CBD is marketed to help with a dizzying array of human wellness issues—but now you can add fruit preservation to that list, according to a recent study.
Yes, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid apparently helps strawberries stay fresh, researchers at the University of South Florida found.
The study—set to be published in the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology—tested the antimicrobial effects of CBD by dousing strawberries in CBD oil after they’d been harvested. Researchers wanted to know if doing so would “reduce microbial growth and extend the shelf life.”
“Treating strawberries with CBD oil lengthens shelf life and reduces microbial load.”
“Strawberries were evaluated for visual quality and microbial load before and during storage,” the paper’s abstract states. “Results from this study showed that CBD oil was effective at maintaining the visual appearance of strawberries…compared to the fruit that was not treated.”
There was also a significant reduction in the microbial load that the fruits carried if they were treated with CBD, versus those that were not. That resulted in less mold and yeast production, too.
“CBD oil inhibited yeast and mold growth on strawberries. Strawberries treated with CBD oil had better overall quality compared to non-[treated] fruit.”
While the study focused on strawberries, the findings indicate that “CBD oil has promising potential as an antimicrobial treatment to fresh produce” in general, the authors concluded.
To achieve the extended freshness, researchers stored the cannabinoid-treated fruit at at 1 degree Celsius for 8 days and 10 degrees Celsius for to 8 days. The results show that “CBD oil has the potential to be used by consumers at home as an effective antimicrobial treatment and to extend strawberry shelf life,” they wrote.
In other unexpected cannabidiol benefits, separate research published earlier this year highlighted the promise of CBD-infused mouthwash.
The new strawberry study states that because of the current lack of federal regulations for the cannabis compound “there are still many uncertainties surrounding the use of CBD as a food additive and the science and benefits behind using CBD in food formulations.”
That could change as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to finalize rules for the compound.
The agency was mandated under appropriations legislation enacted late last year to provide an update on its regulatory approach to CBD, and it did so in March. The update stated that “FDA is currently evaluating issuance of a risk-based enforcement policy that would provide greater transparency and clarity regarding factors FDA intends to take into account in prioritizing enforcement decisions.”
FDA has been using enforcement discretion for CBD in the years since hemp became legal and has continued to issue warnings to cannabis businesses in certain cases—such as instances in which companies claimed CBD could treat or cure coronavirus—and provide public notices about recalls.
In July, FDA also submitted a report to Congress on the state of the CBD marketplace, and the document outlines studies the agency has performed on the contents and quality of cannabis-derived products that it has tested over the past six years.
Also that month, a congressional spending bill for FDA was released that includes a provision providing “funding to develop a framework for regulating CBD products.”
The agency is also actively looking to award a contract to help study CBD as it develops regulations for products containing the non-intoxicating cannabinoid.