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.
Did your CBD oil ever go bad? Let us know in the comments!