Jamey Powell

Author: Expert reviewer:

June 8, 2023

Jamey Powell

Contributing writer

By Jamey Powell

Contributing writer

Jamey Powell is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. Previously the senior market editor at Healthline.com, she has years of experience scouring endless product reviews and testing out the latest and greatest products in the sleep, fitness, and nutrition markets.

does cbd oil expire?

June 8, 2023

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Whether you use it to encourage a more balanced mood or to help you drift off to sleep, the benefits of hemp CBD oil are different for everyone.* Some people take it daily, while others savor each bottle, keeping it in a safe place for occasional use. If you fall into the latter category, you’ve likely wondered: Does CBD oil expire?

Like almost everything ingestible, CBD oil does have an expiration date. But how do you know when it’s time to say farewell to an older bottle? Here’s what to consider to get the most out of each CBD oil.


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The shelf life of CBD oil

Seema Bonney, M.D., founder and director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia, provided expert input on the topic. “Like everything else, CBD (cannabidiol) oil can degrade over time, which means you won’t get the full therapeutic effect you should from the product,” explains Bonney. “The usual shelf life is anywhere between one to two years.” So, next time you purchase a CBD oil, take note of how many servings it has and be sure to put the product to use within that time frame.

How to tell if CBD oil has expired

When determining whether your CBD oil has expired, the easiest (and most obvious) method is to look at the expiration date on its packaging. If for some reason you’re unable to find a date, there are other ways to decide if it has expired.

According to Bonney, “CBD oil that has gone bad has a few indications—and it will be clear to your senses!” Below are Bonney’s tips for determining whether a CBD oil is past its prime: 

Look for a change in consistency and appearance: If it’s been a while since you used a CBD oil, start by dropping a little on the back of your hand to see what the consistency looks like. “It may appear thick and cloudy in appearance,” explains Bonney. Of course, some CBD oils are cloudy to begin with, so this approach is only helpful if you knew what yours looked like when it was fresh.

Perform a taste test: Even flavored CBD oils tend to have a slight hemp taste—but whether you like the taste of hemp or not, you’ll likely notice a difference in a CBD oil that’s past its date. “Tasting CBD that is no longer good will be an unpleasant experience, as it may taste rancid,” Bonney adds. 

Take note of the smell: As with taste, you may notice a difference in the way your CBD oil smells. “Take a whiff from the bottle,” Bonney advises. “CBD that is no longer good will have an off odor or smell like a bunch of chemicals.”


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How to store CBD

CBD oil almost always comes in small glass bottles, closed off with a dropper. But while most products still state a one- to two-year life span on the packaging, Bonney says there are ways to store CBD oil to preserve the potency as long as possible.

Aim for dark and tight: There’s a reason CBD oil is typically packaged in a dark-colored, airtight glass container: It’s meant to be stored that way! Excess light and air speed up the expiration process. Keep your oil in its original packaging, and always make sure the top is completely closed so no excess oxygen can get in. 

Keep it at room temperature: CBD oil is also sensitive to temperature changes. You’ll want to be sure to keep yours at room temperature and away from heat and light. Think in your bathroom medicine cabinet versus out on your kitchen counter. 

Avoid putting the dropper in direct contact with your mouth: Put plainly: You really don’t want bacteria from your mouth touching the CBD oil dropper. It’s best to either drop your oil into a separate spoon or use a mirror to ensure you’re not touching your tongue or lips to the dropper.

A few CBD oils we love:

CBD oil expiration safety tips

While some CBD products are more affordable than others, it’s still frustrating if you need to throw a bottle away due to expiration. While you likely won’t get sick from ingesting expired CBD oil, the potency will be significantly lower—so you’re unlikely to experience the same therapeutic effects as you might have before.* 

In addition to storing your CBD oil properly, how can you aim for a long-lasting tincture? There are a few factors to consider:


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Does CBD oil expire as quickly if it’s high quality?

As Bonney explains, a big factor that can affect a CBD oil’s potency is its quality. “Higher-quality plants grown in better conditions will yield higher-quality CBD oil,” she says. This is just one of many reasons we prefer organic hemp CBD products. In fact, we have a list of the best organic CBD oils for you to explore. 

Beyond taking note of the hemp source, it’s critical that you’re able to access the third-party lab report for any CBD product. Third-party testing is one of the only ways to truly gauge what’s inside a CBD oil, CBD gummy, or CBD balm. “Reading the COA (certificate of analysis) will help you ascertain the level of quality,” Bonney emphasizes.

How other ingredients impact a CBD oil’s expiration date

Some CBD brands use a very straightforward formula, such as a simple blend of olive oil and hemp CBD oil, while others include flavors, sweeteners, and additional plant extracts. “Keep in mind that when there are a lot of additives, it can affect the lasting power, as each ingredient has its own expiration date,” Bonney explains. 

Be sure to read the full ingredient list when purchasing a CBD product.


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Why is this important for your longevity?

The growing evidence around CBD is exciting. Researchers still have more to learn, but anecdotal reports and recent studies1 suggest many benefits to gain from the cannabinoid.*

Like everything you put in your body, it’s important to do your research when purchasing CBD. This includes checking the expiration of your CBD oil before popping a big dropperful into your mouth. Expired CBD oil won’t have an adverse effect on your health, but it won’t do much good either.


Does CBD oil go bad if not refrigerated?

You don’t need to refrigerate CBD oil. As long as you’re keeping your oil in an airtight bottle away from light and extreme heat, it should remain fresh and potent through the listed expiration date.

What color should good CBD oil be?

While typically a golden or amber hue, the color of a CBD oil varies by the product, especially if there are additional ingredients beyond hemp CBD. The best way to keep tabs on the color of your CBD oil is to drop a bit on the back of your hand when first opening the bottle so you can see how it changes over time.

How do I know if my CBD oil is real?

The best way to determine whether your CBD oil is high quality is to review the product’s certificate of analysis (COA), which lists the results of the oil’s third-party lab testing. Reputable CBD brands share this information on the company website, and often with a QR code on the product’s packaging. If you’re not able to locate a COA for the CBD oil you’re using, it’s time to switch to a different brand.


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The takeaway

Using expired CBD oil won’t hurt you, but it won’t offer any benefits either. Be sure to keep tabs on the expiration date of your chosen product and store it in an airtight bottle away from light and heat. As Bonney mentioned, your best shot at extending a CBD oil’s life span is choosing a high-quality product. Luckily, we have plenty of recommendations for the best CBD oils.