At the end of the day, keeping your cannabis-infused products away from excess light, heat, and air will help to maintain their potency and freshness for longer. Keeping your infusions sealed in a refrigerator or freezer will almost always guarantee a longer shelf life as well.
It’s important to keep in mind that tinctures prepared with glycerins will degrade and expire much sooner than pure alcohol distillations. An undisturbed, well-stored alcohol infusion can last years or even decades before degrading significantly in any way.
Cool, dark, and sealed are the three virtues to storing any infusion. When it comes to temperature control, refrigerators are a universal solution for infused products (not for flower, as that can degrade cannabinoids). Virtually any cannabis infusion will experience improved conditions and an elongated shelf life when stored in a refrigerator.
The Nuances of Storing Cannabis Oil
To avoid exposure to light and oxygen, always air seal your infusions in opaque storage containers that let as little light in as possible. If you purchased an infusion from a dispensary or retailer, many times the containers they’re packaged in are adequate for storage. Try to keep all infused products in their original containers, and if you must transfer them, make sure your products are well labeled. Always opt to store your products in glass when storing long-term, as plastic containers or bags may compromise your infusions over time.
Take edibles, for example. Perishability can vary greatly in edible infusions. Breads, pastries, and other baked goods will almost certainly expire sooner than a chocolate or hard candy. Conversely, some cooking oils can last months, or even years if stored properly.
Whether it be a tincture, salve, balm, cooking oil, or edible, all cannabinoids will degrade under similarly extreme conditions involving prolonged exposure to heat, light, or oxygen. The first step to storing any infused product is to ensure that all three of these elements are well-controlled.
Tinctures are high on the list of the longest-lasting orally consumable cannabis-infused products. If stored properly, a well-made tincture can last indefinitely according to author, grower, and cannabis expert Ed Rosenthal in his book “Beyond Buds.” Rosenthal says that amber or blue Boston Round dripper bottles are ideal for storing tinctures, and refrigerators or freezers will vastly reduce any minute degradation that may occur.
The general rule of thumb is that CBD oil has a shelf life ranging from 14 months to two years, depending on how the product is stored. Direct sunlight and intense heat are two factors that can cause a bottle of CBD oil to go bad before its expiration date. Higher-quality products tend to last longer, especially those that have been minimally processed like full-spectrum CBD oil. Pure CBD oil may last longer than flavored oils since any added ingredients have a shelf life of their own that could be shorter than the shelf life of the CBD.
The aroma and flavor of CBD oil may become unpleasant over time, transforming from earthy to skunky. You can also observe visual changes in the oil, which may turn cloudy over time. Likewise, the texture of CBD oil will change and the oil may appear thicker and lose its smooth consistency. Lastly, a change in color indicates that the CBD oil is no longer fresh.
Any CBD product — whether it’s top-shelf or bargain-priced — should have an expiration date clearly printed on the label. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires such labeling for consumer protection, so steer clear of any CBD products (or any products for that matter) that are not in compliance.
Tinted bottles prevent damaging sunlight from penetrating and hastening the product’s expiration date. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Manufacturers know that cool, dark places are optimal for storing CBD oil, which is why many of the best products are packaged in glass bottles tinted green. Dark green bottles prevent damaging sunlight from penetrating and hastening the product’s expiration date. Refrigerating CBD oil is not necessary. In fact, the most favorable environment may just be room temperature, or 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, CBD oil has made its way into your life, becoming a part of your daily regime. But how do you ensure that your CBD oil maintains its integrity, remaining usable for as long as possible? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about storing CBD oil, creams, and supplements.
How to store CBD oil
CBD oil is a perishable product, which means it won’t last forever if you don’t use it. However, stored correctly, CBD oil should last at least six months after opening. The oil remains usable after this time, but the active ingredients will start to break down.
Storing CBD oil isn’t hard, but there are three main elements you need to consider to get the most out of its shelf life. We’ll examine each, and discuss how you can protect your CBD oil to keep it in the best possible condition.
Air contains a complex blend of molecules that can react with CBD, including nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Of the three, oxygen causes the most damage to CBD. CBD oil will last significantly longer if it remains in an airtight container.