies.

How to Know When Your THC-O Has Gone Bad

If you haven’t always stored your THC-O correctly, or if you’re unsure how long that cart has been hanging around, you may be wondering how to tell if your THC-O has gone bad. Here are some things to look for:

The potency has decreased.

One sign of a spoiled product is potency loss. If it’s a product you’ve never tried with success, it’s possible that it was made poorly to begin with. If you have a great product that suddenly just isn’t working, it may have lost its potency due to improper storage.
Of course, a product doesn’t usually won’t lose all of its potency overnight, but you may definitely notice a decrease in potency after improper storage.

The color changed.

One sign of oxidation is color change. Often, oils will become darker in color as they degrade. Flower will look dull, and edibles can just look a bit off. This isn’t always a tell-tale sign that your product has gone bad, but it may indicate that you need to inspect the product further.

It smells weird.

As the THC content of the material degrades, so does the smell. If you can’t smell any “cannabis” smell, the terpenes in the product may have degraded. For edibles and other product styles, if it smells rancid, it probably is.

It's past its expiration date.

This is the most obvious and the most important marker for spoiled THC-O products. The expiration date should be on the packaging or original container. You may also be able to ask the manufacturer if you have the batch number. The expiration date is one of the best ways to tell whether your THC-O product is safe to use.

Read "Is THC-O Safe?" to learn more. 

Is Old THC-O Dangerous?

If you're wondering if THC-O that is past its prime will make you ill, the answer isn’t always so straightforward.

In general, no, THC-O doesn’t just become dangerous as it degrades–it generally just becomes ineffective. However, it’s possible that other ingredients used in the THC-O products you buy can spoil and become unsafe for consumption, increasing the chance of THC-O side effects. Rancid carrier oils are one example of this, and food-based products are more susceptible to spoilage.

In general, you should make plans to use all of your THC products before they lose potency or spoil. Once they are spoiled or expired, just toss them out to be safe.

Now that you’re familiar with THC-O storage basics, check out theTHC-O + Delta-8 Vaporizer in our Elev8 Collection.

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