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How Long Does CBD Last? A 101 Guide to CBD’s Shelf Life and How to Preserve It
It seems like every day, a new study or CBD user is touting the medical benefits of CBD. The cannabinoid’s popularity has inspired waves of people to buy a CBD product. But what most people forget to consider is whether or not CBD expires. How long does CBD last?
Does CBD expire?
This might come as a surprise, but yes, CBD does expire. From the moment CBD is extracted, it starts to break down. Take, for example, a company that receives CBD that’s already a year old. If it manufactures products using that CBD, the company will have to be very careful about how it treats those products to prevent further breakdown of the cannabinoid. How the company bottles its remedies also matters. If the CBD is not in oxygen-free packaging and a cool, dark environment, the shelf life will diminish.
At Kat’s Naturals, our team previously considered co-packing to have other facilities bottle our organic products. But after viewing the processes that some bottling facilities used, we quickly reconsidered. CBD converts into other molecules when it’s over 85 degrees. And we didn’t like that most facilities stored their CBD extract in hot warehouses. By the time we would’ve bottled our organic remedies, there would’ve been no CBD left in the finished products. We had to keep bottling in-house.
Now that we handle this step on our own, our facility is kept under 70 degrees year-round, and we only make small batches of organic CBD at a time. We also use raw material and carrier oil. Both of these ingredients have a shelf life that we consider when formulating our organic CBD products. Certain oils, for example, have longer lifespans than others, which can affect how long CBD lasts.
Consider the factors that play a role in expiration
At Kat’s Naturals, we know that several factors — like the temperature, freshness of ingredients, carrier oil, and the environment — help answer the question: how long does CBD last? As a result, we use what we’ve dubbed our “time machine.” It’s a unique way of saying ager. The machine puts our organic CBD oil under heat and pressure to see how long it lasts under those circumstances. Based on the results we consistently get, we know that the shelf life of our organic CBD oil is about two years when the remedy is kept at 70 degrees, and the materials are fresh. As soon as those conditions change, consumers can compromise the product.
This rule is even more true for water-soluble CBD. This type of product dissipates quickly because it’s highly unstable. While more testing is required, our team has noticed that a bottle of water with 10 milligrams of CBD shows half its original amount after 30 days. After another 30 days, there is no CBD in the bottle at all. Hence, why we don’t sell it.
Learning this information can make some people wonder if other types of CBD products have different shelf lives. How long does CBD last when it’s an edible or topical? Does it expire in two years like CBD oils or in 30 days like water-soluble CBD?
How long does CBD last based on the type of product?
Edibles and topicals are two popular CBD products with very different shelf lives. The lifespan varies from product to product even when they’re in the same category. The reason typically comes down to the ingredients that are in the products.
Take Kat’s Naturals’ organic CBD chocolate bar. These chocolate bars have a one-year shelf life because they’re chocolate. That shelf life, however, decreases as soon as the remedy melts in a hot car.
Kat’s Naturals’ organic white chocolate bars, on the other hand, have an even shorter shelf life of just six months. This is because they contain milk solids. At Kat’s Naturals, we don’t use binders or preservatives in any of our chocolate edibles. We prefer more natural formulas, and this commitment to organic remedies is why the product has a shorter shelf life.
CBD topicals, however, are a completely different story. Kat’s Naturals’ organic CBD creams have a long shelf life, frequently lasting four years. To extend the life of our CBD topicals, we use a wax-based carrier agent. This nutrient makes our products last longer, allowing customers to enjoy them for years.
However, customers still play a significant role in expanding the shelf life of their CBD products. While our company provides fresh, organic remedies that can last for the appropriate time, consumers can hurt the shelf life.
Signs of an expiring CBD product
When a CBD product is not left in the right conditions, it isn’t a question of how long does CBD last. The question becomes, how can someone tell if their CBD product has expired?
There are a few tell-tale signs that a CBD product is starting to go—or has already gone—bad. The signs are pretty easy to spot, and there are specific clues that consumers can use to determine if different CBD products are no longer good.
Mold, mold, mold! The moment someone begins to see mold in their CBD edible, it is a sure sign that it’s time to dispose of the product.
When brands produce poorly-made topicals, consumers will discover mold. This is especially true if brands make the products in an unclean environment or use preservatives. Unfortunately, in the CBD world, many people make CBD topicals in their kitchen, which frequently leads to poor-quality products that grow mold. Some consumers even notice a pink or green slime begin to form on the product, and these are big warning signs that the remedy is going bad.
The easiest way to tell whether CBD oil is expiring is by its smell. CBD oil has a very distinct aroma. But once it has a rancid smell, there’s a good chance it has expired. Some consumers might see strands forming in the bottle, which usually happens they introduce bacteria. For example, if someone places their CBD dropper onto the counter, and puts it back into the bottle, bacteria will get into the formula and create strands.
Avoiding these signs are easy to do. There are several great tips that consumers can use to expand the shelf life of all of their CBD products, and each strategy takes little to no time to do.
How long does CBD last when you try to preserve it?
While no CBD product can be stored indefinitely, there are a few tricks to extend the shelf life of each type of remedy. With edibles, the strategy is simple. Consumers just have to put them in the freezer. Conversely, wax-based topicals, which don’t contain water, can stay out at room temperature, because they’re more stable. The same rule applies to lotions if the lotions contain preservatives. If they don’t, consumers should refrigerate them so that the remedies don’t expire.
Sublinguals also require consumers to think about the temperature. Similar to good CBD brands, consumers should not leave their organic CBD oils in hot environments. Consumers should also avoid touching their CBD dropper with their tongue when they use it. This caution will ensure bacteria doesn’t get into the bottle. One of the most important things that consumers can do is keep their CBD dropper clean. If it’s accidentally contaminated, someone should wipe it down with rubbing alcohol and then wipe it with a paper towel. That strategy will be the quickest way to kill bacteria and help preserve the CBD oil.
These are excellent tips that people can use as soon as they purchase a CBD remedy. However, consumers should also know the things they can do to preserve their organic CBD product before they buy one. When someone wonders how long does CBD last, they need to consider if they’re buying high-quality products from trusted, reliable brands.
Considerations to keep in mind
Many CBD companies do not track when they make their products. They also don’t know for sure when their products will expire. This unawareness is because there is no FDA regulation in the CBD industry. The lack of oversight allows brands to determine if they want to track when they make their products to discern how long they will last.
Larger CBD companies like Kat’s Naturals cannot get away with this oversight. Our company has expiration dates as well as batch numbers on all of our organic CBD products. We’re required to do this because food facilities or a GMP inspects us, so we need a plan in place if something gets contaminated and we need to do a recall.
If a CBD company does not have batch numbers or expiration dates, consumers can assume that the company is small. While this isn’t bad, people who are worried about a CBD remedy’s shelf life should buy from established brands. At Kat’s Naturals, we give our customers a full chain of custody, so they know when their remedies were produced and in which batch. This transparency allows our customers to rest assure that their organic CBD products will last an appropriate amount of time under the right conditions.
Expiration depends on you
While it may seem like something that lasts forever, CBD does expire, whether it’s a sublingual, topical, or edible. Different CBD products have different shelf lives, and their expiration depends on various factors. However, by purchasing from the right brands and doing the right things at home, consumers can preserve and extend their CBD product’s shelf life. How long their CBD lasts depends on the decisions they make.