All-natural products have an expiration date — and so does CBD oil.
But how do you tell that your CBD oil has expired?
And when does it start to expire in the first place?
High-quality CBD oil is more expensive than substandard extracts, so if you want to get the most bang for your buck, it’s no wonder you’re curious about the longevity of your bottle.
If you use small doses in your routine, a bottle of CBD oil may last you for a few months. Read on to learn how to make sure that your product doesn’t go bad by then.
Does CBD Oil Expire and Go Bad?
Yes, CBD oil DOES expire, like all botanical products, but the exact expiration date depends on a few factors (we’ll cover them in a bit). At first, it will start losing strength as a result of the CBD degrading over time. Then, the product may start giving off signs of having gone bad.
The good news is that CBD oil has a relatively long shelf life, so as long as you take proper care of the storage, it shouldn’t expire as fast as you might think.
What Is the Expected Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
The shelf-life of CBD oil can be anywhere from 14 months to 2 years depending on its quality and how it was stored. Exposing CBD products to direct sunlight or heat are two direct causes of the degradation of CBD oil and other cannabinoids — which causes CBD oil to lose potency.
High-quality CBD oils have a longer shelf-life, especially the least processed products that don’t contain additional ingredients apart from hemp extract and carrier oil. Unflavored CBD oil also lasts longer than its flavored counterparts because the additives have their own shelf life that could be shorter than the one of CBD oil.
The extraction method also plays a vital role in determining the shelf-life of your CBD oil. Some extraction methods produce more stable extracts that can last longer in good shape.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all CBD products to have an expiration date clearly presented on the bottle. This is to ensure that CBD manufacturers comply with the agency’s safety guidelines.
What Affects the Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
At the beginning of this guide, we’ve mentioned that the shelf life of CBD oil is determined by several factors. In this section, we provide a general overview of all the parameters that determine when CBD oil expires.
CBD is an unregulated market, so there are many scam vendors trying to sell sub-par CBD products disguised as premium with no lab tests to prove their claims. Such products may be contaminated with toxic compounds or contain ingredients that will compromise the shelf-life of CBD oil.
Always ask for certificates of analysis (COA) from a third-party laboratory to confirm the composition of your CBD oil. This includes the product’s potency, the entire cannabinoid, and terpene profile, as well as results for common contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and mold.
It’s easier to access such certificates when buying CBD oil online. Reputable brands are transparent about their testing practices, displaying the lab reports on their website or sending them along with the product after the purchase.
If you prefer to shop for CBD locally, the best way to buy high-quality CBD oil is to go to a cannabis dispensary. That is, of course, if you live in a state with a legal recreational cannabis market. If not, you can head to the nearest wellness store or specialty hemp shop and browse their selection of CBD oils using the above criterion.
Type of CBD
CBD comes in three main types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates.
Full-spectrum CBD is the most complete, least processed form. Since it contains other botanical compounds — plant waxes, chlorophyll, and essential oils — they may go bad faster than CBD.
Broad-spectrum extracts are almost the same. They contain CBD, terpenes, and other supportive cannabinoids, but no traces of THC (this doesn’t impact the expiration date of CBD oil).
Isolates contain just pure CBD, so it’s easier to predict their shelf-life. In theory, CBD isolate should last longer than full-spectrum extracts, although this is yet to be studied.
Additional Ingredients in the Formula
The overall formula of your CBD oil plays a major role in determining its shelf-life because every ingredient that isn’t hemp-derived — carrier oil, flavorings, etc. — has its own shelf life. This, in turn, can change the expiration date of the product.
CO2 extraction is the most respected method in the industry. It provides high yields of CBD and other hemp compounds, keeping them stable without adding toxic solvents or high temperatures. It also extends the shelf life of CBD oils.
Ethanol production is a common alternative if the producer can’t afford the right equipment and specialized workers required for CO2 extraction.
CBD oils extracted with a hydrocarbon solvent, such as butane, hexane, or propane, are highly flammable and difficult to purge; the latter can negatively impact the shelf-life of the product.
Hemp is known for its ability to accumulate substances from its environment — both the beneficial and harmful ones. When the soil is polluted with heavy metals, and the plants are grown using pesticides, they will absorb these compounds and pass them into the end product.
Although manufacturers can purify the extract to get rid of the unwanted substances, the process involves high temperatures, which may degrade cannabinoids and terpenes. CBD oils with the longest shelf-life come from organic, non-GMO hemp.
Can CBD Oil Go Bad? Safety Precautions
CBD oil may lose its potency if exposed to certain environmental factors like heat and light, or when kept for more than two years. The drop in its potency means that cannabinoids have been degraded and can’t serve their purpose in the body. An older bottle means that you may experience subtherapeutic results.
But what about the overall usability? Can CBD oil go bad in a way that increases the likelihood of sickness?
Here are some telltale signs that your CBD oil has seen better days.
How to Tell if You CBD Oil Has Gone Expired
The aroma and taste of CBD oil are the first features you should look at if you want to know if your product has expired.
Fresh CBD oil has nutty and botanical aromas, with an earthy aftertaste. However, once it expires, the odor may become skunky, and they taste bitter.
You may also notice visual changes in your CBD oil. Products that have gone bad may turn cloudy over time. In a similar fashion, the texture may also change, causing the oil to become thicker and filled with lumps.
Last but not least, the color will change from rich to pale and dark, so as soon as you notice all these signs, it means the CBD oil has gone bad and you’ll be better off with a new bottle.
That’s for starters.
Here are more indicators.
The moment you notice something is wrong with your CBD oil, you should always look at the expiration date.
Sound simple, right? But you’d be surprised at how often people overlook this step before going out searching how long it takes for CBD oil to expire.
As mentioned earlier, all CBD products should come with expiration date clearly visible on the label, as required by the FDA.
If you’ve just opened the bottle of your CBD oil and it smells funky, it’s time to examine the label. If it’s past the “best before” date, it’s time to say “goodbye” and restock with new bottles.
Color and Texture
The color and texture of CBD oil are another two indicators that can tell you if your CBD oil has expired.
If the texture of the product turns murky or foggy, there’s a risk that the cannabinoids and terpenes have started to degrade — which is one step closer to going bad. The murkiness may indicate that the oil and ingredients have separated from each other.
That being said, a murky texture doesn’t always mean that CBD oil has gone bad. If you keep CBD oil in the fridge for quite some time, it can naturally thicken. But as soon as you take it out of the fridge, it should return to its normal consistency in a few hours.
Likewise, a change in color also often indicates the breakdown of the ingredients in full-spectrum CBD oil. This may happen faster if you’ve exposed your product to strong heat or sunlight. If the color of your CBD oil raises suspicions, chances are it has gone bad.
Smell and Taste
The final piece of the riddle is here — if you’re worried that your CBD might have gone bad, just smell it and place a few drops under your tongue, as you normally would.
The flavor of bad CBD oil is much worse than its normal taste, so you’ll definitely notice if it goes bad. If you’ve smelled and tried the product, and you’re still hesitating, it’s probably good for consumption.
However, a repelling smell and flavor indicate that it’s best to dump it and purchase a new bottle of CBD oil.
Can CBD Oil Make You Sick If It Goes Bad?
CBD oil doesn’t expire like milk or other organic liquids, so you probably won’t get sick from ingesting a small dose of the product that has seen better days. This is extremely unlikely to happen in people who microdose cannabis. But if you want to ensure maximum safety, get rid of any CBD oil that has been improperly stored or sitting outside the freezer for more than two years.
How to Extend the Shelf-Life of Your CBD Oil
Proper storage is essential for increasing the longevity of your CBD oil. Cannabinoids don’t react well to light and heat, so these are two variables that you should avoid. Here’s what you need to know about the dos and don’ts of CBD storage.
Understand How Much CBD You Use per Day
The majority of CBD users take between 10–50 mg of CBD daily to improve the functioning of their endocannabinoid system (ECS). For some people, CBD oil may last for a few months, while others may be able to empty a bottle within 30 days.
If you don’t take large doses of CBD daily, the best way to make sure your CBD oil doesn’t expire is to buy just as much as you need. Once you notice you’re running low on your supplies, it’s time to repurchase.
Keep the Bottle Closed
Leaving your CBD oil open for more than you need — measuring the dose and transferring it under your tongue — results in unnecessary exposure to air. As mentioned, the air is one of the main factors behind CBD’s degradation, so it’s best if you store CBD oil in an original bottle or an airtight container.
Store CBD Oil Away from Light and Heat
Direct sunlight and intense heat will break down the active compounds of CBD oil, causing it to lose potency. That’s because exposure to strong light and heat induces oxidation of the oil, which triggers destabilization and evaporation.
Should I Keep CBD Oil in the Fridge?
Any cannabis-infused product will have an extended shelf-life when stored in a fridge, but for CBD oil, it’s a bit of an overkill. CBD oils can last for up to 2 years when stored properly, so unless you buy super bulk amounts exceeding that timeframe.
Is Freezing CBD Oil a Good Idea to Extend Shelf-Life?
Yes, freezing anything always guarantees a longer shelf-life, but it’s almost as pointless as keeping CBD oil in a fridge — unless you have 20+ bottles at home.
Final Verdict: When Does CBD Oil Expire?
CBD oils generally have a long shelf-life. As long as you keep them away from heat, air, and light, they should last you between 14 months and 2 years.
CO2-extracted oils from non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp should have a longer expiration date — just like unprocessed products without additional ingredients such as flavorings or other natural supplements that may have their own shelf life.
You should be easily able to tell whether your CBD oil has expired by looking at the expiration date on its bottle, examining the color and texture, and giving it a waft and taste. If the flavor causes your mouth to twitch, then it’s a clear sign that the product has gone bad.
Aside from proper storage, it’s important to prevent contamination in your CBD oil by using a clean dropper each time you take the oil to prevent bacteria from entering the bottle. A cool, relatively dry, and dark place, such as your medicine cabinet, is a perfect match for hemp-derived CBD.