Study Suggests CBD Could Help Preserve Fruit

Research found strawberries treated with CBD suffered less decay.

It’s been touted for its ability to treat pain and anxiety, and it’s found in everything from soda to soap. But could CBD also help extend the shelf life of certain foods?

New research suggests that it’s possible. A study published this month in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces examined the differences in strawberries that received a treatment of CBD and those that did not. 

“Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to have antioxidant and antibacterial effects. The investigation into CBD’s potential as an antioxidant and antibacterial agent, meanwhile, is still in its initial stages. The study goals were to prepare encapsulated cannabidiol isolate (eCBDi), evaluate the effect of eCBDi edible active coatings on the physicochemical properties of strawberries, and determine whether CBD and sodium alginate coatings could be used as a postharvest treatment to promote antioxidation and antimicrobial activity and prolong the strawberry shelf life,” the researchers said in the abstract.

They said that a “well-designed edible coating on the strawberry surface was achieved using eCBDi nanoparticles in combination with a sodium alginate polysaccharide-based solution,” and that strawberries “were examined for their visual appearance and quality parameters.”

“In the results, a significantly delayed deterioration was observed in terms of weight loss, total acidity, pH, microbial activity, and antioxidant activity for coated strawberries compared to the control. This study demonstrates the capability of eCBDi nanoparticles as an efficient active food coating agent,” the abstract said. 

The digital outlet Leafie has more details on the study, which was carried out by scientists at Thammasat University and Chulabhorn Research Institute in Thailand.

According to the outlet, the research team “combined CBD isolate with biodegradable polymers which are used in drug delivery to make nanoparticles measuring 400 nanometers wide.”

“These were then mixed with water and the food additive sodium alginate. The researchers dipped strawberries into the resulting solution, followed by a second bath in ascorbic acid and calcium chloride, which turned the coating into a gel,” Leafie reported.

“To test the coating’s preservation abilities, the team placed treated and untreated strawberries into open plastic containers and kept them at fridge temperatures for several weeks. The CBD-treated strawberries decayed far less over 15 days than those left uncoated, keeping their colour and retaining their weight for longer. Higher amounts of CBD also seemed to perform better than lower amounts in the test.”

It isn’t the first research to produce such findings. As Leafie noted, a 2021 study published in Postharvest Biology and Technology provided “for the first-time evidence that CBD oil has the potential to reduce microbial load and maintain the visual quality of strawberries, which would lengthen their shelf life.”

“The main objective of this study was to assess the potential use of CBD as a postharvest treatment applied onto the surface of strawberries by consumers at home to delay microbial growth and maintain quality, thus extending fruit shelf life. This was done by using CBD oil as an edible coating to protect the strawberries from deterioration. Edible coatings have been shown to protect some fruits and vegetables from perishing too quickly and succumbing to decay,” the researchers wrote at the time.

They said that the results from their study “showed that CBD oil was effective at maintaining the visual appearance of strawberries, above the minimum threshold of a visual rating score of 3, compared to the fruit that was not treated.” 

“It was also found that CBD oil was effective at reducing the microbial load on treated strawberries compared to fruit that was not treated. This research shows that CBD oil has the potential to be used by consumers at home as an effective antimicrobial treatment and to extend strawberry shelf life,” the researchers said.

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