Biophotonic glass jars are receiving buzz in the medical and pharmaceutical communities, but what the heck are they? Are they really more beneficial for storing supplements, superfoods, and medications than a normal, well-sealed glass jar? For light-sensitive substances such as high-grade superfoods and cannabis, the short answer is “yes.”
Here are four reasons why:
- Biophotonic Glass Jars Blocks Harmful Light
The word biophotonic comes from the Greek root bio, meaning life, and phos, meaning light, so the term refers to the effects of light on living things. Biophotonic glass jars are equipped with an airtight seal that filters out the entire spectrum of light, with the exception of violet. Light has an effect on many materials we can see, such as bleaching of clothing or hair, tanning skin, and discoloration of certain products. Effects of light that we cannot see include causing free radicals and, in extreme cases, cause phototoxic reactions. For many medications, namely medical marijuana, biophotonic jars are recommended for long-term storage because they prevent the loss of potency due to light exposure. Cannabis, for example, requires UVB light to grow, but for storage, UVB light actually degrades the substance.
- The Jars Are Designed To Protect Substances From More Than Light
Most recently, biophotonic glass jars have been getting attention as the safest and most effective way to store cannabis and any light-sensitive medications, superfoods, or cosmetics. Sensitive to light and humidity, medical marijuana can lose potency and develop harmful bacteria if exposed to excess humidity. Cannabinoids, the active chemicals in cannabis, are especially sensitive to light and humidity, and can grow mold if exposed to humidity levels above 60 percent. The same is true for many superfoods and supplements, which are also very sensitive to light and humidity.
- They Provide Proven Protection For Long-Term Storage
In most cases, the effect of light degradation on supplements and medications, results in a gradual loss of potency. According to a study on the effects of various factors on long-term cannabis storage, “Exposure to light (not direct sunlight) was shown to be the greatest single factor in loss of cannabinoids especially in solutions, which should therefore be protected from light during analytical and phytochemical operations.”
The study found that temperature had little effect on the loss of potency, but air oxidation did. This means that if the substances were not properly sealed in airtight containers, even if they were protected from light, there were still issues caused by oxidation and exposure to humidity. This can cause loss of potency and growth of bacteria.
Storage in an airtight container may be just as important as protection from light. Another study found that the half-life of THC exposed to light is 330 days, but 462 days in darkness. In other words, the potency is reduced in half, 132 days sooner if THC is stored in daylight than if it is stored in darkness. THC still loses seven percent potency while stored in biophotonic jars that block 99 percent of UVB light, although this is significantly less than storage in common jars.
Much of the research on biophotonic jars focuses on cannabis since in the past it was most commonly provided to patients in plastic bags, which would cause a quick decrease in the potency of the herb over time. As the medical marijuana field has expanded, researchers have been looking for the ideal containers for cannabis.
Other photosensitive materials, including cannabinoid oils, supplements, and some cosmetics, are often sold in biophotonic jars to protect the contents from light degradation. Even if you purchase an item in a biophotonic jar, you can further prevent light degradation by storing it in a dark, dry place. A test with chives found that the herbs retained greater potency when stored in biophotonic glass in the dark, as opposed to exposed to light.
- They Protect Materials That Haven’t Been Proven Light-Sensitive
Photosensitivity testing is increasing, so there may be materials that need appropriate storage but haven’t been proven so yet. According to a study on photosensitivity testing, “The European pharmacopoeia prescribes light protection for more than 250 medical drugs and a number of adjuvants. New compounds are frequently added to this list, although the justification of light protection required for certain compounds has been questioned.”
While medications are continuously added as photosensitivity testing continues, Hospital Pharmacy published this list in 2009 of all light-sensitive oral prescription drugs. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about specific medications and how you can prevent them from losing potency or breaking down.
Annie Bacher is a is a journalist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina with a focus on food and health. She spends her spare time cooking, training for marathons, and blogging about both.
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