Now that CBD oil has become a common commodity, people may be inclined to keep a stash around the house or try out a few different products. It’s a naturally-derived product, so it seems a given that it would have an expiration date.
Asking the question “Does CBD Oil Go Bad?” is a good place to start before overstocking your shelves. We’ll take you through what goes into making your CBD products, how to properly store them, and when it’s time to toss them out.
How it’s Made
It’s important to have an understanding of hemp products, especially CBD
CBD oil more often than not comes from hemp. Hemp is a member of the cannabis family that has high cannabidiol (CBD) content and low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. It’s a popular option for making CBD products because of its content of psychoactive THC is negligible.
The production of CBD oil most often involves exposing the stems, seeds, or leaves of the cannabis plant to supercritical CO2. These impossibly cold temperatures extract the active, beneficial chemicals from the plant without leaving harmful byproducts or compromising potency.
There are other ways to extract CBD oil, but the CO2 extraction method is considered the cleanest and most effective. Most premier retailers use this method.
A pass through supercritical CO2 pulls out terpenes and trichomes as well. These elements have their own beneficial qualities as well as the flavor profile associated with CBD and hemp products.
What Causes Cannabis Products to “Skunk”?
Terpenes give hemp products that distinct cannabis taste. They’re also responsible for the smell that some people like to describe as “skunky.” While a skunk’s potent odor is far more noxious than any hemp should ever be, hemp products can begin to take on less agreeable smells with time.
This is a result of the degradation of active chemicals. Over time, the active chemicals, including the cannabinoids and terpenes, break down and go rancid. It’s this alteration of their makeup that creates that unpleasant scent.
The scent serves as a way to remind us that there is a shelf-life on the product. When the scent begins to change, it’s a sure sign that change is happening to your CBD. It won’t become hazardous, but you can expect that the taste and potency to decline.
Some CBD companies, like Charlotte’s Web, don’t list an expiration date on their products although there are points in time which the product quality may start to decline. For their brand specifically, they identify that point at one year after which there may be some degradation.
The same timeframe applies to other products. Most companies will provide a timeframe during which their product is most potent. As a benchmark rule, if stored properly, hemp will keep its integrity up until about a year.
Basically, in the case of CBD and similar cannabis products, what expiration refers to is potency. Cannabis products undergo rigorous testing and quality assurance before they can go to market. The products are packaged, marketed, and sold listing the enclosed potency. Expiration is when their labels are no longer relevant to whats inside.
How to properly store CBD oil
Taking good care of your CBD products will ensure that they will stay potent for the maximum amount of time. No matter what kind of product you have, cannabis has certain reactors that change the makeup if overexposed. Does this mean CBD oil will go bad? Well…
As a general rule, CBD oil should be stored in a cool, dry, place out of direct sunlight. These elements each create a reaction that can cause the breakdown of active chemicals in CBD products.
Exposure to light has surprisingly damaging effects for a range of chemicals. Known as photodegeneration, light facilitates oxidation which contributes to foul-smells, off-tastes, and depletion of nutrients.
In milk, UV rays break down sulfur-containing amino acids which lead to the rancid smell. Ultraviolet light will also degrade vitamin A and riboflavin. These alterations strip away the nutrition of milk.
Light produces similar effects on CBD products. Oxidation leads to breaking down of essential molecules and active chemicals, breaking down the beneficial properties of CBD oil.
Quality CBD oil will come packaged in amber- or blue-tinted glass to avoid overexposure to light. Keeping it stored in this container will help preserve it, but it will help to take it a step further and hide it from excess light.
Just as it would with light, CBD can deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures. It’s an extreme that can end up altering the makeup of your product. Store your products out of direct sunlight, away from hot appliances, or below room temperature if you live in hotter climates.
Humidity, or moisture in the air, can have detrimental effects on CBD oil. Moisture may be good for growing hemp but once the CBD oil is extracted it’s best to keep it away from excess humidity.
This can go for the freezer as well. The intense cold and moist air of the freezer don’t make for ideal temperatures under which CBD can be stored. The refrigerator is a much more habitable location for keeping your CBD oil safe.
Though it may sound counterintuitive, air can have detrimental effects on your CBD oil. Oxygen may end up diluting the active ingredients in your CBD oil.
It’s best to keep your CBD away from excess air. This is easy to do by simply keeping it in an airtight container. Usually, it’s packaged in one already so you don’t have to worry about making arrangements–just close the lid once you’re done using it.
And then there’s the case of edibles. CBD oil-infused snacks face two questions: Does CBD oil go bad, and will the edible go bad over time?
Edibles face a slightly more challenging process of preservation. It is, after all, a food, so there is the natural deterioration of ingredients that happens, hemp-infused or not.
When you do add hemp to the mix, your product potency will have a limited shelf life. Similar steps should be taken to preserve the potency and integrity of CBD edibles. Treat them as you would normal food–fresh cookies are delicious and year old cookies are questionable.
It’s also highly recommended to keep away from plastic, especially when storing CBD products. Over time, plastic can begin to compromise your product by emitting its own chemicals. Generally speaking, food-grade plastic containers are safe, but cheaper materials may cause hazardous interactions.
CBD is more of use when it’s implemented into daily regimes, but it can still be good to stow away for a rainy, achy day. If you don’t plan to use your CBD within a year, it’s best to keep it in the refrigerator to avoid a breakdown of the active ingredients.
Degradation of your CBD oil isn’t necessarily harmful, but it strips away the benefits that taking CBD oil is intended for. Treat your CBD oil with care. Find a safe and suitable storage option to protect it and, in the long term, your health.