Does CBD Oil Go Bad? – How to Maximize Shelf Life

Someone wearing blue lab gloves holding a green bottle of CBD oil in one hand and an eyedropper full of CBD in the other.

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Although CBD oil isn’t a food product, if maximizing shelf life is your goal, you should still wonder how to store it and how to tell if it’s gone bad.

CBD oil can go bad. With proper care and storage, though, most individuals can maximize shelf life and expect their product to last for one to two years. Generally, try to store your CBD oil in a relatively dark, cool environment.

There are certainly many factors to consider, and some of them come down to the individual product itself. Those who regularly use CBD oil should also be aware of what to look out for in order to determine if their product has gone bad or not; consuming CBD that’s gone bad is not only ineffective, but very unpleasant. Fortunately, with some deliberate effort, it’s entirely possible to both prevent and avoid dealing with “expired” CBD oil.

Can CBD oil go bad or expire?

As mentioned, CBD oil can indeed go bad – that is, it can become less effective and spoil (texture or smell changes, mold, etc.) over time.

CBD oil, when stored properly, has a shelf life of about 12 months to two years. However, this number changes depending on what brand of CBD oil you use, as the way the oil is made varies and can affect the quality. 

Specifically, the extraction process used to create the oil can change several aspects of the product. This process also helps determine the kind of oil used as the “carrier oil,” or the main “bulk” of the product itself.

An oil with a coconut carrier oil, for instance, will last a longer time than other oils. 

Although other options, like palm oil, have the same traits, coconut oil is more eco-friendly as every part of the coconut can be used for different things and nothing has to be wasted. These characteristics make coconut oil both effective and guilt-free!

How do I store CBD oil?

When it comes time to store your CBD oil, especially if it’s for a long period of time, it’s important to choose an appropriate temperature and location; it also helps to be aware of how to monitor the product.

Storing your products correctly is a vital part of ensuring that they last as long as possible, even if you use them on a regular basis.

Does CBD oil need to be refrigerated?

CBD oil does not need to be refrigerated. Choosing to refrigerate CBD oil is not necessarily problematic, though. 

Those looking to keep their product safe and in an appropriate, safe temperature/environment may still choose to refrigerate their CBD oil. That’s completely okay!

However, CBD oil is still an oil; even though nothing necessarily bad happens when CBD oil is refrigerated, the texture may change. When put into the fridge, it might become thicker than usual which can make it trickier to dispense.

Where do I store CBD oil?

Just because it doesn’t matter whether you refrigerate CBD oil or not, that doesn’t mean it can be stored anywhere. When storing it, make sure that you do these things:

  • Place it in a dark environment
  • Keep it in a cool place
  • Store it upright in the container it came in
  • Make sure nothing can be mixed with it accidentally

Since it is an oil, you can store it with your other oils (like olive oil) if you have a specific place for keeping those. 

Keep in mind that, if stored in a place that is too warm, the oil might grow moldy. 

Why does CBD oil go bad?

CBD oil can go bad because its contents break down and change over time. 

The active ingredient in CBD oil are cannabinoids, which are taken out of the cannabis plant. When CBD oil begins to reach the end of its shelf life, the cannabinoids within the product begin to become less potent. 

Other contents in the oil, like the carrier oil, may also change in texture, smell, or taste over time.

How long does CBD oil last once opened?

Once you open CBD oil, you can expect it to last about 12-14 months to about two years. 

Opening CBD oil doesn’t necessarily make it lose quality faster than it would if it was sealed. What can impact the oil’s shelf life, though, is how and where you store it, which tends to become more relevant after you begin using the product on a regular basis.

Does CBD oil lose its effectiveness over time?

Yes, CBD oil can become less effective over time, specifically because its cannabinoids are susceptible to breaking down.

When these cannabinoids break down, they may not be able to properly interact with the body as intended. These cannabinoids become less strong over time, which makes the oil itself less effective or unable to produce the same results.

Although this isn’t actually the oil going “bad” in the sense that it spoils or makes you sick,  it does make the oil less powerful than when you bought it. 

You can still safely use the oil, but keep in mind how much you’re using, as less strong oil generally means you need to use more in order to get the same result.

Something that can cause CBD oil to actually go bad – that is, cause the oil to be unusable or likely to make you feel sick – is the carrier oil that the manufacturer used when creating the product.

For example, if the company uses coconut oil, then the CBD oil won’t actually go bad, as coconut oil doesn’t go bad for a very long time. If using a CBD oil with olive oil as the carrier oil, though, its shelf life will be much lower because of olive oil’s shorter shelf life.

Middle eastern man wearing a blue surgical mask and clear goggles dumping out a bottle of expired CBD oil.

How to tell if your CBD oil has gone bad

An easy first step to check and see if your CBD oil has gone bad is to check the expiration date. Companies are required by the FDA to provide expiration dates on packaging for perishable goods. 

Be sure to check your CBD oil to see when it’s best used by, and don’t use any oil that is past its expiration date. 

If your CBD oil does not come with an expiration date printed on the packaging, don’t be afraid to contact the company in order to get this information.

If you’re nearing the end of your product’s shelf life but want to be sure it’s safe to use still, just smell it! If it smells funny or weird, throw it out, just like you would do with milk.

If the sniff test doesn’t tell you anything new and you’re still nervous, then looking for visual hints is the next step. 

If the oil is thicker than it used to be, it’s likely that its contents have changed significantly enough to affect its efficacy. In this case, it’s best to throw it out and get a new bottle. 

Keep in mind that storing your CBD oil in the refrigerator can cause it to be thicker, too. A good course of action here is to let it sit out and come to room temperature. Then, check it again.

Other signs your CBD oil went bad might include:

  • A change in color
  • A change in taste; usually, oil that has gone bad tastes rancid
  • Murkiness or cloudiness in the oil

Can CBD oil go bad in heat?

CBD oil that’s stored in hot conditions is more likely to go bad more quickly. 

As discussed above, the temperature at which you store CBD oil does matter. Warm atmospheres can speed up the rate at which your oil breaks down or becomes unpleasant to consume.

Room temperature is generally a safe goal, but be mindful of where you place the oil; putting it in a place that receives a lot of sunlight or is close to a heat source, for instance, can be harmful over time.

Can old CBD oil make you sick?

Taking CBD oil that’s gone bad or is especially old (over two to three years) can certainly make you feel nauseous.

Though CBD oil doesn’t go bad in the same way food products can, where dangerous and even deadly bacteria can wreak havoc on your gut, it’s still got contents that are susceptible to spoiling or molding. 

Consuming oil that tastes or smells unusual, has significant texture changes, or otherwise is obviously old/bad is never worthwhile. Not only do you risk unpleasant side effects, you’ll also likely find that your product fails to produce the effects you’re aiming for.

Conclusion: Does CBD Oil Go Bad

As unfortunate as it is, CBD oil can lose its effectiveness over time. Its contents can also break down, change, and impact the nature of the oil itself.

Being mindful while you care for your products over time can help you avoid these effects for as long as possible, though. 

Generally speaking, CBD oil has a shelf life of about 14 months to two years, and it can be stored anywhere that you already store oils. The location just has to be dark and cool. Placing CBD oil in the fridge won’t harm anything if you would like to put it there, though.

And, if your oil changes color, begins to smell bad, or becomes murky or thick, throw it out and buy a new bottle. 

Always be sure to buy your CBD oil from reliable sources. This is a new industry, and many people accidentally buy mislabeled CBD from untrustworthy sources. For that reason, we’ve compiled a database of the most reliable CBD products, which you can shop for here.

If you’re specifically looking for CBD oil, click here for our personal favorite product, Fab CBD full-spectrum CBD oil.

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Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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