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CBD Oil Shelf Life: Does It Expire and How to Tell?

Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD

Written by: Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD

Updated on November 27, 2023

CBD Oil

Hardly any product from the cannabis industry has gained as much fame as CBD oil, especially in the recent few years. The popularity is predominantly courtesy of the potential health benefits that CBD oil has to offer. As the range of CBD oil and associated products is increasing with everyday passing, understanding the nuances of the shelf life of this incredible oil is imperative. This brief answers questions such as does CBD oil expire, how to tell if CBD oil is expired, is expired CBD oil safe and can you get sick from expired CBD oil?

Does CBD Oil Expire?

Without any beating about the bush, let us answer the simple question: can CBD oil expire? The short answer is yes. CBD oil does expire; like any other natural product, CBD oil is susceptible to degradation over an extended period. The duration for which CBD oil remains effective depends on several factors. Some of these factors include the quality of the product you are using, storage conditions and whether or not there are any preservatives in the CBD oil. Paying attention to these factors in the beginning can extend your CBD oil expiration date by a significant factor.

What is CBD Oil Shelf Life?

What is exactly different from expired CBD oil? It doesn’t have the characteristic features of a viable product. And what are those features? Potency and effectiveness, CBD oil must be potent and effective during its shelf-life period. If you squint your eyes and read the tiny label, you will notice that most CBD oils come with an expiration date. Basically, this date is an estimate of how long the CBD oil will remain in its best quality. It is pertinent to mention here that the exact date for shelf life can vary from brand to brand and tells us how long CBD oil takes to expire.

What Happens If You Use Expired CBD Oil?

Here is what happens if you use expired CBD oil. The good news is that the expired CBD oil may not cause you any harm. However, please don’t take it lightly. Expired CBD oil can lose its potency, which can lead to a diminished experience. As the CBD oil ages, the constituent elements of the oil can break down, thereby rendering the product’s taste bad. It follows logically that the therapeutic effects that you might experience with a fresh batch of CBD oil might not be felt with an expired CBD oil product.

Can you take expired CBD oil? The taste of the expired CBD oil is not the same as the potent CBD oil either, so your taste buds are likely to get a nasty shock as well. So even if you could take it, you probably shouldn’t!

How to Tell If CBD Oil is expired?

Does CBD oil have an expiration date? There are multiple ways in which you can tell if the CBD oil is expired. Start by checking the expiration date, which is usually printed on the label. Then, inspecting the color and consistency of the CBD oil can also give you a clue about the freshness; usually, the fresh batch has a slightly golden color. If your CBD oil is significantly dark or cloudy in color, then it is quite likely that your product is expired. Smelling and tasting the CBD oil can also give a clue about the shelf life of the CBD oil. Don’t use the product if the oil is a little rancid or has an off-putting odor.

Most importantly, if you aren’t experiencing the effects of the CBD oil, then there is a chance that there is something wrong with the product, i.e. it may be expired. So, a lack of effects that results from diminished potency can probably be because of the fact that your product is expired.

Key Factors Influencing CBD Oil Shelf Life

Extraction: The way CBD oil is extracted can have a massive impact on the longevity of the final product. Methods such as CO2 extraction can lead to a very high-quality yield. The product thus obtained is very stable and has a very long shelf life.

Chemicals: Pesticides, solvents or heavy metals can lead to the degradation of CBD oil. Hence, opting for CBD oils that come with third-party testing is always recommended.
Storage: Storing CBD oil in cool, dark places that aren’t exposed to direct sunlight and humidity can keep the product stable.
Containers: What kind of container are you storing the product in? Bottles that are airtight and made of dark-colored glass are good for minimizing reactions such as oxidation.

Type of CBD: The type of CBD used in the CBD oil matters a lot. Take the example of full-spectrum CBD oil, which contains a range of terpenes and cannabinoids. Consequently, full-spectrum CBD oil has a very short shelf life.

Other Ingredients: There are other factors at play too. For example, what if there are any added ingredients like carrier oils or flavorings? The presence of such substances can impact the shelf life significantly.

Oxidation: Oxidation is also important; exposure to oxygen can lead to an accelerated breakdown of the CBD oil. Oxygen’s reaction with cannabinoids can make them lose their potency significantly. And lastly, moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth as well.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of CBD Oil

Here are some of the ways in which you can extend the shelf life of CBD oil you are using:

  • Store the product properly.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures.
  • Minimize air exposure to your CBD oil product.
  • Use a spoon.
  • Make sure that there is no cross-contamination.
  • Using the CBD oil regularly ensures that the product isn’t sitting undisturbed.
  • Purchase quality products only.
  • Read the label carefully.

If you are storing the product in a refrigerator, then you don’t have to worry about the shelf life.

Conclusion

CBD oil offers a huge range of potential health benefits. Hence the, consumer concern regarding the shelf life of CBD oil is well-founded. The effectiveness of the CBD oil and the shelf life of the product are closely tied. Having knowledge about the expiration process and recognizing the signs that CBD oil is going bad can help consumers ensure the potency and effectiveness of CBD oil throughout its intended shelf life.

Frequent Ask Questions

Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD
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