In general, the shelf life of properly stored CBD oil extracts is approximately 14 to 24 months. The shelf life of any product opened or unopened, however, is dependent on several factors and CBD oil extracts are no different. Factors that adversely impact shelf life are exposure to light, heat and oxygen. These conditions can contribute to the oxidation of the oil which is the cause of the oil’s degradation.
Let’s look at each of these elements a little more in-depth.
Limited Exposure to Light
Limiting your product’s exposure to light starts with the packaging. Many high-quality manufacturers market their CBD oil extracts in dark colored bottles. This is for more than just aesthetics! Those dark glass bottles help to prevent the CBD oil from being exposed to light. For example, Bluebird Botanicals, NuLeaf Naturals, HempWorx, and Charlotte’s Web all ship their CBD oils in very dark brown to almost black tinted bottles. Charlotte’s Web takes the added measure of packaging the bottle in a light weight cardboard box to further protect their products from light. American Shaman ships products in a cobalt blue bottle and have even frosted the glass in some of their products. Beware of product containers that are clear as they may degrade faster reducing their shelf life!
The temperature that CBD is stored at is the second critical factor contributing to shelf life. Storing your CBD oil in a “cool, dry” place is recommended by most manufacturers. For some of us, that translates into keeping our CBD oil extract in the refrigerator! While the frig seems like a logical place, the temperature in your refrigerator may actually be too cold for most CBD oil products. (“Cool” can actually be quantified as between 59 – 77 degrees Farenheit or 15 to 25 degrees Celcius.) If the product’s shelf life is extended with refrigeration, the manufacturer will note this on the container. For example, Plus CBD Oil™, recommends storage of their Gold Formula Concentrate in the refrigerator if it becomes too liquid-like due to exposure to higher temperatures. Storage in a room temperature cabinet should help to keep your CBD oil at its optimal performance level.
Exposure to Oxygen
The third factor that greatly impacts the shelf life of CBD oil products is exposure to oxygen. We are all familiar with the concept of covering food to prolong its freshness. CBD oil deserves the same consideration. Most CBD oil products come in a sealed, airtight container. Protecting your product from air is up to you once the factory seal is broken. Make sure that products are tightly closed after each use. The same is true for balms and lotions. They will last longer with less exposure to air, so be sure to replace the lid tightly after each use.
The factors that contribute to prolonging usable life of your product include exposure to light, heat, and air. The manufacturer takes these factors into consideration in they way they package and store the product prior to distribution. The consumer has control over these factors over once the product is purchased and brought home from the store. But how can you tell if the product is no longer good?
Expiration Dates and Clues to Product Degradation
Some companies will print an expiration date on the packaging. For example, Charlotte’s Web prints both a batch number and an expiration date on the bottom of the box that the CBD oil is packaged in. This is a responsible means of helping you to determine the shelf life of your product on the part of the manufacturer.
If you have concerns that your product has reached the end of its shelf life and are not sure of the expiration date, you can give it the “smell test”. Yes, just like stuff in your refrigerator that’s met its demise, CBD oil will start to smell acrid, like somethings burned, if it is rancid. You can also check the color of the oil, as it may start to become darker in color. The color check test is likely a bit more difficult as certain products are fairly dark to begin with and color variations between batches of the same product may vary naturally even when fresh.