Using CBD? Great! But do you know how to store it so that it stays fresh and effective?
Why it matters where you store CBD
CBD is a plant-based substance. And just like any other plant-based substance, CBD will eventually break down and deteriorate with age. This means the compounds in the oil will degrade and evaporate, and the beneficial properties will be less potent and less effective.
There are a number of factors that affect how long a CBD product will last before it breaks down in this way. The most important of these is to do with how it’s stored.
Depending on the way a particular CBD product is prepared, it may or may not contain terpenes. Terpenes are highly volatile, which means high temperatures—such as those involved in the drying of the plant material or during the evaporation of solvents—may cause significant loss of terpene components.
It’s for this reason that many CBD extracts are diluted with carrier oils, such as hemp seed oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. This makes the concentrated CBD easier to administer and ingest..
At the same time, however, the oil must be stored in a way that prevents it from oxidizing.
Light and heat are the two main causes of oxidation in natural products. Oxidation occurs when the molecules within the beneficial compounds begin to break down and evaporate. When this happens, the product begins to lose its effectiveness.
Keeping your CBD products fresh and effective for as long as possible is as simple as storing them properly. Because oral CBD products are technically food and health supplements, they should be stored in much the same way you’d store foods. Topical products such as lotions and balms may be kept in the bathroom with your other cosmetics.
How to store CBD oil properly: 3 things to consider
1. Keep CBD away from direct light
Light exposure can affect the natural properties of CBD and cause them to break down. Quality CBD products are usually packaged in a way that protects them from light, but it’s still important to store them properly.
Keep all CBD products away from exposure to sunlight, such as countertops, window sills, and car dashboards. Store them in a dark, dry, and cool place, such as a cupboard or refrigerator.
You can also go one step further by wrapping your products in aluminum foil.
2. Keep CBD away from heat
As mentioned, most extracts are processed with a carrier oil. Heat can change the chemical composition of the CBD oil, making your product look thick and murky. Maintaining a stable temperature is important to prevent heat damage.
If you store your CBD product in the cupboard, make sure the temperature of the cupboard is around 74°F or 23°C. Keep the product away from appliances such as the stove, range, kettles, straightening irons… anything that gives off heat. And never leave your CBD in the car, which can heat up like an oven!
3. Keep CBD away from air
While most CBD products come in airtight bottles or applicators, it’s important to reduce exposure to air as much as possible. Keep your CBD product in an upright position in its original container and put the cap back on tightly after each use. If you do need to transfer your CBD product, use only an air-tight, opaque container.
Does CBD oil need to be refrigerated?
In hot climates or during summer, the fridge is often your best bet for storing CBD oil. This may cause the CBD to solidify a little, so just run the bottle under warm water when you’re ready to use it to help with dispensing.
Note that freezing isn’t suitable for all CBD products and it makes dispensing the product difficult. Check with the manufacturer if your particular product to confirm whether it can be frozen.
The shelf life of common CBD products
FDA guidelines require every CBD product to state its expiration date on the label. In most cases, an oil-based CBD product should have a shelf life of 12–24 months.
Edible CBD products will have an expiration date that takes into account the various ingredients included in the product. If you’re unsure, ask the retailer or manufacturer about the shelf life and recommended storage of the product. If you’re making an CBD-infused product yourself, determine the shelf life by checking the ‘best before’ date on each ingredient. Refrigeration is usually your best option.
CBD tinctures are among the longest-lasting oral forms of cannabidiol. If stored properly, a well-made tincture can last for years. Most manufacturers will put a tincture in an amber or blue dropper bottle to prevent degradation from light and air and recommend that they be stored in the fridge. Tinctures processed with glycerin tend to have a shorter shelf life than those made with distilled alcohol.
Your checklist for effective CBD storage
- Maintain the potency and freshness of your CBD product by keeping it well away from light, heat, and air
- Avoid using plastic containers, as they may compromise the integrity of the CBD over time
- Determine the perishability of your homemade CBD edibles and keep them fresh by storing in the refrigerator
- If you use CBD daily and expect to finish it within a couple of months, it’s fine to store it in a cool, dry, and dark place like a cupboard
- If travelling with your CBD, store it in a cooler bag whenever possible
- If your CBD product smells rancid or ‘off,’ throw it away and buy a new product!
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