Does CBD / THC Vape Oil Expire – How to Tell if it's Time to Toss it

Hidden in the pocket of those nice “going out” pants. Tucked away in the go-to weekend bag. Wherever an out-of-sightTHC or CBD vape oil cartridge may live, it can be a nice surprise during seasonal cleaning sessions. But does THC oil expire? And exactly how long does THC oil last? Sometimes the answers to these questions aren’t as straightforward as one might assume. Let’s explore the idea of THC and CBD oils’ shelf life. 

Do Vape Oil Cartridges Expire?

 The short answer to this question is yes. But, that “yes” is largely contingent on just how long an oil cartridge has been sitting out and where. If the cartridge’s oil is still the same color andviscosity — no sludge or strange separation — as when first purchased, it’s probably just fine. 

 However, the oil cartridge still might’ve lost some of its potency, especially if it’s been sitting out in bright or warm environments. It’s also incredibly important to check old cartridges for any mold; even just a touch is an absolute no-go, and the oil should be tossed immediately. Ultimately both THC and CBD oil can last for a very long time, but this extended shelf life is only possible under the right conditions. 

 Why Do THC/CBD Vape Oils Expire?

 Asking how long THC oil lasts really means digging into what makes itand CBD oil go bad in the first place. Oxygen, time, light, and heat are the four major culprits for quickly affecting THC and CBD’s shelf life. In their own ways, each one of these elementsencourages the degradation of cannabinoidsand terpenes and will even speed up the process by which some concentrates or infusions change. 


  • Even the air we breathe can slowly degrade THC and CBD oils. Cannabis oils such as these often contain a lot of fatty acids that don’t play well with oxygen molecules. While maybe not the worst element when it comes to oil preservation on its own, when oxygen is combined with an abundance of sunlight or heat, these elements can easily ruin a cartridgethrough oxidation. THC and CBD oil will expire in just a month or two under these harsh conditions. 


  • Objectively, there’s no exact way to keep time from degrading oil cartridges. A good rule of thumb is to use THC or CBD oil cartridges in the first four to six months of ownership. Because it’s more difficult to control the other elements on this list, controlling the time that one is using a singular cartridge is both easy and helpful. 


  • One of the most impactful elements when it comes to cartridge degradation is direct light. If intense sunlight hits THC or CBD oil, its rate of photosynthesis (at a molecular level) decreases. When these molecules break down, their tiny plant atoms break down as well, degrading THC crystals if present.This degradation, if serious, can turn THC to CBN over time — taking all psychoactive effects with it. To avoid this, cartridges should always be kept in a cool, dark place. 


  • Both direct and indirect warmth can break down the THC in oil cartridges. Even simply keeping oil cartridges loose in your purse or backpack — being taken inside and outside amongst unregulated temperatures — can lead to degradation.Vape pen carrying cases can help curb this issue as well as light by encapsulating the cartridge in a safe and protected way. Anything from balmy California weather to natural body heat can shorten potency and THC / CBD shelf life. 

Shelf Life of Vape Oil And Potency 

 The degradation of THC and CBD vape oil is tied somewhat directly to their beginning potency and ultimate shelf life. Most budtenders will agree that there’s a significant correlation between the quality of cannabis and what remains post-extraction. Terpenes usually experience a low level of degradation through extraction, therefore impacting the taste and medicinal effects of the end product. 

 Concentrates and wax — products being used for dabbing — are extracted with the intention of terpene preservation. However, extractions that are used in products like edibles, tinctures and topicals may not be made intentionally for preservation and therefore have a shorter shelf life. 

 Removing impurities from cannabis is always the aim, but many fats and lipids in solventless concentrates can remain since they’re more difficult to remove. Solventless extractions, though, produce a combination of terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids plus these fats and lipids. The specialized process of “winterization” can remove such materials and leave behind a purer product. This does cause some degradation and compromises the final substance. But this is actually necessary for the making of very stable shatters, saps and sugars.

 How To Store Vape Oil

  • Try to eliminate the factors that can negatively impact the vape oil.
  • Understand which kind of THC or CBD vape oil is being used/is found to judge its usability. 
  • Store in acool, secure location such as a cupboard, bedside drawer, or even the refrigerator.
  • Remove from any well-lit areas and spots in direct sunlight.
  • Use the THC or CBD oil within its shelf life — approximately a few months, depending on the type.

Signs of Bad Vape Juice 

Bad vape juice not only tastes icky, but it can also look different and lose potency. Here are a few tell-tale signs that your vape juice is past its prime. 

  • Flavor is off.When your vape juice goes bad, the flavor will most likely change. Sometimes, this means your vape juice will simply taste different or less potent. Other times, it will taste rancid or otherwise noticeably expired. 
  • No flavor.If your vape juice doesn’t change in flavor, it may lose its flavor altogether. Complete lack of flavor is another sign that your vape juice has gone bad.
  • Changes color. When you purchase vape juice, it’s generally fairly transparent and ranges from light yellow to amber in color. When vape juice goes bad, it can grow darker and take on an opaque brown color. 
  • Less potent.When your vape juice goes bad, it can degrade and lose potency. If your hits feel less strong or you’re noticing fewer effects, there’s a good chance your vape juice has gone bad. 

To Sum It Up

Although it can be exciting to pull out a largely untouched THC or CBD oil cartridge from those old dress pants or travel bags, it’s important to consider the necessary safety precautions before beginning or resuming use. Luckily, THC and CBD oils’ shelf life is actually fairly long if used and stored correctly. Taking those simple extra steps — like placing newly purchased backup cartridges in the fridge for safekeeping prior to use — can make all the difference in how one can answer questions like, “How long does THC oil last?” 


Canold CBD oil make you sick?

No — if the proper safety precautions are being taken to confirm the oil is still good, CBD oil should not make someone sick. If there is anything concerning about how the CBD oil is being stored or appears, it should be tossed. Always air on the side of caution and consider the prime culprits of degradation: oxygen, time, light and heat before consumption. 

How do you know when CBD oil goes bad?

Consider all of the leading factors of degradation and study the product in question. Ask: How long have I had this cartridge? Has the color of this oil changed? Where has this cartridge been stored? Is there anything visibly wrong (discoloration, mold, cracks, etc.) with the cartridge? Positive responses indicate an all-clear, while negative ones suggest the product is bad and should be tossed.

Does CBD oil need to be refrigerated?

CBD oil doesn’t technically need to be refrigerated, but this act might be in the oil’s favor. Keeping THC or CBD oilin the refrigerator easily eliminates the issues of heat and light that would otherwise degrade the product slowly but surely. While oil doesn’tneed to be refrigerated, most would probably argue it’s a good idea if feasible.  

Does CBD oil go bad in heat?

The short answer is… sort of. Heat can be one of the most powerful forms of degradation when it comes to THC and CBD oils. The potency of such oil can be seriously compromised if exposed to an abundance of heat, especially if it’s for long periods of time. While using such a product may not necessarily make a consumer feelbad necessarily, it probably won’t hold the same desired, full-spectrum effects as normal. 

How long does THC oil last?

The answer depends largely on the individual product. It’s safe to say that when stored properly in a cool, dark environment, THC andCBD oil cartridges can easily last up to a few months. However, this time range can be vastly shortened if products are not being stored in the best of locations. 

Is it okay to use expired vape juice?

While vaping expired vape juice is not recommended, it will most likely not cause serious harm. Nevertheless, using expired vape juice can cause nausea, if only because the altered taste is unpleasant. More likely, expired vape juice that has degraded just won’t produce as strong of effects and may not produce any effects at all. 

Can expired vape juice kill you? 

Currently, no studies have been done on the effects of vaping expired juice. While that means there’s no evidence that vape juice can cause serious--or deadly--harm, using expired vape juice is not recommended. Because the area is understudied and effects are generally unknown, it’s best to avoid the risk altogether and only vape juice that has not expired. 

How long does vape juice last once opened?

While it’s always wise to refer to the expiration date on your bottle of vape juice, e-liquid has a relatively long shelf life. Vape juice can last 1-2 years after it has been opened. However, always be sure to check for signs of degradation, like changes in color and consistency, before vaping. 

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