The cannabis market is not limited to just smokers and medical users. Lately, the healing properties of marijuana have begun expanding their way into new forms, including topical creams and dermal patches. Marijuana is reaching an entirely new audience of people who are looking for pain relief without the intoxicating effects.
What are cannabis topicals?
Cannabis topicals can be lotions, balms, or oils that can be absorbed through the skin to provide relief for conditions such as pain and inflammation. Such topicals are designed to maximize the medicinal benefits of cannabis rather than the psychoactive ones.
How do topicals work?
Throughout the body, there is a vast network of cannabinoid receptors that respond to both naturally-produced endocannabinoids and cannabinoids from cannabis that make their way in from the outside. Cannabis-infused topicals are able to bind to these receptors in order to bring pain relief to the applied area. The good news is that you won’t get high from using the topical — even if there is active THC in it, it will not cross through into your bloodstream. Instead, the cannabinoids will only provide surface-level relief. Furthermore, most cannabis-infused creams and salves contain THCA instead of active THC, which is the acid form of THC. A handful of studies have been performed exploring the extent of THCA’s medical benefits on patients with various conditions. In particular, some findings that stood out included anti-inflammatory properties (for arthritis and lupus, specifically), anti-seizure and anti-epileptic properties, protection from neurodegenerative diseases (such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia), relief from appetite-related conditions like nausea or appetite loss, and properties that helped slow down the progression of different diseases and cancer. For topical forms of cannabis that penetrate the bloodstream with active THC, try using a transdermal patch.
What can topicals treat?
Topicals are best for symptoms like inflammation, muscle pain, joint pain, stiffness, or soreness. They’re the perfect remedy for post-workout aches and arthritic pain. A lot of products on the market contain menthol and peppermint, which provide a cool tingling to the painful area. In addition, topicals have been reported to help other symptoms like headaches, cramps, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
Some topicals are created to mimic a specific strain of marijuana. The producer will try to create a terpene and cannabinoid profile that matches the desired strain, resulting in different ratios of THC, CBD, THCA, and other cannabinoids. CBD and THCA in particular are utilized for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Depending on the ingredients and cannabinoid profiles of various topicals, products may have slightly different effects on the body. The best way to figure out which topical is best for you is to try a few different salves and creams and take note of their effects on your symptoms. There is a growing market for medicinal cannabis, and as more studies are conducted on the topic, consumers will likely see an increase in non-psychoactive uses for marijuana.
For the final installment of our three-part mini-series, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at concentrate storage. Concentrates differ than that of flower and cartridges because of available short, medium, and long-term storage options. This will be the longest discussion we’ve had so far, and it will follow the same format as the flower and cartridge discussion; the best storage conditions follow by factors to consider. Although, with a twist. Storage conditions are broken up in short, medium, and long-term sections. This may be a post you return to in the future as your taste and preferences change, you experiment with different products, or whatever may be the case.
A state of concentrates
Concentrates prefer a cold, dark place. Light, air, humidity, and temperature affect concentrates. Short-term and long-term options exist for frequent or occasional use. There are options for a week, a few weeks, or a few months. If you’d like to store multiple strains and/or consistencies, keep them in separate containers. Also, use an appropriately sized container for the right amount of air.
The many consistencies
Currently on the menu are live resin sauce, live resin sugar, isolate, crumble, and shatter options. Some storage techniques may be more effective for some consistencies than others. For example, parchment paper is effective in handling sticky shatter, while silicone, airtight, and glass containers are effective in storing isolates and oleoresins. Oleoresins are essentially liquid concentrates such as live resin sauce/sugar, crumble, and budder. Although, containers may not be as effective if it is see-through. Direct light can penetrate and cause moisture related issues like sizzling dabs or a cracked nail.
Short term storage
Silicone containers are effective for up to a week. To maximize results, the container should have minimal air space, opened as few times as possible, and stored in a cool, dark place like a cupboard. This reduces moisture development and product decay.
For short-term parchment paper storage, separate shatter into smaller pieces and wrap each individual piece in their own parchment paper. Then set in a cool, dark place.
Medium term storage
A medium, 1-to-4-week, storage method for shatter includes placing the individually wrapped concentrate in a plastic freezer bag(s) i.e. Ziploc bag(s), setting the plastic freezer bag in an air tight container or in a glass jar with minimal air space when the bag is inside, and storing in a cold, dark place. A temperature-controlled environment with slightly lower than room temperature is ideal.
Isolates and other nonstick concentrates can be placed directly in a vacuum-sealed or air tight jar and kept in a chilly, dark place. Just be aware to clean the jar in between uses.
Long term storage
For long-term storage, concentrates can last anywhere from six to 12 months. Refrigerators and freezers can preserve the quality your oil. However, a cold, dark place is just as effective. If frozen, vacuum-sealed containers are your best bet. For added protection, the concentrate can be placed in one or two sealed Ziploc bag(s). These methods limit humidity issues caused by extra air. The most common humidity issue is moisture development. Sizzling dabs or a cracked nail are signs of moisture development. When the time comes to use the oil, take the jar out of storage and let it reach room temperature gradually. Keep the concentrate inside the jar for this part because added air can cause humidity and moisture issues. Sudden temperature changes can ruin the concentrate and all your hard work. Once it reaches room temperature, enjoy!
That wraps up our three-part mini-series on cannabis flower, cartridge, and concentrate storage. We’d like to hear your thoughts on this in-depth concentrate storage discussion as well as on the series as a whole. Our goal is to provide high quality content that is most relevant to you and all Bentonians. By emailing us your thoughts at email@example.com or commenting below, we’re better able to provide products and services that fit your needs and exceed your expectations. If you want to tell us in person stop by our booth at Hempcon September 13 - 15 at the Cow Palace in Daly City. You'll see our commitment to meaningful experiences on display.
Our second ever weekly discussion brings us to the topic of cartridge storage. If you haven’t already read the first installment of our three-part mini-series on cannabis flower, cartridge, and concentrate storage, click here to learn about the ideal environment for cannabis flower and the four factors to consider. This week’s discussion follows the same format in which we start off with the best storage environment followed by factors to consider. This may be a post you return to in the future as your taste and preferences change, you experiment with different products, or whatever may be the case.
The ideal environment
Cartridges are best stored in cool, dry places. They differ from flower since cartridge oil is affected by half the factors: temperature and light.
The optimal temperature for storage is 70 F, or room temperature. A hot environment can cause a reduction of flavor, aroma, and potency. At the same time, increase the chances of leakage. Too cold of a temperature can lead to moisture issues. Being in California, leaving items in a car’s center console creates a sauna like environment in warmer weather. Heat exposure could also alter the flavor and smoothness of a hit.
Light exposure can cause oxidation. This means electrons or compounds within the oil are lost and changed. For cartridge oil, this means a darker color and potentially lost potency. The change in potency may be small and the darker oil remains safe to consume. The same altered flavor and smoothness risk exists from light exposure.
At a glance
Storage can be as simple as placing the upright cartridge in a drawer, bag, or even a refrigerator; however, never in a freezer or in direct sunlight. There may be some internal combustion issues when storing disposable pens or batteries in the fridge.
What do you think of our short and sweet discussion on cartridge storage? Do you think we left anything out, is there anything you do differently, do you have any thoughts on future discussion topics or how we can improve Bento Delivery? Please email us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below to further the discussion. We enjoy listening and replying to what you have to say as it helps us better serve our growing community of Bentonians. If you'd like to tell us in person stop by our Hempcon booth at the Cow Palace in Daly City from September 13-15, 2019. There will be interactive challenges and low priced items on some of your favorites!
One of the things we, at Bento, strive to provide our community is a quality experience with our products and services. We believe information can change lives for the better. In a new industry like cannabis, people will try to make a quick buck anyway they can. That sort of thinking can hurt a lot of people. We hope our weekly discussions can empower Bentonians to identify the right products and companies for them. Taking a look at Bento and the California market as a whole, the majority of sales come from flower, cartridges, and concentrates.
What better way to kick off our blog then to discuss storage options for maximum effect in a three-part mini-series. Weekly discussion will be posted every Monday. We’ll first start off with flower, then cartridges, and end with concentrates. Each discussion will start off with the best storage conditions followed by factors to consider. This may be a post you return to in the future as your taste and preferences change, you experiment with different products, or whatever may be the case.
Flower is best kept in cold, dark places. There are 4 factors that affect the quality of cannabis bud: temperature, light, humidity, and air. If you’re storing multiple strains, keep each strain in their own container.
Room temperature (72 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit) or below is ideal. Storing flower between 77 to 86 degrees can cause mildew and/or other mold production. Likewise, hot temperatures can dry out the essential oils of the plant leaving less potent and aromatic nugs. This can cause a harsh hit and irritate your throat. A low temperature can cause the cannabinoid producer and container, trichomes, to break apart easily. Although, a study found cannabinoids (chemical compounds of the plant) can remain stable up to 2 years if cured and stored properly. A freezer can do the trick while using vacuum sealed or air tight glass jars hidden from any light source. Opaque glass jars are recommended because light doesn’t penetrate when the freezer door opens. When it’s time for use, let the nugs slowly return to room temperature before handling as they may be fragile and break apart easily. If you don’t want to store it for that long, a cold, dark place is ideal.
Light is the most influential factor when it comes to preserving cannabinoids. Keeping bud out of the light slows its decarboxylation process. If left in direct sunlight, the THC converts into cannabinol (CBN) which is equivalent to stale THC. Effects could range from grogginess to confusion. While CBN has benefits such as a sleep aid, leaving flower in sunlight to create CBN isn’t a recommended process.
When it comes to humidity, keeping flower in a cold, dark place creates a relative humidity level between 59% to 63%. Too high of a humidity can cause mildew or other fungi to form. Too low of a humidity level can dry out the essential oils and cause the white, crystal trichomes to break apart easily. If you’re like me and don’t understand humidity levels, companies like Boveda and Integra sell two-way humidity packs to control the relative humidity in your containers. With that said, storing in a cold, dark place shouldn’t cause humidity problems.
The last factor for proper flower storage is air control. The perfect air level keeps the bud fresh and maintains its form. There should be a small gap between the nugs and the lid. Containers shouldn’t be filled to the top nor should they be half way filled. Not enough air can affect the relative humidity, while too much air speeds up the decarboxylation process. Vacuum sealing jars can help with air control and glass jars make great storage containers since they have a neutral charge.
We hope our first blog post was helpful to you. Did we miss anything, do you have a different storage method, is there any other product you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear your thoughts and further the conversation. If you have any questions or suggestions for future posts feel free to email us at email@example.com so we can provide the most relevant and highest quality content for our growing community. Alternatively, we'll be at Hempcon Cup at the Cow Palace in Daly City September 13-15, 2019. If you'll be in the area come say high, pick up some goodies, and have a great time!
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