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Does CBD Oil Expire? What to Know and Tips to Extend Shelf Life

Does CBD Oil Expire? What to Know and Tips to Extend Shelf Life

Here at High There, we’re admittedly pretty infatuated with CBD, and we’re especially smitten with CBD oil. Not only is it easy to make yourself, easy to purchase, simple to use and fast acting, but it’s a simple and effective method to deliver all of the potential benefits of CBD right to your system. What’s not to love?

Of course, folks also use the non-inebriating cannabinoid for a number of reasons and at different frequencies. Some consumers might find themselves embracing a regular regimen, often planning ahead to ensure they have more CBD oil in stock for when they run out. For others, CBD oil can be great on a need-to-use basis, providing specific symptom relief if and when needed. 

For those in the latter group of irregular and infrequent CBD oil users, or those shuffling through an array of products, it begs the question: Does CBD oil expire? 

As much as we love CBD oil, there’s little use in using an ineffective product. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

The Question at Hand…

We won’t bury the lede: Like almost any consumable product, yes, CBD oil can indeed go bad. It goes without saying that CBD oil contains, well, oil, and these carrier oils, often coconut or palm oil, don’t have an infinite shelf life. The CBD infusion will also degrade over time, meaning that the product you once used for relief can eventually lose its efficacy.

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How long does CBD oil last, and what affects the shelf life?

The good news is that, once opened (or following the opening of a carrier oil for homemade CBD oils), it’s not as if you have to quickly down your concoction in a matter of weeks or risk it going bad. Coconut oil by itself generally lasts up to two years, so long as it’s properly stored. Palm oil similarly lasts at least 12 months without becoming rancid with proper storage.

There are a number of variables: the aforementioned storage methods, carrier oil types, ingredients and quality of the oil. Inadequate testing can lead to infestation from ingredients like mold, heavy metals and microbes, which can damage or degrade the oil sooner than expected. Even the extraction method could affect your oil’s shelf life. 

CO2 extraction, for example, is becoming increasingly popular, given that it is solvent-free and results in little to no flavor, ideal for many consumers. You’ll also see the continued use of alcohol and butane extractions, but traces of these solvents can remain — not necessarily a health risk in acceptable amounts, though it can indeed affect your product’s shelf life.

However, you can expect most CBD oil to last 12 to 18 months, in general. 

Though, having a bit of literacy around the factors that lead to CBD oil expiration will help you to ensure you aren’t ingesting a rancid or ineffective product. 

How do I know if my CBD oil has expired?

A good start is to keep track of when you first purchased your oil, or the carrier oil you used to make your oil at home, keeping that 12- to 18-month period in mind. Many store bought products will even list an expiration date, which is a solid indicator to start monitoring changes in your oil.

The good thing is you can use your senses to fairly easily tell where your CBD oil is at and if it’s time to toss it out. Given that touch and hearing aren’t going to serve us much here, let’s focus on the other three senses.

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Sight: Bear in mind, the typical color of CBD oil varies depending on the hemp extract and carrier oil. Take a mental snapshot when it’s fresh, but CBD oil could be clear, white, dark brown or dark green. If it looks the way it did when you first bought it, that’s at least one indication it’s still fresh (so long as it’s cleared the next couple steps as well). 

When the CBD oil becomes chunky or murky at room temperature, your mental alarms should be going off. Don’t get this confused with cloudiness; it’s totally normal for a CBD oil to be cloudy if it’s been sitting in the fridge or a cold room, though that will generally dissipate after a few minutes at room temperature. 

If your CBD oil looks thick and/or dark at room temperature, or if you’ve noticed any shift in its texture and color, that’s a sign that it’s unfortunately on its way out.

Smell: CBD oil is ingestible, and like anything you eat, it’s generally easy to tell if something is off based on the smell. Fresh CBD oil usually has an earthy aroma, maybe a little grassy. If your CBD oil smells skunky or unpleasant, that’s a pretty solid indication as well.

Taste: Of course, taste and smell are married. You’ll probably know by the smell if your CBD oil is about to taste funky, but the flavor of fresh CBD oil is similarly a little earthy, grassy, maybe even a little nutty. It might not be your favorite flavor, but it should be easy to stomach. If your CBD oil tastes different than usual, you’ll easily be able to tell, but the taste of expired or expiring CBD oil is usually more bitter, strange and less palatable.

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What happens if I ingest expired CBD oil?

The good news is that, should you use expired CBD oil, it’s not as if you’ll be on your hands and knees in front of the toilet the next day. It’s important to note here that (especially depending on the dose and carrier oil) CBD oil does disagree with some users and their bodies.

But in general, expired CBD oil isn’t really likely to do much of anything. 

The main issue with expired CBD oil is that it loses its efficacy. The cannabinoids will degrade over time, so you’ll likely find that the effects you once enjoyed are no longer there. And why use something that doesn’t work?

How can I make my CBD oil last longer?

If you want to maximize the shelf life of your CBD oil, the kicker is storage. As mentioned, most CBD oil will safely last at least 12 months, though with proper storage, you can ensure it lasts up to two years! 

(As a good general rule, if you’ve had CBD oil for any longer than two years, even if you think it’s all good, it might be time to toss and replace it.)

The shelf life of CBD oil is typically dependent on its exposure to oxygen, light and temperature. Most CBD oils will come in dark, airtight glass bottles, which helps to reduce light exposure and control temperature. Exposure to heat will break down your oil faster, so you might opt to store your oil in the fridge to fully maximize its shelf life.

That said, there’s truly nothing wrong with storing your CBD oil at room temperature, either. The kicker is avoiding direct sunlight, so make sure you have your oil stored in a dark place, like a cupboard or cabinet. As long as your oil is stored at 60 to 70°F, you should be in the clear. 

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A final note on temperature: Try to avoid storing your CBD oil near anything that could make it hotter, like a heater, stove or oven.

After each use, you should also ensure that your containers are fully closed and airtight. This also helps to preserve your oil for an extended period, since exposure to air can work to degrade your CBD oil’s shelf life over time.

Wrapping Up

As great as CBD oil is, it’s not perfect and does, indeed, expire. 

Even if you don’t use your CBD oil on a consistent basis, it already has a fairly extensive, built-in shelf life that can be better optimized by taking some preventative measures. Additionally, if you’re unsure about the status of your oil, being aware of when you first opened your CBD oil and equipped with a few sense-based tests is a quick and easy way to know if you’re in the clear to enjoy its effects.

There’s a lot to love about CBD, so long as it does its job. Just a little extra care and attention can ensure we continue to reap all its benefits!

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