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Can Edibles Go Bad

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As cannabis becomes widely available, users have also diversified. Some people want a discreet or smokeless experience or just want to find relief thanks to different cannabinoids. Other people have started using them for recreation, like boosting their sex life or unwinding. These are the reasons why many people have turned to edibles, products infused with hemp or cannabis-derived extracts.

Besides their strong potency and taking more time to “hit,” edibles are the perfect way to start with small doses. While edibles are an excellent solution for a smokeless experience, you might want to know some basics to keep them fresh. For this, we’ve gathered a simple guide to help you keep your hemp-infused products fresh, or at least have some cues on how to keep them from going bad for longer periods.

Key Takeaways

  • Generally, edibles stay fresh for up to 6 months. However, edibles like gummies and beverages will stay fresh longer than cookies or brownies.
  • The main reasons why edibles go bad are heat, light, moisture, and bacteria.
  • Stale flavors and minimal effects are the main indicators that an edible has gone bad.
Details
Shelf Life Typically 3 to 6 months; varies based on product type (e.g., gummies last longer than baked goods).
Factors Affecting Freshness Heat, light, moisture, and bacteria can degrade edibles and reduce potency.
Storage Recommendations Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use airtight containers to protect from moisture and oxygen. Avoid freezing as it can reduce potency.
Signs of Expiration Stale flavors, minimal effects, discoloration, or mold indicate that an edible has gone bad.
Special Considerations for Cannabinoids HHC has a longer shelf life than Delta-9 THC or CBD. Delta-8 and HHC edibles can last up to 2 years if stored properly.
Safety of Expired Edibles While not necessarily harmful, expired edibles may lose potency and flavor, and in some cases, may cause stomach discomfort.
Tips for Longevity Use humidity packs in storage containers, handle edibles minimally, and consider the type of edible (preservatives in gummies can extend shelf life).

How Long do Edibles Last and Stay Fresh?

While the shelf life of edibles is typically between 3 and 6 months, it can vary depending on the product’s nature. For example, gummies and drinks can last a little longer than cookies or brownies. That said, products bought from dispensaries and licensed stores will have a longer expiration date than homemade products.

Do Edibles Have a Similar Shelf Life to Regular Gummies?

Infusing food with cannabinoid extracts won’t necessarily change the product’s shelf life. This means that baked goods like cookies or brownies will have the same shelf life as their regular counterparts, which is usually a week or two before they go stale.

So, much like regular gummies, edibles will lose flavor at the same time as regular candy. This is also why some products, like infused gummies, will last longer than other edibles, like brownies, as they can have preservatives. In addition, some cannabinoids, like HHC, have a much more stable structure, leading to longer shelf lives than Delta-9 THC or CBD products.

Reasons Edibles Can Expire

Like all foods, edibles can expire. However, most expired edibles lose potency rather than going bad. Some factors that might make hemp or cannabis-infused products lose their potency are heat, light, moisture, and bacteria. Let’s explore each of them individually so you can keep your goodies from turning bad.

Heat

High temperatures can degrade certain cannabinoids, specifically CBD and some THC variants. And while keeping your gummies or brownies in the fridge may help, we don’t recommend freezing them, as it can make your products lose their potency.

Light

Exposure to light rays over long periods can also degrade cannabinoids. And some cannabinoids, like Delta-9-THC, will turn into CBN. So, avoid clear containers and keep your products in the dark to avoid this.

Moisture

Like most foods, bacteria and fungi love moisture. Unless you want your gummies to go bad, we recommend keeping them in a cool and dry place to avoid moisture. If you put your products in the fridge, you can always saran-wrap them or use parchment paper to reduce the moisture inside the container.

Bacteria

Naturally, bacteria can mess up your edibles. This is why keeping your products away from direct sunlight or factors that can increase the chance for bacteria to thrive is the best option. So, the rule of thumb to keep hemp products from these small pests is to keep them in a dry, dark place. And if you live in warm weather, stock them in your fridge.

Do Edibles Lose Potency Over Time?

Yes, products infused with cannabinoids lose potency over time. While THC generally degrades slowly over time, other hemp-derived compounds like HHC have longer shelf lives.

In general, edibles can stay fresh for 3 to 6 months if properly stored. This means it won’t get you as high or have fewer wellness effects, and will probably be stale.

Other factors, like oxygen, can contribute to the degradation of psychoactive cannabinoids, specifically Delta-9 THC. We recommend using airtight bags or containers to keep them from going stale and to maintain their potency.

How to Tell if Edibles are Bad

Well, in the worst-case scenario, you’ll notice mold. In the best case, your edible won’t hit as hard as intended. So, you might feel like it doesn’t really pack a punch.

Expired edibles like gummies or soda, will typically taste stale and lose their flavors, besides their potency. For fresher products, like baked goods, you’ll tell by the color, taste, or even smell if it went bad.

Lastly, if you suspect your edible has gone bad, it is best not to consume it. Specifically, if your product has dairy or eggs on it, they can attract harmful bacteria after their expiry. If you really must, freeze and then thaw your edibles when you want to consume them, but this might result in less potency and flavor.

Can HHC Gummies Expire?

Yes, HHC gummies have an expiration date, just like all edibles. Although HHC has a longer shelf life, the rest of the gummy ingredients may not last as long. After a while, HHC will start to degrade like other cannabinoids, losing its potency and the ability to produce any type of high.

How Long do HHC Gummies Last?

When stored correctly, HHC can have a longer shelf life than other cannabinoids like CBD or THC. But this is not to say that all HHC gummies last as long as HHC itself. It is necessary to see how long the rest of the gummy ingredients last and if the preservatives could prevent it from going bad for so long.

It is best to check the expiration date marked on the package, as the shelf life of an HHC gummy can vary significantly depending on the production method, ingredients, and preservatives each manufacturer uses.

How Long Does HHC Stay Good?

HHC is the most stable form of THC. Under proper storage conditions, HHC can last up to two years without degrading. This time applies to HHC isolate distillates and concentrates, such as HHC vape cartridges or oils.

Although HHC itself can last two years without degrading, HHC flower last considerably less, staying fresh for about six months or up to a year if you store it in the best possible way.

Do Delta-8 Edibles Expire?

Yes, Delta-8 edibles do expire. Although Delta-8 is on par with HHC in terms of longevity, Delta-8 edibles also contain other food ingredients that generally don't last as long as cannabinoids.

There may be some edibles that last longer than others. For example, baked goods last much shorter than candy edibles since cookies or brownies contain flours or sugars that expire much faster than gummies or caramels. In sum, all edibles eventually expire, regardless of their kind.

Does Delta-8 Have an Expiration Date?

Short answer: yes. Although Delta 8 has a shelf life as long as HHC, it will begin to degrade after a couple of years just like all cannabinoids do. The expiration date of Delta-8 depends on when it was made, the type of product it comes in, and how you store it. At best, Delta-8 in your edibles can last up to two years, just like HHC. However, this time is relative and depends on other factors.

How Long Can Delta-8 Gummies Last?

High-quality gummies, with the correct preservatives and stored correctly, can last up to 2 years. But, over time, the gummies can lose flavor and other qualities. Additionally, we cannot generalize regarding all gummies.

The shelf life of a Delta-8 gummy can also vary significantly depending on the brand, techniques and ingredients used to make it. As such, it is best to check the expiration date indicated on the package and avoid eating them if they are already past the date.

What Happens When Delta-8 Expires?

Once your Delta-8 expires, it will be practically useless. Delta-8 expires in the same way that CBD does. This means Delta-8 will gradually break down and lose its potency over time. Eventually, the expired Delta-8 will be completely ineffective and unusable, as it will lose the ability to generate any effect at all.

This is just what would happen if you, for example, smoke an expired cart. You would end up tasting poor flavors and probably not experiencing any therapeutic effects.

How Long Do Gummy Edibles Last Until They Expire?

Generally, gummy edibles with natural ingredients and no preservatives last 3 to 6 months when stored properly. After that time, the edible ingredients begin to deteriorate, and the cannabinoid content in them diminishes. In fact, studies show that THC degrades into CBN with time, and after some time, almost all THC in edibles will be gone.

Some gummies might last a little longer, especially those that use preservatives, which extend the shelf life of the edible ingredients in the gummy. If your gummies contain HHC or HHC-P instead of regular THC, they may take a little longer to degrade. In any case, we do not recommend storing these gummies for more than 8 months, as they risk losing their therapeutic qualities.

Are Expired Edibles Safe to Eat?

Depending on the condition, you will likely have to put up with a bad taste and reduced therapeutic potency. It is best to store your edibles under the right conditions and try to eat them before they expire. Eating an expired edible is unlikely to kill you or do too much damage. But it could make you sick or cause stomach discomfort.

But if the expired edible has mold or even small bugs, we strongly recommend not eating it. If the goal is to obtain the potential benefits of cannabinoids, an expired edible can no longer provide those. Eating it will only give you a bad experience, an unpleasant taste, and probably a stomach ache.

What Happens if You Eat Expired Edible Gummies?

Nothing fatal will happen if you eat expired edible gummies. However, if you know your gummies have expired, avoiding eating them is best, as you probably won't get the desired effects and may experience stomach discomfort. When gummies sit too long in storage, their flavor eventually deteriorates.

Also, cannabinoids degrade over time to the point that you may not feel the therapeutic effects you expect. Therefore, even if nothing beneficial comes out of eating them, it is preferable not to do so. A pile of orange square CBD gummies from Botany Farms sit against a white backdrop.

Tips for Storing Cannabis Edibles

Bacteria and fungi love humidity and warm temperatures. So, our main recommendation is to get an airtight container to prevent temperature changes and moisture. While see-through containers are useful, using opaque containers to keep your herbs and edibles is the best option to prevent the light degradation of certain cannabinoids.

Now, let’s talk about something a little controversial. We recommend that, unless you live in warm places, you don’t store your edibles in the fridge. Keeping edibles in the fridge is not a good idea in the long term because some cannabinoids are also temperature-sensitive.

You can wrap infused-baked goods with parchment paper before putting them in airtight containers. This helps to prevent moisture and light degradation, which both help to preserve your edibles for longer.

How to Store Edibles

Storing cannabis edibles can be a bit different than storing regular edibles. This is because cannabis edibles carry a cannabinoid content responsible for generating the potential therapeutic effects of edibles. The point is that cannabinoids in edibles can deteriorate or degrade when they are not stored properly.

If you know how to store hemp flower or THC-rich cannabis buds, you'll have an idea of the proper way to store infused edibles. By keeping your edibles properly stored, you will preserve their precious therapeutic charge and flavors and ensure that they stay fresh until you want to eat them. To store your groceries correctly, you must do the following:

Keep in a Cool and Dry Area

Heat has a degrading effect on cannabinoids, causing them to convert into other minor cannabinoids or to lose their therapeutic properties. Also, bacteria and fungi love humidity and warm temperatures when stocking edibles.

So, the best way to prevent your edibles from stale fast is to avoid temperature changes and moisture by storing them in a cool and dry area.

Use Sealed Airtight Containers

The best way to keep the storage conditions of your groceries in check is to use sealed, airtight containers. In this way, you prevent your groceries from having to withstand weather conditions and prevent the formation of fungi or bacteria inside the container.

Keep the Container Away From Direct Sunlight

Sunlight and the heat it generates can quickly break down the cannabinoids in your edibles. Therefore, it is best to use light-blocking containers to store your edibles and place them away from sunlight.

While see-through containers are helpful, using opaque containers to keep your herbs and edibles is the best option to prevent the light degradation of certain cannabinoids.

Use Humidity Packs

You might be surprised at how useful humidity packs can be for preserving your edibles. Humidity packs help control the humidity conditions inside the container, which can extend how long your groceries can stay fresh while in storage. A couple of humidity packs can help preserve the ideal humidity, so your edibles remain fresh for as long as you need to store them.

Avoid Handling the Edibles Too Much

Try to handle your edibles as little as possible or wear gloves when doing so. Even if we wash our hands constantly, they can carry bacteria that are invisible to the eye. So, when handling food, it could proliferate and contaminate the rest of the food. So, to prevent shortening the shelf life of your edibles, avoid handling them unnecessarily.

Where to Buy Quality Edibles

Now that we’ve highlighted the best tips and everything you’ve got to know about edibles, let’s look at some of our favorites. First, let’s go with our favorite non-psychoactive gummies derived from hemp.

If you want to try CBD, the CBD Gummies Mixed Flavors are a great place to start. With 25mg of CBD per gummy in a 12-pack with lots of different flavors, you can choose to take your cannabinoid dose discreetly whenever you want. And remember, these are fully non-psychoactive, so you can relax without feeling intoxicated.

For something a little lower on the psychoactive dose, you can try out our Delta-8 THC Gummies. These have 30mg of Delta-8 THC per gummy but are easy to slice into pieces for microdosing. They come in different flavors with a citric acid coating, perfect for achieving your wellness goals. Some people might prefer a little stronger dose.

If you are interested in something a little stronger, you can get our fully hemp-derived Delta-9 Microdose Gummies in a mixed flavor pack. These come with 5mg of CBD and 5 mg of Delta-9 THC per edible, perfect to start taking THC for your wellness goals.

However, you can also try the Delta-9 THC Gummies Mixed Variety for something a little stronger or for chronic pain. These have 15mg of CBD and 15mg of legal, hemp-derived THC for a stronger dose. If Delta-9 THC is not a good choice in your state, you can always try the HHC Gummies in the raspberry flavor with 25mg of this cannabinoid.

HHC is thought to have 80% of THC’s potency and is fully legal at the federal level. Or, for a little mango flavor, you can try the Delta-10 THC Gummies in the mango flavor with 30mg of this cannabinoid per edible. 

Cannabis Edibles: FAQ

Do Edibles Work if they are Old?

It all depends on how old they are. THC, CBD, and all other cannabinoids break down and slowly lose potency over time. Some experts believe that cannabinoids like CBD might kill bacteria, but they definitely go stale eventually.

The therapeutic power of edibles remains intact for approximately 3 to 6 months, depending on how they are stored. After that, its potency and medicinal qualities will decline; although they will likely still have some of it, it will likely be less.

Nevertheless, if your edibles are already too old, you may not feel anything when eating them other than an unpleasant taste and perhaps even stomach discomfort.

How Do You Know When An Edible Goes Bad?

All edibles have different expiration times, depending on the type of edible they are. While edibles like brownies or cookies can go bad in as little as a week, others like gummies or hard candies can last for months, even up to a year or more.

Edibles sold at licensed dispensaries often have an expiration date on their packages, indicating when the edible is no longer safe to eat. It is best to always check the production date and expiration date of edibles before consuming or even buying them. 

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