Just like any other shop-bought items, CBD products have a shelf life: a window of time within which they are safe to consume, and have the most effectiveness. When it comes to determining how long CBD oil and other CBD products such as gummies or skincare products last, there are a number of factors to consider. We take a look at those factors in more detail below.
How Long Does CBD Oil Last?
Because every CBD product is different, there is no precise time limit on how long it will last. The shelf life is determined by its quality, how it is packaged and how you store it once you’ve bought it.
Whatever you are purchasing, from a t-shirt to a car, the higher quality something is, the longer it will last, and that applies to CBD too. The quality of a particular type of CBD oil depends on the quality of the hemp it was derived from and the method that was used to extract it. Like any manufactured product, the best way to guarantee a quality product is to create it from high quality materials. Hemp plants grown on rich soil produce high quality hemp, which results in high quality CBD oil.
There are various methods of extraction which result in CBD oil of varying quality. At the best end of the scale is CO2 extraction, which is expensive but provides a clean and precise extraction method that reduces the potential of contamination found in other methods. At the other end is solvent extraction, which is cheap and easy but causing issues with the end product such as degraded cannabinoid compounds and a bitter taste. Check before buying which extraction method was used when creating the oil.
Another way to be confident that you are buying a high quality product is to look for third-party lab results, also known as Certificates of Analysis (COAs). These are produced by independent laboratories to make sure that CBD oil is what it claims to be (and should be to comply with UK law), with a high level of CBD, a low level of THC (under 0.3%) and lacking in harmful impurities.
The packaging of CBD oil is about more than just marketing. Most CBD oil comes in amber or coloured bottles, which is the best colour to increase the shelf life of your oil. Amber is excellent at blocking out ultraviolet (UV) waves from the sun, which can be highly damaging to the oil and cause the degradation of the cannabinoids and terpenes it contains (the science behind this can be seen in this experiment with green beer bottles).
Once you’ve purchased your high quality oil in an amber bottle, the responsibility for maintaining the product’s shelf life falls on your shoulders. Like many sensitive products, it is recommended that you store it in a cool, dark place, which probably usually means shoving it in a cupboard. However, if you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of buying a high-quality CBD product, it’s worth knowing why this is necessary and the damage that can be done if you don’t take care of it.
How to Store Your CBD Oil For a Long Shelf Life
If you store your CBD products correctly they should last between 12 and 24 months. When you first open a CBD product, check the date you opened it and what the use before date is. If you have CBD oil that is older than 12 months, check the smell and taste before consuming a more significant amount. If it doesn’t smell or taste as you expect it to, dispose of the product and replace it with a new one. Here’s how to properly store CBD oil for a long shelf life.
Keep it in a Dark Location
Research has found that hemp and cannabis products degrade quicker and lose their cannabinoids when exposed to light. The study found that even artificial light can damage cannabinoids, meaning that your CBD oil will degrade even if not exposed to direct sunlight, causing it to be less effective over time. This is recommended even if your CBD oil, e-liquid or other product comes in an amber coloured bottle.
A good rule of thumb is to store your CBD as you would a medication. Keep it out of direct sunlight, away from bright sources of light and out of reach of pets and children. A medicine cabinet or bathroom cabinet is ideal, but any out of the way and dark place will work.
Avoid Warm Areas or Places That Change Temperature
CBD stays freshest at low, steady temperatures. If it is exposed to heat, both the oil and the active ingredients contained within can become less stable and change the chemical composition of your product, rendering it less effective. If you live somewhere warm, it’s best to store your CBD oil in the fridge. This way it won’t be exposed to any temperature fluctuations (and there is the added benefit of little or no light). You can also store CBD oil in the freezer if you don’t plan on using it regularly, just make sure to bring it back up to room temperature before use.
Don’t Expose it to Air
Exposure to air plays a large role in the breakdown of cannabinoids and can drastically reduce the shelf life of CBD. This is due to oxidative stress, which slowly causes changes to the chemical composition of the product. After purchasing your CBD product, keep it in the original container and make sure the lid is tightly replaced after each use. This not only stops air exposure but also protects against spills.
If you buy high quality oil from a reputable company and store your CBD oil properly, the shelf life should be between one and two years. By taking care of it as well as possible you will also ensure that the CBD maintains its potency, which in turn will ensure that you are receiving the maximum health benefits this brilliant product has to offer.