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Does CBD Oil Go Bad? Here’s What to Know

If you purchased your CBD oil a while ago, you might be wondering how much life is left in that little container and does CBD oil go bad? Like all products, CBD can expire, but exactly how long will it last for?

When a product expires, it can lose effectiveness and even become dangerous to use. Because of this, it’s important to know when it’s time to get rid of your CBD oil, even if it’s not quite finished.

To help you get the most out of your CBD oil, we’ve gathered all you need to know about CBD’s shelf life.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is a form of CBD, a compound that naturally occurs in cannabis plants. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD can be purchased in many forms but is especially popular thanks to it being versatile and easy to use and dose.

Often used to treat a range of conditions, CBD has gained quite a reputation as a therapeutic. Research tells us that CBD may be useful in treating the symptoms of anxiety, neurodegenerative disease, sleep disorders and inflammatory illnesses, to name a few (1, 2, 3, 4).

What affects the shelf life of CBD oil?

The factors that affect the shelf life of CBD oil include the quality of the CBD oil, how the CBD oil is stored and how the CBD oil was extracted from cannabis plant material.

  • CBD quality - As a general rule, the higher quality your CBD oil, the longer it will last. To ensure you’re buying high-quality CBD oil that will last longer, look out for products that undergo third-party lab testing to ensure their oil is free of harmful substances and contains effective amounts of CBD. Trusted brand names are also useful in helping you narrow down the quality CBD oils.
  • CBD storage - If CBD is not stored correctly, then it can degrade and become less effective. CBD is a cannabinoid, and cannabinoids are known to be unstable and vulnerable to degradation when exposed to light, heat or air (5, 6).
  • CBD extraction - CBD oil can be extracted in a variety of ways, so it’s important your CBD oil be produced in a manner most conducive to extended shelf life. 

How long does CBD oil last?

CBD has a long shelf life; you can expect your CBD oil to last for roughly 1-2 years, provided that you store it properly. The shelf life of CBD will vary, however, depending on how you treat and store your CBD oil.

By following best practice advice and keeping your CBD oil in a place away from high temperatures and bright lights, your CBD oil should last you for a few years.

It is important to keep in mind that the shelf life of CBD oil may also vary depending on the quality of the product. A lower quality CBD oil is likely to expire quicker, so if you’re looking for a CBD that will last you longer, it’s best to play it safe and look for high-quality CBD oil.

How to tell if your CBD oil has expired

You can tell if your CBD oil has gone bad by its look, taste and smell.

  • Look - If your CBD oil is thick and hard to see through, it’s likely gone off. Cold or mixed CBD oil can look quite cloudy, so let your CBD oil get to room temperature and settle before checking to see if it is thick, dark and cloudy and likely off.
  • Taste - Natural CBD oil should have a slightly earthy, nutty taste. Unless your CBD has flavouring added to it, testing your CBD for this taste is a good sign that it is still good. If your CBD oil has a funky, bitter taste, then it’s probably seen better days.
  • Smell - Just like food, CBD oil will tell you it’s off by its smell. You want your CBD oil to smell slightly earthy and grassy; off CBD will have an unpleasant, pungent smell that will warn you straight away. If you’re worried about how old your CBD oil is, grab the bottle and give it a sniff!

Does CBD oil go bad? Is expired CBD oil bad for you?

The good news is that while expired CBD oil isn’t ideal if you take it then it’s unlikely to be bad for you. The worst thing that will probably happen from letting your CBD oil sit around for too long is that it won’t be as effective.

With time and exposure, CBD oil can degrade, meaning that it may become less effective. If you’re looking for CBD oil that is more likely to actually have an effect, make sure it’s not expired.

Storage tips for longer-lasting CBD

To keep your CBD oil fresher for longer, here are some handy storage tips:

  • Keep your CBD oil in an airtight container to reduce air exposure. Check to see that you’ve closed the container properly after every use.
  • Store CBD oil in a cool, dark place.
  • Wash your hands before touching your CBD oil to reduce contamination in the container.
  • Ensure that your CBD oil isn’t stored in a place with fluctuating temperatures.

The bottom line

Just like most products, CBD does have an expiry date and time; air and heat can speed up that time, but there are some things you can do to extend your CBD oil’s shelf life.

While expired CBD oil probably won’t cause any harm, it also won’t cause any good. Degraded CBD oil is less likely to be effective, so taking care of your CBD oil and knowing when it’s time to replace it will help you to get the most out of the cannabinoid.

With our handy storage tips, you’ll be treating your CBD oil well and likely making it last longer.

Sara Niedler PhD Medically reviewed for KLORIS by Sarah Neidler, PhD