How long has that CBD product been sitting on your shelf? As it turns out, this bit of information may be more important than you realize.
Does CBD Expire?
Yes, CBD expires. The hemp extract itself has a shelf life of about 14 to 24 months, and the flower itself lasts for an even shorter period of time. A company should be able to provide some sort of expiration date to you, if it’s not clearly stated on the product’s packaging.
What Happens When Cannabidiol Expires?
When CBD expires, it doesn’t go rotten like the vegetables sitting in your fridge. It’s unlikely that expired hemp is harmful to the human body, but what does happen is that it loses potency. The individual compounds in hemp, including the rich array of cannabinoids that make hemp so unique, eventually oxidize and become weaker. This means that while expired cannabidiol likely won’t make you sick, it will likely deliver less-than-satisfactory effects due to the loss in potency.
Do Some Delivery Methods Expire Sooner Than Others?
We know that hemp products come in a variety of delivery methods, with each have their own formula made up of different ingredients. Also, we know that different ingredients expire at different rates. While the CBD itself may last for up to two years, the ingredients in the formula may expire sooner, meaning that the product may not be useful after a period of time that’s shorter than two years.
- Vape Oil: May remain potent for up to two years, but the flavoring extracts may oxidize sooner, resulting in a weak or even unpleasant flavor. Further, the consistency may become so thick within less than a year that it clogs up the coil, making it useless.
- Wax: Might expire within a year, due to the manufacturing method which destabilizes the compounds more than the process of creating a hemp extract. It may lose as much as half of its potency after two years.
- Tinctures: Generally last for up to two years, due to the stability of the formula and the fact that the carrier oil typically lasts for as long as the hemp extract itself.
- Topicals: Could expire sooner than two years, due to the additional ingredients in the formula that break down more quickly than the hemp, which can result in a separated formula or one that smells “off.”
- Capsule: Can likely last for up to two years, as the formula inside each capsule is extremely stable and rarely contains more perishable ingredients.
- Flower: Lasts for six months to one year, depending on how it was stored (more on that later). After a year has passed, it’s likely lost at least half of its potency.
Storage Makes a Difference
While hemp extract is usually adequately effective for up to two years, improper storage can make it expire sooner. Exposure to heat, humidity or bright light can destabilize the compounds, speeding up the oxidization process that causes the compounds to weaken. This is why hemp should always be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. This will ensure that the hemp remains as potent as possible for a long time to come and applies to all delivery methods.
Taking CBD Past its Expiration Date: Is it a Good Idea Overall?
So, should you take a CBD product that has expired? Well, like we said, it likely won’t get you sick. Expired CBD does not have a tendency to accumulate bacteria or fungus that can be dangerous. It may have a weaker flavor and an unusual color or consistency due to the natural aging process. If it has a strange smell, you should avoid it altogether.
If you’re going to take expired cannabidiol, you will likely not have the potent hemp experience that you were hoping for. Some people try to work around this by doubling up on their dose to compensate for the lack of strength of the compounds in the hemp. But, ultimately, we recommend that you just toss your CBD entirely and replace it. Why? Because the actual rate at which the potency decreases is almost impossible to measure, as it depends on so many unique factors, including the temperature at which the hemp is stored. This means that once it has expired, there is no real way to know how strong your doses are.
Expired CBD is Unlikely to Be Harmful
However, that does not mean that it’s a good idea to take it. Because hemp that has expired is unstable and less potent, it can be hard to maintain a routine with it due to an inability to tell how strong it is, and therefore how likely it is to deliver the desired effects. Your best bet is to simply buy more cannabidiol and make a point to only buy as much as you will use within the time before it expires.