Can CBD oil go bad?

by Edward J. Ross

Can CBD oil go bad?

CBD has shot to prominence in recent times. This is mostly because it has been shown to be able to treat, cure, or prevent various common ailments. Because it is so effective, a lot of people keep CBD products on hand in case it is needed.

CBD oil, especially if it’s high quality, can be expensive and dosage sometimes run to a few drops a day. If you buy this in an appreciable quantity, it might last you a long time before it runs out. This leads us to an important concern; can CBD oil expire, how long will your precious CBD oil retain its potency, and can it go bad before the expiration date on the container?

We put together this article to answer your questions and address your concerns. We also throw in a few tips about how to extend the shelf life of your precious bottle of CBD.

How long does CBD oil last?

The first concern we address is if it is possible to have CBD oil expire and the answer to that question is yes. Even CBD expires. A bottle of CBD oil typically lasts anything between a year and 2 years. A lot of factors go into determining how long your bottle of CBD lasts. Some of the factors are:

  • Quality of the oil: obviously, better quality will lead to longer shelf life. The quality of the ingredients, the plant the oil is extracted from, etc., all contribute towards determining the quality of the oil and by extension, its shelf life.

  • Extraction method: it is widely acknowledged that the CO2 method of extraction is the best method for CBD. Other methods will lead to the product having a shorter shelf life.

  • Packaging and storage: CBD typically comes in medical-grade dark-colored bottles. The color is not for show. The packaging helps to keep the oil from exposure to air and direct sunlight. The best packaging for CBD oil is dark-colored and airtight. This will help your CBD oil last longer.

    The storage method is also important. Too much heat or cold will lead your CBD oil to degrade faster than normal. Room temperature is the ideal temperature to store your CBD oil.
  • Additional ingredients: pure CBD oil will likely last longer than its flavored cousin. This is because artificial flavoring has a shelf life of its own. For example, if the shelf life of the flavor used is 1 year, then the oil’s shelf life will be shortened to one year because the flavoring isn’t safe to ingest after this time. 

How you can tell if your oil has gone bad

The clearest way to tell if your oil has gone will be the expiration date on the label. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires such labels for the protection of consumers and can prosecute any company or product that is not in compliance with this directive.

That being said, expiration dates aren’t exact, labels may become damaged or difficult to read, or your CBD product might lose some of its efficacy. Here are some other ways to tell if your CBD has gone bad:

  • The smell: a funky smell is a clear indicator that your CBD oil is past its best days. Fresh CBD oil has an earthy smell.

  • How it looks: if your CBD oil looks thick and murky, then you should be wary of it. Please note that the oil may look cloudy if it has been stored in a cold room or a refrigerator. Returning the oil to room temperature should get rid of the cloudiness. However, if your oil still looks thick and murky, it may be time to throw it out.

  • The taste: Fresh CBD oil that hasn’t been artificially flavored has been described by various people as having a grassy, nutty, or earthy flavor. If your oil tastes rancid or just off, then it might be time to change it.

Is CBD oil safe past its expiration date?

You might be wondering if expired CBD oil will make you sick. The truth is that expired CBD oil won’t do much of anything, especially if you are micro-dosing. The cannabinoids degrade and lose their potency over time, so you won’t get any relief from the condition you intended to treat.

Still, it is probably best if you throw out any expired CBD, just to be on the safe side.

How to store your bottle of CBD oil for maximum shelf life

It is not for nothing that most medication comes in dark-colored, airtight containers. The same is true for CBD oil. The main enemies to CBD’s efficacy and shelf life are sunlight, oxygenation, heat, and/or cold. Avoiding all the above is important if you want your bottle of CBD oil to reach the upper limit of its shelf life.

Storing the CBD oil well is half the struggle. Here are some tips on how to make your CBD oil last longer.

  • Store at room temperature: the best temperature for CBD oil is room temperature. It does not need to be refrigerated and heat will just make it expire faster. Aim for a temperature of between 60 to 70º F (16 to 21º C).

  • Close the bottle well when not in use: oxygenation is not good for your CBD and will significantly shorten the shelf life.

  • Use a clean spoon: if you use a spoon (or dropper) with your CBD oil, making sure it is clean before dipping it into the container could go a long way towards avoiding contamination and keeping your CBD in good condition.

  • Do not store the bottles horizontally: keep the bottles upright.

  • Avoid excessive moisture: storing CBD where the moisture is above average, such as in a room with a humidifier can encourage mold.

  • CBD is like batman: store it in the coolest, darkest place in your home. A pantry, drawer, or cellar is ideal.

  • Do not store it near a window: direct sunlight is damaging to CBD, as we’ve already mentioned. It will accelerate the expiry date of your CBD product.

  • Keep it away from warm places: storing your CBD close to radiators and ovens is a big no-no. You should also avoid storing it in coat pockets or purses. CBD oil ideally should be stored in a cool, dark place.

  • Only buy as much as you need: avoid bulk purchases. Stockpiling CBD can lead to the product reaching its expiration date before it is used.

Final thoughts     

CBD can go bad. However, there are things you can do that will extend the shelf life of your CBD oil to the upper limit of its expiration date. The method of storage, the temperature you store it at, and other factors will affect your CBD oil's shelf life.

If it does go bad, you can detect expired CBD simply by checking the expiration date on the bottle (duh), or if that isn’t possible for some reason, checking the smell, taste, look, or consistency of the oil.

Taking expired CBD oil should not affect you at all, but err on the side of caution and don’t use it. Follow the storage tips we’ve given and you should get about 24 months of use from your CBD oil before it goes bad.  

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