Whether you just bought your tincture, or you found an old bottle in your cabinet, at some point you may be wondering, “how long does CBD oil stay good?”
Chances are, you originally bought your tincture for its beneficial, therapeutic properties. If that’s the case, you likely want that honey-colored oil to stay good for as long as possible.
Maybe you aren’t going through your tincture as fast as you thought. Or, you bought a large bottle of tincture because it was more cost-effective to purchase in bulk. You may also have a backup bottle, just in case you misplace or break your supply.
Whatever the case, if you’re stocking up, how do you make sure you are able to consume all of your tincture, before its shelf life is up?
Does CBD Oil Go Bad?
The question: well, does CBD oil go bad? The answer: kind of not really, but basically, yes.
Tinctures that are past their prime isn’t likely to make you sick. It’s not like rancid milk or spoiled meats, something that can make you ill if you eat even a little of it once it has gone bad. However, in general, tinctures that is a bit old isn’t great to keep around.
The biggest reason is that if CBD is kept for too long or stored improperly, over time it will lose its potency.
As time goes on, CBD can begin to oxidize and the compounds can break down. The cannabinoids won’t function in the same way, making it less effective than it was when it was a new product. An old bottle can’t deliver the benefits you are looking for as well as fresh CBD oil can.
In addition to the reduced potency, the smell of the CBD oil may become less pleasant as it breaks down, becoming more “skunky”. The oil may appear thicker, turn cloudy, or change in color as it becomes older as well.
Besides the age of the CBD oil, the other factor that can decrease its shelf life is the storage conditions. Direct sunlight or intense heat can dramatically shorten the shelf life of CBD oil. UV rays can potentially speed up the break down of the cannabinoid compounds.
Have a CBD oil bottle that you accidentally left out on your sunny porch for a month? Found a CBD bottle in the back of your medicine cabinet from 2017? To be safe, once CBD oil is past its prime, it may be time to throw it away.
How Long Does CBD Oil Stay Good?
Alright, alright, we know—you want to hear the specific numbers. How long can you keep a bottle of CBD oil around?
In general, the experts advise that CBD oil can remain fresh anywhere from 12 to 24 months. It’s a relatively shelf-stable product, particularly if stored in the right conditions (more on that below).
In general, the quality of the initial product has a huge impact on its overall shelf life.
For example, the oils that have had minimal processing, like full-spectrum CBD oil, may generally last longer than flavored oils. Any additional ingredients added into the product may have an expiration date of their own that can shorten the shelf life overall.
In addition, the extraction process can affect the product’s overall longevity. The carbon dioxide extraction process, the gold standard of the industry, doesn’t use harsh chemicals to isolate the CBD. Other methods that involve butane and other solvents may result in more processed, less stable compounds, and therefore a shorter shelf life.
Finally, since the CBD compound is fat-soluble, it is typically packaged with a carrier oil to help increase absorption. Every different kind of oil has a different makeup and expiration date.
One of the best carrier oils in the industry is an oil with “medium-chain triglycerides“, or MCT, usually in the form of coconut oil. MCTs have a smaller molecular structure compared to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), so they are absorbed more quickly by the body. It is a popular choice for carrier oil because with greater bioavailability, you feel the effects sooner of CBD sooner.
Understanding which kind of carrier oil used in the CBD product helps you understand the shelf life. With MCT derived from coconut oil, for example, the shelf life is usually 12-24 months.
Importance of Brand Trust
If you don’t consume your CBD oil within the one to two-year timeline, any CBD oil will eventually pass its prime. However, to ensure that your CBD oil lasts as long as possible, it’s important to purchase a high-quality product from the beginning.
Besides the normal checklist of quality indicators (organic sourcing, intake options, etc), what else should you look for to ensure your CBD will have the standard shelf life?
The first place you should check is the expiration date, which should be clearly printed on the product and easy to find. If your product doesn’t have an expiration date, it may be an indicator that the manufacturer isn’t being upfront about the age of the product.
Next, check out the packaging. As mentioned before, exposure to sunlight can have a huge impact on the shelf life of your tincture. If a tincture manufacturer is using a clear bottle, they are not prioritizing the shelf life of their product. Generally, high-quality manufacturers of CBD oils use tinted amber or green glass bottles to minimize light directly reaching the product.
Finally, as always, make sure to check out the CBD oil’s Certificate of Analysis (COA) before you purchase the product. These third-party lab results will reveal what’s in your product, and at what concentrations. The COA should be freely available on the company’s website. If you cannot find it, you may want to look for a more reputable manufacturer.
How to Make CBD Oil Last Longer
Now that you understand what impacts CBD oil’s longevity, here are a few tips for maximizing its shelf life.
- Reseal the cap tightly after using the bottle, to minimize oxidation of the CBD oil.
- Store in a cool, dark place in your home, like a pantry, drawer, or cabinet.
- If you use a dropper to take your CBD, try not to touch your tongue or mouth when consuming the oil. You can transfer bacteria from your mouth into the CBD bottle, and the bacteria that were in your saliva can begin to digest the oil (just like they do to food).
- If you use a spoon to take your CBD, or dose it out to a pet, make sure it’s clean so you don’t introduce bacteria into the oil.
- There is no need to refrigerate your tincture. The best environment is room temperature.
- Make sure that you don’t store tinctures next to a window where the oil may heat up
- In general, don’t store your bottles horizontally. (This prevents the CBD oil from interacting with the seal of the bottle.)
There are many different factors that impact the shelf life of your tincture. To ensure your tincture stays good, pick a high-quality product, and store it correctly.
However, if you are using your CBD oil regularly (which can increase its beneficial effects), you will most likely finish a bottle before it goes past its prime!
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