Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid believed to have numerous health benefits. As a result, its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years as users turn to it to manage wide-ranging health conditions such as pain, inflammation, insomnia, and skin diseases.
Unfortunately, like everything else, CBD is perishable. Most CBD oils last 1-2 years, but you may be able to prolong their shelf life by choosing a good quality brand and practicing good storage practices. High-quality (minimally processed) oils like our Premium CBD Drops last longer than most similar products.
Storing CBD oil under the right conditions (e.g., away from direct sunlight and extreme heat) can add more days to its shelf life. Also, listen to people's reviews and recommendations to help with getting the right brand.
Here's everything you need to know about the shelf life of CBD oil.
Does CBD oil expire?
Yes, CBD oil does expire. It loses potency if stored under the wrong conditions or when the 24 months shelf life lapses. If you get CBD oil being sold at a bargain price, be cautious and check the expiry dates.
Naturally, new CBD oils are more potent than older ones. Aging is a natural process that we can't do much about. So, with time, the strength of CBD oil deteriorates as the molecules break down into their less useful particulates. Therefore, avoid older products because they might not be as effective as newer ones.
Moreover, the process used to extract CBD oil might be questionable, making the oil harmful to your health. For example, some companies use cheap solvents like butane or propane to extract CBD. If these are not washed off properly, they can affect the oil's quality and adversely impact its shelf life.
The safest solvent for CBD oil production is ethanol, which removes harmful toxins during manufacturing. Besides making the process more efficient, ethanol ensures the cannabinoids remain intact, making CBD oil more effective. It is also safer, especially when CBD is intended for human use. If you can, insist on ethanol-extracted CBD oil.
Factors that affect the shelf life of CBD oil
As earlier mentioned, CBD oil expiration depends on many factors, ranging from the ingredients and the extraction process to how it is stored. The ability to choose a long-lasting CBD product depends on your understanding of these factors.
The ingredients that go into making CBD oil impact its longevity. Fewer ingredients and processes mean the product contains fewer longevity-impacting compounds. So, it will likely last longer than CBD products with more additives.
For example, full spectrum CBD lasts longer because it is almost natural, unlike flavored CBD oils, which tend to have shorter shelf lives. Similarly, ethanol, the solvent used in the extraction process, can also affect the product's shelf life.
Some rogue companies have used harmful products like butane or propane to extract CBD oil. Granted, propane and butane might prolong the products' shelf life; however, they harm the body.
It is, therefore, essential to read the CBD product's label and the certificate of analysis (COA) before making a purchase. Reputable companies have COAs to show that independent third parties have tested the product.
These tests check every ingredient in the CBD oil and if every component listed on the label is present. If the COA is unavailable, you should contact the company's customer care and get all the necessary answers.
CBD oil's quality depends on the plant's growing conditions, quality, and any other ingredient included in the manufacturing process. Each component used to manufacture CBD oil will affect the CBD's quality, thus lowering or increasing its shelf life.
For example, some CBD forms like topicals have natural bases like Shea butter, coconut oil, or vitamin E, which, besides helping to improve the skin, may also extend the product's expiry date. On the other hand, cheap additives like colors and flavors may affect the product's quality by lowering its shelf life.
The extraction process is probably the most significant determinant of CBD oil's longevity. There's no standardized extraction process, meaning different processes give different shelf lives. The three widely used extraction processes are:
CO2 Extraction: This is the most common CBD extraction method and uses naturally occurring carbon (II) oxide gas (CO2). Besides producing the highest quality CBD oil, it also provides the cleanest product that contains phytochemicals, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.
It uses closed pressurized chambers containing different components, CO2 and the hemp plant. When the heated CO2 is pushed to the hemp section, CBD is separated from the plant.
The CBD is then extracted in the form of CBD oil (in high amounts). CBD products from the CO2 extraction method last longer because of their almost natural state.
Solvent extraction: Solvent extraction is the least popular method and uses solvents like butane to release CBD from the hemp plant. Other than producing low-quality products, it also produces dangerous by-products. Traces of solvents in the CBD product may impact the product's shelf life.
Steam extraction: As the name suggests, this method entails heating water to create vapor. The heated moisture is cycled through the hemp plant matter, causing the cell walls to break down and release the oils.
This method can be tedious as the oils mix with water and later separate. Moreover, steam extraction produces oil rich in CBD but has little oil compared to the CO2 process. However, this is the safest method, making it more suitable for high-quality CBD.
So, by now, you know that exposure to light or extreme heat will accelerate the expiration of CBD oil. That's why packaging is vital.
Products packaged in opaque or amber containers are bound to last longer than those in clear packages because they block light. The paper cartons also keep out the heat.
Also, it is crucial to ensure that CBD oil or products are not exposed to the air. Ensure you get containers with tight-fitting caps that can be opened many times. Dark, airtight glass containers offer the best storage conditions. Place the lid back on tightly after every use.
Improper storage is usually the cause of the rapid expiration of CBD products. Once the elements (air, heat, moisture) interact with the CBD, it loses its potency, so you can't reap all its benefits. The ideal storage conditions for CBD oil and products are cool, dark, and dry places.
They should be kept away from windows, humidifiers, radiators, air conditioners, and stoves. The ideal storage temperature should be between 60 –70°F (16 – 21°C), neither hot nor cold.
How to tell if CBD oil is bad
A 2020 scientific study demonstrated how fast CBD expires when kept in the wrong conditions. When CBD is stored at 37°C, almost 20% of the CBD oil loses its potency in approximately 30 days.
The light effect wasn't as bad, but the oil had a 15% degradation over 30 days. You can't fall sick from using expired CBD oil, but it will have lost half its potency.
Here are a few pointers to tell if your CBD oil has expired.
Fresh CBD oil has a mildly earthy smell. So, if your CBD oil has any other smell (e.g., a skunky smell), it is time to toss it out.
Similarly, if your CBD is flavored, you should be able to smell this flavor or scent. If you can smell the aroma, then the oil is okay.
A change in viscosity or thickness should signify that the CBD oil has gone bad. If the CBD oil appears to be separating from the bottle because it has become thicker, it might have passed its usability time.
However, this should not be confused with the cold-induced viscosity typical of CBD oils stored in the fridge. If you remove it from the refrigerator, let it sit in the open for some time. If it still looks cloudy and thick, it is a sign it should be thrown away.
Pure CBD tastes like grass. However, the oil used as the carrier element typically has its own taste, unless it is MCT oil, which is odorless and tasteless.
Other oils, like coconut oil, almond oil, or hempseed oil, have distinctive tastes that contribute to the overall flavor of the product.
However, if the CBD oil tastes bitter, sour, or makes you gag, it could have gone bad. Also, if it is flavored and you can't taste the flavor, it is time to trash it. If your taste buds are broken, sniffing the bottle could also be helpful.
Will expired CBD oil make you sick?
Expired CBD oil generally cannot make you sick; it just loses its potency and stops being effective. This means you don't get the relief you want, depending on your health objectives. So, obviously, you want value for money by getting your CBD product to serve you longer.
Tips for storing CBD oil
Wrong storage conditions degrade CBD oil's potency. This means storing your CBD under the right temperature and humidity conditions helps preserve its strength and efficacy. In other words, it all comes down to proper storage and avoiding exposure to the elements.
There's a reason CBD oils come in airtight containers or with oral applicators to ensure there's little exposure to air. Air promotes cannabinoid breakdown, leading to degradation. Exposure to oxygen changes the oil's chemical balance via oxidative stress.
Always ensure any CBD oil you buy is stored in its original container. If you need to transfer it to another container, the new container should be airtight. Also, keep your CBD oil container upright in storage, away from the elements.
It would be best if you also took note of the carrier liquid used to make it. Some common options are olive oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, or hempseed oil. Store your CBD oil the same way you'd store olive or coconut oil.
If you plan to use the oil for more than 12 months, store it in the fridge. However, the pantry is the best option. The container should be sealed after every use and as soon as you open it to reduce air exposure.
Sometimes the fridge may not be ideal because dried cannabis material goes bad faster when stored in the refrigerator. If the oil is stored in a fridge and thickens, place it in a warm water bowl to melt before use. However, ask the seller whether the product can be refrigerated or not.
Where to buy the best quality CBD oil
The best place to buy CBD oil is from shops recommended by family or friends. This is because they already have firsthand experience of using it. Unfortunately, CBD is not regulated by the FDA, which means quality will always vary depending on the brand.
Before buying CBD, you should also research widely to get an insight into the ingredients used to make the CBD product. Look out where the hemp plant has been farmed; has it been sustainably farmed? Does it contain heavy metals or pesticides? Has it been tested by an independent third party?
Some additives can undermine CBD oil's safety and quality. For example, non-organic chemicals on hemp plants may result in bitter-tasting CBD oil. Besides an unpleasant taste, ingesting these chemicals may harm you by causing cancer or kidney problems.
If you want a CBD oil that checks all the boxes mentioned above, then we highly recommend you go with one of our products to get the best CBD experience.
For a pure CBD oil experience, try our Premium CBD Drops. Available in broad and full spectrum options, these drops help the body and mind stay focused and relaxed. They come in different natural and delicious flavors with no grassy aftertaste and three strengths ranging from 1000 to 3000mg to ensure everyone's preference is met.
If you're looking for something to help you sleep better, then try our Sleep Drops. They are made from organic CBD, CBN, and high-quality MCT oil. The CBN and CBN combo promotes better quality sleep. The organic lavender herbal extract has a soothing effect, and the peppermint gives the oil a fantastic taste.
For more information on how to properly store CBD, watch the following video.