Besides smoking, cannabis edibles are by far the most popular way that stoners enjoy weed. Edibles these days come in a vast array of different types and flavors and have many different kinds of uses.
While edibles are often used recreationally, they’re also extremely popular within the medical marijuana industry. Some patients are prescribed cannabis flower, but since inhaling smoke of any kind (yes, unfortunately, including weed smoke) is damaging to the lungs, many people opt for a less harmful method of consumption such as edibles.
Regardless, whether you’re enjoying edibles recreationally or medicinally, it’s essential to know: do edibles go bad? We’ll break down the answer to this question and tell you exactly how long you have to enjoy your infused goodies, as well as a few tips and tricks to help make the shelf life of your edibles last a little bit longer.
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- Key Takeaways
- What are Edibles and How Do They Affect You?
- Do Edibles Expire?
- Signs of Expired Edibles
- Conserving and Maximizing Freshness with Proper Storage Solutions
- When Do Edibles Expire: Freshness Indicators
- Do Edibles Lose Potency After Expiration Date?
- How Long Do Edibles Stay Good For?
- Can You Extend the Storage Life of Edibles?
- In Conclusion
- Do Edibles Expire or Go Bad: Frequently Asked Questions
- Cannabis edibles do expire, with the shelf life typically depending on the food product they are part of – for instance, gummies might last longer than baked goods.
- You should check the expiry date on the product packaging. Keep in mind that the cannabis content might remain potent past this date, but the food product itself may have spoiled.
- Improper storage can lead to faster degradation of edibles. It’s recommended to store them in a cool, dark place, preferably air-tight containers.
- Even after expiry, the THC content in the edibles might remain potent. However, consuming expired edibles is not recommended as the food constituents might have gone bad, leading to food poisoning.
What are Edibles and How Do They Affect You?
Edibles are a type of cannabis product that you can eat or drink. They are typically made by infusing food or beverages with cannabis extracts, and they come in a variety of forms, from brownies and cookies to gummies and chocolate bars.
The key ingredients in these edibles vary depending on the cannabinoid used. For instance, these Peach Gelato Delta 9 Gummies contain delta 9 THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that is responsible for its intoxicating effects.
These Blue Razz HHC Gummies, on the other hand, contain HHC, which is a novel cannabinoid that’s derived from hemp. It is similar to delta 9 THC in terms of its molecular structure, but it has a slightly different effect on the body’s cannabinoid receptors, which leads to its unique set of effects.
HHC is typically considered less intoxicating than delta 9 THC, but it still offers a range of therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and relaxation.
Edibles can have a profound effect on your body and mind, and the experience tends to differ quite significantly from other forms of cannabis consumption. When you ingest an edible, it travels through your digestive system, and the cannabis compounds are metabolically processed in the liver.
The effects’ onset, duration, and intensity can vary widely, depending on several factors, such as the dose, metabolism, and tolerance level. It’s also worth noting that research shows that the effects of edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to kick in and can last for up to 6 hours.
It is essential to start with a low dose and wait patiently instead of consuming more in the belief it’s not working.
Depending on the type of edible you take, the effects may range from mild to intense, and they may last anywhere from a few hours to an entire day. Edibles can be incredibly potent, so it is important to exercise caution and proceed with moderation.
It’s also essential to remember that the effects vary from person to person. This depends on an array of factors, such as metabolism, weight, and tolerance level. So, what might be a mild dose for one person could be overwhelming for another.
The best way to avoid any unpleasantness is to start with a small dosage and wait for the effects to kick in before consuming more.
What Components Affect the Shelf Life of Edibles?
Just as with any food product, cannabis edibles also have a shelf-life, and several components can influence their longevity.
- Ingredients: The shelf life of edibles is generally determined by the other ingredients used in the product rather than the cannabis itself. For instance, baked goods and dairy-based products tend to spoil faster than hard candies or chocolates.
- Storage conditions: How and where you store your edibles can significantly affect their shelf life. An optimal storage environment is typically cool, dark, and dry. Exposure to heat, light, or moisture can hasten the degradation process, causing your edibles to expire sooner.
- Packaging: Good packaging can help protect edibles from the elements and prolong their shelf life. Airtight, opaque containers are generally best as they can prevent exposure to air, light, and humidity.
- Cannabis quality: The quality of cannabis used in the edible also plays a role. High-quality cannabis that’s been properly cured and stored will likely result in an edible with a longer shelf life.
Remember, even if your cannabis edibles don’t “expire” in the traditional sense, they can still lose potency over time as the THC degrades. So, it’s always best to consume them within the manufacturer’s recommended timeframe for the most effective and enjoyable experience.
Do Edibles Expire?
Yes, like any consumable product, cannabis edibles do expire. Over time, they can become stale, develop mold, or lose their potency, primarily due to the ingredients used in their manufacture and the conditions in which they’re stored.
The THC in cannabis edibles doesn’t necessarily “expire,” but it can degrade over time, transforming into a less potent form known as CBN (cannabinol), which may not provide the desired effects.
Moreover, the food components of the edibles – the ‘non-cannabis’ part of the product – can certainly go bad. For example, if the edible is a brownie, the dairy and flour in the brownie can spoil, leading to an unpleasant taste or even foodborne illness if consumed past its prime.
To ensure their freshness and potency, it’s always advisable to follow the storage instructions provided by the manufacturer and consume the edibles before their marked expiration date.
Signs of Expired Edibles
Below are some common signs of expired edibles:
Appearance and Smell
The appearance and smell of cannabis edibles can provide substantial clues about their freshness. If the edibles are past their prime, they may exhibit visible signs of mold, especially if they have been stored in damp conditions or beyond their expiry date.
Mold can appear as fuzzy patches of green, white, or even black spots.
In terms of smell, fresh cannabis edibles often have a distinctive, potent scent. If your edibles smell musty, sour, or simply “off,” it’s likely that they’ve gone bad. The stronger the off-smell, the more likely it is that the edibles are not just stale but potentially unsafe to consume.
Trust your nose; if in doubt, it’s safer to dispose of any questionable edibles rather than risk consuming a spoiled product.
The texture of cannabis edibles can also be a telling sign of their freshness. Depending on their type, fresh edibles generally have a firm, chewable, or smooth texture. With time, these edibles may become hard, overly soft, or crumbly, indicating that they have begun to degrade.
This change in texture isn’t just a quality issue; it could also be an indication of potential microbial growth, especially in edibles with high moisture content. For instance, gummies might lose their firmness and turn mushy, while baked goods like cookies or brownies may become hard and dry.
Always pay attention to any drastic changes in the texture of your edibles, and when in doubt, err on the side of caution and avoid consuming them.
Taste is another crucial factor to consider when assessing the freshness of cannabis edibles. Fresh edibles are likely to maintain the intended flavors of the ingredients used, often a blend of the natural cannabis taste with the flavors of the edible form – be it chocolate, fruit, or a baked good. However, as the edibles age, these flavors may begin to deteriorate.
Edibles past their prime may exhibit a stale or unpleasant taste. For example, chocolates might develop a chalky texture and taste, indicating the onset of fat bloom due to poor storage conditions.
Likewise, baked goods may taste rancid if the fats or oils used have gone bad over time. In the case of fruit-flavored gummies, the fruit flavor might diminish significantly, leaving behind an overpoweringly strong cannabis taste.
Conserving and Maximizing Freshness with Proper Storage Solutions
Below are some of the tips for maximizing the freshness of your edibles:
Store in Cool, Dark Places
Just like most food items, cannabis edibles benefit significantly from being stored in cool, dark places. Exposure to heat can accelerate the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes, the active compounds in cannabis that contribute to its effects, flavors, and aromas.
Similarly, exposure to light, particularly UV light, can lead to cannabinoid degradation and cause your edibles to lose potency over time.
Some of the ideal places for storing cannabis edibles would be in a pantry or a kitchen cabinet that is away from any heat-generating appliances like a stove or an oven. Avoid storing in the refrigerator unless the product label specifically suggests refrigeration, as the moisture and fluctuating temperatures can affect the quality of the edibles.
A cool basement or a temperature-controlled wine cellar could also provide a good storage environment for certain types of edibles. Always remember to store the edibles in an airtight container to prevent exposure to air, which could further speed up degradation and spoilage.
Use Airtight Containers
Airtight containers are a must-have for preserving the freshness and potency of your cannabis edibles. These containers prevent air from contacting your goodies, which could accelerate the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes and lead to spoilage.
Additionally, airtight containers can help keep your edibles free from bacteria, moisture, and other contaminants that could potentially pose a risk to your health.
If you’re using plastic containers, ensure they are BPA-free to avoid any harmful chemicals leaching into your edibles.
Here are some of the best containers to store your cannabis edibles:
- Glass Mason jars: These jars are airtight, easy to clean, and do not leach harmful chemicals into your edibles.
- Vacuum-sealed bags: These bags are ideal for long-term storage as they completely eliminate air exposure.
- Silicone food containers: These are great for storing gummy edibles as they are non-stick, easy to clean, and airtight.
- Stainless steel containers: These are great for keeping out light and air and are durable and easy to clean.
- Ceramic containers with airtight lids: These can keep light out, and if they have an airtight seal, they can be excellent for storing edibles.
Remember, regardless of the type of container you choose, the key is to ensure it is airtight and stored in a cool, dark place to maximize the longevity and quality of your cannabis edibles.
Refrigeration for Certain Edibles
For some types of cannabis edibles, refrigeration can be an effective preservation method. This is because lower temperatures slow down the molecular activity, which could help to maintain the potency of the cannabinoids and terpenes in your edibles.
It’s especially beneficial for edibles that have dairy, meat, or eggs in them, as these ingredients can spoil quickly at room temperature. Chocolates and candies can also benefit from being stored in the fridge to prevent them from melting.
However, remember to use an airtight container even in the fridge, to avoid moisture exposure and keep your edibles free from absorbing the smells of other foods.
Lastly, while refrigeration can prolong the shelf life of your edibles, remember that it doesn’t stop the expiration process entirely. Always check your edibles for signs of spoilage before consuming.
Freeze for Longevity
If you want to store your edibles for an extended period, freezing is an excellent option. Wrap your edibles in freezer-safe packaging before storing them in a freezer-safe container. This method can help to preserve the edible’s potency and freshness for months.
Freezing cannabis edibles locks in their freshness and potency by significantly slowing down the degradation process. It’s important to note, however, that the freezing process does not stop the edibles from eventually going bad—rather, it extends their shelf life.
Before freezing, ensure that your edibles are well wrapped in freezer-safe packaging to prevent the ingress of moisture, which can lead to freezer burn.
To avoid thawing and refreezing—which can affect the quality of your edibles—consider portioning them out before freezing so you only defrost what you need at a time.
Remember, always check for signs of spoilage such as mold, off smells, or changes in color or texture before consuming your edibles, even when stored in the freezer.
Avoid Frequent Handling
Try to minimize the frequency of handling your edibles with bare hands. This seemingly harmless act can introduce bacteria into the edibles, which may subsequently degrade their quality over time.
Consider using clean utensils or gloves whenever possible when handling your edibles. This simple practice can go a long way in ensuring that your edibles remain fresh and safe to consume for a longer duration.
As always, remember that proper storage is only half of the equation—the best way to enjoy your edibles is to consume them while they are still fresh and at their optimal quality.
When Do Edibles Expire: Freshness Indicators
It’s important to remember that edibles have a limited shelf life and should be consumed as soon as possible for the best flavor and potency. But how do you know when it’s time to toss out an edible?
Here are some signs that indicate your edibles may no longer be safe or enjoyable to eat:
- Noticeable changes in appearance: If an edible has changed color, texture, or smell noticeably since it was purchased, it may be time to toss it out.
- Excessive moisture: Moisture can cause mold and bacteria to grow on edibles, so if your edibles are excessively moist or have visible signs of mold, discard them immediately.
- Outdated expiration date: All edibles should come with a printed expiration date. If your edible has already expired, it is best to discard it and purchase a new one.
- Unpleasant flavors: If your edible tastes off or sour, then it may be time to throw it away.
No matter how well you store your edibles, they will eventually expire and should not be consumed past their expiration date. If you are in doubt about whether an edible is still safe to consume, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out!
Tips on Assessing the Freshness of an Edible
Just like any food product, cannabis edibles can go bad over time. Knowing how to assess their freshness is key to avoiding a less-than-pleasant experience. Here are some tips:
Do a Visual Inspection
Always start by looking at your edible carefully. Signs of spoilage are often visible. Mold, for instance, can appear as fuzzy spots of white, blue, green, or black. Discoloration or a change in texture may also signal that an edible is past its prime.
For instance, chocolate may develop a white, powdery coating known as bloom if it is old or has been improperly stored. While bloom doesn’t make chocolate unsafe to eat, it does alter its texture and taste.
Perform a Smell Test
Next, use your nose. Spoiled edibles often have a distinctly unpleasant odor. If your edible smells sour, musty, or just off, it’s likely past its prime.
Remember, cannabis has a pungent, herbaceous scent. If you can’t detect any hint of that aroma, it may be because the essential oils that produce it have degraded.
Consider the Age and Storage Conditions
Finally, consider when and how the edible was stored. Even properly stored edibles degrade over time. Most remain safe and potent for six months to a year if stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, but this varies by product.
Heat, light, and moisture accelerate this process, so an edible left in a hot car or damp basement may spoil faster.
The Role of Packaging in Maintaining Potency
Cannabis edibles, like all cannabis products, are susceptible to degradation from light, air, moisture, and heat. Packaging plays a crucial role in preserving the potency and freshness of cannabis edibles for an extended period.
When properly packaged, edibles are protected from these damaging factors.
Choose packaging that is airtight and opaque. This blocks out light and air, helping to preserve the cannabinoids and prevent the growth of mold. Similarly, a moisture-tight container will prevent any water vapor from entering, which can lead to the growth of bacteria and mold.
Lastly, storing your properly packaged edibles in a cool, dark place will further help in maintaining their potency and freshness.
Do Edibles Lose Potency After Expiration Date?
The potency of cannabis edibles is primarily attributed to THC and CBD, the primary cannabinoids responsible for the psychoactive and therapeutic effects respectively.
Over time, these cannabinoids can degrade and oxidize, turning into less potent compounds. This degradation is a natural process and can be accelerated by improper storage conditions.
Therefore, an edible that’s past its expiration date might not necessarily be harmful, but it could be less potent, providing a less effective or entirely different experience than expected.
Strategies to Maintain the Potency of Edibles
Proper storage is of the utmost importance when it comes to maintaining the potency of cannabis edibles. Here are some key strategies:
- Temperature control: Always store your edibles in a cool environment, as heat can accelerate the degradation of cannabinoids. Avoid storing them in areas that experience temperature fluctuations, like near the stove or oven.
- Light protection: Light exposure can degrade THC and CBD, so keep your edibles in a dark place or in opaque containers that block out light.
- Moisture control: Moist environments can encourage mold growth, which can affect the safety and potency of edibles. To prevent this, keep your edibles in a dry place and consider using airtight containers with desiccants to absorb any moisture.
- Air control: Oxygen can also degrade cannabinoids, so it’s important to minimize air exposure. Vacuum sealing or using airtight containers can help with this.
Remember, the aim is to slow down the degradation process for as long as possible to maintain the potency and enjoy the full effects of your cannabis edibles.
How Long Do Edibles Stay Good For?
While every type of edible does have a finite shelf life, the specific answer to this is going to depend entirely on what kind of food the edible is made out of. Just like some foods stay good for longer than others, the same principle applies to edibles.
Q: Do pot brownies go bad?
A: Yes, pot brownies will expire after some time, although brownies and other baked goods bought from dispensaries may last a bit longer than their homemade counterparts due to the addition of preservatives that help them last a bit longer on the shelves.
Q: How long do weed brownies last?
A: Baked goods like brownies, cookies, or marshmallow cereal bars will last roughly 5-7 days. (They may last up to a week longer than that if you refrigerate them.) After a certain amount of time, they will go stale before they go bad, but that shouldn’t affect anything other than taste, so while they may not taste as great, they can still be eaten.
Q: Do edible gummies expire?
A: Gummies will go stale long before they go bad, but yes, even edible gummies will expire after some time. You should always check the expiration date on the bag of the gummies, but a good rule of thumb is to try and finish them within a year of purchase.
Q: How long do edible gummies last?
A: THC gummies’ shelf life is usually anywhere from 3-6 months while still in their sealed packages. If you’re wondering how long do edible gummies last in the fridge? In the fridge, gummies and candies may last even longer.
Q: Do edibles lose potency over time?
A: Although the food ingredients that make up edibles do expire after time, the actual cannabinoids in the edibles do not. However, they do degrade and lose potency over time.
As always, if you have any concerns about whether or not your edible is expired, we recommend making sure you’re paying attention to the way your edible looks and smells. If it looks off or has an unusual or foul odor, it’s best to abstain from eating it no matter what the package date says.
Can You Extend the Storage Life of Edibles?
There are a couple of different factors that affect the shelf life of edibles. Most edibles that you buy from a dispensary will be factory produced and have added preservatives to help keep them fresh on the shelves for longer, so they don’t go bad while waiting to be sold.
While they are still in their original packaging, they should be safe to consume up until the printed expiration date. But once they’re opened, you have to be careful of a few factors that will affect their quality and storage life.
- Oxygen. Once food is exposed to oxygen, it has a much shorter window of freshness before it goes bad.
- Temperature. Cooler temperatures will keep food fresher for longer. If you leave your edibles out at a temperature that’s too warm, they may spoil a lot quicker.
- Ingredients. Edibles with dairy ingredients (such as milk, cream, eggs, cheese, etc.) will spoil much faster than those without them.
Although edibles do have a finite shelf life, there are some tips and tricks you can do to extend the life of your infused goodies.
- Keep your edibles in airtight containers, like a glass mason jar.
- Keep your edibles cool. Make sure you aren’t leaving them out during super hot months where they will be susceptible to excess heat and humidity. To extend their shelf life, you can refrigerate or even freeze them. (Make sure they’re still in some kind of packaging; they will go stale if you refrigerate or freeze them naked.)
- Keep them away from sunlight. Like excess heat and humidity, excess sunlight will also expedite the expiration process of your edibles.
- If you repackage your edibles, make sure you label them with their original expiration date. This will help you remember how long they are supposed to be good for!
So, can edibles expire? The answer is yes, edibles can definitely go bad. Essentially, edibles are just food items with cannabis items in them and should be treated as such. Adding cannabis to food doesn’t provide any additional preservation, so the edible will only last as long as the food itself. Just make sure you’re paying attention to the storage of your edibles so that you can enjoy them for as long as you can!
Do Edibles Expire or Go Bad: Frequently Asked Questions
Can Expired Edibles Make You Sick?
While expired cannabis edibles may lose their potency over time, they are not typically harmful to consume. However, much like any food product, if your edibles have developed mold due to improper storage, it can lead to food poisoning. Therefore, always inspect your edibles carefully before consumption.
How to Check the Production and Expiration Date of Edibles?
Most commercially produced cannabis edibles have their production and expiration dates printed on the packaging. This is usually found on the back or bottom of the package. If you can’t find this information, consider contacting the manufacturer directly for clarification.
Can You Freeze Edibles to Extend Their Shelf Life?
Yes, you can freeze cannabis edibles to extend their shelf life. This can be an effective way to maintain their potency over a longer period. However, it’s essential to wrap them tightly and store them in airtight containers to prevent freezer burn and maintain their quality.
What are the Best Practices for Storing Homemade Edibles?
Storing homemade edibles properly can significantly extend their shelf life and potency. Keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to avoid exposure to light and air, which can degrade cannabinoids. If you’re not planning to consume them within a week, consider freezing them following the same guidelines provided for commercially produced edibles.
How Does the Potency of Edibles Change Over Time?
The potency of cannabis edibles decreases over time due to the natural degradation of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This degradation is accelerated by exposure to light, air, and heat. Therefore, an aged edible may still be safe to consume but may not provide the same effects as when it was fresh.