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What Influences the Shelf Life of CBD Oil (& How to Keep it Fresh)?

shelf life of cbd oil

In our house, a bottle of CBD doesn’t last super long, so, to us, the shelf life of CBD oil isn’t a big deal. We use it every day (after all, consistency is key).

But what if you only use it occasionally, when you need it? Is shelf life and freshness something you need to be concerned about?

Like most good things, that bottle of CBD oil won’t last forever. So, what affects CBD oil’s shelf life and what can you do to keep yours fresh?

The Shelf Life of CBD Oil

Most CBD products will have a shelf life of about 1-2 years. There are several factors that influence the shelf life of CBD oil:

  • quality
  • ingredients
  • extraction process
  • packaging
  • storage

1. Quality. This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, but higher quality products tend to last longer. This comes down to things like growing conditions and the quality of the plants, as well as the quality of any other ingredients.

Additionally, a higher quality oil will typically come from a manufacturer who pays attention to storage (see below) and keeps an eye on shelf life.

2. Ingredients. What’s in that CBD oil matters because every ingredient has a shelf life of its own, and each one can affect how long the contents last.

For example, the carrier oil your CBD is blended with will have a shelf life. Ingredients like flavorings also expire, which could affect how long your oil lasts. Less is usually more when it comes to CBD oil shelf life, so read the product label and look for limited ingredients.

3. Extraction process. There are several different methods of extraction for CBD.

CO2 extraction will result in the longest lasting oil. This method preserves the chemical integrity of the plant, ensuring that the CBD remains stable. A more stable chemical composition means a longer shelf life because it takes a lot longer for those compounds to break down. It also maximizes the level of CBD and other cannabinoids obtained from the plant during extraction.

Lower-quality extraction methods don’t last as long because these methods can produce more unstable products.

4. Packaging. Have you ever noticed that high quality CBD is almost exclusively packaged in dark blue or amber glass bottles? There’s a reason for that.

CBD oil lasts longer in dark-colored, airtight glass containers. The right packaging helps protect the oil from exposure to air and sunlight. For this reason, try to stay away from plastic or clear glass bottles.

5. Storage. Research shows that heat and light accelerate CBD degradation, which is why storing your CBD properly is important. Ideal conditions can help CBD oil keep its potency and freshness longer.

Speaking of storage…

Human Tinctures:

How to Keep Your CBD Oil Fresh

Want to keep your CBD oil fresher, longer? There are a few things to note about how to store your CBD to help prolong its viable shelf life. Specifically, avoid light, heat, excess exposure to air, and moisture.

  • Store your CBD in a cool, dark place. This could mean a drawer or cupboard. We keep ours in the kitchen cupboard farthest from the stove.
  • Keep your CBD in its original container. As mentioned, a good quality oil will come in a glass container, one that’s airtight. Keep it in there. Also, you don’t want to contaminate it by changing to a bottle that hasn’t been properly cleared.
  • Store tincture bottles upright and don’t leave your bottles open, as air can also contribute to faster oxidation.
  • Keep it away from heat-generating appliances, like the radiator, oven, or stove. It also won’t do so well on the windowsill. And the bathroom? Well, just make sure you don’t have long, hot showers that steam up the bathroom.
  • Don’t keep your CBD in your car, especially if you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures and/or intense sunlight. It might be tempting to keep a bottle in your car first aid kit, but it won’t last as long in there.

Do you need to keep it in the fridge? No, in most cases, you don’t need to refrigerate it. The only time we might recommend doing so is if you live in a hot, humid place with no A/C. That said, lots of people like to do this because they believe it helps the CBD last longer. Whether or not this is true is still up for debate. CBD has a decent shelf life to begin with, but it won’t hurt your oil to store it there. 

One thing you might notice if you keep your CBD oil in the fridge is that if it gets too cold, it can thicken up. This isn’t a big deal, it may just mean running it under some warm water before using. You can also leave it on the counter for a little while to bring it back down to room temperature.

Going Past the Shelf Life of CBD Oil

Each individual bottle of CBD oil should have an expiry date on it, but if it doesn’t there are a few ways to tell if the ‘best before’ date has passed.

  • Its color goes from a light golden color to a darker brown.
  • It loses texture and goes from a thicker stock to a thin one.
  • A foggy coating is visible on the inside of the bottle.
  • The taste changes.

Now, if you notice these things but you’ve still be taking your CBD, don’t worry! If your CBD tincture has expired, it isn’t harmful as long as it doesn’t also contain ingredients such as foods that decompose over time.

The worst thing with expired CBD oil is the degradation of quality of the infusions and extracts. Once the compounds in the oil start to break down and evaporate, it becomes less potent over time. So, this means that expired CBD may not be as effective as it once was.

So check those bottles peeps and make sure you’re storing your oil properly.