Does CBD Expire?
With CBD oil tinctures being one of the more popular hemp products on the market, many wonder about the shelf life of these products. Some bottles of tincture come with an expiration date, but due to the fact that CBD is not currently regulated by the FDA, most do not include this information. So some may wonder, “Does CBD Expire?”, and more specifically, “Do CBD oil tinctures expire and how long do they last?” Well, if you have had a bottle of CBD tincture in your cabinet for months and you’re curious as to whether it is still good, we will address your query in the article below.
Does CBD Oil Expire Or Go Bad?
Technically speaking, CBD does not expire in the same manner as perishables like food. When food and beverages expire, they may in fact be unsafe to consume. That means they could make you sick, due to bacteria being present in the rotting substance. The longer the food is left to rot, the more of a chance you have of getting sick from the food or beverage. Some foods and beverages do not make you sick when they expire, they simply lose their taste and aesthetic appeal, think stale potato chips or crackers. When vitamins and supplements expire, they do not necessarily cause any sickness or harm, they simply lose their potency. In the case of CBD, when it “expires”, it means that it may have lost some of the potency of the cannabinoids and the terpenes may have evaporated. Since not all CBD products are created equally, it is hard to say exactly when their potency will diminish. Depending on the packaging, the formula and the source material, you can generally expect your CBD to remain potent for 1-2 years, but it could be less or more time, depending on the aforementioned properties. If a CBD product is left for several years, the entire potency could be lost and you would just be consuming the carrier oil in the case of an oil tincture. This occurrence would be extremely rare, so one should not worry about taking completely ineffective CBD products, if you are purchasing them from a reputable CBD vendor.The one exception is CBD edibles, where the CBD is mixed with food products like milk or eggs and could very well perish a lot sooner, just like standard food products. When we talk about the 1-2 year shelf life for CBD, we are talking about products like CBD oil tinctures, CBD salves and CBD flowers, etc. CBD gummies, CBD cookies and treats and the like, may very well expire at the same rate as the standard food items the CBD is delivered in. So as far as edibles are concerned, you should opt for the freshest choice
What Determines the Shelf Life of CBD?
As stated above, most CBD products would remain potent for 1-2 years, but what actually affects the lifespan? Below we will list the factors that determine the life of a CBD product.
The Quality of the Source Material (The Hemp Plant It Was Extracted From)
Premium, organic hemp flower will yield more potent and longer-lasting cannabinoids. That’s why it’s important to always buy from an organic, artisanal hemp seller, like Dreamland Organics. If the source material is not organic, either is the product and you could run the risk of ingesting dangerous pesticides and other undesirable substances.
How Was It Extracted?
There are many CBD extraction methods including using a closed-loop hydrocarbon extraction system, an ethanol extraction system, or even oil extraction. At Dreamland Organics, we prefer solventless extraction processes such as rosin pressing using heat and bubble hash extraction using filtered water and ice. That is how we make our award winning CBD bubble hash and use that to infuse into our tinctures and salves. With solventless CBD extraction, there are no residual solvents left behind, like in the case of ethanol or butane extraction.
The Type of Packaging Matters
CBD tinctures remain most potent when packaged in airtight, light resistant bottles and stored away from heat. We package our CBD MCT oil tincture in UV filtering blue glass bottles, seal them with a plastic seal and store them in a cool pantry. This ensures our CBD tinctures will always be fresh. As for our flowers, we store our hemp buds in borosilicate glass jars and vacuum sealed mylar bags which have a storage ability of 10 years! They are then kept in temperature controlled rooms to ensure no terpenes evaporate and the buds remain fresh. That is just part of the “secret sauce” behind our extremely terpene rich CBD flower.
The Type of Delivery System Used
Depending on the delivery system, (i.e. what the CBD is held in for consumption) your typical tincture will have a shelf life of 1-2 years. We use MCT oil for our tincture which has a long shelf life of over 2 years in many cases! Some CBD topicals are combined with chemicals and stabilizers that can extend the shelf life, but that is not necessary to preserve your CBD. Take for instance our CBD salve which contains beeswax, safflower and coconut oils. Beeswax has a very long shelf life and we also package it in an opaque, blue glass bottle. You can expect our CBD save to last at least 2 years. You also can play a role in preserving your CBD product, as in storing it out of direct sun and avoiding exposing it to high temperatures.
How Can You Extend the Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
As stated above, light and heat are the 2 main culprits that break down CBD and terpenes. Simply keeping your products out of the sun and not leaving them in a place like the kitchen, which may get hot during the summer, or a hot car and you are well on your way to keeping that CBD tincture potent for up to 2 years.
Three factors which degrade CBD and terpenes:
- Light (keep CBD out of direct sunlight)
- Heat (keep CBD out of extreme heat or even keep in the refrigerator)
- Air (keep CBD products and flowers in an airtight container)
Most CBD retailers package their products to last, so simply keeping them out of direct sun, heat and prolonged exposure to air will go a long way to preserving your stash.That means don’t leave the bottle open overnight, don’t leave your CBD tincture in the car during the summer and don’t leave it on a window sill with the sun shining directly on it. Take these few precautionary steps and you should be able to enjoy your CBD for up to 2 years, if you don’t use it all before then!
How To Tell if Your CBD Oil Has Gone Bad?
It’s fairly easy to tell if your CBD oil may be losing some potency and it might be time for a fresh bottle.
The Expiration Date Has Long Passed
Expiration dates are based on mere estimates and CBD is no different in that respect. Your CBD product won’t all of a sudden stop working when the expiration passes, and in fact, it may offer maximum or near maximum potency for months after the expiration date has passed. Now if the expiration date was 3 or 4 years ago, there is a good chance your CBD product is past its prime and it’s time to invest in another bottle of tincture.
You Feel Nothing
The “feel” test might be the most accurate way to tell if your CBD is in fact losing potency and going bad. If you take your normal dose and feel literally nothing, well then it is what it is. And what it isn’t is still potent. It’s time for a fresh batch.
The Smell Or Look Has Changed.
If your CBD oil or CBD flower for that matter no longer smells like it did when you purchased it, chances are the terpenes have evaporated and you're going to deal with some potency loss. The terpenes play a huge role in activating the cannabinoids to their highest potential. Also if the product does not look the same, as in the oil looks murky or the flower looks brown or yellow, you may have some CBD that is past its prime. In the case of CBD oil, it's often the carrier oil which may degrade before the CBD actually loses its potency.
Does Expired CBD Make You Sick?
The short answer is most likely, no. As previously stated, it’s more an issue of reduced potency than of bacterial contamination that could make you sick in regards to expired CBD. Even if the carrier liquid spoils, it may have an unpleasant taste, but will most likely not make you sick. Most oils have antimicrobial properties and this prevents bacterial growth. The worst that will happen when taking a spoiled CBD oil is you get a mouthful of foul tasting liquid.
Expired CBD treats and edibles are a different story however. If you eat a CBD edible which contains a perishable food item like milk, then it may be possible to get an upset stomach after eating it, just like a non CBD infused food item. CBD capsules and powders would be a lot less likely to cause any indigestion issues, but it is on a product by product basis.
CBD itself does not really go bad, but the potency may diminish depending on source material, delivery system and packaging. Try to follow basic preservation methods that you would with any other perishable item and you should be fine. Refrigeration is always an option to prolong shelf life with any food item or supplement. Cooler temperatures slow down the process of decay and degradation with organic compounds, so throwing your CBD treats or tinctures in the fridge will extend the life by weeks or months. If you want to be sure that your CBD product is always good to use, try the following protocols to ensure CBD success.
- Always buy organic from organic hemp farms
- Don’t buy CBD clearance items unless you plan on using them within the next 30 days. Oftentimes CBD products on clearance have been sitting on the shelf for a while and do not have as much shelf life left.
- Store your CBD products and CBD flower out of direct sun, heat and keep them tightly sealed to prevent oxidation.
- Store your CBD in the refrigerator to further extend the normal shelf life.
- Only purchase the amount of CBD you need for a 30 day supply at most.
When It Doubt, Toss It Out
If you have any suspicions that your CBD may be past its prime, it’s better to throw it away and start fresh. As mentioned above, you should only buy a 30 day supply of CBD in the future and that will greatly help to avoid this issue going forward. As far as edibles are concerned, it’s not worth the risk of an upset stomach, as that will cancel out any of the benefits of the CBD itself. Throw it in the trash and start with a new stash as we like to say. This might be the perfect time to try a new brand, or a different CBD product. Chances are, if the CBD has been sitting around for a while, it's likely because you did not like the product in the first place and that is why it expired before you could use it all.
At Dreamland Organics we do not offer CBD edibles at present, but we are considering adding CBD gummies to our product list. Until then you can buy our CBD shake to make your own treats. Many people also use our CBD tincture, or CBD bubble hash, to add a calming boost to their own beverages and edibles.