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Does CBD tincture need to be refrigerated?

Many people have begun to add a daily dose of CBD – properly known as cannabidiol, one of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant – into their daily routine.

People find cannabidiol helpful for all sorts of reasons. Some people find it helps relieve stress. Others use it for pain relief or to help with inflammation they are experiencing. Others use it as a sleep aid.

But the one thing which many people worry about after they’ve bought CBD for the first time is how to store it:

Does CBD tincture need to be refrigerated? Does temperature affect CBD oil?

This is important. Because CBD oil can certainly go bad. In order to keep your oil happier for longer – and to preserve the cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils and other beneficial parts of a good CBD oil or tincture – you need to store it carefully.

We’ll take a look at how to do just that right here:

What does CBD packaging tell us?

A good clue as to how we should store CBD is provided in the packaging which most oils and tinctures come in. These tend to be tinted glass vials, indicating to us that allowing light into the container isn’t a good idea.

Ideally, you will want to keep any CBD product you buy – be it a tincture or an oil, vape liquid, CBD edibles like gummies or capsules – in the container which they come in.

Storing CBD – how to do it

There should be three simple things on your checklist for how suitable a location is for storing your favored CBD:

1) Low light levels

You will always want to keep your CBD oil out of direct sunlight. Look for a place which is dark – perhaps a cupboard or dry pantry.

Avoid leaving it near your kitchen window, for example. If you do, don’t be surprised if you notice your CBD oil getting steadily darker in color, a sure sign that it’s starting to degrade.

2) Low temperature

Another element which can degrade and damage CBD is heat. This means putting it in a cupboard close to your oven, stove or any other appliance which gives off heat is a bad idea.

Again, it also means keeping it out of direct sunlight.

For some people who live in hotter climes, this does make the refrigerator a potential option for storing your CBD. After all, it’s probably the coldest and darkest place in the house after the door is closed.

That said, ideally speaking, the refrigerator isn’t the best place to keep your CBD. You want it to be kept cool, not cold.

3) No air

CBD oil and tincture bottles come with a lid which can be sealed for a reason. Exposure to air – specifically, oxygen which can change the chemical balance of the oil – for extended periods is another easy way to degrade your CBD.

If, for some reason, you need to move your CBD oil into a different container, make sure it is one which can be properly sealed. Make sure you do seal it up after each use too.

woman using CBD tincture

CBD oil storage for different formats

How to store CBD oil

Any questions about how to store CBD oil basically boil down to answering the questions:

  1. Is it dark?
  2. Is it cool?
  3. Is it protected from air getting in?

As long as the answer to all three of these questions is yes, you’ve probably chosen a good place. What you really want to avoid are extremes of temperature:

Are you supposed to refrigerate CBD oil?

As we’ve touched upon, you can refrigerate CBD oil. It’s not a problem. But it’s not entirely desirable to do so. You can even freeze most CBD oil by putting it in your freezer.

The downside is that your oil will become very thick and could potentially be damaged y colder temperatures. The former is especially true if the oil the CBD is suspended in is coconut oil or olive oil. The latter is true of some specific types, meaning it’s a good idea to check the label or contact the manufacturer to check whether your oil can be frozen.

If you do have to refrigerate or freeze your CBD oil for some reason, always make sure that the container is tightly sealed. Otherwise, you risk the air getting in and degrading it in addition to allowing food smells to penetrate.

When you get refrigerated or frozen CBD out ready to use it, don’t be tempted to put it in direct sunlight or the microwave to heat it up. Always allow it to slowly come back to room temperature by simply leaving it out on your kitchen counter or in a cupboard.

What happens if CBD oil gets too warm?

On the other side of the coin, too much heat and light will lead to your oil starting to grow mold or bacteria. Unlike a tincture, an oil contains no preservatives to prevent this from happening.

How to store a CBD tincture

CBD tincture oil drops

A tincture of CBD is a little different to an oil in that it is suspended in high-proof alcohol. The alcohol functions as a natural preservative, meaning that a tincture of CBD will tend to have a much longer shelf life than a CBD oil.

The other instructions for keeping your CBD product in good condition still apply though:

  1. Keep it out of direct sunlight
  2. Don’t expose it to heat
  3. Keep it in a sealed bottle or other container

How to store CBD gummies and other edibles

As they are CBD which has been turned into a food or beverage, CBD gummies and other edibles tend to be more perishable than an oil or tincture.

However, gummies, candies and chocolates do tend to have a rather long shelf life anyway. Only items such as CBD-infused coffee might have a shorter shelf life than normal.

Again, you will want to be on the lookout for cool, dark, air-sealed conditions in which to store your edibles. In this case, as for many other foodstuffs, the refrigerator might actually be your best bet.

How to store topicals

A topical is something like a CBD balm, salve or cream which is intended to be applied directly to the parts of your body which are causing you pain or which have become inflamed, for example.

Like other CBD oils, topicals are best kept somewhere dark, cool and in a sealed container. Like edibles, the refrigerator might be an option. But because things can get a bit chilly when applying a refrigerated product to your skin, you might want to think twice.

Again, a cupboard or bedside draw might make a better choice.

How to store vape cartridges

Vape cartridges are also best stored somewhere cool and dark. You can refrigerate them, but it’s not necessary. They tend to last for a solid 24 months or so as long as you don’t get them too hot or too cold.

Refrigeration might extend their shelf life though. So if you aren’t planning to use those cartridges for a great deal of time, you might consider using your refrigerator to store them.

Storing CBD – general tips and thoughts

Here are some final general tips and thoughts about CBD oil storage:

1) Warming from cool

If you have refrigerated your CBD oil and it becomes too thick to use and you absolutely have to use it now rather than wait for it to warm at room temperature, try running it under warm water.

2) Standard shelf life

A CBD oil which has been stored correctly in cool, dark, airtight surroundings should last for at least 12 months or so – possibly up to 24 months – even if you don’t refrigerate it.

After two years, even an unopened CBD oil will have started to lose its potency, meaning you might want to consider buying a replacement rather than using it.

3) Oil that smells funny

You’ll soon come to know the aroma of your favorite CBD oil. If you have any cause to doubt its freshness – perhaps it suddenly smells a little off to you – it is always worth getting a replacement.

4) The darker it is, the less effective it is

If you notice that CBD oil you’ve stored for a long time has started to get darker, it’s definitely time to consider using it up sooner rather than later. The darker an oil is, the less effective it will be.

5) Children and pets

You should always be sure to keep your CBD oil out of the reach of children and pets. While you can get CBD supplements for dogs and there is some FDA-approved CBD medication (designed for specific types of epilepsy) suitable for children, you never want to allow unsupervised access.

So, does CBD oil need to be refrigerated?

The short answer to this question is no. No, CBD oil does not need to be refrigerated. But, if you know you’re going to need to store your oil for a long time or in conditions which are otherwise going to be too hot, it can be refrigerated.

Your goal when storing CBD should always be coolness, darkness and an airtight seal. As long as you achieve that, you should be good to keep using your CBD for many months to come.