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Does CBD Oil Expire Or Go Bad? Tips For Making CBD Last Longer

Senior woman checking to see the CBD expiration date on a box before buying.

Does CBD oil expire?

The short answer is yes, CBD oil does expire.

It can even go bad if it's too far past the CBD expiration date printed on the packaging. But knowing when CBD expires may not tell you everything because a lot depends on how long CBD oil lasts.

So, how long does CBD oil stay good and how do you know when it's gone bad? That's what we're exploring in today's article. Learn about why CBD expires, how to spot expired CBD oil gone bad, get tips to prolong CBD shelf life, and more!

Click a table of contents section to jump ahead in the article or keep scrolling to read the facts about when CBD oil expires.

Table of Contents

    When does CBD oil expire or go bad?

    CBD is like any other medicine. It may lose potency and effectiveness over time. CBD oil can even go bad if it’s too far past the expiration date.

    When does CBD oil expire? Generally speaking, CBD oil expires one to two years after its made.

    How long you have before you’re left with expired CBD oil depends on several key factors:

    Carrier oil used

    CBD is a lipophilic molecule that requires an oil base to blend into a tincture.

    Carrier oils dilute CBD and “carry” the active ingredient Cannabidiol into your body.

    MCT — short for medium-chain triglyceride — is the best carrier oil for CBD tinctures because it’s slightly acidic and mostly made up of saturated fats that do not oxidize easily. MCT oil acts as a natural preservative to extend the shelf life of CBD up to a year or longer beyond its expire date. CBD oil infused with MCT does not need refrigeration after opening. But storing it in the fridge can make CBD last for years.

    Other commonly used CBD carrier oils include hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil, and olive oil. These carrier oils break down more quickly than MCT and may not fair so well beyond the CBD expiration date printed on the bottle. They also require refrigeration after opening.

    CBD shelf life and expiry date vary depending on the carrier oil used:

    MCT Oil
    Unopened: Best within 2 years
    Opened: Use within 6 to 12 months
    Storage: Does not require refrigeration

    Hemp Seed Oil
    Unopened: Best within 1 year
    Opened: Use within 3 to 6 months
    Storage: Refrigerate after opening

    Grapeseed Oil
    Unopened: Best within 1 year
    Opened: Use within 3 to 6 months
    Storage: Refrigerate after opening

    Olive Oil
    Unopened: Best within 1 year
    Opened: Use within 3 to 6 months
    Storage: Refrigerate after opening

    Storage conditions

    How you store CBD oil affects how long it lasts.

    CBD oil stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight has a longer shelf life than CBD exposed to warm temperatures, humid environments, or UV light.

    Refrigerating CBD promotes the longest shelf life. CBD stored in the refrigerator may last a year or longer past the expire date printed on the bottle.

    Unopened vs. opened

    You’re in luck if you haven’t yet opened your expired CBD bottle!

    Unopened CBD lasts significantly longer than previously opened CBD. You should consume CBD within six to 12 months after opening, depending on the carrier oil used to make it.

    KEY TAKEAWAY

    CBD oil lasts the longest when it’s infused with MCT, kept refrigerated, and left unopened until needed. Previously opened CBD should be consumed within a year if made with MCT or within three to six months if made using another carrier oil (e.g., hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil).

    Know the Difference: CBD shelf life & CBD expiration date

    CBD shelf life and CBD expiration date are two sides of the same coin.

    Your CBD oil will remain at peak potency and quality throughout its shelf life from the day your product was made up to when it expires. CBD expiration date estimates the last day your product will be at its peak quality and potency.

    Both shelf life and CBD expire date are based on average rates at which CBD breaks down under typical storage conditions.

    It’s possible your CBD may not be at its best quality after it expires. But you could be pleasantly surprised at how long CBD stays good despite the natural breakdown of cannabinoids and other plant medicines.

    Here is what to expect if you’re thinking about taking expired CBD:

    • You may need to take more
      CBD naturally breaks down over time leading to a potential decrease in effectiveness after it expires
    • Flavor may change
      Terpenes are aromatic phytochemicals that break down and cause expired CBD to taste flat or less flavorful
    • Color may appear darker
      The golden/amber hue of CBD comes from Flavonoids, which change color when they break down or oxidize in CBD that’s expired

    But CBD shelf life and CBD expiration date are not the end-all-be-all of whether your CBD is still good.

    The next section will discuss five simple ways to tell if expired CBD has gone bad.

    KEY TAKEAWAY

    CBD is like any other medicine and breaks down over time. The potency and quality during the shelf life of CBD are guaranteed from the date it was made through the expiration date printed on the bottle. Quality and potency begin to decline after CBD expires. CBD may still be suitable to take after it’s expired — you just need to know what to look for.

    5 Ways To Tell If CBD Oil Expired

    First things first, check the ‘Use by’ or ‘Best before date’ date printed on your product packaging to find out if your CBD oil is expired.

    Can’t find an expiration date? Look for a lot number and provide it to the manufacturer when you contact them. Can’t see either of those? There are other ways to tell if CBD oil is still good, but you should consider buying CBD oil with lot numbers and expiration dates in the future. They show that even if you aren’t keeping track of those things, the manufacturer is, and that’s a sign of quality CBD.

    CBD expiration dates are part of a larger picture when deciding if your CBD oil is still good. Many factors affect how long CBD lasts. The CBD expire date is meant to be more of a guide than an end-all-be-all advisory.

    These are five easy ways to tell if expired CBD has gone bad.

    CBD Oil Smell Test

    Sense of smell is the strongest of all five senses, so it’s the best way to tell if expired CBD oil is still good.

    To start, shake the bottle well, then loosen and remove the top. Hold the opened bottle three to five inches away from your face. Now breathe in through your nose as you slowly bring the bottle closer to your nostrils. Stop when you’ve detected a smell and linger there a moment to observe it.

    CBD has a sweet, delicate aroma if it’s still good. This unique fragrance comes from phytochemicals called terpenes which break down slowly over time. Expired CBD may consequently have a flatter aroma profile, but it’s perfectly safe to take.

    Sour, fermented, or unpleasant smells ought to raise alarm bells, though. These indicate your CBD has gone bad and needs to be thrown out. Rancid CBD oil is loaded with harmful free radicals. These unstable molecules may increase the risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

    What about performing the smell test for CBD oil flavored with vanilla, cherry, mint, and other masking fragrances? The good news is CBD oil that’s gone bad is still easy to detect, even in artificially-flavored CBD oils. Be alert for conflicting scents when you perform the CBD smell test on any flavored oil. A rotten vanilla or fermented mint smell, for example, tells you the CBD is no good.

    Do not use expired CBD oil if it does not pass the smell test.

    CBD Oil Color Test

    You’ll need a transparent plastic or glass dropper for the CBD oil color test. First, take your dropper and collect about 1 mL of CBD oil into it. Then hold the filled dropper up to a light source to inspect the CBD color.

    Most aged CBD oil will have a gold, amber, or mahogany hue. It may even have a slight shade of pink, green, or tan depending on the enzymatic reactions that have taken place inside the bottle.

    CBD oil color changes are normal over the shelf life. They can be subtle or very apparent, so it will be up to you to spot anything out of the ordinary when checking the color of expired CBD.

    Splotchy or spotty CBD oil doesn’t automatically disqualify it, but may indicate that it has gone bad. Continue with the next testing steps to make sure your expired CBD oil is still good.

    CBD Oil Appearance Test

    Next, let’s inspect the expired CBD oil appearance in your dropper.

    Hold the dropper to the light. Expired CBD oil should appear clean with uniform clarity. Now look for any cloudiness or particulates in the expired CBD oil tincture. Also, check for mold around the rim of the bottle opening and on the underside of the dropper cap itself. Any of these indicates your CBD has gone bad.

    CBD Oil Consistency Test

    Place a few drops of the expired CBD oil between your thumb and forefinger. Then slowly rub those fingers together in a circular motion to feel the physical quality of the oil.

    Good CBD oil — even past the expiration date — will feel silky smooth between your fingertips.

    Expired CBD oil gone bad may have a gritty, clumpy, or sticky feel. These indicate microbial growth or other contamination.

    CBD Taste Test

    Tasting your expired CBD is the last and final test. It’s really the gold standard of the tests we’ve explored so far. But we’ve saved the best for last because we want you to be absolutely certain your expired CBD oil is suitable before putting it in your mouth.

    Like the other quality factors we’ve been inspecting today, the taste of your CBD may also change the closer it gets to the expiration date and beyond.

    Place a few drops of expired CBD on the tongue. If it passes this final test, your expired CBD is still good and safe to take. Stop the CBD taste test if you notice any unusual flavor not characteristic of CBD.

    Discard CBD that’s expired if you suspect it’s gone bad.

    KEY TAKEAWAY

    Many factors affect how long CBD lasts. The CBD expire date is meant to be more of a guide than an end-all-be-all advisory. Inspect the smell, color, appearance, consistency, and taste of expired CBD oil before deciding if it is still good. Discard expired CBD oil if you think it’s gone bad.

    Does CBD oil lose potency and effectiveness over time?

    Yes, it’s true that CBD oil breaks down as time passes.

    When CBD potency degrades, it means you will need to take more at one time to get the same effect. Even CBD stored in the most ideal conditions (i.e., refrigerated and unopened) will lose its potency someday.

    But today might not be that day!

    The good news is CBD breakdown is extremely slow. Sometimes, by mere fractions of a percentage according to 3rd-party lab tests for Cannabiva brand CBD oils.

    Our internal research shows Cannabiva CBD oil tincture potency degrades at a rate of less than 1% to 2% over a 12-month time frame when stored in a variety of conditions, including a sunny room where temperatures fluctuated daily, a cool and dark cabinet where the temperature was consistently below 75°F (24°C), and a refrigerator set to the coldest setting. The potency decline we measured was within the testing margin of error rates, and the actual rate of CBD breakdown may have been negligible.

    How, Why & When CBD Expires

    CBD is a highly versatile product. It comes in many forms because it mixes well with just about everything.

    Oil tinctures are one form of CBD you take. But you may also buy CBD in softgels and capsules, gummies, edibles like cookies and snacks, topical balms and salves, and vapes.

    The more ingredients you introduce into a CBD product, the less time it will last at peak quality because different ingredients break down at varying rates. For example, CBD edibles often contain milk, cream, butter, or eggs, which shorten their shelf life.

    When do CBD distillates and isolates expire?

    Raw cannabis extract is called a concentrate. When something is concentrated, its purity is focused and its potency is strengthened.

    Concentrates come in two main varieties:

    CBD distillate is a type of concentrate that comes in a full spectrum or broad spectrum version. Concentrated distillates have the active ingredient Cannabidiol (CBD) along with other cannabinoids, like Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabigerol (CBG), and Cannabichromene (CBC).

    Isolate extracts, on the other hand, are single-molecule concentrates made up of one predominant cannabinoid and virtually nothing else. Zero High® brand CBD Isolate Powder is a good example of a single-molecule concentrate because it’s radically purified and contains 99.77% pure CBD isolate powder.

    Concentrates have the longest shelf life and may last two years or longer after the expire date when stored in ideal conditions (i.e., in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, or in the refrigerator). They last so long because CBD concentrates crystallize into a water-repellant, rocklike substance at room temperature. This creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria, fungus, and mold. However, CBD concentrates break down in other ways.

    While not harmful, concentrates lose some of their strength as they age and you may need to take more over time. Independent lab testing shows that Cannabiva distillates and isolates lose fractions of a percentage of their strength during a typical year. According to our internal research, Cannabiva brand concentrates shed between 1% to 2% of their strength after 12 months stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. This percentage rate is within the testing margin of error rates. Actual rate of breakdown may have been negligible.

    When does CBD oil tincture expire?

    How long CBD oil tincture lasts depends on the carrier oil it’s infused with. Carrier oils dilute CBD and “carry” the active ingredient Cannabidiol into your body.

    The best carrier for CBD is medium-chain triglyceride oil or MCT for short. MCT is slightly acidic and loaded with saturated fats that resist oxidizing and inhibit microbial growth. Other carrier oils (e.g., hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil) are not recommended unless you cannot take coconut-derived MCT oil because they shorten CBD shelf life and must be refrigerated after opening.

    Cannabiva CBD Oil Tinctures are made with USDA-organic certified MCT, the #1 carrier for premium CBD brands. Using MCT extends the shelf life of our CBD oil tinctures by up to a year and beyond the expire date.

    Our internal research shows Cannabiva CBD oil tinctures degrade in potency at a rate of less than 1% to 2% over a 12-month time frame when kept in average storage conditions. Potency of expired CBD oil may degrade faster the older it gets.

    When do CBD softgels and capsules expire?

    Cannabiva CBD Softgels are a convenient, mess-free way to take CBD oil. People love them because it’s so easy to get an accurate dosage.

    Inside our softgels is a small amount of the same MCT-based CBD oil we use in our tincture products. According to our internal research, Cannabiva brand CBD oil potency degrades at a rate of less than 1% to 2% over 12 months time.

    The outer gelatin shell of Cannabiva CBD Softgels is resilient and estimated to last up to five years when refrigerated.

    When do CBD gummies expire?

    CBD combined with gummy candy is a match made in heaven.

    But CBD gummies have a short shelf life of about six months to one year after they’re made — and it’s not for reasons you might think.

    CBD gummy candy can dry out. Moisture content for the softest, chewiest gummy CBD is about 20%. Anything below 7% moisture content and your deliciously chewy CBD gummies get hard as a rock.

    Plan to consume an opened bottle of CBD gummies within three to six months, because even a tightly sealed CBD gummy package loses moisture over time.

    For best quality, always store CBD gummies in the refrigerator. Expired CBD gummies may last an additional six to 12 months after the expire date if the package is kept unopened and refrigerated.

    When do CBD edibles expire?

    The general rule of thumb is that the more ingredients your edible has, the shorter its shelf life.

    CBD edibles expire much faster than other kinds of CBD because they are typically made with many ingredients.

    Cookies, cakes, and snack foods made with CBD have a three to six-month shelf life depending on how they are packaged. Mylar plastic is the best CBD packaging to prolong the shelf life of edibles due to its airtight and light-blocking characteristics.

    CBD candies, chocolates, and confections usually fare better than other CBD edibles because of their high sugar and low moisture content. Honey sticks with CBD, for example, have a shelf life of up to two years and beyond when stored in cool, dry conditions.

    Expired CBD edibles do not go bad or spoil so long as they are the type of dry good that normally doesn’t require refrigeration. But they may become stale or lose flavor if kept too far past their expire date.

    Be sure to check the date on the packaging before consuming CBD edibles.

    When does CBD coffee expire?

    Nothing beats a hot cuppa joe with a dash of CBD to start your day! But what do you do if the date printed on your CBD coffee packaging shows it’s expired?

    CBD coffee stays delicious for about six months if the coffee is ground and up to 12 months for whole beans. Store your CBD coffee in the freezer to prolong its shelf life up to two years past the expiration date.

    Expired CBD coffee will not harm you in any way. However, old CBD coffee might just offend your coffee connoisseur’s palate so you should avoid anything more than two years past the expiration date printed on the packaging.

    When does CBD salve or balm expire?

    Topical CBD salves and balms will keep for a year or longer past the expiration date printed on the packaging if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct heat and sunlight.

    Not sure if your CBD salve or balm is still good after it’s expired? Here’s what you can do to decide:

    • Perform a smell test
      CBD salves and balms that go bad may have a sour or otherwise ‘off’ smell
    • Check the appearance
      Look for clumping, splotchy coloring, and visible particulates that indicate your CBD salve or balm has gone bad
    • Inspect product consistency and texture
      Take a small amount of CBD salve or balm between your thumb and forefinger to check for a gritty, clumpy, or sticky feel

    It may still be safe to use a topical CBD salve or balm that has expired, but you should throw it out if there are indications that your CBD skincare topical has gone bad.

    KEY TAKEAWAY

    How long your CBD stays good after the expire date depends on the kind of product it is. Generally, the more ingredients in your CBD products, the shorter the shelf life. Concentrated CBD extracts like distillates and isolates may last for years beyond their expiration date. CBD edibles, on the other hand, may last as little as a few weeks to several months. Always check the expiration date printed on your CBD packaging before use, and discard any products that show signs of going bad.

    Tips to Store CBD Oil & Extend CBD Shelf Life

    Five key factors cause CBD oil to go bad prematurely:

    • UV light
    • Direct heat
    • Excess moisture
    • Air exposure
    • Temperature

    How to store CBD oil properly to extend its shelf life is easy to accomplish with these simple CBD storage tips:

    Keep CBD out of direct sunlight

    Do not expose CBD to the direct sun because UV light speeds up the oxidation process of CBD oil.

    It’s best to keep CBD in a dark place such as a cupboard or pantry away from heat and direct light sources.

    Store CBD away from excessive heat

    Always store CBD oil in a cool, dry place.

    Keep CBD away from direct heat sources like stoves and radiators. Do not expose your CBD to extreme temperature fluctuations (e.g., leaving it in a hot or freezing car).

    The ideal room temperature to store CBD oil should hover around 70°F (21°C) and not exceed 77°F (25°C).

    Avoid Moist Environments

    Moist environments and excess humidity are the fastest way to make CBD oil go bad prematurely.

    Never store CBD oil in the bathroom or shower. Doing so could lead to bacterial growth and rapid breakdown of your CBD oil products.

    Also, be sure to avoid splashing water, coffee, tea, or other liquid into your CBD oil.

    Use an Airtight Container

    Oxygen exposure contributes to the breakdown of CBD oil over time.

    The air is also teeming with bioaerosols — microbes like bacteria, fungus, and mold — so always store CBD in an airtight container that you only open when needed. Don’t forget to close your CBD bottle tightly as soon as you are finished using it.

    Refrigerate CBD

    The best place to store unopened CBD or CBD you do not use very often is in the refrigerator.

    Extend the shelf life of your CBD for one year or longer by storing it in the refrigerator.`

    KEY TAKEAWAY

    UV light, direct heat, excess moisture, air exposure, and temperature fluctuations may cause CBD oil to expire prematurely. Prolong the shelf life of CBD oil by storing it in a cool, dry place away from the elements or keeping it refrigerated for best results.

    Summary

    Your CBD oil will eventually expire, but that doesn’t mean it goes bad!

    The CBD expire date is meant to be more of a guide than an end-all-be-all advisory. Inspect the smell, color, appearance, consistency, and taste of expired CBD oil before deciding if it is still good.

    How long CBD stays good after expiring depends on the kind of product it is. Generally, the more ingredients in your CBD products, the shorter the shelf life. Concentrated CBD extracts like distillates and isolates may last for years beyond their expiration date. CBD edibles, on the other hand, may last as little as a few weeks to several months. Always check the expiration date printed on your CBD packaging before use, and discard any products that show signs of going bad.

    UV light, direct heat, excess moisture, air exposure, and temperature fluctuations may cause CBD oil to expire prematurely. Prolong the shelf life of CBD oil by storing it in a cool, dry place away from the elements or keeping it refrigerated for best results.

    CBD oil lasts the longest when it’s infused with MCT, kept refrigerated, and left unopened until needed. Previously opened CBD should be consumed within a year if made with MCT or within three to six months if made using another carrier oil (e.g., hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil).

    Frequently Asked Questions About CBD Oil Expiration

    Get quick and easy answers to the most frequently asked questions about CBD expiration dates in our Does CBD Oil Expire FAQ.

    Don’t see your question answered in today’s article? We’d love to help! Chat with Cannabiva CBD Wellness Advisors if you have any questions we haven’t answered.

    Raw CBD extracts called concentrates have the longest shelf life. They provide the best long-term storage option if you plan to stock up on CBD.

    Concentrates may last two years or longer after the expire date when stored in ideal conditions (i.e., in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, or in the refrigerator).

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