Do you have a bottle of CBD oil that’s been sitting around for a while? Maybe you don’t have an older bottle of CBD oil, but you’ve found a great sale, and you’re thinking about stocking up. If you’re going to buy several bottles at once, do you need to store them in a special way to prevent them from going bad? Does CBD oil expire? As you’re about to learn, the answer isn’t so simple. While it is possible for CBD oil to go bad, it’s generally unlikely that you’ll actually keep a bottle long enough for that to ever become a concern.
What Is the Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
If you want to know how long a bottle of CBD oil will last, the first thing that you should do is check the package itself. If the package has an expiration date, you should defer to that and assume that you need to use the bottle by then. If the bottle has no expiration date, you should plan to use it within about a year of buying it. Professionals in the hemp industry generally agree that the shelf life of CBD oil ranges between 12 and 24 months.
How Long CBD Oil Lasts Depends on the Ingredients
Depending on the extraction method – which we’ll discuss shortly – the CBD content of CBD oil should remain relatively stable in storage. It’s primarily the other ingredients that influence the shelf life of the product. The most plentiful ingredient in any bottle of CBD oil is the carrier, and the most common carrier is MCT oil. MCT oil is refined from coconut oil, and the refinement process makes it fairly stable and resistant to oxidation. You’ll occasionally find a bottle of CBD
oil with an unrefined carrier such as cold-pressed olive oil. In that case, the shelf life may be a bit shorter since unrefined oils are a bit more susceptible to oxidation than refined oils. The other thing that you need to consider as you try to determine how long a bottle of CBD oil will last is whether it contains naturally occurring or added terpenes. Terpenes can add greatly to the flavor of CBD oil, and some people also believe that terpenes have benefits of their own. Terpenes, however, are volatile; they oxidize easily, and some even evaporate at room temperature. If you have a bottle of CBD oil that’s rich in terpenes, you can expect its flavor to change in long-term storage.
The Production Method Also Influences CBD Oil Shelf Life
Another aspect of CBD oil that can influence its shelf life is the way it’s made. CO2 extraction is generally considered the cleanest way to extract CBD from hemp because it leaves no residual solvents in the final product. Extracting CBD with a solvent such as ethanol, on the other hand, could result in trace solvents being left behind. That could potentially shorten the product’s shelf life. The process of extracting CBD from hemp also results in the extraction of other plant materials such as waxes and esters. In most modern CBD products, those plant materials are considered undesirable and are filtered out. That’s partially because they contribute a bitter flavor and partially because they can decrease the product’s shelf life. Plant waxes may go rancid. On the other hand, a CBD oil containing only CBD isolate and a refined carrier oil should be very stable
in storage and will generally have a longer shelf life.
How Can You Tell if CBD Oil Is Bad?
When you’re trying to tell whether CBD oil has gone bad, the short answer is that you should rely on your nose and your palate. If a bottle of CBD oil doesn’t smell or taste right, you should probably discard it. People typically characterize the smells and flavors of rancidity as metallic, fishy, bitter or soapy. It’s completely normal for CBD oil to have a “hempy” flavor and aroma if it’s made with a full-spectrum hemp extract. CBD oil may also have a citrus aroma if it has
added terpenes, because limonene – which smells like citrus – is one of the most common terpenes added to CBD oil. If you notice anything unusual about the smell or flavor of CBD oil, though, it’s possible that the bottle has been in storage for too long.
How to Store CBD Oil for Maximum Shelf Life
When you’re storing CBD oil, the most important thing to remember is that the most plentiful ingredient in any bottle of CBD oil is the carrier. Whether the carrier happens to be MCT oil, hemp oil, olive oil or something else, what we’re talking about here are actually the same culinary oils that you’d use for food preparation. You’ll store CBD oil, therefore, in the same way you’d store a bottle of olive oil – in a cool, dark cabinet. You can maximize the shelf life of CBD oil by keeping it away from heat, sunlight and air. To prevent unnecessary air exposure, you should keep your bottles closed until you’re ready to use them.
Earlier in the article, we talked about the possibility that you might encounter a sale so good that it makes you want to stock up on CBD oil for the long term. If that happens, you’ll want to consider the product packaging before you buy in bulk. When you’ve purchased cooking oils, you’ve probably noticed that the bottles are usually green, amber, cobalt or opaque. That’s because a clear bottle may allow the sun’s ultraviolet rays to penetrate through to the oil, which increases the rate of oxidation. Likewise, you’ve probably also noticed that it’s very common for CBD oil to ship in amber or cobalt glass bottles. That’s done for the same reason; it helps to keep the oil fresh as long as possible.
You may also find some CBD oil tinctures that ship in clear plastic bottles. Since plastic bottles are less expensive than glass bottles, you’re likely to find those products at very attractive prices. It may not be a good idea to buy CBD oil in plastic bottles for long-term storage, though, because the clear plastic won’t protect the oil from degradation.