Just like regular medication, medical cannabis has an expiration date, leaving dispensaries to face the logistical and financial challenges that come with managing expired cannabis. This leads them to sometimes offer products at reduced prices. And while the product might be “expired”, given proper storage conditions (no direct sunlight, etc.), it is still good quality medical cannabis.
Patients using medical cannabis often wonder whether the expiration date on their cannabis buds is a concern for them. What effects do expired cannabis flowers have? Why do pharmacies readily sell products close to their expiration dates, and sometimes even offer them at promotional prices? In this article, we will try to clarify these issues.
Although expired cannabis may lose some of its quality, it does not mean it is useless. The most common effect is the gradual degradation of terpenes and cannabinoids. As a result, the therapeutic effects may be slightly weakened. To extend the shelf life of the cannabis, it’s advisable to store it in a dark, cool place and monitor its humidity.
Expiration Date of Medical Cannabis
Before the cannabis reaches the patient, it undergoes a series of tests. Its stability is analyzed to determine how long it will retain its properties. As a result, manufacturers set an expiration date, which usually ranges from 6 to 8 months.
Pharmacy Issues with Expired Cannabis
For pharmacies, expired cannabis presents a challenge. Firstly, they must properly store the product, ensuring its safety. Many pharmacists are concerned about selling products nearing their expiration date, which leads to various practices, such as requiring patients to sign special declarations.
If a pharmacy is unable to sell the product before the expiration date, it must follow specific procedures, which can be costly and time-consuming.
The inability to sell expired cannabis leads to a costly disposal procedure. The product must be registered, secured, and handed over to a specialized company for destruction. The entire process is burdened with numerous documents and procedures.
The current situation influences pharmacies’ approach to selling medical cannabis. Many suppliers try to avoid excessive stock, which can lead to reduced prices. Small pharmacies may be particularly cautious when purchasing products, concerned about their viability. However, this works to the advantage of patients, who can buy medical cannabis with a short expiration date for even as low as 13 PLN per gram.
How to Store Medical Cannabis?
Like other plants, medical cannabis is susceptible to mold, loss of potency, and spoilage if stored improperly. To maintain its freshness and effectiveness, proper storage is important.
Here are some tips for storing medical cannabis:
- Sun and Light: Avoid direct sunlight, as it can lead to the degradation of cannabinoids. It is best to store it in a dark place.
- Humidity: The optimal humidity for storing cannabis ranges from 58% to 62%. Both too low and too high humidity can affect the quality of the plant. Boveda or Integra Pro sachets are excellent humidity regulators. Simply place them in an airtight container with cannabis, and these sachets will automatically adjust the humidity, absorbing or releasing moisture as needed.
- Temperature: Try to store cannabis in a cool place but avoid freezing. The optimal temperature is around 15-20°C.
- Containers: Use airtight, dark glass jars that protect the contents from light. Avoid plastic bags, which can lead to moisture loss and can also make the buds become static and lose trichomes.
- Air: Oxygen can accelerate the degradation of THC, one of the main cannabinoids. Therefore, it’s important to store cannabis in a container that is nearly full, minimizing the amount of air inside.
- Safety: Make sure your medical cannabis is stored in a place inaccessible to children and pets.
Remember, storing cannabis in appropriate conditions can significantly extend its longevity and quality. Closely monitor storage conditions and regularly check the contents to ensure they are in optimal condition.
Summary: Expired Cannabis Can Be a Good Option
Although expired medical cannabis may be less effective, buying it can be advantageous for patients due to lower prices. However, it’s important to remember proper storage of the product and understand how the expiration date impacts its quality. For pharmacies, the issue of expired cannabis presents both logistical and financial challenges.
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First published in Fakty Konopne, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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