Does CBD Go Bad? Shelf Life Of CBD

by | Dec 11, 2020 | CBD 101

Does CBD Go Bad? Shelf Life Of CBD

CBD oil is truly the natural remedy of the century. This “liquid gold” has skyrocketed in popularity, especially among Baby Boomers, being used to treat ailments from depression and anxiety to relieving pain and lowering inflammation.

Depending on the reason for using it, one person might empty their bottle of CBD oil in one week, while another person may only take a few drops per month. But when does CBD oil go bad? And how can you tell? There are understandably lots of questions surrounding CBD oil and its expiration date. In this article, we’re discussing CBD oil shelf life, the factors that affect it, and ways to store yours for best preservation.

Does CBD Oil Expire?

Like any other perishable product, CBD oil will eventually expire. However, there is no one direct answer on the length of time this oil will stay shelf-stable. This is primarily because CBD extraction methods and storage techniques all impact shelf-life dramatically. And, due to the price tag on most bottles of CBD oil, proper storage and care are so important to getting the most from your money.

Shelf Life Of CBD Oil?

Believe it or not, CBD has an impressive shelf life, with most high-quality oils keeping for 12 months or more.1 If kept in optimal conditions, some bottles could even last a person up to two years! Beyond this “shelf life”, this medicinal oil could lose its potency and effectiveness, while also running the risk of becoming rancid.

Factors That Affect Shelf Life Of CBD Oil?

Determining the viability of a bottle of CBD oil isn’t as simple as looking at the date on the calendar, though. There are several different elements involved in the shelf life of your CBD oil. This is why it’s so important to do your research on manufacturing practices and storage guidelines when you decide to try it. The two factors that affect CBD oil shelf-life the most include:

three cbd extraction methods

Extraction Methods

Manufacturers of CBD oil have many different extraction methods to choose from, and this decision does matter. The most common methods of extracting CBD are with solvents, carrier oils, or CO2.

  • Solvent Extraction: This process involves soaking the plant material in a solvent, like ethanol, butane, or isopropyl. CBD tinctures are one of the most commonly available products that use solvent extraction. When done correctly, solvent-extracted CBD provides the longest shelf life and can last for up to 2 years.
  • CO2 Extraction: This is a very advanced process of extracting CBD, and requires special equipment to accomplish. This type of CBD oil typically has a better taste but doesn’t have a shelf life quite as long as its solvent-extracted counterpart.
  • Carrier Oil Extraction: Similar to solvent extraction, this type of CBD extraction involves soaking plant material. This time it’s soaked in a carrier oil like olive oil and less commonly coconut oil. This type of CBD oil tends to be quite low in potency.

Storage Method

You (the consumer) also play an important role in prolonging the shelf life of your CBD oil. That’s because the storage conditions surrounding it are directly influential on the potency of this type of oil. Research shows that keeping CBD oil in the fridge with little to no light exposure is the ideal way to store it, as this can help extend shelf life and retain potency.2

How To Understand If CBD Oil Has Gone Bad

There is no universal time frame for when CBD oil goes bad, and there are so many circumstances that can affect its lifespan. Because of this, it can feel overwhelming to properly identify when yours has gone bad. First and foremost, it’s important to know that expired CBD oil is not dangerous CBD oil. For the most part, a CBD product past its shelf life is unlikely to make you sick but instead has only lost effectiveness.

 There are some key ways for helping you identify whether your CBD oil has gone rancid:

  • Your CBD oil has changed color: CBD oil that looks foggy or cloudy has probably expired and should be replaced with a new bottle.
  • Your CBD oil smells different: Any funky, foul, or unpleasant smells are a clear indicator of expired CBD oil. This is usually an indicator of improper storage.
  • The expiration date has passed: The best, easiest way to identify whether your CBD oil is bad or not is to check the date on the package. The seller knows the date your batch was created and calculates the expiration date from that point.

Best Ways To Store CBD Oil

best ways to store cbd

As mentioned above, properly storing your CBD oil is a critical step in the process of prolonging its shelf life. This is because external factors like age, heat, and light naturally break down the cannabinoids within CBD oil, lowering its efficacy. One of the most common places for CBD storage is in the fridge. Regardless of where you decide to store your CBD oil, there are some important considerations to make.

Keep Your CBD Oil Away From Light

Light is absolutely awful for CBD oil and begins damaging the product almost immediately. Many hemp oils, like ours, are packaged in dark bottles to help protect them from light damage. Some people also choose to wrap their glass bottles in aluminum foil to further protect the oil from exposure to light. Definitely take some precautions to protect your CBD oil, as research shows that doing so can decrease the breakdown of its chemical makeup dramatically.

Keep Free From Air

There’s a reason our CBD oil tinctures are packaged in airtight bottles. Research indicates that, behind light exposure, air oxidation causes some of the most dramatic damage to CBD oil.  For this reason, you should make sure that you always return the cap to its bottle when it’s not actively in use, and seal it tightly. This will help you get the most shelf life out of your CBD product.

Keep Out Of Humid Environments

As an oil, CBD products do not mix well with water. Like regular air exposure, humid environments quickly begin breaking down the important components within CBD. Your CBD should be stored in a stable environment where the humidity doesn’t change too drastically. Conditions under 65% humidity are best for storing CBD oil.

Does CBD Need To Be Refrigerated?

Typically, CBD products come with the instructions to store in a “cool, dark place”, which many people translate to the refrigerator. And, while the fridge is an awesome place to store CBD oil, it’s not necessary. In fact, research shows that CBD products keep just as long, and stay just as effective when stored at room temperature.   A “cool” place generally just means somewhere out of direct sunlight and away from appliances that give off heat.

Does All CBD Oil Have An Expiration Date?

All CBD is derived from plant material, and all organic material expires at some point. In most cases, the shelf life lasts somewhere around a year and, if stored in optimal conditions, up to two. While we’ve discussed the importance of storing your CBD oil appropriately (in a cool, dark, airtight place), another way to prolong the shelf life of your CBD oil is to practice good hygiene. Make sure the dropper never touches your mouth, food, or any surface to keep your oil pure and free from contaminants.

Does Hemp CBD Oil Expire?

Unlike full-spectrum CBD oil, hemp-derived CBD oil is federally legal and can be sold in all 50 states. And, also unlike full-spectrum CBD oil, hemp-derived CBD oil is free from excess plant material. This means that it has a longer shelf life and is less prone to going rancid. CBD oil derived from hemp plants does still expire within about 1-2 years, and should still be stored properly

Final Thoughts

CBD oil is the true definition of a natural remedy. Derived from a plant, and free from harmful chemicals, the one downfall of this alternative approach is that a bottle doesn’t last forever. This is why it is essential to remain conscious of the quality of your CBD oil. Choose to purchase CBD products from a reputable company. Doing so will ensure that your oil is free from additives and contaminants, ensuring that it lasts for as long as possible. 

 You also have a part to play! Beyond quality, correct CBD storage is absolutely essential. Keeping your CBD oil stored properly, free from contaminants and air exposure, and out of the light can allow you to enjoy it for years to come. When you take care of it, your CBD oil will take care of you. Make sure to take the necessary steps to ensure this happens.


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