CBD oils can go bad, but there are ways to prolong their shelf life. This article talks about how long CBD oil lasts and tips for prolonging its shelf life. Does CBD oil expire? The short answer is yes. All good things come to an end, and CBD oil is no different. Here’s how to check if your CBD oil has gone bad.
Does CBD Oil Expire? Things to Know About Hemp Oil Shelf Life
CBD oils also expire like all food products, so they could go bad fast if you don’t know how to store them properly.
Consuming expired CBD oil probably won’t make you sick, but you won’t be getting the CBD potency you need as the CBD in the product may have already begun to degrade, losing some of its potency.
This article discusses how long CBD oil stays effective in the bottle and how to know if your CBD oil has already gone bad. It also talks about the different factors that affect CBD oil’s quality and how to store CBD oil in the correct way to prolong its shelf life.
How Long Does CBD Oil Stay Good?
CBD oil usually lasts anywhere between one and two years, but how long it stays good depends on many factors.
Here are some of the factors that affect your CBD oil’s shelf life:
1. Methods of Extraction
Of the different methods of extraction, CO2 and steam extraction produce the longest shelf life since CBD comes out cleaner and more chemically stable.
Solvent extraction, on the other hand, is the least preferred method. It can potentially introduce harmful byproducts such as toxic residues and residual solvents into CBD oil, affecting its quality and shelf life.
2. CBD Oil Ingredients
Quality ingredients help prolong the oil’s shelf life.
Its CBD must be extracted from premium, organic flowers. High-quality CBD has a longer shelf life than CBD extracted from substandard flowers that may have been harvested from a previous season.
If the oil contains extra ingredients like vitamins, terpenes, essential oils, and flavorings, then these should also be extracted from high-quality sources, may it be from plant or animal sources.
Remember, each ingredient has its own shelf life, which, in turn, affects the overall shelf life of your CBD oil.
3. Airtight Packaging
Exposure to the UV rays of the sun and the oxygen in the air can degrade CBD and reduce its potency.
To prolong the oil’s shelf life, the packaging should protect CBD from these elements. The bottle must be dark-colored to block UV light and airtight to prevent air from reentering the bottle.
4. Proper Storage
How you store your CBD oil also significantly affects its shelf life.
You may have bought the best CBD oil on the market, but if you don’t store it properly, you’ll only be contributing to its fast degradation.
Keep in it a cool, dark place along with your supplements, and make sure the lid is completely sealed before you put it away.
If you plan to store your CBD oil for more than a few months before using it, you can keep it in the fridge to further extend the shelf-life.
Does CBD Oil Expire?
CBD oils expire, and the expiration date is about 12 to 18 months after their CBD extraction date. Many factors speed up the oil’s degradation process, though. These include exposure to light, air, and heat, as well as improper storage of your CBD oil.
Again, it won’t matter if you bought the best, most expensive, and most trusted brands, but it will not go well quickly if you don’t store your CBD oil properly.
How to Know If Your CBD Oil Has Gone Bad
There are several ways to determine if your CBD has gone bad. First of all, check the CBD oil’s expiration date, which is found on the label.
In addition to the expiration date, these telltale signs also tell you that CBD oil can no longer be used.
1. It Smells a Little Bit Off
CBD oil normally loses some of its earthy and grassy aromas as it begins to degrade. This could mean that its terpenes content may also be degrading and losing potency.
If the CBD oil smells skunky and unpleasant, don’t use it. Some ingredients used in the oil (its carrier oil, for example) may have already gone bad.
2. It Tastes a Little Bit Rancid
CBD oil that tastes a bit sour and rancid is more common in oils that use artificial flavorings and extracts. Flavorings typically have a shelf life of only about six months to a year since they’re pretty volatile and vaporize readily.
A good CBD oil usually has a nutty, earthy, and slightly grassy flavor.
3. It Looks Murky with Thicker-Than-Usual Consistency.
Older or expired CBD oils may also appear murky with a thicker consistency.
This is usually caused by the degradation of the oil’s ingredients as they get exposed to light, air, and heat.
If the CBD oil is new, though, but already looks cloudy and viscous, don’t worry. This may only be because it’s been sitting in a cold room. It will soon go back to its normal color and consistency once it’s warmed up enough.
4. It Doesn’t Work
The cannabinoid in CBD oil may start to break down over time — especially if exposed to UV light.
If you’ve kept your CBD oil in storage for a long time, or it’s been sitting in the sun, much of the CBD will break down, and the oil will lose its potency.
Can Expired CBD Oil Make You Sick?
You probably won’t get really sick or ill if you accidentally took an expired CBD oil or one that’s gone bad, especially if you’re only consuming small amounts.
However, it’s best to play it safe and get rid of CBD oils past their expiration dates.
These expired CBD oils are no longer potent, so you won’t be getting the full benefits you need from their degraded CBD content.
Factors That Determine Homemade CBD Oil’s Expiration Date
What about the expiration date of homemade CBD oils? How will you determine their expiration date?
The factors that determine the expiration date of commercial CBD oils also apply to homemade CBD oils, so to make your homemade CBD oil last, choose your ingredients wisely.
Make sure that you only use laboratory-tested, organic, pesticide-free hemp flowers — the better the quality, the longer the shelf life.
Always use a good carrier oil like MCT, hemp seed, coconut, or olive oil. These oils not only have a good shelf life but also boost CBD’s bioavailability.
MCT, coconut, and olive oils have the longest shelf life of two years, while hemp seed oil has the shortest shelf life of about 14 months.
Bioavailability, in a nutshell, is a part or portion of a drug that your cells absorb after going through the first-pass effect.
When you ingest CBD oil, it passes through the stomach, the intestines, and the liver, where it’s metabolized before it reaches the bloodstream. During the whole process, the concentration and potency of CBD are slightly reduced. CBD needs a good carrier oil that will transport it into the cells without sacrificing too much of its bioavailability to preserve these.
Finally, know how to store your CBD oil properly.
How to Store CBD Properly
You can use an airtight glass container like a mason jar to store your homemade CBD oil. Glass isn’t porous and won’t allow too much air transfer into and out of the container. You can also wrap the glass container in dark paper to prevent light from degrading CBD.
Keep your CBD oil in a dark, cool place. You want to protect it from too much light, and heat since these elements degrade CBD.
The best places to store your CBD oil are in your pantry or medicine cabinet. Just make sure to keep these out of each, so your children can’t get into them.
You can also store your CBD oil inside your refrigerator, and to protect it from light each time you open the door, you can wrap it in aluminum foil. This method may result in some thickening of the CBD oil since the cold temperature can turn some oils (like coconut oil) into solid. While dipping the bottle in a cup of hot water helps, it would be better to allow the oil to reach room temperature naturally since heat can affect its quality.
Don’t store your CBD oil in cupboards near windows or electrical appliances and devices that give off heat, such as the refrigerator, stove, oven, toaster, microwave oven, or rice cooker. The heat emanating from these appliances can affect the quality of the oil.
Although this isn’t related to storing CBD oil, this tip is just as important — only buy what you need.
Each bottle has its expiration date, and stockpiling CBD oils with the same expiration date can only lead to wastage as their expiration dates draw near. You definitely don’t want to end up with many expired CBD oils just because you chased after a 5% discount offered by a CBD vendor.
How to Make Your CBD Oil Last Longer
In addition to storing CBD oil the right way, you can also prolong its shelf life by following these simple tips.
Always keep the CBD oil bottle upright, and never store it horizontally. The lesser contact the oil has with the air inside the bottle, the better. Exposure to air speeds up the degradation process of CBD, and keeping the bottle in a horizontal position gives the oil more contact with the air.
CBD oils are typically packaged with a dropper lid. You can use the dropper, of course, but using the dropper without washing it after every use can introduce bacteria into the oil, spoiling the product.
You can use the dropper to suck up the CBD oil and then squeeze it out into a spoon to prevent contamination. This way, you don’t unnecessarily introduce bacteria into the bottle each time you open it and use the dropper.
Finally, always make sure that you tightly close the bottle after every use.
Final Thoughts: CBD Oil Expires, So Store It Properly
CBD oil has a shelf life of about 12 to 18 months, but you can prolong its shelf life even more by storing it the right way.
Storing it properly not only preserves its quality but its potency as well. It also allows you to enjoy your CBD experience fully.
But keep in mind that even properly stored CBD oil eventually expires, so if you’re keeping an old CBD oil at home, always check its expiration date and look for signs that it’s already gone bad before taking your dose.
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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Does CBD Oil Expire? Here’s How To Tell If Your CBD Has Gone Bad
The short answer is yes. All good things come to an end, and CBD oil is no different. Here’s how to check if your CBD oil has gone bad.
All-natural products have an expiration date, which means eventually, that bottle of CBD oil will expire too.
As CBD oils age, the cannabinoid content breaks down and the carrier oil may go rancid. Expired oil tastes bad and won’t be very strong.
Most people don’t run into this problem with their CBD oils because you would ideally use your CBD well within 12 months. The problem often lies in the manufacturer’s end when products are stored on warehouse shelves for a year or more before they arrive at your door.
Table of Contents
Bottom Line: Does CBD Oil Expire?
Yes, CBD will expire within three years of manufacture. If stored correctly in a cool, dark, and dry location, you should be able to get the full three years.
If stored incorrectly, the CBD will break down prematurely and the carrier oil could go rancid.
What Affects The Shelf Life Of CBD Oil?
The main factors that cause CBD oil to go bad are oxygen, heat, UV light, and humidity.
Proper storage means protecting the oil from these environmental conditions.
However, you can’t stop this process entirely. Eventually, all CBD oils will expire.
1. Carrier Oil Quality
The shelf life of your CBD oil depends on the freshness of the carrier oil used. Carrier oils such as olive oil, MCT oil, and hemp seed oil are often the first ingredient to go rancid in your CBD product.
We won’t dive too deep into the chemical makeup of these oils, but in a nutshell, these unsaturated fats have carbon bond chains that break down over time when exposed to oxygen. This process is called oxidation.
It’s easy to tell at a glance when coconut oil or MCT oil bases go bad because they discolor from white to yellow and will become chunky. For a closer inspection, rancid carrier oils have a sour or putrid smell when they go bad.
2. Additional Ingredients
The formulation used to make the product can affect the shelf life of your CBD.
For example, essential oils can offer more benefits than aromatherapy and flavoring to your oils.
CBD oils containing essential oils may have a longer shelf life because some essential oils are naturally antibacterial and antifungal. However, additives like coloring and artificial flavorings may affect the CBD molecules and the expiration date.
3. Packaging (UV Light & Oxygen Exposure)
Amber glass bottles have a function beyond the aesthetics and branding of CBD oil. It helps to filter the UV light to keep active compounds from degrading. Not only does the packaging material have something to do with your CBD oil’s shelf life, but the packaging facility does too.
Packaging Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is a standard used in the medical industry to maintain high-quality safety standards when it comes to packaging medication. While it’s not a standard in the CBD industry, more brands are adopting GMP.
How fast a manufacturer can move their product out of production and into the hands of their customers can affect how much viable time you have left to use the CBD oil. The less time CBD spends on warehouse shelves, the fresher it is when it gets to you, reducing the chances of the CBD oil going rancid.
Smaller companies that create CBD products in artisan batches tend to move products much faster and maintain freshness when it gets into their customers’ hands.
Always check to see the manufacturer’s date of your product to ensure its freshness.
How To Tell If Your CBD Oil Has Gone Bad
All good things come to an end, and here some tell-tale signs it’s time to toss out your expired CBD oil.
1. CBD Oil Looks Dark & Murky
The color of CBD oil can either look clear, white, dark brown or dark green, depending on the hemp extract and carrier oil used. If the carrier oil is MCT coconut oil, it could have a cloudy consistency, especially when stored in a cool space, and this isn’t anything to worry about.
When it starts to be a concern is when the oil is chunky or brown at room temperature. This could be a sign that the CBD is starting to break down. You can hold the amber bottle up to a light source and examine the liquid for any inconsistencies like cloudiness at room temperature.
How the CBD oil looks can be a tricky way to tell if your CBD oil expires, which leads us to our next tell-tale sign of expired CBD oil.
2. CBD Oil Smells & Tastes Funky
CBD oil has a naturally bitter-earthy scent and flavor. Some people describe it as “nutty” or “grassy.” Even if you’re not a fan of the taste of CBD oil, you’ll know that it’s gone bad because it smells musky and tastes rancid.
Hopefully, you notice the cloudiness and funky smell of the CBD oil before you taste it.
The carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, or hemp seed oil) could have gone bad. These oils normally have a neutral flavor, but when they go bad, they take on a sour taste. Purchasing older carrier oils is one way CBD manufacturers cut costs, so it’s important you buy CBD from a reputable supplier.
3. Your CBD Oil Doesn’t Work
Expired CBD oil often looks and tastes perfectly fine — but if enough of the CBD and other cannabinoids have been broken down by UV light or heat, the oil simply won’t work.
If you’re finding your CBD oil isn’t working, try taking gradually larger doses. Sometimes the oils aren’t totally expired, they’re just a little weaker than before so you’ll need a larger dose.
If you have no perceivable effects even with very large doses — your CBD oil is likely to be either a fake or expired.
Beware Of CBD Oils Sold At Suspiciously Low Prices (They May Be Expired)
CBD oil is expensive to produce.
There’s a lot of costs involved in producing a high-quality bottle of CBD oil, including the hemp farming, extraction process, and product formulation — not to mention all the safety testing and marketing involved.
Your average bottle of CBD oil should cost anywhere from $50 to $100 a bottle, depending on the potency, size, formula, and quality.
If you find a CBD oil that’s less than $50, err on the side of caution and consider why the CBD product is sold at this cheaper price. It could be because it’s close to the expiration date, or it could mean that the CBD brand finds ways to cut costs, sacrificing the overall quality of the CBD oil.
How To Make CBD Oil Last Longer
Even the best quality CBD oil will eventually expire.
For many people, a 12-month best-before date is plenty of time before the CBD oil goes bad, but if you want to preserve the freshness and the effectiveness of your CBD oil, store your CBD properly.
Storing your CBD oil properly can help to extend the life of your CBD oil and slow the gradual breakdown of the active cannabinoids and terpenes.
Keep it away from heat and direct sunlight, and store it in a cool and dry place.
Most people store their CBD products with their supplements and medications as the storing indications are the same. Some people store their opened CBD oil in the fridge to extend the shelf life. This may not be necessary if you plan on taking your CBD daily (which is recommended to get the best results).
Regardless of the CBD product you purchase, you want to make sure you store it away from direct heat and sunlight to preserve the potency of the cannabinoids.
If you intend to store your CBD oil long-term (over a year), you can place it in your fridge unopened for up to 3 years. You just want to avoid taking it in and out of the fridge often or cracking the seal. Some people will bulk buy CBD oil and keep them in the fridge until they’re ready to start using them.
How To Store CBD Oils & Tinctures
Oils and tinctures have a fairly long shelf-life compared to other edible or some smokable products.
CBD oils and tinctures are often in amber-colored glasses to protect the active compounds from breaking down from light. You can keep your CBD oils and tinctures in your medicine cabinet, pantry, or fridge. As long as you use it well within the year, you should be fine.
How To Store CBD Edibles
The expiration dates on edible CBD products can vary drastically, depending on the additional ingredients. Baked goods like cookies tend to expire much sooner than gummies, hard candy, or CBD chocolate bars.
When you buy edible CBD products, you should plan to consume them within a few weeks while it’s fresh. Generally, candies and chocolate bars can last longer on the shelves, but the CBD and other cannabinoids are susceptible to degrading over time.
If you plan on saving your CBD edibles for a far-off future date, you may want to store them in the freezer to maintain freshness. Always refer to the best-before date when buying edible CBD products.
How To Store Topical CBD Products
Topical CBD products are a great way to deliver the benefits of CBD to your skin locally. The shelf-life of topical CBD products typically lasts anywhere from 14-24 months, depending on the formulation.
Essential oils added to the formulations act as natural preservatives and anti-bacterial agents that can keep the quality of CBD topicals stable. Just like all other CBD products, store your lotions, balms, and massage oils in a cool, dry place.
How to Store CBD Hemp Flower
CBD-rich hemp flower has the shortest shelf-life of any CBD products. They’re subject to mold and breakdown through exposure to high humidity, heat, and oxygen.
The best way to store hemp flower is to keep it in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, with a moisture regulator such as a Bovita salt pack.
For long-term storage, use a vacuum sealer and keep your hemp flower in the fridge or freezer.
Can Expired CBD Oil Make You Sick?
Luckily, eating it won’t make you sick, but it won’t taste very good, and it’s unlikely to deliver any of the benefits CBD has to offer. When your CBD oil expires, it’s time to toss it out.
There’s no point in taking something that tastes awful and may not deliver the benefits of CBD, so it doesn’t look or smell right; it’s got to go.
If you have trouble using up your CBD products before the expiration date, you may want to consider reducing the potency of the product. Try to match the potency of your CBD oil to your daily CBD requirements.
For example, 5000 mg of CBD oil (30 mL) may last you a lot longer than 1000 mg of CBD oil of the same size if you’ve found your daily dose is 33 mg a day.
The Takeaway: Does CBD Oil Expire?
CBD oil can go bad — Most CBD oils have a shelf life of 1-2 years, which is plenty of time for most people to use up the product.
Most of the time, it’s not the user’s poor storage or consumption of CBD that’s the problem. It often lies on the manufacturer’s end.
CBD companies looking to make a quick buck may purchase poor quality carrier oils and less than great hemp extract to formulate their products. Additionally, these CBD oils could be sitting on warehouse shelves for months (or years) before they get to your door, which means the CBD and other active cannabinoids may have significantly degraded.
While ingesting expired CBD won’t make you sick, it’s a total waste of your hard-earned cash.
To avoid purchasing poor-quality CBD oil, always reference the company’s independent lab tests and shop with reputable brands that have a following of loyal users. You’re much less likely to run into any problems with CBD quality when you practice these steps when shopping.