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Can CBD Go Bad? Does It Expire?

Cannabidiol oil has many awesome qualities.

  • It treats your pains better and safely
  • It relieves stress, anxiety, and depression
  • It helps you stay healthy, focused and energized

While that’s all good and well, it doesn’t have the power to freeze time.

Like all other packaged foods and natural products, CBD, too, CAN go bad – over time.

It doesn’t go bad within days, like in case of fresh produce, such as milk or bread, but it does have a shelf life and an expiration date.

While there are ways to maximize this shelf life – which is usually long enough for you to exhaust the product – you should still take note of the expiration date (mentioned on the label) when you buy CBD.

Expiration date: How long does CBD oil last?

Generally, a high-quality CBD oil remains good for around 12 – 24 months, if stored properly. However, if you’re not sure you can exhaust your stock by then, it’s best to keep it in the fridge. That’ll preserve it for a little longer.

Although CBD doesn’t typically turn bad immediately after its expiration date; it starts to lose potency. It’s safest to check the expiration date on the label and, thereafter, stay alert for when you sense something off about your product.

The FDA mandates all brands to clearly display their products’ expiration dates on their labels. In case your CBD oil starts to smell or taste funny before the expiration date, you’re well within your rights to demand a refund.

However, if you find yourself using a CBD oil even beyond the “Best Before” date and your CBD oil tastes or smells funky, you must throw it away – right away!

Sounds like quite a bit of a waste of money, doesn’t it?

That’s why you should never buy more than you need – just because you think you’d never get CBD this cheap!

Beware: The brands may be pushing their products at rock-bottom prices because they’re nearing their expiration and need to get rid of their stocks.

5,000+ people are already enjoying Exclusive CBD Deals in their InboxSign Up now to receive upto 50% off

The next time you wonder how long your CBD oil will last, find out about the telltale signs.

Indications Your CBD May Have Gone Bad: The Litmus Test

  1. Check the expiration date: This is a sure-shot indication. If you’ve crossed the expiry date, you should know that it’s why your CBD oil may be tasting different. [This could’ve been avoided if you’d refrigerated it.]
  2. Texture & Color: Good quality CBD products usually remain intact even after the printed expiration date has passed. However, if the texture turns foggy/murky and/or it’s color looks darker than normal, chances are that the ingredients or compounds in the product are breaking down and/or have gone bad. This happens due to exposure to sunlight, moisture, or heat. Bear in mind, a murky texture may be caused due to refrigeration for a long time too. In this case, let the tincture return to normal temperature and consume.
  3. Smell & Taste: More obvious telltale signs are how the CBD smells and/or tastes. If CBD has gone bad or broken down, there is no way on earth you can miss the rancid odor.

Why does CBD Go Bad? What Happens If You Consumed It?

If you’re still reading this, you must be wondering: “Why does CBD go bad?”

CBD oil is essentially a natural plant extract (combined with other botanical ingredients, natural and/or artificial flavorings). Naturally, it has a shelf life.

CBD oils can…

  • Get spoiled due to being exposed to different kinds of bacteria in the air
  • Go stale due to exposure to air, moisture, high temperatures, or direct sunlight

What happens to expired CBD?

Over time, CBD begins to oxidize, break down, and evaporate, making it less potent than it was when you bought it.

Stale-tasting CBD is downright useless, as it has either lost its potency or is in the process of doing so. This happens when the CBD is breaking down or the other ingredients separating from it.

Meanwhile, spoilt CBD is not only jarring to your senses, but it can also harm you. In this case, the main ingredient – the hemp extract – or some other botanical extract has turned bad.

The bottom line: A complete waste of money!

Factors responsible for CBD going bad

Manufacturing factors

Reputed manufacturers always take care to ensure their products are of high quality. Higher the quality, higher is its shelf-life. Then what governs their degradation?

  • Additives: Pure CBD oil, i.e. those that don’t contain added ingredients (natural/artificial) last longer. Added ingredients usually include flavorings, colors, other botanical extracts to enhance CBD’s effects. If they start breaking down before the CBD itself, the product as a whole is no longer fit to be consumed.
  • Dark container: You may notice CBD oils come in darkened glass bottles. This restricts direct sunlight from coming in contact with the CBD oil inside.
  • Extraction: CO2 extracted hemp is more stable, and thus has a longer shelf life. This process prevents the breaking down of the cannabinoid contents, and thus retains the chemical integrity of the hemp extract.
  • Internal packaging: If you must use CBD in the oil form, you may consider using softgels. They last longer than both bottled oils and capsules.
  • Expiry date: Notwithstanding the manufacturing intricacies, it’s needless to say that CBD does expire. Take the manufacturer’s warning seriously and don’t use a product beyond its expiration date.

Consumer Considerations

Consumers must pay attention to how they store CBD. To maximize the shelf life of their CBD products, they must keep them in places that get low light, low heat, less moisture, and are unexposed to the elements, like air, sunlight, and bacteria.

The best way to prolong CBD’s shelf life is to:

  • Store in a COOL, DARK place, away from direct sunlight, such as inside a drawer, cabinet, or cupboard. Even though softgels have a protective cover, they should be kept inside their original, airtight container.
  • Place tincture bottles upright. DO NOT throw them into a drawer. That can cause spillage.
  • DO NOT leave the bottles open, exposing the tincture to air. Air contains bacteria, moisture, and oxygen – all of which can speed up CBD’s degradation process. Besides, CBD oil can evaporate.
  • AVOID keeping CBD near heating materials/appliances, like radiators, oven, stove, heaters, etc.
  • DO NOT leave CBD on or near a place exposed to the sun, like a kitchen counter or windowsill.
  • DO NOT leave CBD oil in your purse or car during summer. This can cause it to break down, evaporate, and lose its potency.
  • Always use a CLEAN spoon, or the in-built dropper to use the oil. This prevents any kind of contamination (exposure to moisture, bacteria, etc.).
  • Refrigeration may be necessary if you live in a hot climate zone or have bought CBD oil in bulk.
  • Keep CBD OUT of children’s reach. Like your daily adult vitamins and health supplements, it’s best to keep CBD oils away from places where children can reach. It may end up in the trash can, broken on the floor, or worse – in your kid’s stomach – where it can do more harm than good. Kids can’t tolerate CBD.

Once you open a bottle of CBD tincture, the countdown begins. Don’t leave it aside (definitely never open) after using it for a few days. The air inside the bottle reacts with the oil, making it less potent by the day. The CBD starts getting unstable, and so does the other ingredients, making CBD oil stale, rotten, or simply useless.

Generally, an opened bottle takes up to a year to go stale. But as the level goes down, the amount of air increases, and so does the speed of degradation. Soon, the time for CBD to go stale turns from a year to a month.

Parting Thoughts

We’ve often seen CBD users stocking up whenever offers, deals, or discounts become available in the market. CBD is expensive. Agreed. However, bulk buying at cheap rates doesn’t always give you the best advantage. Your CBD is only good as long as it lasts.

After that, it is a waste!

As a user, you must know how much you’d need in a year. Never buy more than a year’s quota. The offers will return during the same time next year. Keep your first few months in a cool, dark cabinet or drawer. The rest you must refrigerate to extend their shelf life.

According to a 2016 study from the Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy (London), tinctures stored on the shelf and in the fridge for 15 months were compared and seen that the changes in the cannabinoid content were 10% less in bottles kept in the fridge than those left on a cabinet shelf. In other words, CBD oils refrigerated for 15 months were comparable to those kept on the shelf for 3 months.

So, the next time you find yourself unable to resist bulk buying CBD oils, take note of the expiration date, stock up for only a year or so, and keep a major part of your purchase in the fridge. That way can make the most of your CBD oil.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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