Can THC-O Degrade?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “all good things come to an end?” well, then you would understand that the goodness of THC-O comes to an end at some point or another as well. When it comes to perishables, this phrase is even more realistic, which is the case with a cannabis product. Various external elements can cause your cannabis goodness to come to a halt.

Below is a detailed insight on all that could go wrong and what you can do to save your cannabis for a pretty long period.

Changes in THC-O

Indeed, the degradation of this plant is inevitable. However, the process may vary from one plant to another. While some might lose their essence and intensity, others might be able to stay strong depending on how strong they were in the first place. Some flowers or cannabis strains might last longer than the results of the study mentioned above.

Degradation In Cannabis Levels

While it might seem like THC-O degrading over time is an indicator of its quality levels, that is not the case. There have been various studies carried out that evaluated the state of THC-O. One analysis, particularly from 1999, detected that the THC-O levels in cannabis decreased even when stored in a cool, dry place since a lot of time has passed. Confused the storage of cannabis can affect the THC-O levels? Well, hold your horses. There’s more on that later.

Back to the study, in this study, the individuals stored cannabis in a barrel that was correctly closed and kept away from sunlight in a well-ventilated and dark vault.  For the accuracy of results, the temperature levels in the vault were monitored as well. The temperature was kept from 68 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit. This research went on for a span of four years, during which different samples were collected.

After the completion of the first year, it was gathered that the levels of THC-O were down by around 16%, while after two years, the degradation levels went down to 26%.

This number kept increasing to 34% in year three and finally down to an average of 41% by the last year. As apparent by the sample, the degradation of cannabis is inevitable if stored for an extended period.

Identifying If Your THC-O Has Degraded

Identifying If Your THC-O Has Degraded

To understand better if your THC-O has degraded, you need to analyze it carefully. For instance, start by looking at it before you begin the grinding process. If you look closely, you will spot a very light white-ish coating on the outer side of the bud. If there is a whitish hue, you are good to go. However, if the shade starts going towards the reddish or golden side, you can gauge that the degradation has begun.

Other than the visuals, you can also check the degradation levels by, of course, tasking it. Smoke a little of it, and you can check how efficient it is. While the first telltale sign will always be the intensity, there is another thing to look out for as well.  A plant with degraded THC-O is bound to make you sleepy (more than usual!) So, look out for that.

Causes of THC-O Degradation

While time is a significant player when it comes to the intensity of THC-O getting low, other elements can also cause the intensity levels to go down drastically. Here is a brief overview of what you can save your cannabis from.

⦁ High Temperature

First off, this should be a no-brainer. Like most other perishables, cannabis plants, too, cannot live in high temperatures for too long. The entire drying, curing, and storing of cannabis need to take care of at ideal temperature. This is a temperature suggested for terpene preservation. When the temperature gets too high, the decarboxylating begins, which damages its effectiveness.

⦁ High Humidity

When they say store your cannabis in a cool, dry place, they mean every word of it. Similar to high temperatures, high levels of humidity can damage your terpenes as well. We can’t imagine how tiring it must be to invest so much time and effort in your cannabis growth, something as irrelevant as humidity can ruin your efforts.

The correct humidity levels are especially important to keep in mind when you are going through the curing and drying process of cannabis.

⦁ High Light

The high amount of exposure to the light can cause your THC-O levels to go down drastically. When we say light, we want you to pay special attention to the UV rays. UV rays are known to cause damage to your body and skin, and now it turns out they’re out for your cannabis as well. So, what is the science behind UV rays messing things up? Here’s how.

When there is extra light exerted on your cannabis, it will lead to the breakdown of a lot of organic material that is present inside it. Hence, it is crucial and absolutely essential to store cannabis in a cool, dry, and dark place so that sunlight cannot cause any harm to it.

⦁ Open Air

Lastly, another significant element that can cause damage to the severity of your THC-O levels is the air around us. If you happen to leave your cannabis lying around in the open air, oxygen is bound to cause a lot of damage to the structure of the cannabinoid, which results in degradation.

While it is essential to keep your cannabis stored away safely, remember NEVER to put in the freezer or free it in any situation. Once done, all of the trichomes high in resin found in cannabis will become brittle and start breaking off.

And there you have it! The easiest way to ensure that your cannabis stays its highly potent and fragrant self is by avoiding the factors mentioned above. Also, remember not to keep it with you for too long for time will get the best of it and leave you hanging with weak cannabis.



The degradation of THC-O, in a way, is a great thing. It reflects that the substance is based on natural ingredients. However, the degradation happens rarely and is caused by some events (as listed in this article) that can easily be avoided. So, store THC-O in the recommended conditions and enjoy its long-term benefits.

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