Having a hard time keeping your strawberries fresh? It’s a fairly common problem. You bring home a carton of bright vibrant strawberries, but before you can actually finish them, half of them have gotten moldy or wilted – and completely unsuitable to consume. This leaves strawberry consumers with a decision to make – eat those strawberries right away or accept that some of them will go to waste.
But now researchers at the University of South Florida are suggesting a surprising solution to this fruit dilemma – adding a little bit of CBD. In a recent study published in Postharvest Biology and Technology, researchers experimented with adding CBD oil to fresh strawberries, to see if it would help keep the strawberries fresher for longer. And the results showed that CBD was not only effective at extending the strawberries shelf-life, it also inhibited yeast and mold growth, and reduced microbial load.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical found in cannabis and hemp plants. Still, despite CBD’s origin in cannabis, these CBD coated strawberries would be unlikely to leave you feeling like you just ate a cannabis edible. Unlike other compounds in cannabis, such as THC, CBD won’t cause cannabis’ characteristic high. Instead, CBD is usually utilized by those looking for medical benefits like reduced pain, anxiety or inflammation – without the high. An FDA approved version of CBD called Epidiolex is even available to treat serious seizure disorders in children.
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Given CBD’s usual uses, it might be surprising to see it recommended as a fruit preservative. But scientists have known for some time that CBD has antimicrobial properties. Still, research has been limited when it comes to investigating using CBD in this way. Researchers on this study wanted to see whether CBD might be effective as an at home treatment that consumers could use themselves to extend the shelf life of their strawberries, keep them looking fresh and reduce the chance that microbials, mold and yeast would grow on them. To test their theory, they first evaluated some fresh strawberries for their visual appearance, and tested their microbial load. Then they treated some of the same fresh strawberries with CBD oil, and left other strawberries from the batch untreated. Afterwards they refrigerated the strawberries for 8 days, some at 1 °C (33.8 °F) and others at 10 °C (50 °F).
After the 8 days were up, the strawberries were once again evaluated for their visual appearance of quality and their microbial load was tested. When compared to the fruit that hadn’t been treated with CBD, the strawberries with CBD oil scored higher on visual appearance of quality, even exceeding the minimum threshold rating score of 3. The CBD treated strawberries also had a lower microbial load, and did not grow mold or yeast. The researchers on the project explained that “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.”
Of course, before you run out for a spray bottle of CBD to spritz down your berries, it might be a good idea to check with your doctor about whether CBD is right for you. While generally considered safe to consume (especially in the low quantities you might ingest on CBD treated strawberries), CBD can interact with certain medications.