The Shelf Life of Cannabis Edibles: Do They Expire, and How to Store Them Properly?

Dominique Fontaine

Are you curious about the shelf life of cannabis edibles? Ever wondered if they expire? If so, you’re in the right place.

This blog is all about understanding the shelf life of cannabis edibles and how to store them properly. These aspects are important to keep your edibles safe, effective, and enjoyable for longer. Whether you’re a regular user or someone trying them for the first time, knowing these details can make a real difference.

So, let’s dive into the topic and learn more about the lifespan and proper storage of these unique treats.

What are Cannabis Edibles?

Cannabis edibles, as the name suggests, are food items that contain cannabis. They are a popular choice for many people because they offer a way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without smoking or vaping.

Edibles are made by mixing cannabis or cannabis oil into food or drink. The cannabis in edibles is absorbed through the digestive system, which can lead to a more intense and longer-lasting effect compared to smoking.

Now, let’s talk about the different types of cannabis edibles available in the market.

Types of Cannabis Edibles

There’s a wide variety of cannabis edibles to choose from. Here are some common ones:

  1. Baked goods: This is a large group that includes items like brownies, cookies, and muffins. They’re often made with cannabis-infused butter or oil.
  2. Candies and gummies: These sweet treats are popular for their ease of use and precise dosing.
  3. Drinks: These can range from cannabis-infused teas and coffees to fizzy drinks.
  4. Tinctures: These are cannabis extracts that you can add to your food or drink or take directly under your tongue.
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Do Cannabis Edibles Expire?

You might be wondering if cannabis edibles can expire. The simple answer is yes, they can. Just like other food items, cannabis edibles can go bad over time.

The expiry date of cannabis edibles isn’t just about the cannabis itself but also the food part of the edible. For example, if you have cannabis-infused cookies, they will start to spoil at the same rate as regular cookies. After the expiry date, the taste, texture, and overall quality of the edibles can degrade.

While expired edibles may not make you sick, they may not give you the desired effect. The potency of the cannabis can decrease over time. So, it’s always a good idea to consume them before they expire.

Factors Affecting the Shelf Life of Cannabis Edibles

Several factors can affect how long your cannabis edibles last. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Ingredients: The types of ingredients in the edibles can impact their shelf life. For instance, baked goods with dairy products can spoil faster than gummies or hard candies.
  2. Storage: How and where you store your edibles can make a big difference. Keeping them in a cool, dark, and dry place can help them last longer.
  3. Packaging: Good packaging can protect edibles from air, light, and moisture, which can extend their shelf life.

Understanding the Shelf Life of Different Types of Cannabis Edibles

Not all cannabis edibles are the same. Different types of edibles can have different shelf lives. Let’s go over some common types of cannabis edibles and their typical shelf life.

Shelf Life of Gummies and Candies

Gummies and candies tend to last longer than many other types of edibles. This is because they have a low moisture content, which helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds. If you store them properly in a cool, dry place, they can last up to a year or more. However, they might get hard or lose their flavor over time.

Shelf Life of Baked Goods Like Brownies and Cookies

Baked goods such as brownies and cookies are some of the most common cannabis edibles. Their shelf life is typically similar to their non-cannabis counterparts. If you leave them at room temperature, they can last about a week. 

If you put them in the fridge, they might last two to three weeks. For even longer storage, you can freeze them, and they could last a few months. Remember, it’s important to keep them in an airtight container to maintain their freshness and potency.

Shelf Life of Tinctures and Oils

Cannabis tinctures and oils usually have a longer shelf life compared to other edibles. When stored properly, they can last up to two years or more. They should be kept in a cool, dark place since exposure to light and heat can degrade the cannabis oil. A good practice is to keep them in their original bottle, which is usually designed to protect them from light.

Signs of Expired Cannabis Edibles

Just like with any other food product, there are a few signs that can tell you if your cannabis edibles have gone bad. Always trust your senses to guide you. Let’s go through some of the main signs that your edibles might be past their prime.

Visual Signs

The first thing to do is to look at your edibles. If you see any mold or discoloration, it’s best to throw them away. Mold can appear as fuzzy spots of white, green, or other colors. Discoloration can also be a sign that your edibles have started to spoil.

Texture Changes

Next, check the texture. If your edibles feel overly hard, dry, or otherwise different from when you first got them, they might be expired. For example, gummies might become extremely hard, while baked goods might become overly dry or crumbly.

Odor Changes

Finally, smell your edibles. If they smell off or are different from how they smelled when you first got them, it could be a sign that they’re no longer good to eat. An unpleasant or unusual odor is often a clear sign of spoilage.

Impact of Consuming Expired Cannabis Edibles

You may be curious about what could happen if you consume expired cannabis edibles. Let’s discuss the short-term and long-term effects, as well as the decrease in potency.

Short Term Effects

In the short term, consuming expired edibles might not make you feel ill unless they’re contaminated with harmful bacteria or molds. However, the taste and texture may be unpleasant. It’s also possible that the expired edibles might not produce the effects you’re expecting, as the potency of the cannabis can decrease over time.

Long Term Effects

As for long-term effects, it’s important to note that eating expired edibles regularly isn’t recommended. While it’s unlikely to cause serious health problems, it can lead to stomach upset or discomfort, especially if the edibles have developed mold. If you constantly consume expired edibles, you might not get the full benefits of cannabis as the potency decreases over time.

Decrease in Potency

One of the most notable impacts of consuming expired cannabis edibles is the decrease in potency. The active components in cannabis, like THC and CBD, can degrade over time, especially when exposed to light, air, or heat. This means that expired edibles might not give you the desired effects.

How to Properly Store Cannabis Edibles

Proper storage of cannabis edibles is key to maintaining their quality and prolonging their shelf life. Good storage practices ensure that your edibles stay tasty, effective, and safe to consume.

Importance of Proper Storage

Proper storage of cannabis edibles is crucial for several reasons. It helps to preserve the taste and texture of the edibles, prevents the growth of mold and bacteria, and helps to maintain the potency of the cannabis. In short, the better you store your edibles, the better your experience will be when you consume them.

Recommendations for Storage Conditions

Here are some storage conditions to keep in mind for your cannabis edibles:

  1. Light: Excessive exposure to light can degrade cannabis in edibles. It’s best to store your edibles in a dark place or in opaque containers.
  2. Temperature: Temperature is another important factor. High temperatures can cause edibles to go bad faster. Store your edibles in a cool place, but be careful not to freeze them unless the manufacturer recommends it.
  3. Humidity: Too much moisture can lead to the growth of mold. Try to store your edibles in a dry place and in airtight containers to keep moisture out.

Key Takeaways: 

Understanding the shelf life and proper storage of cannabis edibles is important for every user. It ensures you get the best taste, maximum potency, and safe consumption.

Remember, different types of edibles have different shelf lives. Always look for signs of spoilage like mold, discoloration, or a strange smell. Store your edibles in a cool, dark, and dry place to help them last longer.

In the end, it’s all about enjoying your edibles at their best. With these tips, you can make sure your edibles stay fresh and effective for as long as possible. Stay safe and enjoy!