If you've just pulled your long lost THC-O vape from between your car seats or discovered a forgotten tincture shoved in the back of your cabinet, you may be wondering–does THC-O expire? And if so, how do you determine if THC-O is any good before consuming?
It's an important question, since expired cannabis products can cause effects that are less than ideal. Plus, you also have to worry about any added ingredients, like terpenes or flavorings, expiring over time.
Although an expired THC-O product won't always make you sick, it definitely may not provide the effects you're after. Before you take any chances, here's what you should know about THC-O’s shelf life and how to determine if your products are still any good.
The shelf life of a THC-O product varies by product type and also depends on different manufacturing factors. For instance, certain edibles (like baked goods) may expire rather quickly. THC-O oils or other oil-based products may have a much longer shelf life.
Since the way that THC-O is stored over its lifetime will also affect how quickly it degrades, its hard to give any finite timelines for THC-O’s shelf life. Still, you’ll be happy to know that THC-O is relatively shelf-stable because of the way that it is made, even more so than traditional THC products.
In general, the factors that impact the overall shelf life of a THC-O product include:
The quality of your THC-O product affects its shelf life greatly, as with virtually any consumer good that expires. In other words, cheaply made oils or products made by manufacturers that cut corners or use less-than-ideal manufacturing practices may expire much more quickly.
There are many factors at play here, but it mostly boils down to growing conditions, the original hemp quality (like being free of mold and contaminants), and the overall quality of all ingredients. The simple truth is that high-quality THC-O oil lasts longer than the cheap stuff.
Read "How is THC-O Extracted?" to learn more.
We mentioned that the quality of ingredients is an important factor in how long a THC-O product will last, and it’s undoubtedly true. Certain additives, like flavorings or carrier oils, may have a different shelf life than THC-O itself.
In most cases, a good THC-O manufacturer will use shelf stable ingredients designed to keep the product fresh as long as possible, but you should definitely pay attention to the additional ingredients when determining how to store a particular product.
There are a variety of different extraction methods that can be used to make THC-O and other hemp-derived products, and not all of them are created equal. It’s hard to say exactly how these methods may impact the particular shelf life of a particular product, but there are some thing you can do as a consumer to ensure that you are getting the highest quality products available.
For instance, some methods use solvents (and may even leave some of those solvents behind) that can affect the shelf life. The Supercritical CO2 extraction method is known to produce a CBD extract that’s incredibly stable, and that CBD can be turned into a stable, clean THC-O product that last for months (or years).
A product may have a set shelf life based on its formulation, but its truly only as good as its packaging. Like any hemp oil, THC-O needs to be stored in a way that protects it’s integrity. There are things you can do as a consumer to protect your THC oil from spoiling, but the manufacturer should also take steps towards proper storage for their THC-O products.
For instance, tinctures generally should be packaged in a dark-colored glass bottle with an air tight lid, while vape oil may come in a ceramic and glass cartridge that’s air tight and won’t leak or oxidize.
The amber bottle we described above is used to block out light that may degrade cannabinoids and ruin the quality of your THC oil. Oxygen and heat can also break down some cannabinoids. It’s best to keep your oil stored in a cool, dark, dry place, like a cabinet.
Edibles, on the other hand, may need to be stored in the fridge, or even the freezer until ready for use. All in all, you’ll need to tailor the storage method to the type of product you have for best results.
Read more about how to store THC-O.
If your THC-O is past its expiration date, it’s probably safe to toss it out and start fresh! After all, that product may be several years from it’s manufacturing date. But sometimes you may notice that your THC oil is less-than-fresh before it technically expires. It could be spoiled (possibly because it was poorly made or stored improperly). Here’s how to tell:
Oil can turn and go rancid, but you’ll be able to smell it. If it smells unpleasant, it may be bad. THC oil may smell “green” or like plant material, or it could small like its additives (terpenes, sweeteners, or otherwise). It shouldn’t, however, smell sour or ruined.
If your once-thin oil is thick, cloudy, or dark in color, it may not be any good. THC oil may get thicker when it’s kept cold, but if it doesn’t return to normal at room temperature then it may be better to toss it out.
This may go without saying, but then again, some people aren’t sure what to expect from the taste of THC oil. Some people describe the taste as nutty or grassy, which can be normal for some THC oils. Still, the oil shouldn’t taste rancid, spicy, sour, or be otherwise unpalatable.
In general, expiration dates for THC products are for precaution, and you probably won’t experience any severe side effects if you’ve accidentally ingested an oil that's a few days or weeks out of date.
In general, the most common difference in an expired product is that it is less effective. That being said, rancid carrier oils or other expired ingredients can make you a bit sick, so it’s best to not take any chances. If your THC-O is out of date, it’s probably better to toss it and buy more.
It’s true that THC-O will eventually expire, but a well made product can last for years from it’s manufacturing date. Some ingredients, like certain flavorings and sweeteners, may shorten the shelf life. Your THC-O products should come clearly labeled with an expiration date, and it’s always best to abide by that (or reach out to the manufacturer if you have any questions!).
If you notice and weird smells, tastes, and textures, even with a THC-O product that is in date, you may have encountered a problem (like improper storage) along the way. Usually, you can trust your gut in these situations, but if the product smells rancid, it probably is!
Store THC-O oils and vapes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to extend the shelf life. You should also make sure you start with high-quality oil made from clean hemp material, which helps prevent mold growth or other contaminants from ruining your THC-O product.
Our Elev8 Collection includes gummies, oils, vapes, and more that are made from hemp that is carefully tested for potency and purity before manufacturing. Our Elev8 Oil is a great choice if you’re looking for a shelf-stable, easy-to-measure dosing option that will help you reach you perfect lift level.
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