Using CBD oil as a safe and natural food preservative
With consumer goods, especially those with natural ingredients, the preservation of freshness and quality has top priority. Unfortunately, many of the additives and preservatives currently on the market are incredibly unhealthy – toxic and really cancerous – so there is a definite need for safer alternatives.
Researchers at the University of South Florida are looking at cannabidiol as a possible solution. According to their study, published in Postharvest Biology and Technology earlier this year, CBD oil can be used as a natural preservative to extend the shelf life of foods by inhibiting yeast, mold growth and microbial contamination. How exactly does this work and is it a practical, inexpensive option?
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Medical benefits and uses of CBD oil
CBD has been heavily promoted as an effective treatment option for numerous different health conditions, but the only condition that is government sponsored for cannabidiol treatment is epilepsy. In numerous studies, CBD has been able to reduce the number and intensity of seizures and, in many cases, stop them altogether.
Last year the drug Epidiolex was removed from the controlled substances list. This makes it the only CBD-based therapy that has received full FDA approval. Epidiolex is currently subscribed to in the United States, Japan, and 30 European countries. is used to treat two extremely rare and debilitating forms of childhood epilepsy that do not normally respond to pharmaceutical antiseizure drugs – Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox-accumulated syndrome.
Additionally, there is ample research to suggest that CBD can be used to reduce chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of pain to treat. Chronic inflammation has also been identified as the leading cause of many other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel disease. A study by the European Journal of Pain showed that CBD, even when applied topically, can help eliminate pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
CBD is also highly effective in treating mental illness and sleep disorders. Compared to melatonin, CBD performed positively in areas where patients were helped to fall asleep, fall asleep and recover a more restful sleep. CBD has also shown promising results when studied to treat PTSD, anxiety, and depression. In fact, Dr. Sue Sisley and the Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona have been addressing this issue since 2009 in hopes of providing safe access to cannabis oil therapies for military veterans with PTSD.
Other less-explored potential uses for CBD include skin conditions, digestive disorders, addiction treatment, cancer therapy, and neurodegenerative diseases. Legal obstacles have made it difficult for researchers to conduct comprehensive studies of the actual capabilities of this or any other cannabis compound, but the anecdotal evidence is certainly there.
CBD oil as a natural food preservative
Food quality is a complicated matter. On the one hand, there are farmers and industry stakeholders who obviously want to benefit from food, and adding preservatives is an easy way to do that. On the other hand, we have a growing number of health conscious consumers reading the labels, researching the ingredients and choosing the healthiest alternatives, i.e. those with no artificial additives.
Extensive research has shown that prolonged consumption of artificial preservatives can cause serious health problems such as hypersensitivity, allergy, asthma, hyperactivity, neurological damage, and cancer. They are also known to weaken heart tissue, which can be especially dangerous for the elderly.
It can be difficult to strike that middle ground that makes itself felt in the grocery store when we are no longer around rotten produce or “fresh” produce coated in cancer-causing chemicals to extend their lifespan. Using CBD oil as a food preservative can be helpful on either side of the fence by extending the shelf life of foods with a healthy, natural compound. A study recently published in March 2021 found that adding CBD oil to strawberries extended the shelf life of the strawberries and decreased the microbial load on the fruit.
“Strawberries were examined for visual quality and microbial contamination before and during storage,” the researchers explained. “The results of this study showed that CBD oil was effective in maintaining the visual appearance of strawberries … compared to the untreated fruit.”
The study involved applying CBD oil to the surface of the strawberries after harvesting and storing it for eight days at 1-10 degrees Celsius. They found that the strawberries coated with CBD oil had a more pleasant appearance and liveliness, and had lower microbial contamination compared to the untreated strawberries. Since hemp itself is considered a superfood, using its extracted compounds to preserve other food products is a win-win for everyone.
CBD and antibiotic resistance
Antibiotics are considered to be one of the greatest medical advances of all time. Without antibiotics, a person would still die of pneumonia and succumb to deadly infections from a simple cut on the hand. However, bacteria become immune to the effects of these drugs, resulting in higher medical costs, longer hospital stays, and increased mortality.
A study by the University of Queensland’s Center for Superbug Solutions found that CBD killed all strains of bacteria it was exposed to, including some that are very resistant to traditional antibiotics. Even after 20 days, the bacteria did not develop any resistance to CBD. For most other antibiotics, resistance started in less than 3 weeks.
In other studies like this one from 2008, researchers successfully treated MRSA with a combination of all five major cannabinoids – cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As early as 1981, scientists discovered that CBC and CBG were effective in treating moderate antibacterial infections. Even further back in 1976, researchers found that a dose of as little as 1 to 5 micrograms per milliliter of THC successfully killed streptococci and staphylococci.
This is a very interesting and promising finding, but there are many limitations and unknowns. Even researchers who participated in the study noted that they “still don’t fully understand how it works” and that “the use of CBD as a food preservative, and the science and benefits of using CBD in food formulations, still have many uncertainties . ”
Still, it is an important discovery that considering cost efficiency, it could have a significant impact on the food industry in the near future.
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