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? What is the average shelf life of CBD products — and how to ensure they don’t lose potency and quality over time? Here we explain everything you need to know about CBD storage.
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.
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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.
Does CBD Oil Expire? Storage Tips to Extend Its Shelf Life
Like many natural products, CBD oil does have an expiration date.
But when exactly does CBD oil expire — and what affects its shelf life?
High-quality CBD oil can be expensive, and if you don’t like to waste money (like us), you’re probably curious about the longevity of your product.
If you’re only using a few drops a day, a bottle of CBD oil may last you for as long as several months before you use up the last bit of it.
Wondering if you can make it through the entire bottle without worrying about the hemp extract going bad?
Here are the answers to some common questions including the expiration date of CBD products, and how to extend the shelf life.
Does CBD Oil Expire?
Yes, like all botanical products, CBD oil has an expiration date. At first, it will start losing potency as a result of the cannabinoids degrading due to the passage of time. Then, the product may eventually go bad — which can even make you sick.
How long CBD oil lasts depends on a range of factors, from the quality and ingredients to how the product was extracted and stored. Nevertheless, CBD oil has a relatively long shelf life.
Here we cover the longevity of CBD products in detail.
What is the Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
CBD oil can generally last from 14 months to 2 years depending on how it was stored. Access to direct sunlight and excess heat are two direct factors that can cause CBD oil to lose its potency and go bad before its expiration day.
High-quality products tend to last longer, especially the products that have been minimally processed and don’t contain any additional ingredients aside from the hemp extract and carrier oil. Pure CBD oil lasts longer than its flavored versions because the added ingredients have their own shelf life that could be shorter than the shelf life of CBD.
The extraction method is another important factor. Cannabis products have different expiration dates based on how they were extracted, as some technologies provide greater stability of cannabinoids than others.
Any CBD product — whether a premium one or bargain-priced — should come with an expiration date clearly printed on the label. This condition is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to protect companies from any CBD products that aren’t in compliance with the agency’s safety guidelines.
Factors Determining the Shelf Life of CBD Oil
Earlier in the article, we’ve mentioned that several factors can affect the date when CBD oil expires. This section provides a brief overview of all the variables determining the shelf life of CBD products.
CBD is currently unregulated, meaning there are many fly-by-night companies trying to sell poor-quality CBD oil labeled as “premium” without any laboratory testing to back it up. Such products may contain other ingredients that can negatively affect the shelf life of the product. For this reason, it’s best to choose reputable brands that have a well-established reputation among CBD users. These companies use organic ingredients and don’t add any suspicious ingredients to their formulations.
If for some reason, you decide to shop for CBD locally rather than online, we recommend buying from cannabis dispensaries or, at least, specialty stores that know what they’re selling. If you live in a state with a legal recreational cannabis market, visiting a dispensary is your best bet because these places must comply with local regulations regarding the sale and labeling of cannabis products.
Type of CBD
There are different types of CBD extracts: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates. Full-spectrum CBD is the least processed form, but since it contains other botanical ingredients — essential oils and plant waxes — they may degrade faster than the CBD; broad-spectrum extracts are very similar, except for the lack of THC (but this doesn’t affect the expiration date of CBD oil); isolates, on the other hand, contain just pure CBD, so it’s easier to predict its longevity. Theoretically, CBD isolate should last longer than whole-plant extracts, although no study has looked into it yet.
The overall content of your CBD oil matters because every ingredient that doesn’t come from hemp — flavorings, carrier oil, etc. — has a shelf life of its own, which can influence the longevity of the product. A little goes a long way when it comes to CBD oil shelf life, so read the product label and the certificate of analysis (COA) to learn when it expires.
CO2 extraction is the gold standard in the industry. It maximizes the yields of CBD and other compounds from hemp, keeping them stable. Therefore, it also ensures the longest shelf life of CBD oils. Ethanol extraction is an acceptable alternative if the manufacturer cannot afford the equipment required for CO2 extraction. Products made from hydrocarbon solvents, such as butane, hexane, or propane, can leave a toxic residue if not purged properly, which may negatively impact the longevity of the product.
Quality of Hemp
Hemp is a hyperaccumulator, meaning it easily absorbs every substance from the environment it grows in — both the good and the bad ones. When the soil is contaminated with heavy metals, and the plants are sprayed with pesticides, the plants will absorb them and pass them into the final product. Of course, they can be purged from the extract, but the purification process involves higher temperatures, which may compromise its cannabinoid profile. The longest-lasting CBD oils come from organic hemp that has been grown in clean and nutrient-rich soil.
Does CBD Oil Go Bad?
CBD oil can lose its strength if stored improperly or kept for longer than two years. The loss of potency means that the cannabinoids have broken down and can’t perform at peak levels in the body. An older bottle means that you’re less likely to experience the desired effects.
Losing potency is one thing, but CBD oil can also go bad in a way that can break its overall quality — increasing the likelihood of sickness.
How to Tell Your CBD Oil Has Gone Bad
The aroma and flavor of CBD oil are the first indicators that it has expired. Fresh CBD oil smells a little bit earthy, but once it goes bad, it transforms into skunky. The taste may also be bitter and you can observe visual changes in the extract. CBD oil that has expired may turn cloudy over time. Likewise, the texture will also change and the oil may seem ticker and become lumpier. Lastly, the change in color from rich to pale and dark is another sign that CBD oil has seen better days.
Here we briefly cover each of these signs.
The Expiration Date
If you’ve noticed something isn’t right with your CBD oil, you should always check the expiration date.
This may sound like a dead giveaway, but you’d be surprised at how often people miss out on this simple step before going out searching exactly how long it takes for CBD oil to go bad.
As we said, all CBD products should have an expiration date clearly listed on the label, as required by the FDA.
If you’re noticing that your CBD oil has a funky smell, it’s time to take a look at the bottle. If it’s past the “best before” date, it’s time to get rid of it and pick up a new bottle.
Color and Texture
The color and the texture of the product are another two important factors on the list, as these give obvious signs that your CBD oil shouldn’t be used any longer.
If the texture of the CBD oil turns foggy or murky, chances are that the cannabinoids and terpenes have started breaking down, which means your CBD oil is close to going bad. The murkiness may be a sign of the oil and ingredients separating from one another, again showing that the product is no longer viable.
However, a murky texture doesn’t always indicate that the CBD oil has expired. If you refrigerate CBD for long periods of time, the texture will naturally thicken. When you take it out of the fridge, it should return to its normal consistency.
Similarly, a change in color also often heralds the breakdown of the compounds found in full-spectrum CBD oil. This may happen faster to oils that have been exposed to strong sunlight or heat. If the color of your CBD oil makes your eyebrows rise, chances are that the product is no longer any good.
Smell and Taste
Here’s the final piece of the puzzle if you want to find out if your CBD oil has expired. Just smell it and give it a taste!
The taste of bad CBD oil is much worse than the normal flavor that you definitely won’t miss. Similarly, the odor of CBD will be racing, something else that shouldn’t be ignored.
If you’ve smelled and tasted the product and still aren’t sure, it’s probably good for consumption. However, if the product is murky and the smell and taste repelling, it’s best to throw it away and purchase a new set of CBD oils.
Can Expired CBD Oil Make You Sick?
CBD oil doesn’t go bad or turn rancid like milk or other organic liquids, so you’re unlikely to get sick from consuming a small amount of the product past its best days. This is especially true if you use micro-dosing. But if you want to stay on the safe side, throw away any bottles that have been improperly stored or sitting in your cabinet for more than two years.
How to Make Your CBD Oil Last Longer (Storage Tips)
Proper storage may extend the shelf life of your CBD oil. Cannabinoids are sensitive to light and heat, so these are the two most important environmental factors you should avoid. Here’s everything you need to know about storing CBD products the right way — and more.
Only Buy As Much As You Need
Most people take between 10–50 mg of CBD daily as a means of supplementing the endocannabinoid system (ECS). For some people, CBD oil may last for one month, while for others, it may take a few months or even a year to use the last drop of it. If you don’t take large doses of CBD in your daily routine, we suggest that you only buy as much as you need — it’s best to repurchase when you start noticing that your CBD oil is running low.
Prevent Access to Air
Exposure to air causes cannabinoids to degrade and lose their potency. If you want to preserve the freshness of your CBD oil along with its health benefits, it’s best to store it in an airtight container, such as its original bottle.
Store CBD Oil in a Cool and Dark Place
CBD oil shouldn’t get into contact with direct light or intense heat. Similar to exposure to air, it will destroy CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes — ruining the quality of CBD oil. Exposure to strong light and heat promotes oxidation of the oil, which causes destabilization and evaporation.
Should You Refrigerate CBD Oil?
Any cannabis infusion will experience an elongated shelf life when stored in a refrigerator, although doing so isn’t necessary if you already store it properly. Keeping CBD oil away from air, light, and heat should suffice.
Does Freezing CBD Oil Extend Its Shelf Life?
Yes, freezing will almost always guarantee a longer shelf life, but then again, it’s not an obligatory step unless you’re buying CBD in bulk.
Yes, CBD Oil Expires, Now You Know How to Check Yours
CBD oil can expire, just like bread, milk, or any other oil, but that doesn’t mean it has to be harmful to your body.
Of course, when CBD oil goes bad after breaching the expiration date, it can make you feel sick, so it’s important that you pay attention to signs like the color, smell, flavor, and texture of your product.
CBD oil may also lose potency over time, especially when exposed to environmental factors such as heat, light, and air — that’s why we emphasize the need for proper storage if you want to extend its shelf life.
Customers should easily be able to tell whether the product has expired by checking the expiration date on its bottle, viewing the texture and color, and looking for a murky appearance. If any of these features aren’t as expected, chances are your CBD oil has not only expired but also gone bad.
To correctly store CBD oil, you should prevent contamination by using a clean dropper each time you use the oil to avoid introducing bacteria into the extract. It’s also recommended to store the CBD oil in its original bottle in a cool and dark place away from heat sources and sunlight.