Weed edibles have taken the cannabis market by storm, and it’s easy to see why: they’re fun, easy to use, and tasty! Like with any food product, though, it’s important to be aware of expiration dates. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about edible shelf life to help keep you safe and keep your edibles at their peak.
What are edibles?
Cannabis edibles are a type of food product that contains cannabis or cannabis compounds, such as cannabinoids or terpenes. Edibles come in all shapes and sizes.
You can find edible cannabis:
- Drinks (e.g., vitamin water, smoothies)
- Chewing gum
In addition to deciding between a gummy or a brownie, you can also choose the type of compounds in your edible, based on the experience you are looking for. If you want to get high, for example, then you’ll want edibles that are high in THC. However, if you’re wanting to experience some of the medicinal properties of cannabis and aren’t interested in getting high, then CBD edibles might be the best pick for you.
Edibles are a great option for people who want to experience the benefits of cannabis compounds but don’t want to smoke plant material.
People take edibles for a variety of reasons, but the therapeutic benefits feature near the top of the list. Research into cannabis has shown us that the cannabis plant has many compounds that can produce some impressive health benefits, including:
- Improving anxiety and depression (1)
- Treating skin disorders (2)
- Reducing pain (3)
- Improving sleep quality (4)
- Reducing inflammation (5)
- Protecting the brain from neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s (6)
- Improving the symptoms of PTSD (7)
- Reducing nausea (8)
Can edibles go bad?
Edibles can indeed go bad, but their shelf life will be largely dependent on the specific type of food product you purchase. A brownie edible, for example, will go bad faster than edible cannabis gum. A good rule of thumb for edible products is to consider them to be expired when you would the normal, non-cannabis-containing food version to be expired. If you chuck out a smoothie after a day, then get rid of your cannabis-infused smoothie after a day.
Typically, the food ingredients in edibles will expire long before the cannabis or cannabis compounds. But with longer-shelf-life edibles, including those that are high in sugar, it is important to be aware of when the cannabis ingredients expire.
Cannabis extracts such as THC and CBD oils can last for around 1-2 years, provided that they are stored properly. If you have edible gummies in your pantry that have been sitting around for a year or two, then you might want to consider replacing them.
What happens if you eat an expired edible?
The good news is that if you eat an expired edible, nothing will really happen. – or, nothing will happen due to the cannabis compounds, anyway. Of course, your response to an expired edible will vary based on the other ingredients present. Expired milk, for example, can make you feel a whole lot worse than expired gum. On the whole, an expired edible will typically just be stale and lose its taste.
If you’re consuming an edible with expired cannabis or cannabis extracts, then you can expect to experience reduced effects. Time and exposure can cause cannabinoids to be less effective, so you should alter your expectations of possible therapeutic benefits if you’re consuming an edible with old or expired cannabis content.
Store-bought or homemade?
When it comes to edible products, making your own at home can help ensure that you’re consuming your edibles at their freshest. Making your own edibles is also often cheaper and allows you control over the dosage, the strain of cannabis used, and the ratio of cannabinoids in your edibles.
If you’re interested in making your own edibles, at home our Do It Yourself Edible Kits make it easy to whip up your own batch.
Ways to extend edible shelf life
If you have CBD edibles, there are a few things you can do to extend their shelf life, allowing you to enjoy their effects for longer.
Keep edibles in an airtight container
Storing your edibles in an airtight container will help to keep the ingredients fresh and keep your edibles tasting better for longer.
Keep edibles out of the sun
Exposure to sunshine can not only reduce the shelf life of the food ingredients in edible products, but it can also degrade cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. Keeping your edibles out of the sun by storing them in a pantry or drawer can help extend their shelf life.
Keep edibles in the fridge/freezer
If you’re wanting to extend the shelf life of edible products that typically go bad quickly, then putting them in the fridge or freezer can buy you some extra time. A CBD smoothie, for example, will last much longer in the fridge than at room temperature. Edible gummies made at home are a good example of a cannabis food product that can be stored for a few months in a freezer (though be sure to defrost before use).
The instructions on CBD-infused edible packaging will also give you a good idea of how to properly store and extend the specific product’s shelf life.
Edibles can go bad, but if you eat an expired edible, all you’ll probably have to worry about is a sub-par taste and reduced cannabinoid potency. To get the best out of your edibles, be sure to store them correctly and consume them before they go bad.