How to Tell If Cannabis is Expired

Have you ever misplaced your cannabis, only to find it again weeks, months, or even years later? Is it okay to smoke that joint you found in your coat from last winter or the bag of CBD flower that got lost in your car?

Unlike the milk in your fridge, cannabis doesn’t usually come with a “best by” date printed on the package. So how do you know if your old weed is still safe to consume? 

Does Weed Expire?

Does cannabis flower expire?

If cannabis flower is properly cultivated and properly stored, it can last indefinitely. However, you can’t always assume your cannabis was properly dried and cured, even if you’ve taken all the necessary steps to ensure your buds have been stored correctly.

The good news is that weed doesn’t expire per se—at the very least, it won’t spoil like a dairy product. Mold can still be a concern with old cannabis if your bud was stored somewhere wet or with high humidity. Though, generally speaking, weed is more likely to go stale than get moldy. Think about the herbs and spices in your kitchen. Dried basil that’s been sitting on the spice rack for years is going to lose some of its flavors: cannabis and CBD hemp flower ages in the same way.

Does Cannabis Oil Expire? 

How to Tell If Cannabis is Expired

Just like with weed or hemp flower, cannabis concentrates have a shelf life, but won’t necessarily go bad the way a piece of soft cheese will. Most cannabis oils or bottles of CBD oil can last years depending on several factors. 

Higher quality oils tend to last longer than cheaper oils. Things like packaging, ingredients or cutting agents, and the extraction process itself all play a role in determining how long a product will last. Storing your cannabis oil in a cool dark place can do a lot for extending our oil’s shelf life, as heat and light have been shown to accelerate cannabis degradation.

A cannabis concentrate that’s past its prime likely won’t hurt you, but it won’t have any effect at all really. Both cannabinoids and terpenes degrade over time, so expired cannabis oil will have lost all its potency and therapeutic potential.

How To Tell If Your Cannabis Oil Is Expired

When cannabis oil degrades, there is usually a noticeable change in color and smell. If the earthy, grassy undertones of hemp are no longer present in your bottle, it’s a good sign that it’s seen better days. If the oil itself begins to take on a murky or foggy appearance, it’s best just to throw it away.

How To Tell If Your Weed Is Expired

How To Tell If Your Weed Is Expired

Luckily, you can determine whether your cannabis is past its prime or not by simply using your five senses.

The first is smell. Terpenes are usually the first compounds to degrade in cannabis flower. These aromatic molecules make up the signature skunky odor we all recognize. When that smell is gone or strongly diminished, that’s a good sign that the cannabis in question may be expired. Keep a nose out for mildew aromas coming from your bud, as this can be a sign of mold accumulation.

Next, you’ll want to see how the flower feels in your hand, and how it breaks apart. Older dried-out cannabis crumbles in your hand into a fine powder instead of breaking into individual pieces. While breaking up your bud, it’s also a good time to look for audio and visual cues that may indicate your bud has gone bad. Listen for a telltale snap of a healthy cannabis stem breaking, and look for the presence of any visible mold spores lurking inside the flower.

Finally, if your old cannabis passes the smell, touch, sound, and sight inspection, then it’s time to give it a taste. Throw some of your broken-up bud into a pipe and light it up. The taste of stale cannabis is immediately recognizable, and the smoke itself will likely be harsher on your throat than fresh cannabis.