On a molecular level, cannabinoids become functionally active by binding to what are referred to as the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are found on brainstem neurons 17 and glial cells. CB2 sites are found in the spleen tissue. 18 These receptors were first described by Maccarrone et al. in 200319 and reviewed in detail by Biro et al. in 2009. 20
In addition, although the Farm Bill 4 passed by the U.S. Congress in 2018 removed cannabis containing less than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (D 9 -THC) from the Controlled Substances Act, significant confusion and misunderstanding have prevented the mainstream use of CBD in U.S. Commerce. Also, while most states support the Farm Bill, making it perfectly legal to grow hemp in those states, others do not. This makes it illegal to grow or even transport hemp within or across those state boundaries—even if the destination is a Farm Bill-supporting state. According to one industry expert, the bill is even hung up in semantics over the Latin word for hemp. At press, the most updated source of information from the FDA attempting to clarify the regulation of cannabis and cannabis-derived products including CBD is found in a Q&A posted on the FDA’s website. 5
Several dozen peer-reviewed research papers report the benefits of CBD for skin. Examples include combating inflammation, 22-24 acne, 9 pain 25 and melanoma; 26 acting as an analgesic to promote wound healing 27 and relieving itch 13, 28 —although note that the FDA has not approved CBD for these or any other topical treatment applications.
CBD Activity and Safety
For these reasons, the INCI name Cannabidiol is used instead, and CBD-containing cosmetics must not make any drug claims; e.g., anti-inflammatory. As an aside, the use of CBD in other drugs, whether prescription or OTC, requires pre-approval by the FDA.
One of the most troublesome issues for hemp farmers is that both THC and CBD originate from the same precursor molecule, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) (see Figure 1). As the plant reaches maturity, both CBD and THC are produced enzymatically from the same molecule. 6 Thus, getting the harvest timing right can prove difficult to economically produce hemp with THC levels below the permitted 0.3% threshold while also maximizing CBD production, typically around 8%. If the THC limit is exceeded, the farmer must destroy the crop; and if the crop is harvested too early, the farmer risks low CBD yield and financial burden. Weather, soil, fertilizer and plant genetics can also affect yields, further compounding the issue.
After hemp is harvested, it is typically dried to about 10-12% moisture using natural or mechanical means. After drying, the flowers are separated from the fan leaves and stalks, since these typically contain a higher quantity of cannabinoids and terpenes. Sometimes the plant parts are ground to increase surface area and enhance extraction recovery. Indeed, recent internal testing has found that milling can increase the extraction yield by more than 10%.
When a lab report measures values in the COA report, these usually include references to the limit of quantification (LOQ) and the limit of detection (LOD). The LOD is the lowest quantity of a substance that can be observed by the instrument in comparison with a blank sample. The LOQ, on the other hand, is similar but takes into account predefined statistical parameters for bias and precision; this value is generally higher than the LOD. 9 When interpreting results, the LOQ should be considered as the lowest concentration at which the compound may be reliably detected, and well below the action limit to ensure a margin of safety.
However, many areas across the country and world have contaminated soil. Hemp can clean this land and make it viable for farming again. But those plants can’t be consumed. By themselves, these chemicals are dangerous. Some examples include,
After it expires, the flavor will fade, but the CBD should still be useful for another 6 to 12 months if it’s stored correctly. Determining expiration dates with complex ingredients, such as edibles and some vape juices, are more complicated.
You can’t wash the dropper. Soap will also ruin the oil, and you can’t completely dry it. If you don’t have another dropper, measure your doses using a teaspoon. Bad oils should also be discarded. It’s not safe to use these, and they could get you sick.
How to Store CBD Oil for the Best Shelf life
Don’t place it near any heat sources, such as above the stove or near a fireplace. Also, make sure to put the bottles in an upright position. If you have a pantry area you keep cooking oils and live in a home without children, consider keeping your CBD in the same place.
Many CBD oil products have additives now, and even these natural extras can expire. The flavors that brands include to improve the taste, such as lemon, peppermint, orange, and vanilla. Most flavorings reduce the shelf life to 12 months.
Similarly, vape juice, also known as e-liquid, has different criteria than standard tinctures. Some products use additives other than oil, such as a mix of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). The expiration on many types of unflavored vape liquid is about two years, like CBD. What makes it confusing is the flavorings, which usually have around 12 months. These are most likely safe but will lose their strength and potency past the expiration date.
Despite the unpleasant flavor of the expired goods, the CBD and other phytochemicals should still be safe. However, they may not be effective past that date. All compounds degrade over time, no matter how well they’re stored.