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Could CBD Oil and Tincture Products Really Expire?

Posted by David on

So, you’ve been stocking up on CBD products, but suddenly, you look down at the label of your oil or tincture only to discover that the product has passed its expiration date. Should you throw out your bottle? Is it still safe to use? Will expired CBD make you sick?

There’s a reason why CBD products have expiration dates, which we will be getting into today. And, you might be surprised to learn that there are some things that you can do in order to possibly push the product beyond its expiration date.

So, before you toss out all of your CBD products that have lasted beyond their expiration dates, read this article first. You just might learn some new things that can help you avoid wasting precious CBD oil.

Do Oil-Based CBD Products Expire?

Yes, CBD oils and tinctures do technically expire. And, any CBD product should display an expiration date on its label as this is required by FDA guidelines. So, whenever you purchase a CBD oil or tincture, first check its expiration date to make sure that you can finish consuming the bottle’s contents before the date has arrived.

Typically, an oil-based CBD product has a shelf life that’s between 12 and 24 months. However, a variety of factors determine exactly when that expiration date should be. And, we’ll be getting into those in detail.

What Factors Determine the Expiration Date?

Quite a few factors determine the expiration date of a CBD oil or tincture.

The Extraction Method Used

One thing that determines a CBD product’s expiration date is the extraction method that was used to turn the hemp plant material into an oil. Generally, the CO2 extraction method is considered the best that there is. This method best preserves the chemical integrity of the plant, ensuring that each compound remains stable. A more stable chemical composition means a longer shelf life as it takes a lot longer for those compounds to break down.

Therefore, a CBD product extracted using the CO2 method will last longer. Meanwhile, lower-quality extraction methods such as certain solvent methods will result in a shorter shelf life because these methods can produce more unstable products.

While CO2 extraction is a superior method, this process has not been standardized. Here is more information on the most popular extraction methods and their impact on shelf life.

Carbon Dioxide Extraction

In this method, pressurized carbon dioxide is slowly introduced into the chamber containing the cannabis plant. As a result, the CBD oil begins to separate from the plant. The extract is very potent and has a very long shelf life.

Solvent Extraction

During this process, a solvent, such as butane, is used to extract the oils from the plant. Solvent extraction is less preferred due to the risk of harmful bi-products. This method results in lower quality CBD oils with shorter shelf lives.

Steam Extraction

In steam extraction, water is heated to create water vapor. The hot steam is then passed over the plant several times. The heat causes the hemp or cannabis plants' cell walls to break down, releasing the CBD oil in the process. Steam extraction is one of the safest methods and produces very stable CBD oils.

Additional Ingredients

Another thing that affects the shelf life of a CBD oil or tincture is whether or not the product contains any other ingredients. For instance, if a CBD oil contains a flavoring additive that has a shelf life of only one year, that means that the product only has a shelf life of one year. A product’s shelf life is determined by the ingredient with the shortest shelf life.

How Long It’s Been Since the CBD Oil was Extracted

Also, an expiration date is determined by when a CBD oil is extracted. So, if a CBD product has been sitting on a shelf for six months before you purchased it, its expiration date will be sooner than that of a product that was only extracted a month ago.

Is Expired CBD Dangerous to Consume?

Technically, expired CBD tinctures and oils aren’t dangerous to consume, as long as the products don’t also contain ingredients such as foods that decompose over time. So, you don’t have to worry about getting sick from using an oral tincture that expired last month.

Is Expired CBD Still Effective?

The problem with expired CBD is that it will probably not be as effective as it once was. This is because the compounds in the oil slowly break down and evaporate, meaning that the potency of the product decreases over time.

How Can I Tell if My CBD Product is No Longer Good?

It can be tricky to tell whether or not a CBD product is still effective after it has reached its expiration date. One thing to look for is a separation of the formula. This separation occurs because the chemical compounds have broken down and detached from each other, resulting in a less homogenized product.

How Can I Make My CBD Product Last for as Long as Possible?

Of course, no one wants to use CBD that has passed its expiration date. However, there are some things that you can do to make that CBD oil or tincture last for as long as possible.

Good Storage is Key

The most important thing is storing your CBD oil or tincture properly. As you probably know, light and heat both promote oxidization, a process that causes the molecules of the potentially beneficial compounds to break down at a fairly rapid pace, which results in evaporation and destabilization.

Oxidization can cause your CBD product to lose its effectiveness, which is why we always recommend storing an oil-based CBD product in a cool, dark place such as a drawer, cabinet or closet.

The most important factors for storage are:

  1. Keep away from light and heat – Exposure to heat and direct sunlight breaks down the CBD oil and degrades its quality. This is the reason CBD oil is packaged in dark glass bottles. Cool, dark, and dry storage is the perfect home for your CBD oil products. That means a shelf near the window that receives direct sunlight is out of the question. A storage cabinet with other electrical appliances that emit heat is also out.
  2. Avoid air exposure — Exposure to air alters the chemical balance of CBD oils through a process called oxidative stress. Over time, this has a similar effect to light exposure and storage in areas with warmer temperatures. Ensure that the top is tightly secured after every use.

Should You Refrigerate Your CBD Oil?

Certain products respond better to cold temperatures than others. Although refrigeration will extend your oil's shelf life, it may also thicken it, making it harder to use. If the CBD oil is still a long way from expiring, then you don't need to refrigerate.

Only Purchase CBD as Needed

Another thing to do is only purchase CBD when you need it. In other words, just because a company is having a big sale doesn’t mean that you should buy ten bottles at once. Unless you really think that you can use all ten bottles within the timeframe of the shelf life, you’ll just end up wasting good-quality, expensive CBD.

Fresh CBD is Still the Way to Go

While CBD products do expire, that doesn’t mean that they go bad in a way that makes them dangerous to consume. Still, you want to have the most effective, fresh CBD product possible, so make sure that you store your bottles properly and never purchase more than you need at any given time.

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