If you look at a bottle of CBD oil, there should be a “best by” or expiration date listed right on the bottle. You might be wondering if it’s safe to use CBD products after the expiration date. Let’s talk about CBD shelf life, degradation and safety.
Storing CBD Extracts
CBD itself in the form of CBD concentrates or extracts, when stored properly can remain stable for several years. Cannabinoids are sensitive compounds and can degrade quickly when exposed to light and heat. For that reason, proper storage is very important step to prolong the shelf life and maintain maximum potency and freshness. CBD concentrates are best stored in light proof & waterproof containers in a cool place or even a refrigerator.
Storing CBD Tinctures
CBD tinctures are typically made by blending CBD extracts or concentrates with a carrier oil like MCT Oil or Hemp Seed Oil. The most important factor in determining the shelf life of a CBD tincture is the carrier oil. MCT oil is by far the most popular choice for carrier oils in the CBD industry and generally has a shelf life of 2 years. Hemp Seed Oil on the other hand, while being more nutritious and flavorful, is a more delicate oil and prone to faster oxidation; a safe estimate of shelf life for hemp seed oil is about a one year.
When a plant oil begins to oxidize, the smell changes from a fresh, sometimes nutty smell to a noticeably rancid smell. While consuming oxidized oils are unlikely to kill you or make you sick right away, they have been known to cause inflammation in animals and to release free radicals in the body, which can negatively affect health.
The best way to maximize freshness of the carrier oil and maintain potency of a CBD tincture is to use a light proof bottle and to avoid exposure to high temperatures. At Welliva we use only biophotonic Miron glass bottles for our tinctures. While it is more expensive than amber or clear glass bottles, it blocks close to 100% of UV radiation and provides the best protection. Beware of any CBD tinctures sold in clear glass bottles!
Extending tincture shelf life
The CBD industry is relatively new to the USA and hit the mainstream only after hemp legalization in 2018. There are ongoing experiments which attempt to increase the shelf life of CBD tinctures by adding ingredients like tocopherols (Vitamin E) and by using glycerin and other additives. To date, these experiments have yet to yield conclusive results.
CBD Topicals – shelf life and storage
CBD topicals are effective for joint and muscle pain and are gaining popularity as more people discover their benefits. Anhydrous CBD topical formulations (oil based/water free) are widely available, as these are the easiest to produce and have the longest shelf life. When stored in an an opaque, waterproof container at average temperatures, the shelf life of an oil based CBD topical can reach 2 years.
A water based product like a lotion however is a trickier to make because it needs to be properly formulated and preserved using a cosmetic preservative. Natural lotions, like the ones we created at Welliva, are free of the synthetics that are widely used in the cosmetics industry. Natural skin care formulations are much better for your skin and overall health as they do not expose you to synthetics and petrochemicals. The trade off with natural formulations is that natural skin care products must be produced with attention to detail, usually in smaller batches and have a more limited shelf life of 6 months to a year.
When we started working on our line of CBD topicals, we made a decision to only offer products using natural, plant based ingredients. While this translated to a shorter shelf life for our products, we feel it is well worth the extra effort to be able to offer high quality artisan products that do not compromise the health and safety of our customers.
Always check and follow the expiration dates of your CBD products. Make sure any CBD topicals and tinctures are stored in light proof bottles and jars and avoid exposing them to high temperatures. Following these simple guidelines will ensure you get the most from your CBD products while staying safe and healthy.