CBD does not have a defined shelf life like many other consumable products. This is because the shelf life of CBD products varies based on the specific formulation and product type. Taking good care of CBD products, in general, helps to preserve their cannabinoids as well and quality.
This does not mean throwing them in your refrigerator which can alter the consistency and formulation. But it does mean keeping products away from heat and light, and using them within a reasonable amount of time (under 6 months to a year if no “use by” or expiration date is indicated).
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CBD Storage Tips
- Keep in airtight containers
- Keep out of light and use UV-protectant container
- Avoid exposure to heat or cold that is outside of room temp range
- Shake before use (liquids)
- Use a Bodeva humidity pack for CBD hemp flower
- Do not refrigerate or freeze- cold can damage hemp flower, terpenes, and alter product consistency
- Generally best within 6 months to 1 year of purchase (maximum)
Effects of Light, Heat, and Time on CBD Shelf Life
Whether you are using CBD oil, CBD concentrates, or CBD hemp flower, it is important to keep products away from light and heat and to use them within a reasonable amount of time. Why is that? Simply, light and heat cause decarboxylation. This process converts acidic cannabinoids like CBDA and THCA into their “active” forms, CBD and THC. In excess amounts of light and heat, and over time, THC will further degrade into the sedative cannabinoid CBN.
CBD Expiration Date vs Best By Date
There are different criteria for expiration dates and best by dates. Basically, an expiration date indicates the date when a perishable item needs to be disposed of. Depending on that type of item, there may be some leniency. However, the company will not guarantee the product after that date and consuming an expired product could cause adverse health effects.
When it comes to a best by/best before date, that speaks to the quality of the product, not the safety. A perishable product may not be very good if consumed after that date, but it is not explicitly unsafe to do so.
Determining CBD Shelf Life
Actual shelf life determination utilizes scientifically validated methods. These shelf life studies inform the company on what the shelf life of a CBD product is by using accelerated conditions to determine the storage conditions and period of time that a product can withstand.
However, these studies are very expensive and are not being used currently in the CBD industry. They are not currently regulated by the FDA, so it is not required (federally) to determine the shelf life of a CBD product!
Some states, like Alaska, Utah, and West Virginia (among others), may require this, but most CBD expiration or use by dates are guesses at this time. Really, it is better for the company to not suggest a date until they have actually done the legitimate (and expensive) testing, or until a federally accepted general time period is determined.
The Shelf Life of Marijuana
In Canada, where marijuana is federally legal, marijuana companies have an accepted practice of labeling dried buds with a "best used by" date. Their industry leaders explain that truly, cannabis buds to not have an expiration. However, after a year the smell begins to be lost because the terpenes begin to break down. The "best before" date advises of the one year period during which the flower should be reasonably fresh.
CBD Serving Size
Especially when it comes to edibles, there is clearly miscommunication between packaging and users of cannabis products! This problem again circles back to the fact that the FDA has not approved, or evaluated and form of CBD outside of the pharmaceutical Epidiolex. Product formulations vastly vary, as do consumption methods, and the user’s body chemistry. All of these factors make it almost impossible to recommend a serving size for CBD products.
Some companies take the legal liability of recommending a serving size based on typical use habits, but again, expensive clinical trials are needed to legally determine actual dosage per a particular product. Consumers should be aware that some states require companies to recommend a serving size, but this is not a scientifically or medically determined dosage!
Since the dosage for retail CBD products cannot be legally determined within the average company’s financial resources, and the FDA has no generally accepted guidelines, consumers again are left playing a guessing game. The best advice on CBD dosage is to talk to a doctor! The second best advice is to start low and go slow.
Final Thoughts on CBD Shelf Life and CBD Serving Size
Here at Plain Jane, we pride ourselves on erring on the side of caution when it comes to our products. We believe in our products and feel that we do not need to use shill marketing and inflated claims to draw in customers. That is why we are giving you the best honest answers we have at this time when it comes to CBD shelf life and CBD serving sizes.
We expect that our products will be used within 2 months of purchase but at this time we do not print an expiration or use by date. Likewise, we aren't doctors and our products are not intended for medical use so at this time we do not recommend a serving size on our packaging. We strongly encourage all CBD users to talk to their doctors before using CBD products!