Whether you’re new to CBD oil or recently purchased a bottle, you may wonder about the expiration date. Hemp extracts have a long shelf life. But some factors reduce how long the oil and products infused with the oil last. Additionally, not all products are safe after their ingredients expire.
The Expiration Date on Your CBD Oil
Your CBD should have an expiration date of 12 to 24 months after its extraction date. When making the oil yourself, always add the month and year on the label. As long as they secure the oil in an airtight bottle, the shelf life won’t be affected. To extend that time, minimize how often you open and close the container. Air exposure speeds up the expiration process.
What Determines the Expiration Date?
After the extraction date, there are a few other factors that determine your favorite CBD oil’s shelf life.
The Extraction Method
There are a few ways to remove CBD and the other compounds found in hemp from the plant. The most common are ethanol and supercritical C02. Both processes are safe and help maintain the purity of the CBD and the plant’s phytochemicals. These oils are more potent and overall better quality than other methods and will last longer than more inferior tinctures.
However, supercritical CO2 is the gold standard in CBD extraction. It doesn’t use an actual solvent like ethanol and leaves behind zero residual solvents. The method is safer than solvent-based removal and the best option for the environment. Overall, the better-quality oil, the longer it will last.
Many CBD oil products have additives now, and even these natural extras can expire. The flavors that brands include to improve the taste, such as lemon, peppermint, orange, and vanilla. Most flavorings reduce the shelf life to 12 months.
After it expires, the flavor will fade, but the CBD should still be useful for another 6 to 12 months if it’s stored correctly. Determining expiration dates with complex ingredients, such as edibles and some vape juices, are more complicated.
Is it Safe to Use Expired CBD Extracts?
If you’re wondering if you can still use expired CBD, it depends on the product. Tinctures that are stored properly can last past their expiration date. Most CBD extracts use a carrier oil, such as hempseed, grape seed, MCT, olive, and coconut oil. These all have about a two-year shelf life when stored correctly.
Other items, such as edibles and vape juice, can vary significantly based on the individual ingredients. For example, gummies are most likely safe, even if they’re not as soft. However, baked goods, like cakes and cookies, will be stale and won’t taste particularly good.
Despite the unpleasant flavor of the expired goods, the CBD and other phytochemicals should still be safe. However, they may not be effective past that date. All compounds degrade over time, no matter how well they’re stored.
Similarly, vape juice, also known as e-liquid, has different criteria than standard tinctures. Some products use additives other than oil, such as a mix of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). The expiration on many types of unflavored vape liquid is about two years, like CBD. What makes it confusing is the flavorings, which usually have around 12 months. These are most likely safe but will lose their strength and potency past the expiration date.
Can Your CBD Products go Bad?
Yes! Hemp extracts can go bad if they’re contaminated with bacteria. It’s essential to avoid contaminating your oil. Don’t stick anything into the bottle or leave it open and exposed to the air. When using the dropper, don’t place it in your mouth. If you do, discard it. The inside of your mouth is full of bacteria that can contaminate the oil and possibly get you sick.
You can’t wash the dropper. Soap will also ruin the oil, and you can’t completely dry it. If you don’t have another dropper, measure your doses using a teaspoon. Bad oils should also be discarded. It’s not safe to use these, and they could get you sick.
Spotting Problems with Your CBD Oil
You may be able to tell when something’s wrong with the oil. Pay attention to its color, thickness, and smell.
What color is CBD oil?
The shade of your oil depends on the formula. A raw oil only goes through one process and is much thicker and darker than other products. The most common is the full spectrum that goes through the decarboxylation procedure. These are high in phytocannabinoids and are still richer in color than other oils. The raw and full-spectrum tinctures contain at least 545 plant chemicals, including 144 other cannabinoids, over 100 terpenes, and a blend of flavonoids, minerals, essential fatty acids, fiber, and vitamins.
A broad-spectrum oil goes through another process that removes the THC and some color in the tincture. Some brands offer filtered or distilled oils. These remove the chlorophyll and lipids, leaving behind a light gold color. An isolate is pure CBD. It doesn’t include any other chemicals and leaves behind a crystalline powder. Manufacturers combine this with coconut or MCT oil base to deliver as a tincture.
CBD vape products, such as vape juice or e-liquid, vary in shade. Most are darker than raw oils. You can’t tell if vaping items have gone bad by the color.
How thick is CBD oil?
The thicker the oil, the better the quality. But quality or thickness won’t determine if it’s expired or spoiled.
Can you smell bad CBD oil?
Trust your nose. An oil with a rancid odor has most likely gone bad. It’s best to discard and not use it.
Can you taste bad CBD oil?
CBD has a naturally bitter or plant-like flavor. Sometimes you can tell by the taste. But you don’t know if it’s no longer good by taste alone. Have Confidence in your instincts; if something seems wrong, don’t use it.
How to Store CBD Oil for the Best Shelf life
You can extend the life of your CBD oil by storing it properly. Heat and sunlight will degrade the oil, along with time. The process, also referred to as oxidation, is natural. By storing it correctly, you’re slowing it down.
Similarly, you can’t change the extraction date, but you have control over the other elements. Store your oil in a dark, cool, dry location. Always keep it in the dark green or brown container to protect the potent phytochemicals from light.
Don’t place it near any heat sources, such as above the stove or near a fireplace. Also, make sure to put the bottles in an upright position. If you have a pantry area you keep cooking oils and live in a home without children, consider keeping your CBD in the same place.
You can store your oil in the refrigerator to keep it cool. Pay attention to maintain a consistent temperature. Oils are overly sensitive to temperature change, light, and oxygen. Protecting it from these elements can extend the shelf-life. If the tincture freezes, you must let it defrost naturally before using it. There may be issues with the quality of the oil, depending on the environment.
You can cheat a little when defrosting the tincture by running the bottle under warm tap water for several minutes. Never use high or direct heat to defrost the oil. This can destroy the cannabinoids and other plant chemicals and render the oil useless.
Should You Buy CBD Products in Bulk?
You should only buy as much CBD as you need. It’s okay to stock up for three to six months. As mentioned, the quality of oil will degrade over time, no matter how well you store it. The process is slow when you save it properly. It might still work, but not as well. In the future, there may be more information on the performance of expired hemp-based products.
The Benefits of Quality Hemp & Extraction
There are many areas of hemp cultivation and extraction that can go wrong and reduce the plant’s quality. The plant is a hyperaccumulator, which means it absorbs the surrounding compounds while growing. Plants growing in healthy, clean soil are safe and will produce a quality oil.
However, many areas across the country and world have contaminated soil. Hemp can clean this land and make it viable for farming again. But those plants can’t be consumed. By themselves, these chemicals are dangerous. Some examples include,
- Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
- Heavy metals
- Radioactive elements
When you vape contaminated oil, you’re multiplying the danger. Additionally, any levels of these substances in CBD oil mean it’s a low-quality oil that won’t have a long shelf life. It shouldn’t be trusted, especially past the expiration date.
For the best experience, only purchase oil from trusted brands and suppliers. When you start with a quality oil, you’ll have better results. Whether you’re using a local shop or online distributor, do your due diligence and research the company.
Avoid low-cost deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—The savings aren’t worth your health. Premium oil does cost more, but that’s because you’re paying for value. Only use products that use hemp grown in the Always verify where the hemp is grown. Plants grown outside the U.S. are hard to check. Oils that come from certain Asian countries may have more contaminants from poor soil conditions.
Before using the CBD that you purchased, read the product’s certificate of analysis (COA). The most reputable companies will have a COA for you to review. If you’re still concerned, seek your own testing at a third-party laboratory to verify the contents of the oil. Repeat these steps for all CBD products you buy. Quality hemp extracts can last for a year or longer when properly prepared and stored.