So, you just happen to come across a container with some edibles inside in the back of your refrigerator. And, to be honest, you’re not really sure how long they’ve been there, but you know it’s been a while.
You may be wondering: do edibles go bad?
Not to worry, we’re here to help you take out the guesswork with some well-researched facts.
Do Weed Edibles Expire?
Edibles are essentially food products that have been infused with cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). And, just like any food product, will expire over time. Edibles, much like other food products that are not infused with marijuana, are subjected to the same limitations. This means that bacterial growth, mold, spoilage, and time are the enemies of your edibles.
The Canadian government has stipulated clear guidelines for the packaging and labeling of cannabis products under the Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Regulations. This translates into two things. Yes, your edibles can expire, but you should be able to see on the packaging when the product was packaged and when it will reach the end of its stability period. That’s if the product is still in the original wrapping.
The worst-case scenario is that your edibles will spoil, and on a lesser note, they will lose their potency. But this will depend on what type of edible it is and the duration of its shelf life. In addition, some edibles may contain preservatives. While these may prolong the shelf life of the edible, they will not make it last indefinitely.
When Do Edibles Expire?
Edibles expire at the same rate as their non-infused food counterparts. For example, if a brownie lasts five days, then a cannabis brownie will also last for five days. In addition, different types of edibles will expire according to the shelf life of the product. Edible gummies, for example, will have a longer shelf life than baked edible goods.
If you are wondering how long do edibles expire, then you may be surprised to learn that cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, don’t spoil, but they do degrade. The molecular structure changes over time, and it may have less of an effect or may have a different effect on you. THC, for example, degrades into another type of cannabinoid known as Cannabinol (CBN). According to research, CBN is known for its sedative properties, but more research on this is needed.
The correct storage methods may prevent premature spoilage or degradation.
It’s important to purchase your edibles from a reliable supplier as the packaging will indicate the “best by” date.
Related article: How Long Do Weed Edibles Last?
How Do Weed Edibles Go Bad?
The ingredients in the edible can either spoil or go rancid after a period of time.
Some edibles contain ingredients that spoil faster or cause mold to develop in or on the edible. Just like any other type of food product may spoil over time, the edible will also spoil.
You’re more likely to get spoilage in baked goods, drinks, and oils. This is caused by exposure to heat, moisture, oxygen, and over time.
Not all edibles spoil though, some just lose their potency.
Edibles that contain THC may lose potency over time after the product has reached its expiry date. There are other factors that may come into play and cause your edible to lose its potency.
Examples include storage methods such as exposure to direct sunlight or moisture, or high temperatures. Some edibles may seem fine, like gummies, hard candies, or mints, but may have lost their potency.
The only way you’ll be able to determine this is after you consume the edible. Fortunately, these types of edibles are less likely to cause foodborne illnesses. Furthermore, potency does degrade slowly and should remain intact for three to six months after the edible is manufactured.
What Factors Affect Weed Edibles Shelf Life?
You may be wondering: how long do edibles last before they expire? This is determined by two factors:
Some edibles, like baked goods, contain ingredients that spoil faster. These may include milk, eggs, butter, etc. Examples of these types of edibles include cakes, brownies, waffles, and cookies. Unless they contain some kind of preservative, you can expect these edibles to have the same shelf life as non-infused baked goods with no added preservatives, which is essentially five to seven days, depending on the storage method.
Furthermore, edibles that contain water as an ingredient may also spoil faster. The reason for this is that water promotes the growth of mold and encourages spoilage. In addition, the type of manufacturing process may extend the shelf life of the product. Therefore, it’s always best to go by the expiry date listed on the edible packaging.
Different edibles have different shelf lives. Edibles can be broken down into the following groups:
Beverages usually contain some type of preservative and packaging can make the product last for several months. However, after opening it and exposing the contents to oxygen, you may only have a few days to consume it before it goes bad.
Generally, baked goods contain preservatives that make them last a few weeks in the packaging. Home-made baked edibles, on the other hand, may only last a few days at room temperature and longer when stored in the refrigerator.
Candies tend to have a much longer shelf life. These products rarely contain any water, and in cases where the candies are individually packaged, the product may last even longer. The packaging is usually designed to prevent the product from coming into contact with oxygen and thus prevents oxidization.
THC oils tend to have the longest shelf life and may last up to several months when stored correctly.
What are Signs that Edibles Have Gone Bad?
There are some obvious signs that your edible has spoiled. Apart from the packaging which may indicate the sell-by date, you should look at four things to determine if your edible has spoiled:
Certain products may spoil due to exposure to oxygen, sunlight, moisture, or heat.
Baked goods may develop mold which may affect the color, texture, taste, and smell of the product. If you notice any condensation droplets inside the container or wrapping, you may want to avoid consuming the edible as well.
Some products will produce a rancid smell or may lose their smell. Furthermore, if the product becomes brittle, rough, or very dry, it may also indicate that your edible has gone bad and you should rather dispose of it.
Is It Safe to Eat Expired Edibles?
The short answer is yes and no.
Cannabinoids do not become toxic after they expire, so there’s no risk there. However, you may become sick if you consume expired food. This may lead to food poisoning. Baked goods contain the highest risk of food poisoning after expiring. Gummies, mints, or other candies may simply lose their potency. The same applies to drinks and oils.
How to Keep Edibles From Going Bad
As mentioned earlier, the storage method is key when trying to prolong the shelf life of your edible.
Keeping certain edibles in the refrigerator may prolong their shelf life by a few days. If you store your edibles at room temperature, keep them out of the sun, or direct sunlight, as this can both spoil your edibles and cause the cannabinoids inside to degrade. In addition, be mindful of moisture and bacteria.
Storing edibles in the refrigerator
The key is to keep your edibles in a refrigerator-safe container. Your refrigerator contains a host of different smells due to the contents inside it. You don’t want your edibles to draw in these odors.
It’s best to keep your edibles in an airtight container inside the refrigerator. This will prevent any smells. In addition, it may help to prolong the life of the product by preventing any oxidation from exposure to air or moisture.
Storing edibles in the freezer
You can store your edibles in the freezer. To prevent freezer burn, and exposure to moisture or air, make sure to wrap the edible in aluminum foil before placing it in a freezer-safe container. This type of storage is ideal for baked goods, mints, gummies, candies, drinks, and even oils.
Frequently Asked Questions
It depends. If you consume expired baked goods, you may become ill, while other products may lose potency, such as gummies, mints, and candies. These products are less harmful to your health when consumed after their expiry date.
More than likely not. The cannabinoids degrade over time. It may help you sleep better though.
Yes. The longer an edible goes past its expiry date, the more it loses its potency.
Yes. Edibles that contain preservatives will have the same shelf life as their non-infused counterparts that contain preservatives. And edibles that do not contain preservatives will also have the same shelf life as their non-infused counterparts that do not contain preservatives.
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