Vaping THC oil is one of the quickest ways to experience the effects of THC. However, many consistent THC vapers agree that their cartridge loses potency with time. As with any consumable product, it's essential to understand how long the THC oil lasts before its quality deteriorates. So, just how long is THC oil good for? Let’s look at some factors that might speed up cannabis extraction deterioration and how long THC oil lasts before it expires.
THC Oil 101: All You Need to Know about THC Extracts
THC oil is a popular cannabis concentrate that provides users with an intense and long-lasting high. It's made by extracting the psychoactive compound THC from the cannabis plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil. The type of carrier oil used can vary, but most commonly, manufacturers use MCT oil or vegetable glycerin.
Using a pen to vaporize THC oil is simple and straightforward, making it a convenient way for users of all experience levels to consume cannabis. First, attach the cartridge to the battery or pen device. Make sure the connection is secure before activating the pen.
Most pens require you to press a button to activate the heating element, which in turn, heats up the oil in the cartridge to produce vapor. Inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece while keeping the button pressed down, and exhale after a few seconds. It's essential to start slow and low, taking small puffs until you know how the oil will affect you.
The extraction process is essential as it determines the purity and potency of the final product. While there are various methods to extract THC oil, CO2 extraction is considered the safest and produces the purest, most potent oils.
To create a THC cart, manufacturers typically start by filling the cartridges with the carrier oil, which contains the THC extract, which may contain other cannabinoids and terpenes, depending on the formula. The final step involves attaching the mouthpiece and testing the cartridge to ensure that it's functioning correctly.
It is important that you purchase a cart from a reputable retailer. Some companies or black market dealers will cut their products with preservatives, artificial flavorings, or vitamin E acetate. These additives could be hazardous to your health. Only use products that have been third-party lab tested for purity and have the lab reports to back them up.
How Long Does THC Oil Last?
THC oil typically has an expiration date of one year from the date of purchase. This is because THC oil is a concentrated form of cannabis and can degrade over time, losing its potency.
You will notice changes in the oil’s color, and the vapor may taste more “bitter” or “burnt.” In addition, the highs and effects won’t be as long-lasting or may take inhaling more vapor to produce them.
Once you start using the THC oil, other factors will start to impact its potency and freshness. From there, the average THC oil cartridge typically lasts around six months to a year after the manufacturing date.
This process may get sped up (or slowed down) due to multiple factors. Here are some of the most common.
What Factors Impact How Long THC Oil Lasts?
THC oil cartridges have become increasingly popular among cannabis enthusiasts looking for a quick and easy way to get a potent high. Unfortunately, many things can cause your THC oil to start producing weaker effects and, potentially, a less pleasant experience.
One of the most significant factors that can impact the lifespan and potency of your THC oil is how you store it. Temperature, light exposure, air exposure, and humidity can all affect the oil inside the cartridge.
Heat can cause the oil to degrade faster, while sunlight and air exposure can also cause the oil to break down.
High humidity levels can also lead to mold growth and bacterial contamination. If it looks like your cartridge of THC oil is “sweating” on the inside, then it may be degrading and at risk for pathogenic growth.
To properly store your THC oil vape cartridge, keep it in a cool, dark place away from direct light, heat sources, and fluctuating temperatures. Also, remove the cart from the battery to extend the life of both. In addition, keep the cartridge tightly sealed when not in use to prevent air exposure.
Quality of the Oil
The quality of the oil itself can also impact how long it lasts and its potency. Purity and concentration are crucial factors to consider. The higher the purity and concentration, the more potent the oil will be and the longer its effects will last.
Additionally, the extraction method used can impact the oil's quality. CO2 extraction is considered the safest and produces the purest, most potent oils.
Be careful with additives like preservatives, as they could potentially have adverse side effects. Always choose high-quality, reputable brands to ensure you're getting the best product possible
What Causes THC Oil Degradation?
The science behind THC oil degradation involves three main processes: oxidation, hydrolysis, and photodegradation. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Oxidation occurs when the oil is exposed to oxygen for an extended period, causing it to lose potency and aroma. THC oil is naturally susceptible to oxidation due to the presence of unsaturated lipids within the concentrate.
These lipids are highly reactive and contain double bonds in their chemical structure, which makes them more susceptible to oxidation. When exposed to air and light, these unsaturated lipids can react with oxygen and undergo oxidation, leading to a loss of potency and aroma in the THC oil. Proper storage can help prevent oxidation and maintain the quality of the THC oil.
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction that occurs when the oil is exposed to water or moisture. This process can cause the cannabinoids to break down and lead to a loss of potency.
The exposure of THC oil in a cartridge to water or moisture can happen due to various reasons. One of the most common ways that oil can be exposed to moisture is through improper storage. If the cartridge is not stored correctly, for example, in a damp or humid environment, moisture can enter the cartridge and cause hydrolysis, leading to a loss of potency and quality.
Another way that THC oil can be exposed to moisture is through condensation. If the cartridge is left in a cold environment and then brought into a warm room, moisture can form on the inside of the cartridge, where it can come into contact with the oil. This can also lead to hydrolysis and a loss of potency.
Putting Cart in Water
Lastly, spilling or dropping the cartridge into water or any other liquid can also expose it to moisture, causing significant damage to the oil. It's essential to handle your cartridge with care and store it properly to avoid exposure to moisture. By doing so, you'll help ensure that your THC oil lasts as long as possible and maintains its quality and potency.
Photodegradation happens when the oil is exposed to light, especially ultraviolet light. Photons from light rays can cause the cannabinoid and terpene molecules to deteriorate.
Too much light exposure leads to a loss of potency and a change in aromas. It’s important that you store your vape cartridge away from direct light.
How Long Is THC Oil Good For?
Remember, proper storage is crucial to maintain the oil's quality, and it's important to keep it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources, and tightly sealed when not in use. Temperature, light exposure, air exposure, and humidity can all affect the oil inside the cartridge and cause degradation.
If you store your THC oil properly, it could remain potent for six months to a year. Be sure to check the expiration date before purchasing THC oil. Keep that and how frequently you use THC oil in mind so that you can make an educated decision about how long THC oil will last before it expires.
Gerrid Smith is a seasoned entrepreneur with 15 years of digital marketing experience, featured in notable publications like Forbes and Entrepreneur. In 2018, Smith turned his passion for health, wellness, and cannabis into a business, co-founding Joy Organics, an internationally-recognized CBD brand. It saw remarkable success with $15.9 million in revenue in its first year and the establishment of a thriving partnership program. A few years later, he co-founded budder, a THC-focused sister company, to meet the growing demand for more buzz-worthy products.