Ask a Stoner: Do Hash Oil Cartridges Lose Potency Over Time?
Westword

Ask a Stoner: Do Hash Oil Cartridges Lose Potency Over Time?

Dear Stoner: Does a hash-oil vaporizer cartridge lose potency over time?
Jack O.

Dear Jack: Most forms of combustible THC will degrade over time, and changes in composition can decrease potency. Sunlight and oxidization will cause degradation in the THC crystals on cannabis flowers — which are extracted, through a variety of methods, to make the hash oil filling your cartridges — resulting in a chemical reaction that changes THC to CBN, a cannabinoid with some medical and sleep-inducing properties but nowhere near the psychoactive effects of THC.

Pre-filled vaporizer cartridges with cannabis oil have evolved since 2014.
Pre-filled vaporizer cartridges with cannabis oil have evolved since 2014.
Shutterstock.com/underworld

If you keep a cartridge filled with butane hash oil around long enough without using it, you'll notice that it turns darker and thicker and has a bitter taste with less potency. That's because the CO2 and butane hash oils used to fill pre-filled vaporizer cartridges are susceptible to the same THC-killers as flower: heat, light, oxygen and time. Any preservation tactics go out the door when you start heating the oil, which is also likely to stay warm in your pocket or purse while you’re walking around. Some dispensaries sell syringes with hash oil that you can use to fill cartridges, allowing you to store the oil without subjecting it to heat as frequently.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.

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