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Do Terpenes Go Bad?

Using fresh, clean ingredients is important for businesses of all sizes. That’s why many people are wondering, “Do terpenes go bad?” Read on and discover how to properly store your terpenes.

Terpenes are the hydrocarbons responsible for the unique scent and flavor of many plants. If you’ve been part of the Abstrax family for a while, you know we distill terpenes from plant matter so brands can use them for products. For us, terpenes are the future of flavor. They’re the best way to ensure consistency of taste, aroma, and effects for a wide variety of products. Terpenes are also pretty tricky.

Terpenes are volatile compounds. Things like light, heat, time, and even rough handling can all lead to degradation. Even once a terpene has been distilled into its purest form, it can still lose quality if it’s not stored properly. 

So, if you’re wondering whether or not terpenes can go bad--the answer is yes. 

Luckily, with a few tips, you can maintain the quality of your terpenes for up to a year. Read on and learn why terpenes go bad and how to properly store them.

Reading Time - 5 min

Do Terpenes Go Bad?

If you’re nervously glancing at your terpene collection wondering whether it’s about to go bad, fear not. Here’s a quick breakdown of what we’re covering today.

  • Terpenes are incredibly volatile. That makes relying on plant matter to flavor your products incredibly difficult.
  • Using high-quality distilled terpenes in your products lets you avoid the pitfalls of relying on terpenes from plant matter. However, if not stored properly they will lose quality over time.
  • With the proper storage techniques, you can expect to maintain the high-quality of your terpenes for one year from the date it was manufactured
To maintain the high quality of your terpenes, you must store them properly - Abstrax Tech

Terpenes Degradation in Nature

Like we said earlier, terpenes are responsible for the flavor and aroma of most plants. They’re also the reason why certain plants have different effects on us. Without terpenes, lavender wouldn’t smell like lavender, oranges wouldn’t taste like oranges, and cannabis wouldn’t give you all those fantastic effects. However, relying on the natural terpenes in plant matter to flavor products is a tricky business.

These compounds are extremely sensitive. No joke. The list of items that can influence the terpenes in a plant is long.

  • Weather patterns
  • Light
  • Watering schedule
  • Pests and Natural Disasters
  • Soil quality
  • Farming techniques
  • Processing methods
  • Geographical Location

Even if you have two identical seeds (or clones), they may have a slightly different aroma or flavor depending on any of the variables above. That’s why people swear by fruits and vegetables from certain regions of the world. It’s also what makes it so difficult to rely on just plant matter to flavor your products. Let’s break it down…

First, in order to ensure the terpene profile of your plant matter is consistent, you would have to heavily control the environment for that plant matter. That might mean growing all your plant matter in-house or purchasing plant ingredients from specialized farmers. 

Second, terpenes are easily destroyed by heat and rough handling--two things that are pretty common during manufacturing processes. This can lead to pale flavor, undesirable off-notes, and negligible effects. The only way to get around that would be to alter your manufacturing methods (not always practical) or to use a larger amount of plant matter (expensive and not always great for product formulations).

Luckily, you can avoid ALL of these issues by using high-quality terpenes that have already been distilled from plant matter for the highest purity possible. This way, you can add flavor, aroma, and effects back into your products without worry. 

However, if you’re not storing your terpenes properly, they can also lose quality over time. 

Properly Store Terpenes to Maintain Their Quality

Even the purest, highest quality terpene blends and isolates are sensitive to light, oxygen, and heat. That’s why our products include a “best by date” on them. 

That date means the product will meet Abstrax’s internal quality checks if the product is used by the best by date on the label and if it has been stored/handled correctly. After that date, Abstrax cannot guarantee the quality nor if it will detrimentally affect the end product. If Abstrax’s products are used and stored properly, they will not significantly affect the end product’s shelf life.

Maintaining the quality of your terpenes is essential for flavor consistency - Abstrax Tech

Due to a variety of factors, such as what you’ve added to it and how you store it, that shelf life isn’t a guarantee. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you’re following these steps...

  • Store terpenes in an airtight, sealed container.
  • Make sure it’s stored at an ambient temperature (roughly 22°C/72°F)
  • For our Native Series terpenes please store refrigerated, but never frozen.
  • The environment it’s stored in should be less than 60% relative humidity.
  • Store terpenes in a dark space so as to avoid exposure to light and high heat.
  • After you’ve opened the containers, maintain minimal headspace.
  • DO NOT store in plastic containers. Terpenes will degrade plastic and the overall taste and aroma will be negatively affected.
  • Do not open the bottle of terpenes except to use, each time the bottle is opened oxygen is introduced which can degrade terpenes. This is imperative for the Native Series.
  • Glass is the optimal storage material for terpenes in substance vials and cartridges.
  • Avoid uncoated metal containers, and keep air contact to a minimum.
  • DO NOT store with strong oxidizing agents, acids, and bases.

If the above steps are followed, you can expect to maintain the high-quality of your terpenes for one year from the date it was manufactured.

We Take The Quality of Our Terpenes Very Seriously.

We also take several precautions to make sure your terpenes maintain their quality before they get to you. Our certified, high-quality amber glass vials offer protection from UV rays, and our scientists are well-versed in the proper handling and storage of volatile compounds. Terpenes provide amazing sensorial experiences, so quality assurance is our top priority. 

If you ever have questions about the storage and handling of terpenes in your facility, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. This is what we love, so we want to make sure you, and your customers, are getting the best terpene experience possible.

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