Let's cut to the case - yes, CBD oil expires. But in most cases, it has a long shelf life if you store it properly. Here's what to know.
You're decluttering around the house and find a forgotten old bottle of CBD oil at the back of your cabinets. So naturally, you start wondering if CBD oil expires and, if it does, how long it takes to expire.
Alternatively, you might have been overly ambitious on a CBD oil sale you came across. You bought several bottles to maximize the sale and are worried you won't use them up in time and will have to throw some away eventually.
Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, your concern about the expiry of CBD oil is a valid one. The quick and simple answer is yes, CBD oil expires. But it's not a problem that comes up often. Here's what to know!
What is CBD Oil?
What better place to start the discussion than with a brief overview of CBD oil? CBD oil is a type of liquid-form CBD product. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical in hemp plants. CBD oil is made from a whole plant extract.
CBD oil blends this extract with a carrier oil to make it easier to digest and absorb into the body. Depending on the brand and quality of CBD oil, different types of carrier oils can be used, including coconut oil, hemp seed oil, or MCT oil.
The CBD oil usually comes in a small bottle with a dropper to make it easy to dispense. It's typically available in different CBD concentrations and flavors.
What is the Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
CBD oil can last up to two years. However, this is only the case for some CBD oils. Numerous factors affect the shelf life of CBD oil, including how you store it and the quality of CBD oil you buy.
Although CBD oil might be good for up to two years, it might not be as potent as it ages. This is because CBD degrades slowly with UV light and temperature exposure. Therefore, when it hits the 2-year span, it won't be as effective as when you first bought it.
What Affects the Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
Several factors impact the shelf life of CBD. Knowing and understanding these factors can help you get the right CBD oil and learn how to prolong its shelf-life.
Quality of the CBD oil
Not all CBD oil is made equal. Some brands genuinely care about the quality of their products. They go to extreme lengths to preserve the purity and concentration of their CBD oil. As a result, high-quality CBD oil tends to last longer than its lower-quality counterparts.
Makers of high-quality CBD oils care about the growing conditions of their hemp plants, the quality of any ingredients added, and the overall number of ingredients used. Generally, unflavored CBD oils last longer than flavored ones because there are fewer ingredients to interact with and degrade the extract. But trustworthy companies will go with flavoring ingredients that are less likely to impact the longevity of the oil.
What goes into your CBD oil will also determine how long it lasts. In the case of CBD oils, less is more. The fewer ingredients in the product, the longer the shelf life. Every component that goes into CBD oil has its own respective shelf life, affecting the entire product's longevity. Be sure to read the labels and certificate of analysis before purchasing.
The extraction process of the CBD extract
CBD brands use different extraction processes. The CO2 method is the gold standard. It produces premium quality oil without impurities. However, other extraction methods, like solvent extraction, can sometimes leave traces of the solvent, lowering the CBD oil's quality and reducing its shelf life.
Also, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil are more stable during O2 extraction, and the resulting CBD oil stays more potent and lasts longer. As far as extraction is concerned, always go with a brand that uses the O2 method.
The packaging of CBD oil also has a lot of impact on its shelf life. It's the same reason some medicines come in amber bottles and not clear ones. CBD oil lasts longer in dark and airtight glass bottles. The dark shade of the bottle shields the CBD oil from light and exposure to air. Exposure to either will oxidize CBD oil, degrading its potency, reducing its shelf life, and making it spoil more quickly.
How you store the CBD oil
Storing CBD oil in sunny or warm locations accelerates its degradation. When you read the packaging of most CBD products, it always says you should store the CBD oil in a cool, dark, and dry place. Following these storage recommendations will keep the CBD oil fresher and more potent for longer.
Always store CBD oil at room temperature, ideally no higher than 70F degrees. Keep the CBD oil bottle away from winders, humidifiers, radiators, stoves, and air conditioning. You also don't want to store your oil in a refrigerator or freezer. Generally, anything that is a potential source of extreme heat or cold can break down the compounds within the extract.
Handling your CBD oil the right way
Practicing the right way to use your CBD oil goes a long way in preserving its integrity and longevity. You should always use a clean spoon or dropper to take CBD oil. Avoid contamination and replace the lid immediately after taking your CBD oil.
Leaving your CBD bottle open and using contaminated droppers can shorten the shelf life significantly. When you replace the cap, make sure it's airtight.
How Can I Tell If My CBD Oil Has Gone Bad
An expiration date is always an excellent guide when you're concerned your CBD oil is past its prime. Some brands will provide this date on the product's packaging, and others will offer it in a Certificate of Analysis (CoA).
But you're not alone if you're hesitant to trust expiration dates. They are not an exact science, not to mention the label can fall off or fade, making it hard to tell if the CBD oil has gone bad.
Don't worry; you can use your senses to tell if your CBD oil has spoiled. Some indicators that your CBD oil is past its prime include:
A funny smell
Save your taste buds the trouble and start with the smell test. If the CBD oil is bad, it has a skunky smell. Fresh CBD oil has an earthy smell. It is not unpleasant in any way. If CBD oil has a funny odor, it's best not to consume it.
Thick and murky consistency
CBD oil can be cloudy, which happens when the CBD oil has been sitting for a while in a cold room or the refrigerator. This doesn't mean it has gone bad. A few minutes at room temperature should clear it up and back to its natural viscosity and color. But if the CBD oil is thicker than usual or is darker, those are clear signs of degradation.
It tastes rancid
Unflavored CBD oil has a nutty and earthy taste with grassy undertones. If it is flavored, it carries the taste of the flavors used. Even though undesirable, the taste of good CBD oil is still palatable. Expired CBD oil, on the other hand, will taste "off."
What Happens When You Take Expired CBD Oil
You've come across an old bottle of CBD oil, and you let the excitement get to you. You consumed the CBD oil before checking the sell-by date, only to realize later that the CBD oil is expired. The big question now is, what happens to you now?
The good news is the worst is already behind you. Taking your tastebuds through the wringer and withstanding that awful taste and consistency of expired CBD oil is the worst thing that could happen to you.
Taking expired CBD oil probably won't make you sick. It might not even do anything. It's in the nature of cannabinoids to degrade and lose potency. The worst that will happen is that you won't get the product's complete wellness and balancing benefits.
How to Maintain the Shelf Life of CBD Oil and Other CBD Products
CBD oil can be pricey. The last thing you want is to see it go down the drain. With these few tips, you can prolong the life of your CBD oil to ensure you take the most of it.
Follow the instructions on the label
Take a minute to see what the product label says about how you should store your CBD oil. It's easy to assume you know how to keep your CBD oil, but you might be surprised to find some points you have never considered that could make a huge difference.
The most critical storage tip that most labels for prolonging the shelf life of your CBD oil are to keep it away from sunlight and oxygen.
Reduce exposure to sunlight
High-quality CBD brands package their CBD oil and CBD tinctures in dark-colored bottles. These bottles protect the liquid extracts from the degrading effects of sunlight. But the bottle can only do so much. High-exposure UV light looks to have the highest rates of degradation. So, make it a point to store your CBD oil away from sunlight, which breaks down the cannabinoids and reduces their effectiveness.
Reduce exposure to oxygen
When exposed to oxygen for a prolonged period, cannabinoids like CBD rapidly degrade and even convert to other cannabinoids. Also, leaving your bottle open can allow bacteria to enter and cause the CBD oil to clump up. Bacteria easily compromise the quality and potency of CBD oil, and the effects are easy to spot. Reduce the possibility of oxygen getting into your tincture by replacing the airtight cap immediately after taking your serving.
How about refrigeration?
Although you can refrigerate CBD oil, it's not the ideal condition. It's not necessary to keep CBD in a refrigerator. Anywhere dark, cool, and dry is excellent. Drawers, cupboards, and pantries are ideal places.
CBD Storage Tips
CBD is sensitive to changes in light, temperature, and oxygen. Therefore, store it properly to maintain its potency and freshness. With these storage tips, you can maximize the shelf life of your CBD oil.
When storing CBD oil, you should follow the same guidelines for other oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and others in your pantry. You should protect the oil from excess light, air, and heat. That begins with having the correct container for your CBD oil. Most manufacturers package CBD oil correctly in an amber glass bottle with an airtight replaceable cap.
The dark glass reduces light exposure and helps keep the temperatures low. In addition, the lid keeps out excess air (particularly oxygen), which affects freshness and speeds up the product's expiration.
Besides ensuring you store your CBD oil in a suitable container, here are more tips that you can try to help preserve your CBD oil's potency and freshness.
- Keep CBD oil in its original packaging as long as possible, and only remove it when needed. This prevents unnecessary exposure to air.
- Always store the oil at room temperature.
- Keep the CBD oil and its packaging in a dark place away from light. Favorable locations include a cupboard, closet, or pantry.
- Keep the oil away from potential sources of heat or cold. These include windows, stoves, radiators, and air conditioners.
- Always close the bottle tightly after use to keep the air out.
How to Find a Good CBD Oil that Lasts Long
The first step to prolonging the shelf life of your CBD oil is buying a high-quality product. Here are a few things you should look for when buying CBD oil that will last long.
Go for a CBD oil that contains MCT oil. Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is distilled from coconut oil, and it has easily digestible medium-length chains of fats called triglycerides. While MCT oils do go rancid over time, they reduce the growth of yeast and bacteria. Sunflower seed, grape seed, or coconut oil are all excellent choices for carrier oils.
Labeling can give away the quality of the product. Check to see whether the packaging of the CBD oil brand you're considering displays potency and ingredients. Also, reputable brands will have a CoA that helps you countercheck the composition and concentration of CBD oil. Finally, look for brands with accurate labels to help you assess the product's authenticity.
On average, full-spectrum CBD oils are more stable than broad-spectrum and isolate products. However, suppose you can't purchase a full-spectrum product because of the trace levels of THC. In that case, you should ensure your CBD oil contains cannabinoids like cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC). These contribute to the stability of the CBD oil and work synergistically to enhance the natural wellness of CBD.
Yes, CBD oil has an expiration date. That could be bad news. The good news is it has a long shelf life that you can further extend if you store your CBD oil in the right conditions and inside the proper packaging.
These storage rules generally apply to all CBD and other cannabinoid products, including CBD gummies, CBD vapes, and more.