Posted by Dave Kaplan
3 years ago / April 27, 2021
Which Factors Cause Cannabis Vape Extracts To Lose Their Potencies and Tastes Quicker?
Nearly everything in the universe eventually decays, degrades or degenerates. Certainly all organic matter does, and the extracts housed in cannabis vape products are no outliers.
All vape extracts are composed of various cannabinoids and terpenes, two types of chemical compounds whose potencies diminish naturally over time. △-9-THC, for instance, cannabis’s primary psychoactive molecule and the one found most prevalently in cannabis vape products, breaks down into cannabinol (CBN) gradually over time, even if cartridges and disposables are stored in ideal conditions.
When stored in less than ideal conditions, however, cannabis vape extracts can lose their potencies and flavors much quicker.
Two external forces cause the cannabinoids and terpenes in vape extracts to lose their potencies quicker: heat and light.
Certain amounts of heat will always be present when vaping cannabis extracts. After all, devices are fueled by built-in heating elements that warm extracts to vapor-conducive temperatures whenever they’re in use. Over time, this heating loosens and eventually breaks down the molecular bonds of these chemical compounds. As mentioned above, THC converts into the much less potent CBN during this process. CBD generally converts into a weaker class of compounds known as quinones, while terpenes are known to lose their aromatic qualities and potencies.
Fortunately, the heat supplied from these heating elements is not substantial enough to radically speed up the degradation process of vape extracts. Stored properly at an ideal temperature, the compounds in cannabis vapes should hold their potencies for approximately one year. The risk lies in storing a filled device in a hotter environment, where heat is likely to permeate the reservoir and raise the surface temperature of the extract, expediting the degradation process.
Greentank always advises its brand partners on the most optimal storage temperature ranges for its hardware, both pre and post-fill. This helps to ensure that any extracts housed in Greentank hardware remain at the highest possible quality when shipped to retailers and dispensaries across North America. But the responsibility doesn’t stop there. Filled units often sit in dispensary inventory rooms for months before they’re eventually sold, and the onus is on retailers to ensure they are storing these vape products correctly.
Consumers who wish to preserve the integrity of these vape products must also do their part. That begins with storing cartridges and disposables at, or around, room temperature in their homes, but also includes never leaving their devices in their cars on hot days, which can rapidly expedite the degradation process. Even the simple body heat emitted from carrying a device in one’s pockets for extended periods of time can be detrimental to the extract housed within. That’s why we recommend carrying devices in bags or portable cases when users are on the go.
The long-term exposure of vape products to sunlight is also problematic, and a sure-fire way to strip them of their potencies and flavors. UV rays damage cannabinoids and terpenes by dismantling their hydrogen atoms, causing them to degrade quickly—and glass vape cartridges are essentially mini greenhouses, trapping in the light and heat that harmful UV rays emit.
This process doesn’t occur instantly. Briefly vaping outside on a hot, sunny day won’t trigger it, provided users stow their devices out of the sun’s reach when not in use and never leave them exposed to direct sunlight for longer than a few minutes at any time.
In fact, Greentank strongly recommends that consumers never leave their devices exposed to direct sunlight for more than a few minutes anywhere. Even inside, in temperature-controlled environments. Windows amplify sunlight, as any plant owner knows, which is why storing cartridges out of the reach of the sun’s harmful UV rays is essential to preserving the shelf lives of their extracts. Dark areas, such as closets or drawers, make ideal storage spots—just make sure they’re out of sight and reach of any unintended users!
Vape hardware manufacturers are beginning to offer features and customization capabilities that protect devices from the effects of direct sunlight, including cartridge covers. Greentank recently added tinted and UV-coated glass to its customization library, allowing its partners to coat Greentank’s premium borosilicate glass cartridges in UV-protectant layers. The treatment also happens to look incredible, in case you were wondering!
Click here to learn more about vape storage and maintenance best practices, or reach out to a Greentank representative today to learn about all of our product offerings and unique customization capabilities.