Should You Refrigerate CBD Oil?
The boom on CBD is reaching its peak, and nothing seems to cause it to plummet any time soon.
CBD oils are sold everywhere, from organic food stores to dispensaries and specialty online stores. And while you can find CBD oil on the shelves without being refrigerated, some users argue that CBD oil needs to be chilled to preserve freshness.
Others claim that all you need to do is keep your CBD oil in a cool and dark place without the need to refrigerate or freeze it.
So, what’s the proper way to store CBD oil? Does it need to be refrigerated, or can you store it at room temperature provided that no direct heat and air reaches the extract?
Does CBD Oil Need to Be Refrigerated?
If you want to maintain proper shelf life and reap all the benefits of CBD oil, proper storage is paramount.
As mentioned above, you need to avoid exposure to sun and air, as these two factors cause cannabinoids and terpenes to degrade — compromising the potency of your product.
But do you really need to refrigerate CBD oil to preserve the active compounds?
Of course, refrigerating CBD oil may be recommended if you buy CBD in bulk and plan your supplies one year ahead. That’s because CBD oil’s shelf life is around 1 year.
However, if you regularly use CBD oil and repurchase it month after month, refrigerating your CBD oil makes little sense. Your bottle will last you long enough if you store it in a cool and dry place.
When you refrigerate CBD oil, it may thicken up in the bottle, making it more difficult to dose — especially if you use high-strength CBD oils that contain fractions of botanical compounds like waxes and chlorophyll.
Should You Freeze CBD Oil?
Similar to keeping CBD oil in a fridge, freezing it makes sense only if you stock up for months to come. Otherwise, there’s no need to place it in the freezer.
Moreover, extremely cold temperatures can affect the oil’s consistency and viscosity, especially if it’s mixed with carrier oils like coconut oil — which solidifies at low temperatures.
Freezing CBD oil can also cause the chemical compounds of CBD oil to behave differently. When frozen, the oil can be difficult to draw out from the bottle, creating an unnecessary mess.
When you take CBD oil out of the fridge or freezer, it can look a bit cloudy, which may seem strange, but the good news is that it doesn’t negatively affect the quality of CBD.
Don’t panic if you’ve put your CBD oil in the freezer because you didn’t know how to store it properly. Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours so that it returns to its normal state.
Just don’t put it in an oven because high temperatures will cause the active ingredients to degrade.
What’s the Shelf Life of CBD Oil?
CBD oils typically last for about one year. With alcohol-based tinctures, this shelf life is extended to two years. However, how long CBD oil will last ultimately depends on how you store it.
By knowing some important factors, you can extend the shelf life of your CBD oil without putting it in the fridge.
- Quality: high-quality products are more time-resistant. And when it comes to the quality of CBD oil, you need to consider both the quality of your extract and the additional ingredients, such as the carrier oil, flavorings, etc.
- Ingredients: Aside from the quality, various ingredients can affect CBD oil’s shelf life.
- Extraction Method: The CO2 extraction method is the golden standard for making CBD oils because it doesn’t use toxic solvents that could leave dangerous residue at the bottom and compromise the stability of hemp compounds.
- Packaging: Reputable CBD companies use dark bottles to preserve the freshness of their CBD oils. That’s because dark containers prevent exposure to light and minimize the risk of breaking down cannabinoids over time.
How Long Is My CBD Oil Good for Once I’ve Opened It?
As mentioned earlier, proper storage can extend the shelf life of CBD oil without refrigerating it. Once you’ve opened the bottle, the potency and the overall chemical profile of the product should remain unchanged for 6 months, assuming that you keep it in a cool and dark place. Lower temperatures can preserve the fragile compounds in the product, keeping it fresh for longer.
How Do I Know If My CBD Oil Is Still Safe to Use?
Since CBD oils are categorized as health supplements, they do expire. They come with an expiration date to give the user an idea of whether or not they can safely use the product. However, sometimes the label falls off, and at other times, you may simply not read the fine print.
This is where common sense may lend a hand.
There’s an easy way to tell the difference between CBD oil that’s safe to use and a product that has gone bad. Simply take a look at its color. The darker it gets, the less potent the effects will be. Therefore, once you notice any changes in the color, consume the oil as soon as possible.
The smell is another good indicator. If your CBD oil smells funky and odd, it may have gone bad. Unless flavored with terpenes or sweeteners, it should taste nutty and earthy. When you notice that the flavor is off-putting, then the oil is probably expired.
Will I Get Sick from Taking Expired CBD Oil?
If you’ve just taken a dose of CBD oil and it tastes funky, don’t worry. In fact, the oil will just degrade and lose potency in the worst-case scenario. This means that you may not be reaping the full benefits from your product as a result — but it’s unlikely that the oil will make you sick.
Main Factors Affecting CBD Oil’s Storage Conditions
Now you know that CBD oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated to maintain freshness. But what exactly causes CBD oil to lose quality and potency — and how do you prevent it?
There are three factors that can affect CBD oil’s storage conditions:
- Temperature: high temperatures can weaken the potency of CBD oil. When exposed to heat, the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the oil start to degrade. High heat breaks down the essential components in CBD oil, so it should be stored at room temperature.
- Light: when your CBD oil is exposed to too much light, its quality may degrade. Even the dark-tinted bottles don’t block the light completely, so you can never be too cautious. Don’t rely on the oil’s packaging and keep it in your cabinet or drawer, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight.
- Air: if you’re wondering why CBD oils are packaged in small volumes up to 30 milliliters, that’s because the manufacturer wants you not to wait too long to consume it. CBD interacts with molecules found in the air, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen; it’s the oxygen that causes the greatest damage to the product. When oxygen molecules reach CBD oil, it will degrade faster.
How to Store Your CBD Oil the Right Way
CBD oil is very reactive to light, heat, and air, and can start to lose potency if stored improperly. The best way to store CBD oil is to keep it in its original container. Dark bottles do a decent job at preventing contact with the light, so all you need to do is find a cool and dark spot somewhere in your house. Anything like a medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom closet should suffice.
Final Thoughts on the Proper Storage and Refrigerating CBD Oil
Contrary to a popular belief, CBD oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated. CBD products have a very long shelf life on their own — between 1 and 2 years — so as long as you meet the proper storage conditions, it shouldn’t go bad or lose potency.
Keeping CBD oil in a fridge makes sense when you buy CBD in bulk; for example, you stock up for a full year and want to make sure that the first unopened bottle remains fresh when it’s time to take off the seal. Otherwise, refrigerating CBD oil may cause it to change consistency, translating into dosing difficulties.
If you want your CBD oil to come back to its normal state after taking it out of the fridge, let it sit for a few hours at room temperature.
There are 3 environmental factors to avoid when storing CBD oil: light, heat, and air. All of them can cause your product to degrade by breaking down the cannabinoids and terpenes in your extract. It’s best to keep CBD oils in a medicine cabinet or office drawer if you want to preserve their freshness.
Similar to refrigerating CBD oil, freezing is possible but only if you have large quantities of CBD oil in your pantry and want to make sure they last you for the declared time.
Other than that, the best solutions are the simplest ones.
What are your storage tips for CBD oil users? Share them in the comments below!
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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Can CBD go bad? Here’s how to test
Is your CBD starting to seem just a little off to you? Don’t just look the other way! It might be starting to go bad.
Yes, CBD can go bad. It, like so many other products out there, has an expiration date that consumers should pay attention to in order to avoid consuming foul-tasting, minimal potency products.
But it’s not all bad and unlike most consumables, like milk or bread, CBD typically has a long shelf life spanning between 12 and 24 months, as opposed to just 3-4 days. Of course, this may be lower as a result of purchase time, but straight from the factory, it’s the year-plus expiration that we expect.
CBD can last a little longer than the quoted expiration date providing that you follow simple care rules — store it away from heat and sunlight. But as a general rule, users should use the expiration date as a golden piece of information.
But can your CBD go bad before that golden date? It’s not too difficult to tell once you know what you’re looking for.
How to test if your CBD has gone bad
You won’t need a microscope or any other expensive, specialist equipment to get to grips with whether or not your CBD is still good to go – just use a couple of simple sensory checks.
The expiration date
First, of course, if you’ve noticed something off about your CBD, you should always be checking the expiration date.
It may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people miss out on this simple trick before going out on a Google tangent, researching exactly how long it takes for CBD oil to work. All CBD products should display an expiration date label, as required by the FDA, so it’s always a good idea to check this before purchasing (if possible).
Likewise, if you’re noticing that your CBD smells a little funky, it’s time to recheck that expiration date – if you’ve passed the “best before” date, it’s time to throw it away and pick up a new set of oils. But if you’re still within the deadline, you’ve got some more experimenting to do.
The texture and color
The texture and the color of the product are next up on the list of things that you should be checking, as these give telltale signs that shouldn’t be ignored most of the time.
If the texture of the CBD oil is foggy or murky, chances are that the compounds that make the product up have begun breaking down and it’s gone bad. This murkiness might also appear to be separation of oil and ingredients in the bottle, again showing that the CBD is past its best.
However, it’s not always the case that the murky oil is a write-off. This is especially true if you refrigerate CBD for long periods of time. The texture of the oil will naturally thicken; if left out to come to room temperature, it should revert to its original and normal appearance. A word of warning though — this probably means that the CBD is very close to expiration and it’s best to add new oil to the shopping list.
Similarly, a change in color is often brought on with the breakdown of the compounds found in a typical CBD oil and will change over time. These may be especially likely if the product is exposed to strong sunlight or heat. If you’ve noticed the color change in recent days or weeks, chances are that the product is no longer any good.
The smell and taste
The final piece of the puzzle to find out whether or not the smell and taste of the oil have changed. This won’t be difficult to figure out!
The taste of bad CBD is much worse than the normal stuff, and a flavor that you definitely won’t miss. Similarly, the odor of off CBD should be rancid, something else that shouldn’t be missed.
Ultimately, if you’re having to smell and taste the product and still aren’t sure, it’s probably going to be okay for consumption. However, if the oil is murky and the smell and taste rancid, it’s best to pour it straight down the sink.
What factors determine CBD expiration date?
As with the majority of products that come with an expiration date, CBD has numerous factors that determine the “best by” or expiration date on the label.
The first factor determining the CBD expiration date is the method of extraction used to transform the hemp plant material into usable oil.
As a general rule, and without going into too much detail, the CO2 extraction method is widely regarded as the best option available.
With the CO2 extraction method, the chemical integrity of the hemp is largely unmodified and preserved, maintaining stability for each of the compounds. This means a longer shelf life as the compounds take longer to break down. Alternative, lower-quality extraction methods such as solvent methods will create a product with less stable compounds and a shorter shelf life.
How to store CBD products correctly
You probably know, finding high-quality CBD can be a challenge and when you’ve finally discovered a product which works for you, how do you store the stuff, so that it retains its potency and doesn’t turn rancid?
Like anything natural we consume, CBD and other cannabinoids are subject to degrading over time. Light, heat and air can breakdown cannabis compounds, and it’s why most CBD hemp oil is placed in a dark and airtight bottle.
Taking the right steps to look after your oil will help maintain the cannabinoid profile along with ensuring it doesn’t taste foul before you reach the end of the bottle!
Let’s take a more in-depth look at how best to preserve your CBD oil.
How should you store your CBD oil?
Tinctures are the most common way to use cannabidiol, where hemp extract is diluted in a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or MCT coconut oil.
Research suggests that light exposure is the most significant factor in the deterioration of cannabinoids, closely followed by exposure to air.
As a result, keeping your oil in an airtight tincture bottle, stored in a cool and dark place is vital to ensure product stability. It’s the reason why some people choose to refrigerate CBD oil, as it ticks all the right boxes for optimal storage.
That might make you wonder, does CBD oil need to be refrigerated? Not necessarily, but it is the easiest way to store your purchase without looking for somewhere else cool and dark!
If you are looking for other places to keep your CBD a cool cabinet away from light, a dry pantry, the basement or cellar are all ideal locations to store your CBD oil.
What is the shelf life of CBD oil?
Depending on the exact type of CBD oil, you have shelf life can vary. The quality, packaging, and storage of the oil can all alter the period your bottle stays fresh for.
On average, your new bottle of CBD can be kept fresh for between 18-24 months since bottling with the right storage and if it is unopened. Once open, a CBD tincture will maintain its cannabinoid concentration and overall profile for around six months, assuming you keep the bottle stored in an appropriate place.
However, products which are considered raw, i.e. undergo no heating and are minimally processed, can have a shorter shelf life due to natural changes in the oil and in particular the carrier oil.
For example, raw CBD hemp oil is usually a mix of raw full spectrum hemp paste combined with raw hemp seed oil. This product will likely have a shorter shelf life than another CBD oil which has undergone some further processing by way of decarboxylation (heating).
Activating the CBD extract found in the hemp paste through heating turns precursor acids into the compounds we are familiar with such as CBD or THC. This process naturally extends the shelf life and the durability of the CBD cannabis oil.
Why CBD oil gets out of date
You might be asking does CBD oil expire? Yes, CBD oil has an expiry or best before date, which is the date until which the product is expected to remain stable and useable.
After this period the CBD oil may change taste and consistency; and as a result, it’s suggested you don’t use the item after the expiry date as with anything else you would ingest.
To give you visibility of how long our CBD oil will maintain its freshness, Nature & Bloom CBD oil comes with an expiry date. You can find this information listed directly next to or above the batch number located on the bottle.
What happens to CBD oil in a freezer?
The cooler your CBD oil stays, the more likely it will maintain its potency and remain fresh to use for a more extended period. So can you store CBD oil in a freezer?
Yes, if you want to keep your bottle of CBD fresh for the most prolonged period possible, you might consider keeping it in the freezer. However, most people using the supplement find a bottle lasts around a month with average use, in which case it’s unnecessary to freeze your CBD oil.
Also, freezing your oil may cause it to become thick and cloudy, which could make dispensing it a little difficult, at least until it’s left outside the freezer for a short period.
In short, it is possible to store your CBD oil in a freezer, but you might only want to do this should you intend on not using it anytime soon. Could this work well for storing a bottle of emergency CBD? Yes, perhaps that would be its ideal use!
How to tell if hemp oil is rancid
Like anything else you ingest, if the taste or smell has changed, you might want to double-check if your CBD oil has expired.
If your CBD oil smells different, is cloudy and a different viscosity to normal, you should probably throw it away and purchase a new bottle.
You will likely know from looking at and tasting your oil it has expired beyond its use date. It’s also wise to cross-check the expiry date before using a bottle of CBD oil you have had stored away from a while and not used.
How do you store CBD products other than oil?
Tinctures might be the most popular way to use CBD, but the variety of choice available today is far-reaching beyond just CBD drops.
Other products are generally easier to store as they don’t necessarily have a best before date as they aren’t food supplements for ingestion.
On the flipside, concentrates such as CBD Isolate products should be stored in a cool and dark place too even though they are not consumed orally. This is because concentrates are highly potent forms of CBD that are subject to deterioration from exposure to air, light, or heat too.