Improved Long-Term Preservation of Cannabis Inflorescence by Utilizing Integrated Pre-Harvest Hexanoic Acid Treatment and Optimal Post-Harvest Storage Conditions

Plants (Basel). 2024 Mar 30;13(7):992. doi: 10.3390/plants13070992.


The effort to maintain cannabinoid and terpene levels in harvested medicinal cannabis inflorescence is crucial, as many studies demonstrated a significant concentration decrease in these compounds during the drying, curing, and storage steps. These stages are critical for the preparation and preservation of medicinal cannabis for end-use, and any decline in cannabinoid and terpene content could potentially reduce the therapeutic efficacy of the product. Consequently, in the present study, we determined the efficacy of pre-harvest hexanoic acid treatment alongside four months of post-harvest vacuum storage in prolonging the shelf life of high THCA cannabis inflorescence. Our findings indicate that hexanoic acid treatment led to elevated concentrations of certain cannabinoids and terpenes on the day of harvest and subsequent to the drying and curing processes. Furthermore, the combination of hexanoic acid treatment and vacuum storage yielded the longest shelf life and the highest cannabinoid and mono-terpene content as compared to all other groups studied. Specifically, the major cannabinoid’s-(-)-Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)-concentration decreased by 4-23% during the four months of storage with the lowest reduction observed following hexanoic acid pre-harvest treatment and post-harvest vacuum storage. Hexanoic acid spray application displayed a more pronounced impact on mono-terpene preservation than storage under vacuum without hexanoic acid treatment. Conversely, sesqui-terpenes were observed to be less prone to degradation than mono-terpenes over an extended storage duration. In summation, appropriate pre-harvest treatment coupled with optimized storage conditions can significantly extend the shelf life of cannabis inflorescence and preserve high active compound concentration over an extended time period.

PMID:38611521 | DOI:10.3390/plants13070992