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Does CBD oil expire? A guide to CBD's shelf life

CBD products are continually attracting consumers all around the world. As you’d expect, questions keep coming up from both newbies and old users. Some of these are from curious individuals trying to explore its potential, while others just want to know how it works to make good use of every drop of their CBD oil. If you are asking “Does CBD oil expire?” we are going to answer your question and help you to understand everything about the shelf life of CBD.

CBD oil is like many other plant products that you have to use within a specific time frame. In most cases, the shelf life spans from a year to two when you store the oil the right way. It can last longer than this depending on the packaging, formulation, and storage of the product. But for a period of up to two years, a bottle of CBD oil would have served you a lot! Whether you're using super strength 3000mg CBD oil or a milder 1500mg CBD oil, expiry dates are something you'll have to take into consideration.

Let’s dig deeper into how long your CBD oil can last and what to do to keep it at it’s best.


Understanding the shelf life of CBD oil

Most CBD products last 2 years max from their production date. When you purchase your CBD oil, check on the expiry date printed alongside the batch number to see how long you have to use whatever products you’ve bought.

In some instances, you may notice that your product expires before the date published on the bottle. This could happen when you store the CBD oil the wrong way. This can include exposing your CBD products to extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. You’ll also want to be careful to buy CBD from a reliable, regulated vendor if you want to avoid CBD that goes bad quicker than it should.

For the oil to serve you as long as you’d want, you should buy it from the right place and pay attention to the use and storage precautions.


CBD oil hygiene advice

When administering any plant product, you need to handle it with care. Similarly, when administering CBD oil using the dropper, you should do so with care. Handle the dropper gently so it doesn’t touch your tongue or mouth to avoid contamination. 

If the dropper touches your mouth, it can transfer the bacteria from saliva into the CBD oil bottle. This can stimulate bacterial growth which could even tamper with the oil’s effectiveness. As best practice, avoid contact between the dropper and your mouth.

Tip: You can avoid contamination by transferring the oil from the dropper onto a spoon. That way you can use one bottle for more than one person safely.


CBD carrier oil: What to know about their expiration dates.

We can’t fully answer the question “does CBD oil expire?” without mentioning the carrier oil. Carrier oil is what is blended with the CBD extracts to make CBD oil. This helps get the required dosage. Different manufacturers use different carrier oils.

The oils used in the blending process comprise triglycerides. The triglycerides are formed when three fatty acids and glycerol bond. Oils have diverse triglyceride profiles which determine the ideal carrier for CBD. It helps deliver the crucial aspect of CBD into your system. Carriers like MCT oil have longer shelf life compared to other carriers like hemp seed oil, which have a shorter life span. 

Here are some examples of carrier oils with their dates of expiry.

  • Olive Oil: Consists of long-chain triglycerides. It takes longer when breaking down in the digestive system compared to other triglycerides. The shelf-life of olive oil ranges between sixteen to twenty months. 
  • Hemp Seed Oil: This seed oil comprises eight triglycerides which are different. The most dominant is Trilinoleoyl-Glycerol, an LCT resembling olive oil. Some brands use hemp as a carrier oil in their products but, its shelf life is short and can go bad in a period of six months. A reason, most CBD brands don’t go for it as a carrier. 
  • MCT Oil: MTC, meaning medium-chain triglycerides, is better than LCTs. This is because they break with a lot of ease during the digestion process. And the best sources of MCT are coconut oil and palm oil. The better option remains to be coconut MCT oil having a longer shelf life. It takes about two years or longer if the oil is under the right storage. 


Do you need to refrigerate CBD oil?

For CBD to maintain its freshness, you don’t need to refrigerate it at all. From edibles, gummies, capsules to topicals, they don’t require any form of refrigeration. But CBD oil might need some form of refrigeration. Yet, the refrigeration will depend on the carrier oil used in blending the hemp extract. 

For example, if the carrier oil is hemp seed oil, you have to refrigerate it to extend the short shelf life. But, MCT oil stays longer (about two years or more) when properly stored. So, there is no need for refrigeration at all for MCT oil. 


Does direct sunlight impact on CBD oil?

Yes, sunlight affects CBD oil. This happens because the cannabinoid compounds are broken down by the UV rays making them ineffective. That’s why you should store your CBD oil bottle or other products away from sunlight.

It’s worth noting, it is better if the CBD products use an amber, darker tinted glass instead of a clear bottle. The package plays the role of protecting the CBD oil from sunlight that plays a role in shortening the product’s life span, explaining why most CBD oils are packaged in these darker bottles.


How to tell if CBD oil has gone bad 

Does CBD oil expire? Yes. Now, how do you know it has gone bad? The easiest way to know that CBD has gone bad is through the smell and taste. It takes some time (long after expiry) before you can start seeing the changes.

You might notice signs like a cloudy look and a thicker texture from the normal fresh oil. Also, you might well notice an unpleasant smell and a taste quite different to the taste of fresh CBD oil.

Sometimes, CBD may have gone bad but you won’t always experience any abnormal feeling or side effects if you take it accidentally in small amounts. Of course, if you feel any adverse effects after taking CBD, you should consult a medical professional.

Above all, develop the habit of throwing away bottles of expired CBD oil. Otherwise, you might mix up the products and use the expired CBD.

 Woman with black hair wearing white shirt looking at CBD oil dropper bottle

How to preserve CBD oil to last longer

Now that we’ve answered the question – does CBD oil expire, the next question would be how to prolong the product’s life. It’s essential to understand how to take care of your CBD oil. From the storage facility to the exposure to the environment, you need to know how to prolong CBD life.

How to Prolong CBD: 

  1. Most plant products should ideally be stored in a cabinet or pantry, which should be cool and dry. CBD oil is not an exception, you should store the oil in a clean, cool, and dry place. A dark cupboard or drawer at home is fine.
  2. Other people prefer to preserve the CBD oil in the refrigerator. It is a good option but can make the oil thicker. If you choose to do this and the oil becomes too thick, you can dip the CBD oil bottle in a mug of warm water before use.
  3. Another consideration is to avoid exposing the CBD oil to harsh elements. These include light, cold, extreme heat, or humid weather. It prevents the cannabinoids compounds from breaking down when exposed to direct air. 

When oxygen gains entry into the CBD oil bottle, it can affect the oil’s chemical balance. The reaction can reduce the oil’s efficiency in a process known as oxidation. For this reason, manufacturers and bottlers design CBD bottles in unique ways to prevent air or light from spoiling the oil.

All in all, understand that exposing your CBD oil to any of the damaging factors affects its potency and in the end, can reduce the shelf life of your CBD oil.


The takeaway

Answering the question of if and when CBD oil expires depends on several factors, as we’ve gone through above. These may include the quality of the additives, ingredients, and how you handle the products. Carrier oils influence the shelf life of CBD oils in a big way and are potentially one of the biggest influences on CBD oil’s shelf life.

So, when purchasing your product, you might want to take note of the carrier oil and you’ll definitely want to ensure you’re buying from a reputable seller. UK based sellers follow strict guidelines that ensure the safety and quality of the CBD they produce.

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