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Can My Cannabis or CBD Products Expire?

Emily Fisher
Emily Fisher - CEO

Sep 16 2020 - 4 min read

All cannabis or CBD products expire at some point, as it is a plant. The main two factors that determine how long a cannabis product will last are:

  1. What type of product it is (e.g. tincture, flower, edible etc.)
  2. How much plant matter or any other fresh ingredients the product contains.

We will look at how long each product lasts by product type.

Get Free Guide To Cannabis Expiration

How Long Does Cannabis Flower Keep For?

Much of how long cannabis flowers will keep depends on how well cured the flower is in the first instance, and then how well it is kept once it is out of the local dispensary. If your product is well-dried and cured properly (i.e. it is relatively dry and there isn’t too much moisture) and then kept in a mason jar out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place, then it won’t mold or grow mildew.

Cannabis flowers can last up to 18 months in such conditions, losing potency after around 6-9 months of being in the jar. It is generally advisable to use fresh cannabis flower within 6 months, as most people cannot keep it in easy-to-control conditions (i.e. natural light, temperature and humidity fluctuations).

Do not use cannabis if you see discoloured spots, white fuzzy mold, or if it smells of something other than cannabis.

Read more here if you want to know how to tell if your cannabis has gone bad.

What Moldy Weed/Marijuana/Cannabis Looks Like
What does mold on weed look like? From https://www.growery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/825105

 

Cannabis-Infused Edibles

Many edibles contain perishable ingredients like eggs and milk. Edibles like brownies and cakes are not likely to last longer than 2-3 days when made at home and stored in an airtight container. Ones available in dispensaries may contain preservatives that allow them to stay a little while longer when in the packaging, but will still come with a use-by-date.

Cannabis-infused candies may last longer – between 6 and 9 months – as they do not tend to contain many perishable ingredients. You should keep them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight in their original packaging.

Check out our recipe for pot brownies if you don’t want something too sugar-laden, and using the ingredients you choose to use for yourself.

Do Cannabis Extracts & Concentrates Like Hash and Wax Expire?

The less flower there is in the extract or concentrate, the longer it will last. However, just like cannabis flowers, you must keep it stored in a cool, dry place with little sunlight in order to prevent its cannabinoids and terpenes from degrading and mold from forming.

Hashish tends to contain the most plant material, and as such lasts around the same amount of time as flower (around 18 months, maybe a little longer), although its potency may be retained for longer. If hashish is not kept properly, it can go moldy. As for waxes, budder and shatter, it can potentially last up to 2 years, losing potency after around 12 – 18 months. However, keeping concentrates for a long time can change the structure of the product.

Hash with white mold growing on it.
Moldy hash. From https://www.420magazine.com/forums/cannabis-oil/294339-salvage-moldy-hash-concentrated-oil.html

 

Medical Marijuana, CBD Tinctures and Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) Expiry Dates

Oil-based tinctures bought from a dispensary will have an expiry date on them. If the product hasn’t been on the shelf for too long, you can expect an oil-based medical marijuana or CBD tincture to last around 1 – 2 years if kept in a good quality container out of direct sunlight. This is the same for homemade canna oil, although you will need to remove any plant matter for it to last this long. Otherwise, expect canna oil or tincture to last between 3 and 6 months.

Alcohol-based tinctures can last longer, as alcohol is a very good preservative that can prevent bacteria and other pathogens from growing in it. Cannabis infused into high-proof alcohol can be kept up to 10 years if stored appropriately and there isn’t too much plant material in it. This applies to Rick Simpson Oil as well, as it uses alcohol to extract the cannabis, and little if any plant material is left behind.

Vape Pens

Vape pens tend to contain vape oil, and the cannabis extract used to make it tends not to contain any plant material. Moreover, vape pens tend to be well-contained. This means that, if properly kept, vape pens can last a long time without losing much potency – around 2-3 years. However, vape pens do not tend to have a fixed expiry date, and could potentially last longer!

Vape pen and cannabis concentrate
Vape pen. From https://www.flickr.com/photos/weedporndaily/39917946351. Thanks to WeedPornDaily.Com

 

Cannabis-Infused Topicals, Lotions, Salves, Soaps and Other Cosmetics

Cannabis-infused cosmetics tend to be given a use by or expiry date, but may still be usable for a few months afterwards if it hasn’t dried or gone moldy. The expiry date will also depend on what’s in the cosmetics. Soaps are alkaline, so will preserve any cannabis it contains quite well. Other types of cosmetics will generally also retain cannabinoids well, unless it contains other natural ingredients that are liable to go off. For  the most part, though, cosmetic products are unlikely to lose any potency for 1 – 2 years, and perhaps even longer if stored properly.

The Best Way to Keep Any Cannabis Product

Basically, regardless of what type of cannabis product it is, some essential rules apply if you want to keep it at its best, with little cannabinoid or terpene degradation. These are:

  • Keep your cannabis somewhere cool.
  • Keep your cannabis somewhere dark and out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep your cannabis in a dry area with little humidity.
  • Keep your cannabis in an airtight jar no more than three-quarters full, or in its original packaging and any tops or lids screwed firmly on.
  • Very important: keep your cannabis product/s away from children and animals!
Get Free Guide To Cannabis Storage & Safety

If you are interested in utilizing any of the above products and want to do so as legally as possible, then get a medical marijuana card with Leafwell!

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Written by
Emily Fisher
Emily Fisher - CEO

Emily is an entrepreneur and medical cannabis patient. In 2016 she began working with medical clinics in California and met with hundreds of patients who used cannabis to help them in their daily lives. Fascinated by its effectiveness and versatility as a medicine, she realized more research and education was needed to help patients. In 2019, Emily founded Leafwell, which aims to improve patient access to medical cannabis.

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