Does CBD Lose Effectiveness Over Time?

CBD oil in a dropper lying on a wooden table

Table of contents

  1. Why CBD Loses Effectiveness: It’s Expired
  2. How to Tell If It’s Gone Bad
  3. Why CBD Loses Effectiveness: You’ve Built a Tolerance
  4. The Bottom Line
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Cannabidiol (CBD) can lose effectiveness over time. This may be because the product has expired or because you have developed a tolerance to CBD. Read on to discover how to slow CBD expiration and overcome CBD tolerance.

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Why CBD Loses Effectiveness: It’s Expired

Yes, CBD oil expires. There are a few factors that influence how long CBD oil remains usable.

Factors That Influence CBD Shelf Life

Extraction process. Extracting CBD from the cannabis plant can be done in several ways. Some methods are better than others. The carbon dioxide extraction method is believed to be the best as it maximizes the amount of CBD in the final product. This method helps preserve other cannabinoids when creating a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD product. For longer-lasting CBD products, look for those made in this way.

Ingredients. The ingredients in CBD products can affect their shelf life. A high-quality CBD oil will be made from higher-quality ingredients, resulting in a longer-lasting product. Flavorings can sometimes degrade faster than CBD, causing the product to have a shorter shelf life.

Packaging. Exposure to light, air, and heat will make CBD products degrade faster, reducing their shelf life. To maximize the shelf life of your CBD products, make sure you purchase those in a dark (amber) colored glass bottle. Ensure the bottle is airtight and stored out of direct sunlight before purchasing.

Quality. The higher quality of the product, the longer it is likely to last. Factors that affect the quality of CBD products include the quality of the plant, the condition, and other ingredients added to the product. It is always best to use a product with a certificate of analysis (CoA) from a third-party laboratory.

Storage. Proper storage is crucial to get the most out of your CBD oil. It’s essential to store your CBD products in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight and in an airtight container. If you don’t, the heat, light, and air may cause the CBD to degrade faster.

How to Tell If It’s Gone Bad

Smell. If your CBD product smells nasty, it has probably degraded and is past its expiration date. CBD products should not smell bad; they typically smell pretty earthy.

Taste. If the CBD product tastes rancid, it has degraded. Even if you don’t particularly like the taste of your CBD product, it should still be edible/drinkable. If it’s not, it’s time to purchase a new product.

Thickness. If CBD oil has thickened or if the color has darkened, the oil has likely gone bad. If you have stored your CBD oil in the refrigerator, it may have thickened a bit and might appear cloudy. You can leave the oil at room temperature for a few minutes, and it should return to its original thickness and color — if it doesn’t, the CBD oil has degraded.

Will Using Expired CBD Make You Sick?

It is unlikely that expired CBD oil will make you sick unless there is mold or mildew in the product. However, it will likely not be worth ingesting as it’s lost its full potency, and you won’t receive its full therapeutic benefits. This is because the CBD would have started to degrade. The product will also begin to smell and taste bad, making it unenjoyable to ingest.

Why CBD Loses Effectiveness: You’ve Built a Tolerance

You might be experiencing a reduction in the effectiveness of CBD if you have developed a tolerance to it. Tolerance means you must take increasingly higher doses of a substance to feel the same effects. This occurs because the body works to maintain a cellular balance (homeostasis). Tolerance should not be confused with dependence or addiction.

A tolerance to CBD differs from THC tolerance as THC binds to CB1 receptors in the brain. Over time, these receptors can become more resistant to THC, causing the need for more of it to be ingested to give the same effects.

Building a tolerance to CBD is unlikely as CBD does not bind to the CB1 receptors as THC does, but it is still possible.

How to Tell You’ve Built a CBD Tolerance

You have probably built up a tolerance if you find that you have to regularly increase the CBD dose you take to get the same desired effects.

Steps to Lower CBD Tolerance Levels

You could try abstaining from CBD use for 48 hours to lower your CBD tolerance levels. This would give your body a chance to “reset,” allowing your tolerance levels to drop.

If this seems too extreme for you, or you take CBD daily for medical reasons, you could try reducing how often you take it. Instead of using CBD multiple times daily, try cutting back to just once or twice. You might find that your tolerance lessens this way.

Utilizing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may also reduce the amount of CBD you need, as the combination of THC and CBD has a synergistic effect that boosts each other’s anti-inflammatory properties via the entourage effect.

If you use the same strain (cultivar) often, you could also try a different strain or product to lower your tolerance. This might work for you because if you consistently use one strain, the different chemical makeup of a new one will shift the balance your body has built up.

The Bottom Line

If your CBD product seems less effective than it once was, there may be two causes: The product may have degraded, or you might have developed a tolerance to it. It’s essential to look for the signs of both causes to ensure you get the most from your CBD products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does CBD lose its effect over time?

Yes, CBD does lose effectiveness over time, and this is because CBD (and the other ingredients in the product) degrade, causing the product to lose its effects. This degradation can be slowed by ensuring you store your CBD properly and purchasing high-quality products.

Do you build a tolerance to CBD?

It is possible to build a tolerance to CBD. To avoid this, you can take breaks from using CBD for 48 hours every now and again or simply decrease how often you take it. Additionally, you could try a new strain to avoid building a tolerance.

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