When it comes to CBD, we typically think about its therapeutic benefits, how it doesn’t cause a “high,” and whether we prefer tinctures, gummies, or topicals. What we don’t often consider is its shelf life.
Does CBD expire? How long is it effective? Is it dangerous to consume CBD once it expires? These are questions we don’t really think about until we’ve found a bottle in the back of the cabinet and wonder, “When did I get this?”
Okay, the bad news first. Like all things in this world, CBD doesn’t last forever. It does expire.
But, the good news is that CBD shelf life is anywhere from one to two years.
And there’s even better news. There are a few simple ways to ensure you get long-lasting CBD, and even simpler tips to make it last as long as possible.
Why Does CBD Expire?
Like anything organic, CBD is subject to change. Over time, oxygen, light, and heat all take their toll.
CBD is photoreactive, meaning that light changes it, causing it to degrade over time. It also oxidizes with exposure to air.
Edibles, whether cookies or gummies, are additionally susceptible to expiration because of added ingredients.
More than anything, the way CBD products are cultivated, manufactured, and packaged impacts how slowly they degrade.
Is It Dangerous to Consume
In short, no.
Consuming expired CBD tinctures or vapes won’t make you sick. They also won’t do much else. As CBD degrades, so do its effects. This is the main reason a CBD product comes with an expiration date — it represents the potency of the CBD, not the safety of the product.
Edibles are a slightly different story. Whether you should consume them depends on what other ingredients they contain. The safest bet is this: if you wouldn’t eat a year-old biscuit, you probably don’t want to eat a year-old CBD biscuit.
How Do I Find CBD With a Long Shelf Life?
The key to long-lasting CBD is quality. Purchasing a quality product ensures a longer shelf life.
This begins in the fields. Hemp is a very absorbent plant. That’s great news when it comes to nutrients, but less so when it comes to pesticides, heavy metals and chemicals. At CBDfx, we get our hemp from organic, pesticide-free farms. This means we start with the purest, safest, highest quality raw product.
CBD extraction is critical to the quality and lifespan of all CBD products. There are multiple methods for isolating the CBD in the hemp plant, including steam distillation, natural oil solvents, and even chemical solvents, like ethanol and butane.
The most precise and pure method is the use of carbon dioxide. At a certain pressure and temperature, CO2 reaches a supercritical state which, in layperson’s terms, means that it’s not really a gas, liquid, or solid. It’s somewhere in between. In this state, it can reach small places a liquid can’t, but dissolve and bond with things in the way a gas can’t.
Another way of saying that is, it gets more of what you want and less of what you don’t. CO2-extracted CBD lasts longer, and it’s the method we use.
The carrier oil, or the oil CBD is mixed with, is also critical to its life expectancy. Hemp and olive oils are commonly used, and so are MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oils like coconut oil, which is the CBDfx carrier oil of choice for tinctures.
Carrier oils respond to light and oxygen differently. MCT oils are the most stable, which means they’ll help extend your CBD shelf life.
The final consideration is packaging. This is why CBD tinctures come in amber dropper bottles. That dark glass blocks harmful light. Gummies, gels and vape juices should be packaged in airtight containers.
What Can I Do to Help?
We haven’t met, but it’s pretty likely you don’t have a crop of industrial hemp and a laboratory distillation machine at hand. So, how much of this is really in your control?
There are a few simple but valuable steps you can take to ensure your CBD lasts a long time on the shelf.
Store it in a dark place. Even if it’s in a dark bottle, protecting your CBD from light is a smart move. Pantries, medicine cabinets, and drawers are the most common storage solutions. Also, be sure to store bottles upright.
Keep it cool. You don’t have to stick it in the fridge, but keeping your CBD away from heat is important. Again, pantries and cabinets are your best bet. Purses and gym bags are okay, but not for long periods of time due to heat and humidity.
Keep it dry. Humidity isn’t good for CBD’s lifespan, because of the mold and bacteria it will encourage. So, don’t store it in rooms with humidifiers or radiators.
Don’t leave the container open. Whether it’s a tincture or a jar of gummies, keep it tightly sealed so your CBD can’t degrade due to oxidation.
How Can I Tell If My CBD Is Expired?
Trust us, you’ll know.
Even if the expiration date is worn off of your container, there are some simple ways to tell if your CBD has expired.
It will smell bad. When you open the package, you’ll get a whiff of skunky funk.
It will taste bad. The grassy, nutty natural flavour of hemp oil will be replaced by a rancid, spoiled taste.
In addition, expired CBD oil will turn dark and murky or foggy. This is hard to see through a light-blocking bottle, and cold CBD tinctures will turn dark as well. If you want to give it a colour test, drop some into a transparent container and let it reach room temperature.
You’ll Probably Never Have to Worry About This
Here’s the best news of all. If you choose quality CBD products that are harvested, distilled, formulated, and packaged well, then you will most likely never even hit that expiration date.
Most of us find CBD to be so effective for so many applications that we finish it long before it can expire.
So, shop for quality, take some simple steps to store your CBD safely, and enjoy.
Find the highest quality CBD products that will meet your needs and last a long time.