It happens to everyone. You buy a bottle of CBD oil and mistakenly hide it in the darkest corner of the cabinet, where it sits for weeks – maybe even months! When you finally find it, you ask yourself “does CBD oil expire?” and maybe even decide to use it.
But would that be safe?
While using old CBD oil may not harm your health directly, the oil can lose its potency and freshness over time.
Fortunately, there are ways to extend its shelf-life a little longer.
CBD Oil Overview
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is an extract commonly made from hemp plants, a variety of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC.
CBD is available in several forms in addition to oil products. It is sold as tinctures (similar to oil, but more concentrated and with alcohol), capsules, vaping liquids, and topicals, such as creams, lotions soaps.
Part of the reason for there being so many CBD products is the cannabinoid’s wide range of medical applications.
Consumers can use this CBD for numerous health and therapeutic benefits. Many of these benefits have been proven true by scientists, especially in recent years, as CBD’s popularity grows.
For example, numerous studies have demonstrated the following advantages of CBD use:
- Antiemetic: The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved dronabinol and nabilone for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, known as CINV. When consumed as an oil, CBD may be beneficial for cancer patients struggling with these symptoms.
- Analgesic: CBD is one of the most popular cannabinoids used for managing chronic pain from various medical conditions. It’s most associated with soothing discomfort from multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain. Researchers have repeatedly shown that CBD improves the quality of life for patients with these health problems.
- Anxiolytic: CBD famously helps people reduce their anxiety. This benefit is often closely tied to improved sleep and managing depression as well. Scientists don’t quite understand how the cannabinoid achieves this yet. However, they’re certain that it can lower anxiety with doses starting at 10 mg/kg.
This is only a snapshot of everything CBD can do for your health. Although some of these benefits are enhanced when consuming CBD as an FDA-approved medication, you can reap its benefits whenever you need it with hemp-derived oil products.
Does CBD Oil Expire?
Like most plant-based products, CBD oil can expire eventually. Knowing when to expect this can help ensure that you get the most out of your oil while it’s still fresh.
How Long Does CBD Oil Last?
Typically, CBD oil can last 14-24 months in the proper storage conditions. Even if you cared for your product appropriately, expiration is inevitable.
With that being said, expired CBD oil won’t necessarily make you sick or otherwise harm your health. It can, however, make the oil less effective for helping manage your health.
Another thing that people often worry about concerning CBD’s degradation is the potential conversion to THC. Some studies demonstrate that CBD might transform into THC or other psychotropic (affecting your mental state) cannabinoids if left long enough in acidic conditions.
Fortunately, most research proves this to be quite rare, but there’s still some uncertainty.
What Influences CBD’s Shelf Life?
Few studies exist that investigate what exactly contributes to CBD oil expiration. Yet, it’s clear that the most critical elements are temperature and light.
In addition, other factors might also influence how long your CBD oil lasts, including:
- The product’s quality
- Ingredients (added preservatives, artificial flavours, etc.)
- How the oil was extracted (e.g., cold press versus alcohol extraction)
- Whether the oil is packaged in a specialized amber bottle that protects from light and air
- Storage conditions
How to Know if Your CBD Oil is Expired
Fortunately, determining whether your CBD oil has expired or not is relatively easy. All you need to do is look at and smell the oil itself, and check the packaging for a printed expiration date using these four tips:
- Look for the expiration date on the packaging. Expiration dates aren’t an exact science. They’re rarely meant to predict the actual date the product’s quality will drop off, but you can use them as an estimated guideline on when you should exercise a bit more caution in using the oil alone.
- Taste the oil. If the flavour is duller, tastes unusual, or has lost the bitter, “earthy” taste typical of cannabis extracts, it might be expired. On the other hand, expired CBD oil might develop a less subtle, rancid taste instead.
- Smell the oil. Like the taste, CBD oil should have an “earthy” smell unless it’s been artificially flavoured. It shouldn’t stink in any way. If it smells “skunky” or generally unpleasant, it’s probably gone bad.
- Look at the oil’s consistency and colour. Pull the pipette out of the bottle of CBD oil. The oil should flow smoothly and drip easily. It should also be translucent, slightly green, and have a gold sheen if it’s in good condition. Don’t worry about cloudiness – this happens when bottles are stored in cold areas. However, if the oil is dark and thick, it’s most likely expired.
How to Store CBD Oil
Properly storing your oil is paramount in preserving its freshness and potency. In other words, where and how you store your CBD oil directly influences how long it will last.
In most cases, it is passably to store CBD oil in your medicine cabinets or similar storage locations. Wherever you prefer to keep it, just make sure that the oil isn’t too cold or too hot, as those conditions might accelerate its expiration.
One study demonstrated that CBD content would steadily fall when the product is exposed to light, particularly in 22֯C, or 71.6֯F.
With that said, it’s best to avoid storing it in the light or anywhere that’s too warm.
On the other hand, be careful about keeping it cold, too. The researchers noted that CBD stored in the dark at 4֯C (39.2֯F) could convert to delta-9-THC, which may then transform into CBN (cannabinol).
Keeping your CBD oil in the dark at temperatures slightly lower than room temperature may be best to extend the shelf life.
CBD oil does expire. However, there are ways to preserve its freshness and potency and prolong its shelf life.
Above, we have outlined four tips you can use to determine whether your CBD oil has expired or not. By checking its expiration date, smell and taste, you can decide if it is safe to use.
Additionally, by checking its consistency, you can also determine if it’s expired. For instance, if the oil is dark and thick, it’s most likely gone bad.
Finally, store your oil in a cool, dark place in order to prolong its shelf life. As we have learned, heat is known to degrade CBD oil, while keeping it cold may transform it to CBN. Therefore, a cool place will be ideal for preserving your CBD oil.