Can I Take Expired CBD Capsules?
Mon, Aug 15, 2022 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Just think: you’re desperately needing to restock your favorite CBD product — and you see that your favorite CBD brand is having what must be a once-in-a-lifetime sale!
The question then becomes how many bottles you should get. One? Two? Ten?
While it might be tempting to go Costco-mode and buy in bulk, that’s not always the wisest choice. You wouldn’t want to buy so much CBD that you can’t use it all by its expiration date!
Why? Because there are several reasons you should never, ever use an expired CBD product. Keep reading to learn more about them.
- Does CBD expire?
- How to tell if your CBD capsules are expired
- Should I stock up during CBD sales?
- 3 reasons to never take expired CBD capsules
- How to get your CBD capsules to last longer
- How to dispose of expired CBD products properly
- What to look for in premium CBD capsules
Does CBD expire?
Nothing good lasts forever (well, nothing physical, anyways). As great as CBD may be, CBD products aren’t immune to this rule.
Most CBD products have a tangible shelf-life; beyond a certain point, they begin to lose their potency or even go bad/rancid. Another thing to know: CBD’s normally-solid shelf-life can be greatly reduced by environmental factors. Heat, sunlight, or some combination of them both can make CBD expire pretty quickly.
This isn’t surprising when you consider that heat and light power pretty much every life process, including both regeneration and degeneration. These environmental factors make CBD production possible (hemp couldn’t grow without sunlight!), yet they can also catalyze its breakdown if present in excess.
How to tell if your CBD capsules are expired
Now that we’ve established that CBD capsules can go bad, let’s look at how to determine whether or not such things are happening. How can you tell if your CBD capsules have expired? Here are several things to keep in mind.
- CBD products that are past their label’s expiration date have probably gone bad. Don’t risk trying them unless you’ve kept them in the fridge or freezer since buying!
- CBD capsules that you’ve left in the car are almost definitely expired. Even if they haven’t reached their expiration date yet, they’re probably no longer safe to consume.
- CBD capsules that taste, smell, or look off are probably no longer good.
- CBD capsules packaged in dark bottles may last longer than products packaged in light bottles.
- Purer CBD capsule products may have a longer shelf-life than less pure products.
- CBD capsules made with clean extraction tech may last longer than products made with ‘dirty’ extraction methods.
- CBD capsules made with MCT oil may have a longer shelf-life than products made without MCT oil (more on why that is later).
Should I stock up during CBD sales?
Back to the hypothetical situation that kicked off this article for a moment. Let’s say your favorite CBD company is offering a sale on your favorite CBD capsules — for TODAY ONLY.
What should you do? Here’s one way to maximize your savings without ending up with expired products later.
- View your capsule products’ Certificate of Analysis page (you can find ours online here)
- Locate the very latest batch’s COA
- Locate the COA’s expiration date (it should be on the first page of the report)
- Calculate how many months away the expiration date is
- Calculate how many bottles capsules you need per month
- Stock up!
As of August 2022, our most recent batch of CBD capsules expires on 6/1/2024. That’s approximately 22 months away.
Most of our customers like taking one capsule per day, which adds up to one bottle per month.
That means the average customer could stock up on as many as 22 bottles of capsules without risking them going bad. Obviously you don’t have to stock up on that many bottles. In this case they’ll likely be many more capsule sales before the 22 months have passed!
Just be aware that not all CBD products feature such a distant expiration date. Sometimes companies have sales for the express purpose of getting rid of soon-to-expire products. These sorts of sales can be a win-win for both producer and consumer…they’re just something to be aware of.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s wisest to buy whatever amount of CBD you know you’ll use. There’s no need to go too crazy or anything. And, if you do buy multiple bottles of CBD capsules, be sure to use them in reverse order of their expiration dates. I.e. use the older products first.
Yet another reason to respect the expiration date of CBD capsules? It’s very difficult to tell if they’ve gone bad. If you’ve got your hands on a CBD oil or tincture, a visual inspection may be enough to tell whether it’s still good. But because the contents of CBD capsules are, well, encapsulated, you may not be able to visually inspect things. And you definitely won’t be able to smell your product’s freshness. When in doubt, throw those old capsules out!
3 reasons to never take expired CBD capsules
There are many, many reasons to avoid taking expired CBD capsules. In this section we’ll be focusing on what are probably the top 3.
Expired CBD products are almost always less potent than their fresh counterparts. As they age their cannabinoid content changes, leaving them with less CBD and THC and more CBN. The terpenes in CBD capsules share a similar fate. Over time these terpenes get converted into less active molecules, reducing both the power and uplifting nature of the entire product. 
Expired CBD products tend to taste worse than fresh ones. (Who would’ve thought, right?) While even fresh CBD products can taste earthy, expired ones may have a bitter aftertaste that tastes earthy in a bad way. This change can be harder to detect if you’re dealing with CBD capsules, but overall bad aftertastes are a telltale sign that your product isn’t as fresh as it could be.
Potential health risks
Using expired CBD capsules may not make you sick…but why risk it? Expired products may harbor unhealthily-high bacterial counts. They may also contain peroxidized fats that can add to your body’s inflammatory/oxidative load. It’s simply not worth taking CBD alongside compounds that might counter its best effects! 
How to get your CBD capsules to last longer
Alright, it’s finally time for some good news: you can easily extend your CBD’s shelf life by following a few simple tips.
Be sure to keep your CBD capsules:
- Away from sunlight
- Away from indirect light sources
- Away from heat
- Away from high humidity
- Away from temperature swings
- Away from your car
The last technique listed below may allow your CBD to stay fresh far after its expiration date. Try to keep your CBD capsules:
- Sealed until they’re ready to use
- In a cool, dark place
- In the fridge or freezer
If these lists seem daunting, don’t worry! CBD Capsules can be stored in the same way you’d store pretty much any other supplement. If you have a cabinet or drawer where you keep your daily supplements you can just throw your CBD in with everything else.
What to do with expired CBD capsules
Even if you follow all the best storage practices in the world, a time will come when your CBD capsules expire. What should you do with them then?
The answer is simple: throw them away. Dump any remaining CBD Capsules into a trash bin, then recycle their container. If you live with small children you may want to empty the trash immediately in order to prevent any accidental ingestion. (CBD isn’t inherently harmful to small children, it’s just unproven.)
What to look for in premium CBD capsules
There are dozens of things to consider when on the hunt for premium, shelf-stable CBD capsules. The following condensed list features what may be the top four.
- Shelf-stable ingredients
- Positive reviews
First things first: the best CBD capsules are the purest CBD capsules. Look for CBD capsules that are completely free from fillers, binders, artificial colors or flavors, and toxic emulsifying agents. In addition to working better, pure CBD caps will likely last longer than impure ones.
Once you’ve established the purity of your product you can move on to the second point: potency. Look for a capsule that’s strong enough that users don’t need to down handfuls of individual capsules every day.
Our THC + CBD Full Spectrum Liquid Capsules are packed with 50mg of CBD and 2mg of THC each — a daily dose that’s more than sufficient for the average user.
Research has shown time and time again that MCT Oil is the best base for CBD oils, tinctures, and capsules.
A 2018 study found that MCT oil degrades less than olive or hempseed oil:
“This [CBD oil] preparation was the only one prepared in MCT oil, which means that this kind of matrix is less susceptible to oxidative degradation than the olive or hemp seed oils declared as matrices for other preparations enrolled herein.” 
And a 2020 study found that MCT captures and preserves terpenes better than the alternatives:
“[...] During 90 days of storage [...the] MCT lipid source extracted a significant concentration of terpenes compared to olive oil. Terpenes showed a different scenario since MCT oil displayed the strongest extraction capacity and conservation trend of all compounds during the shelf life. Terpenes remained stable throughout the entire storage period in MCT formulations [...]. MCT oil could be considered a more suitable lipid source compared to olive oil involved in the extraction of medical cannabis for magistral preparations.” 
Science-speak aside, MCT oil is a better carrier oil than olive oil, hempseed oil, avocado oil, etc. according to almost any metric. There’s a reason we use it in all of our products!
Last but definitely not least is the topic of customer reviews. Think of them as a product’s final stamp of approval. Any given CBD capsule product may look good on paper…but it needs to be validated by real customers in order to be truly great. Here’s what one happy customer says about our CBD caps:
“These capsules are so easy to take! They're my go-to since I have a sensitive palate. I take these to feel calmer before a presentation or huge social event. They work fast and I don't leave the house without them!”
Another customer reports sleep improvements and a clean aftertaste — a sign of freshness and purity:
“I have been using these capsules for a few months now, I take 2 before bed to help me sleep and you don't have that nasty aftertaste that the oils leave in your mouth. They work great in giving me a few hours of deep, restful, and pain-free sleep. Highly recommended!”
Summing things up
At fiveTM CBD a big part of our mission is providing you with pure, fresh, and non-expired CBD capsules. Most of our products, capsules included, are designed to stay good for almost 2 years after you buy them.
But even these products will expire eventually. When the time comes, we’d encourage you to play things safe. There will certainly be more sales, specials, and deals in the future…
For more information on CBD capsules and other CBD products, feel free to check out our educational CBD blog.
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