What Happens if You Smoke an Expired Cart?

A slightly expired cart

Shop this article

View all
Delta-8 Relax
Delta-8 Relax
Delta-10 SativaSold out
Delta-10 SativaSold out
Delta-8 Indica Sleep
Delta-8 Indica Sleep
Delta-8 Focus Sativa
Delta-8 Focus Sativa
Table Of Contents

Arguably, carts are among the most flexible, convenient, and sneaky ways to pack a few hits to take with you wherever you’re going. There are vape carts for every taste, and they are safe, easy to use, and suitable for both beginners and advanced users.

But do carts actually go bad over time? And what happens if you smoke an expired cart? Below, we will answer these questions in detail, so strap in and read on! Why smoke that expired cart when you could get your head out of the clouds and give one of our vapes a try?

Key Takeaways

  • Vape cartridges, including those with THC, do expire over time. Their potency diminishes, and they can lose their effectiveness.
  • The shelf life of a vape cart is influenced by how it's stored, with a typical lifespan of around a year under proper conditions.
  • To extend the shelf life of vape cartridges, store them away from direct sunlight, as UV radiation can degrade cannabinoids like THC.
  • Using an expired vape cart can lead to a less intense experience, with possible changes in smell and flavor.
  • While not necessarily harmful, the quality and effectiveness are significantly reduced. In cases of severe degradation, there could be health risks, especially if mold or fungus have developed.

Can Carts Go Bad?

Let’s make one thing clear right away: yes, oil cartridges of all kinds, no matter what they’re loaded with, can and will expire after some time. They won’t stop working entirely, but they will eventually lose a lot of their potency. Ultimately, the key determinant of how long a cart lasts is storage.

Generally, a cart's shelf life is printed on the label. Of course, that date is not set in stone but merely acts as a rough guide. Even when a cart hasn't gone bad, it gradually loses potency. Therefore, your best bet is always to consume your carts when they’re still fresh.

Can THC Carts Expire?

Some assume that the stability of THC would mean that THC vape cartridges do not expire or at least take a much longer time to do so than, for example, CBD oil carts. Unfortunately, this is mostly untrue.

Under the right conditions, THC carts can, indeed, last for a very long time. Eventually, though, they will expire just like any other vape cartridge, and there is no way to prevent this.

Can Dab Pen Carts Expire?

Dab pens are getting more and more popular for their convenience; no wonder, their sleek, modular design allows you to vape popular concentrates and solid extracts that aren’t compatible with traditional vape pens. This can provide a much stronger hit and make for a very different smoking experience.

However, dab pens that feature attachments or internal compartments, allowing them to be used with pre-loaded cartridges, still play by the same rules as any other type of vape pen.

In simple terms, just because your vape cart is compatible with dab pens or loaded with a particular concentrate doesn’t mean that it won’t expire. You will still need to pay strong attention to proper long-term storage in order to avoid spoiling the concentrate.

Typical Vape Cartridge Shelf Life

Now that we know that vape carts do, in fact, go bad over time, the next question that obviously presents itself is: how long do vape carts last on average?

Like we said before, predicting a cart’s precise shelf life is impossibly difficult—so complex that even the manufacturers themselves are usually not able to do so, instead relying on rough expiration dates.

Kept in the proper environment for long-term storage, a vape cart loaded with THC or CBD can usually last for around a year. However, shelf lives of up to 20 or even 24 months aren’t unheard of if you really take the utmost care of your carts when they’re not in use.

How to Improve Your Vape Cartridge Shelf Life

So, how do you maximize the amount of time that your vape cart can remain potent for?

There are a few key measures you can take to improve the shelf life of your cartridges. Don’t worry, most of them are very easy to implement! You just need to be aware of what to watch out for when storing your carts.

Avoid Sunlight

The most important thing to do when storing your vape carts is to keep them away from direct sunlight. UV radiation chemically breaks down cannabinoids like THC, reducing their potency over time. Excess UV exposure might also mess with the terpenes inside your cart, making for awkward changes in smell or taste.

Keep It Cool

Anyone who has ever grown their own weed knows that cannabis really hates excessive heat. While dunking your buds (or your vape carts) in the freezer is not a good idea, keeping them at a controlled, low temperature can maximize their shelf life and keep them fresh for considerably longer. Most vape carts should do fine, either stored in a cool and dark cupboard or drawer or, alternatively, in the fridge.

Keep It Upright

One thing that many miss when trying to extend the life of their carts is to position them properly when you’re not using them. That’s right—how you place your carts affects their shelf life quite a bit in the long run.

Take a moment to examine your cart. You will find that on one end, and only on one end, the central coil terminates in a couple of small holes. These are there to allow the wick of the cart to pick up the extract and vaporize it for easy inhalation. This makes them the single part of the cartridge that experiences the most wear and tear, so it’s a good practice to always store your carts upright.

This way, nothing will leak from the coil, the wick won’t get dry, and nothing will get clogged. Never store your carts horizontally if you want them to live a long life.

Best Way to Store A Vape

The above might seem like quite a lot to take in, but in truth, the best way to store a vape cart is really simple. All you need to do is make sure that you store your cart in a cool, dark place.

UV radiation is cannabis’s worst enemy, so any amount of light is sure to harm over time, hence the need to keep sunlight to a minimum.

Common spaces that can be useful for this purpose could be inside a drawer, a dresser, some kind of cupboard, or even the fridge. Make sure to always place your carts upright, never sideways, to prevent clogging.

Also, make sure that the small holes at the end of the cart are placed in such a way that they won’t leak. That’s it! Following these basic guidelines, you should be able to drastically improve your vape carts' lifespan.

What Happens If You Smoke An Expired Cart

Of course, you would want to avoid using an expired cart under normal circumstances. Still, we all know accidents do happen, so it’s helpful to know what exactly happens if you smoke an expired THC cart.

First off, the elephant in the room: is it bad to smoke an expired cart? The answer, surprisingly, is “it depends.” Generally speaking, smoking expired carts has less intense effects compared to brand-new ones. The smell, flavor, and other characteristics of the THC the cart is loaded with might also change over time. In severe cases, you might encounter some health risks.

An expired cart for sure won’t kill you, but depending on the degree of degradation, the experience could be mildly to seriously awful.

Slightly Expired

A slightly expired cart is one that has already been used quite a bit or has been left in storage for at least a few months but hasn’t fully gone bad yet. You might notice some slight discoloration or subtle change in taste at this stage.

However, carts should not exhibit any significant loss in cannabinoids if they’re 6 months old or less. While small differences in potency may be apparent at this stage, it is very unlikely that you’ll be able to feel the difference.

Fully Expired

Fully expired carts—those in excess of 18 months old—often show very clear telltale signs of being way past their expiration date. For one, the oil within the cartridge will shift in color very strongly, often turning dark brown or even black. At the same time, you might notice a foul smell.

This is usually the result of chemical processes by which the THC oil degrades and loses its potency. If your cart has reached this stage, it’s time to replace it. That’s not just because your expired cart won’t be as effective anymore as it was when you bought it. Depending on how it was stored, mold and other types of fungus can settle, posing a real danger to your health if you try vaping it.

If you detect any signs of mold at all, throw your vape cart away immediately and replace it. Fortunately, here's the right place to replace your old, expired carts.

Final Thoughts

Botany Farms offers a whole lineup of different cartridges suitable for any common type of vape pen. Our Delta 8 THC Vape Cartridge is one of the only full-spectrum carts on the market, retaining almost all the minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN in addition to a whopping 94% of pure Delta 8 THC.

To suit different tastes and inclinations, the cart is available in three profiles based on Indica, Sativa, and a unique hybrid strain, respectively. For those looking for a slightly milder experience, there is the Live Resin Delta 8 THC Vape Cartridge.

A special early-harvest extraction process on Sour Space Candy ensures a higher cannabinoid and terpene count than normal. This results in a milder psychoactive effect but greater relief from pain and anxiety and a truly organic, fruity aroma.

CBG vapes have not really managed to catch on in the mass market yet! This is why we designed our CBG Vape Cartridge, using the same full-spectrum oil blend that powers the rest of our product range. With 35% of concentrated CBG and up to 25% CBD, this cart will have you leaning back and letting all worries melt away like no other.

If you’re looking for a bit more kick, consider our Delta 10 THC Vape Cartridge. Formulated based on our fan-favorite Pineapple Haze Sativa-dominant strain, this powerful cart provides a strong energy boost that can rival some of the best Delta 9 and Delta 8 products—without any of the buzz, fatigue, or drowsiness. Want to see what happens if you smoke an expired cart? Check out the video at this link.

What Happens if You Smoke an Expired Cart: FAQs

What happens if you smoke an oxidized cart?

Using an expired vape cart can lead to a less intense experience, with possible changes in smell and flavor. While not necessarily harmful, the quality and effectiveness are significantly reduced.

Is it bad to smoke a burned cart?

In cases of severe degradation, there could be health risks, especially if mold or fungus has developed.

How to tell if an expired cart has gone bad

Slight discolorations and subtle changes in taste are telltale signs of an expired cart.

Reading next

Trichomes full of flavonoid luteolin
THC drug test