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Shelf Life Of CBD: Does CBD Oil Expire?

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Does CBD oil expire?

All food products have an expiration date, and CBD oil is no different. CBD oil expires between 12-18 months after bottling.

And while it's not dangerous to ingest expired CBD oil, it may taste unpleasant and produce very little benefit. This is because the active compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system will start to degrade with time, making the CBD less potent.

In this article, we'll guide you through how to tell if your CBD oil goes rancid, and how to store your CBD oils to improve its shelf life.

What's The Shelf Life Of Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids naturally degrade with exposure to heat, UV light, and oxygen, which is why it's stored in amber-colored glass.

The shelf life of CBD oil will depend on a number of factors including the extraction and manufacturing process, quality of carrier oil, proper bottling, proper storage, and exposure to direct sunlight and oxygen.

As the CBD products sit on the shelf unused, the active cannabinoids will break down, making the product less biologically active. When purchasing your CBD product, check that the company states when the batch of CBD oils was produced—and you want to make sure that you use the CBD oil within 12 months of that date.

Higher quality CBD oil is typically made in smaller batches to ensure freshness. This way, less of the product is stored on a shelf waiting to get ordered and shipped.

How To Tell If Your CBD Oil Has Gone Bad

CBD oil products will eventually go bad—but it should happen long after you've ordered it from the company. 

There are times where you order CBD products and they arrive at your door smelling a little funky or have little to no effects.Sometimes, you buy a CBD product and forget you have it and are genuinely wondering if it's still any good to use.

Here are some signs your CBD oil has gone rancid.

1. It Smells & Tastes Sour

CBD oil or hemp tincture is made of hemp extract and a carrier oil to make the CBD easier to dose and consume.

Cannabinoids like CBD don't have a taste or smell—what you're smelling in a CBD oil is usually the terpenes from the extract, if you purchased a full spectrum or THC-free broad spectrum CBD oil or the carrier oil.

Terpenes are the aromatic active compound in the hemp flower, and they can have a naturally bitter flavor, but they shouldn't smell or taste sour.

What can happen is that the carrier oil (hemp seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil) can expire

If these oils expire, they can look murky in the bottle and they can start to smell musty. Carrier oils have a neutral flavor, you can tell they've gone off if the oil tastes a little vinegary.

High-quality CBD oil is made from fresh, organic carrier oils. Food-grade essential oils added to the formula can add flavoring and help to preserve the CBD oil's shelf life. Many essential oils are naturally anti-fungal and antibacterial, preventing or slowing down the growth of bacteria. When choosing your CBD, consider the best flavored CBD oil options that not only enhance your experience with pleasant tastes but also contribute to the longevity of the oil with high-quality ingredients.

There are some brands out there that get away with using an older carrier oil closer to its expiration to save on production costs. 

Unfortunately, you can't always tell how old the ingredients are by looking at the bottle, which is why it's important to shop with CBD companies online with good customer service policies—We know that CBD products aren't cheap, so look for a dependable customer service team to turn to if something goes wrong to protect you and your wallet.

It Smells & Tastes Sour

2. You Don't Feel Anything From CBD

CBD will lose its potency over time. That's because cannabinoids break down from exposure to UV light, oxygen, and heat.

Old CBD oil just won't be as potent as fresh CBD oil. If you've been sitting on some CBD products in your house for a while, and recently started them again wondering why you're not feeling the same level of effects, this could be why.

Even if you've ordered good quality CBD oil, all the good compounds won't last forever. That CBD oil fresh could have contained 2000MG of CBD—but after air exposure and direct sunlight from sitting in your kitchen, the potency could be reduced to 1500MG or even less, depending on how old it is, which means you likely won't feel the same level of effects because you're not getting the same amount of active compounds.

What Affects The Shelf Life Of CBD Oil?

Carrier Oil Of Your CBD Oil Matters

That bottle of CBD oil will only keep as long as the carrier oil used in the formula—yes, hemp oil can go bad too.

How can you tell if your hemp oil has gone rancid? The hemp seed oil has a nutty, neutral flavor. If it's gone bad, it will smell funky and taste sour.

Oils that are commonly combined with hemp extract like MCT coconut oil, hemp seed oil, and sometimes olive oil break down over time when exposed to oxygen (aka oxidation). An unopened bottle of hemp oil shelf life is about 14 months with proper storage.

You can tell when your MCT coconut oil has gone bad because it tastes rancid, will discolor from white to yellow, and will get chunky at room temperature.

Higher Quality Products Tend To Have Additional Ingredients

The CBD oils' product formulation can affect its shelf life. For example, essential oils can do more than mask the flavor of your CBD—they can add to longer shelf life.

When it comes to CBD topicals that also include natural bases like coconut oil and shea butter, compounds like vitamin E can help condition the skin and extend the expiration date with proper storage.

On that same note, low-quality CBD oil that contains artificial colorings or flavorings may negatively affect the integrity of cannabinoids too. It's important that you use the CBD products well before the suggested expiration date.

Packaging: Airtight container, Amber or Dark Green Bottles

Oxidation—aka the exposure of the ingredients to air—will start to break down cannabinoids and other oils. Making sure that the product comes in an airtight resealable container and that you diligently close your CBD oil properly, will help your CBD oil last longer.

Don't trust a CBD bottle that comes in a clear container. Those amber and dark green bottles help to filter UV light from degrading the active compound.

Production & Storage

Not only are the containers important for making CBD oil last longer, but how it's packaged matters too. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is the standard used in the health industry for supplements and pharmaceuticals for ensuring high safety standards are met. 

GMP isn't a requirement in the CBD industry, but many brands are adopting this practice.

On top of this, it's important to consider how much time the CBD oil spends on the manufacture's warehouse shelves. It's best to shop with companies that create CBD products in artisan batches because it reduces waste and ensures that there's a higher standard overall for the quality of CBD products. It also means that there's a higher chance it arrives fresh at your door rather than sitting on some old warehouse shelf.

Reputable CBD brands will list the date of the product's batch date for third-party testing and give you a more precise date on the freshness of various CBD products such as CBD sprays, tinctures, and edibles.

How To Make The Shelf Life Of CBD Oil Last

The life of even high-quality CBD oil will eventually come to an end.

For most consumers, the 12-month expiration date is plenty of time before you have to worry about tossing it out. The best thing you can do to extend your CBD product's shelf life is knowing to store your pure oil and other edibles properly.

Keeping your CBD oil out of direct sunlight and in a cool environment will slow the eventual breakdown of the active cannabinoids and terpenes so that you don't lose potency.

Most people store their CBD oil with their other health supplements and medications—usually in the pantry to in the fridge.

Guide To Storing CBD Oil And Tincture

Compared to some forms of edibles and fresh herb products, CBD oil tends to have a longer shelf life.

You can either store CBD oil in your pantry, medicine cabinet, or fridge. Just be sure to close the seal on the bottle tightly and use the oil within the year of production.

You can keep your CBD oils and tinctures in your medicine cabinet, pantry, or fridge. As long as you use it well within the year, you should be fine. 

Guide To Storing CBD Topicals

CBD topicals are typically lotions, body oils, and balms that are infused with hemp extract.

The topical formula itself should have ingredients like essential oils, vitamin E, and citric acid that help to preserve the product. The typical shelf life of topicals is a lot longer compared to edibles because of this. You can keep it for 18-24 months—again, as long as it's stored in a cool, dry place and you always tightly reseal the container.

Guide To Store CBD Edibles

The expiration date on your edible CBD product can vary drastically, depending on the ingredients.

For example, if you made your own match of CBD cookies with CBD oil because you enjoy minimally processed edibles, you may want to eat your cookies within 2 weeks (if they last that long). Your baked goods will have much more moisture in them than candies, which is why they won't keep as long.

Just like CBD capsules and gummies have a shelf life, our cherished seniors can "expire" too! So while you're extending the shelf life of your CBD goodies, don't forget to extend the "shelf life" of our seniors with some love, care, and perhaps a dose of CBD gummies for seniors to keep them feeling spry!

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Pure CBD Oil (Extract) May Crystalize But It's Not Expired

If you're a fan of vaping CBD concentrates—sometimes called pure CBD oil, you may have noticed crystallization occurring in your vape cartridge.

Pure CBD oil is otherwise known as concentrates, wax, or shatter, contains up to 99.9% pure hemp extract with plant fatty acids and terpenes. These products are not combined with a carrier oil and are typically used for smoking. 

If you start to see crystallization forming in your pure CBD oil, don't toss it out. It's a completely natural process of the sugars and fatty acids binding together in full spectrum CBD oil (concentrates). It should still smoke the same in your vaporizer device.

What Happens If You Consume Expired CBD Oil?

Thankfully, consuming expired CBD oil isn't inherently dangerous—it just won't taste very good and it's highly unlikely you'll experience any of the benefits.

When your CBD oil expires, it's best to toss it out.

If you're one of those people who struggle to use up a whole bottle of CBD oil before the expiration date, you may want to consider another form of CBD product—such as gummies or capsules that may encourage you to take them more frequently. After all, most people experience the full benefits of CBD when taken consistently.

At Neurogan, we also have a subscription program that allows you to save on your CBD oil orders and ensure a fresh batch arrives at your door every month. 

The Takeaway: Does CBD Oil Really Expire?

CBD products can go bad, but it does take quite a bit of time.

With the right storage and good manufacturing practices, most CBD oils and tinctures have a shelf life of 12-18 months, which is plenty of time for most people to get through their supply.

There is a lot of scam CBD brands out there who are more interested in making a quick buck than providing quality wellness products. They may cut corners by purchasing carrier oil close to its expiration date or it could have sat in some warehouse for years before it's shipped to you.

When CBD oil goes bad too quickly, it's usually due to poor storage or poor manufacturing. Eating CBD oil that's gone bad won't make you sick, but it can be a total rip-off.

To avoid getting falling for these scam CBD products, always shop from reputable CBD brands—preferably those who make smaller batches of products, have excellent customer service, and provide batch dates with a third-party certificate of analysis for safety and quality assurance. 


Does CBD Oil Expire?

CBD oil has a shelf life of 12-18 months after manufacturing. While ingesting expired CBD oil is not harmful, it may taste bad and provide little benefit. This is because the active molecules that interact with the endocannabinoid system decay with time, making CBD less effective.

How To Store CBD Oil And Tincture?

CBD oil has a longer shelf life than various kinds of edibles and fresh plant items. CBD oil may be kept in your pantry, medicine cabinet, or refrigerator. Just make sure to firmly seal the container and utilize the oil within a year after creation.

How To Store CBD Topicals?

CBD topicals are generally hemp extract-infused lotions, body oils, and balms. Ingredients such as essential oils, vitamin E, and citric acid in the topical recipe should aid to preserve the product. You may keep it for 18-24 months if you keep it in a cool, dry area and always carefully reseal the container.

How To Store CBD Edibles?

Depending on the contents, the expiration date of your edible CBD product might vary greatly. If you produced your own CBD cookie match with CBD oil because you want minimally processed edibles, you should consume your cookies within 2 weeks (if they last that long). Because baked foods contain far more moisture than sweets, they will not last as long. To increase the shelf life of CBD capsules, gummies, and chocolate bars, store them in a cold, dry, dark area.

What Happens If You Consume Expired CBD Oil?

Fortunately, eating expired CBD oil isn't inherently dangerous—it simply won't taste very nice and you're unlikely to get any advantages. When your CBD oil runs out, it's better to throw it away. If you find it difficult to finish a bottle of CBD oil before it expires, you may want to investigate another kind of CBD product, such as candies or capsules, which may encourage you to take them more regularly.

Nicklas Brandrup

BSc International Business, Copenhagen Business School Nicklas is the co-founder of Neurogan and a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record in the health and wellness space.  Nicklas has generated more than $250M in sales on Amazon with brands that he owns and operates. He is passionate ab...

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