Should You Refrigerate CBD Tinctures and Vape Oils?
CBD tinctures and vape oils are extremely popular products on the hemp market, both offering oil-based formulas that are used in two unique ways. While tinctures absorb sublingually (below the tongue), vape oils are used with vaporizer devices that convert these products into smooth vapor that can easily be inhaled.
While they absolutely cannot be used interchangeably, they share a lot in common. Often, they both come in dropper bottles, and they look and smell quite alike. And, because of the way in which they are packaged, many people who purchase them feel that it’s best to keep them refrigerated. But, is that actually necessary, or even beneficial, or can this common form of storage actually cause more harm than good?
Does CBD Go Bad?
First, let’s answer the important question of whether or not cannabidiol actually goes bad. The answer is actually both yes and no, depending on your definition of “bad”. Yes, CBD extracts have a shelf life of about 2 years, but that doesn’t mean that once they have passed that date, they’re no longer safe.
CBD oil is rich in organic hemp compounds, and we know that organic compounds don’t last forever. What happens is that they begin to oxidize over time, which means that oxygen is slowly incorporated into their molecules, and this process causes them to gradually degrade. Once the compounds of hemp have degraded, they no longer have any potency, and simply won’t give you the effects you’re looking for.
Terpenes in hemp, which give the plant its flavor and aroma, will also lose their potency, leaving you with flavorless and scentless cannabidiol. This process occurs regardless of the type of product you’re using and applies to both CBD tinctures and vape oils.
CBD oils and vapes that are past their expiration date doesn’t spoil like old milk. You won’t get a rotten smell or taste, and it won’t be harmful due to the development of pathogenic microbes. The one exception is a CBD-infused product that has been contaminated in some way, due to the dropper touching something that is tainted, or some other type of ingredient getting inside that does become rotten after a while.
Why Do People Sometimes Keep CBD Tinctures and Vape Oils in the Fridge Then?
Because hemp extract does degrade over time, it makes sense that someone would keep it in a refrigerator. They may see it as something similar to a food product because it’s organic, and then assume that this is the best way to prolong its freshness. CBD tinctures and vape oils both do best when kept in a cool, dark and dry place, because heat, humidity and light all increase the oxidization process. Keep mind that storing CBD in this manner will not extend its shelf life beyond 2 years, but simply keep it fresher for that duration of time.
A refrigerator is cool, dark, and dry, which makes it seem like the ultimate spot for hemp storage. Technically, a refrigerator will keep your CBD fresh by checking all of these boxes. But, it’s not necessary, as any cool, dark and dry place will do. Further, a refrigerator is not just cool – it’s cold. That means the temperature can temporarily change the consistency of your product, causing certain ingredients to separate. And, increasing its viscosity in a way that makes it difficult to administer.
CBD tinctures typically contain two ingredients: hemp extract and a carrier oil. They can both be kept in a refrigerator, but they may separate which means they would have to be shaken before used. Further, the tincture formula will thicken due to the cold temperatures, which means it may struggle to be released from its dropper, and struggle to fully absorb below the tongue due to the change in consistency. So, you’d have to leave it out for about 30 minutes until it reaches room temp to ensure that it’s the ideal texture once again.
CBD Vape Oil
CBD vape oil is a bit trickier since not all vape oils contain the same ingredients. The more ingredients in a vape oil, the more likely it is to separate. If the vape oil contains vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG), refrigerating the formula can really throw off its consistency while it remains cold, as these two ingredients give the extract the ideal viscosity level to vaporize without clogging your coil. If the formula gets too thick in the refrigerator, it can clog your coil, and be so thick that it doesn’t vaporize. In this case, again, you’d have to leave the vape oil at room temp for at least a half hour before it’s usable.
Storing Your CBD Products Properly
As you can see, it’s better to simply ditch the fridge altogether and opt for a closet, drawer or cabinet, where the area stays cool, dark and dry without cooling down and thickening/separating your product. These areas are ideal for keeping your tinctures and vape oils fresh. Not to mention, ensure that they last for the entire duration of their shelf life.