Updated September 6th, 2020
Did you know that if stored properly, a well-made cannabidiol (CBD) tincture has practically an indefinite shelf-life? It is true – if left completely undisturbed in an ideal environment, a CBD-infused tincture can potentially last for years with little-to-no degradation whatsoever! This is not the case, however, for all CBD-infused products. For example, even the most expertly-crafted edibles have a drastically shorter shelf life in comparison. In this article, we explain how to properly store various CBD-infused products to maximum shelf-life and efficiency.
Typical Expiration Dates
Typically, CBD and other hemp-related oils have a written expiration date right on the package. This date is usually anywhere from one to two years from the product’s manufacture date. However, this may vary slightly depending upon the product type. Regular consumers do not have to worry about expiration dates, as they replace their products consistently. Alternatively, some find themselves in need of product storage, whether it be due to infrequent or inconsistent use or the purchase of products in bulk. Other consumers have chosen to create their own CBD-infused goods from the comfort of their home – typically resulting in bigger batches that require storage.
The Best Way to Store CBD-Infused Products
Whether it be an edible, tincture, balm, salve, or cooking oil – all cannabinoids are prone to degradation under prolonged exposure to light, heat, and oxygen. The best way to store infused products is to ensure that all of these elements are well-controlled.
The three critical virtues of storing any cannabinoid-infused products are tight seals, cooler temperatures, and a dark environment. Concerning temperature control, refrigerators have proven to be a universal solution for storing any cannabis-infused creation. However, this method is ineffective for the storing of flowers, which will degrade over time. Virtually all cannabis-infused products, when stored in a refrigerator, will experience an elongated shelf-life and improved conditions.
Avoid exposure to oxygen and light. Always air seal your infused products in opaque storage containers – which are specifically designed to fight against light and air exposure. If you purchase an infusion from a state-sanctioned dispensary or retailer, containers are typically packaged in an adequate storage device. It would be good practice to keep all infused products stored in their original containers. However, if you must transfer its contents, be sure that each product is well labeled. Always elect to store your cannabis-related products in glass, especially for long-term storage, because plastic bags and containers may compromise the product over time.
The Nuances of Storing CBD Oil and Edibles
Proper storage techniques over time can all but eliminate the threat of degradation. It is important to note, however, that not all infusions are created equal. In almost every scenario, there are other ingredients involved in the creation of the product that can be a significant contributor to the product’s expiration date.
Let’s examine CBD-infused edibles as an example. The perishability of edible infusions can vary significantly from one product to the next. Pastries, bread, and other baked food will almost always expire sooner than a hard candy or chocolate treat. Conversely, certain cooking oils can last for months or even years if stored properly.
If you have purchased a CBD-infused product from a dispensary or retailer, it would be wise to immediately check for a “best by” date. In these scenarios, never hesitate to ask your certified “budtender” any questions that you may have regarding shelf life and storage of a specific product. Alternatively, if you have chosen to prepare your own infusions at home, it is essential to always keep in mind the perishability of each incorporated ingredient. Take this into consideration when attempting to determine shelf life and storage preference.
Storing CBD-Infused Products Long-Term
Similar to the refrigeration method, freezers also prove to be a great option when it comes down to storing these perishable infusions. Freezing some infusions like cooking oils, butter, and many other pre-prepared cooking ingredients, can drastically extend the product’s shelf-life and allow it to be stored for a longer-term.
An excellent way to safely store various infused cooking oils is to pair them with other herbs and then freeze them using an ice cube tray. Cannabis butter (cannabutter) can also be portioned and then frozen in the same manner for a long-term storage solution. Even baked goods such as bread (that would otherwise rapidly degrade under room temperatures) can be frozen to drastically extend its shelf-life. Simply thaw these products whenever you are ready for their use and enjoy!
Tinctures are at the top of the list of longest-lasting CBD-infused products. When stored under ideal conditions, an expertly-made tincture can last indefinitely, according to a grower, author, and cannabis expert Ed Rosenthal. In his book “Beyond Buds,” Rosenthal states that either amber or blue Boston Round dropper bottles are most ideal for tincture storage. He additionally notes that freezers and refrigerators will infinitely reduce any degradation that could occur. Keep in mind that CBD-infused tinctures that were prepared using glycerin will degrade and expire far more quickly than pure alcohol distillations. A well-stored and undisturbed alcohol infusion has the capability of lasting for years or even decades before significant degradation occurs.
Keeping your CBD-infused products away from excess heat, air, and light will help retain potency and longevity. Storing your infusions in opaque storage containers before refrigeration or freezing almost always guarantees an increased shelf-life and maintained potency. Keep in mind that not all products are designed to last indefinitely and that the perishability of your products will almost always be dependent upon other incorporated ingredients. Always check CBD-infused products for a “best by” date and then store them somewhere in your home that follows the product’s recommended storage conditions.
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Joshua Willard (Freelance CBD Content Writer/Editor)
FDA Disclosure Statement:
The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.