When Do Cannabis Edibles Expire?
Published on 11/25/21
Edibles have emerged from private kitchens across the country and are now taking up an increasing amount of space on dispensary shelves. No longer just gummies or brownies, today's edible options include peanuts, sausage, coffee, artisanal creations both sweet and savory, and drops that can be dissolved in your favorite drink. The list can appear to be endless; other popular types of edibles include:
- Granola Bars
- Hot Sauce
How Long Do Marijuana Edibles Last?
It is not uncommon to walk into a dispensary and want to buy everything. The alluring packaging, the countless flavorful options, and the simple ability to buy food with weed in it often lead to over-purchasing. Fast forward a few months and those edibles in the cupboard or the refrigerator might seem like they are still good, but are they safe to eat? What exactly is the shelf life of edibles? Do gummies go bad? Is there a risk of getting sick or eating an edible that no longer produces any affects? Just how long do edibles stay good for?
The first thing to do when debating the safety or efficacy of an old edible is to find the expiration date on the packaging. Do edibles expire? Technically, yes. Just like any other food product in the U.S., there should be a best-by date or another date that indicates when the item is expected to be past its prime or no longer safe. In terms of potency, the THC in the edible will remain intact for months if it is stored properly and not exposed to oxygen. If it is exposed to the elements for a long period of time, the THC will slowly degrade and turn into cannabinol (CBN). CBN isn't dangerous, quite the opposite, but it will not provide a psychoactive experience like THC. If the edible is stored properly, it might not taste so good after a few months, but the THC effects should still be present.
So how long do edibles last? It depends on what they contain. Edibles like candies, lollipops, and caramels should last a long time. They are essentially THC delivery devices that use sugar to get the job done. On the opposite end of the spectrum, anything with dairy will last as long as, well, dairy would last. And that's not very long. Muffins or pastries? It's best to consider edibles of that variety as you would if they did not contain THC, do not let them sit around for more than a day or two. Cookies, chocolates, and brownies will stay safe and effective for weeks or months if frozen or refrigerated, but they will probably not taste very good when finally consumed. Once again, check the label on the product. If there are any additives or preservatives, they will not necessarily keep the edible "fresh," but they will be effective for much longer than a natural product.
There are several ways to enjoy edibles prior to expiration or degradation. When making a purchase, check the expiration date and the ingredients. They will give you a good idea of how long the product will actually last. Also, think about how you plan to store the edibles. Storing in a "cool, dark place" is still a great guide for items that do not need refrigeration. Use a jar or container that can be sealed. Refrigerate anything with eggs, yogurt, cheese, or cream. Those should last up to 10 days. Cannabutter will normally stay good for around a month. Vegan edibles made with oils like coconut should also be refrigerated and will last longer than something made with dairy. If you are not planning to consume the edibles immediately, go for something that you know will have a substantial shelf life, like gummies or lollipops, and steer clear of baked items and confections that will quickly become stale and unappealing.
It will be obvious when an edible has expired and should not be eaten. Any appearance of mold, a funky smell, or odd coloring indicates that your tasty treat has expired and should be thrown away. Treat edibles as you would other food. The last thing you need is an upset stomach and no rewarding psychoactivity.
How long do you normally keep your edibles? Do you prefer sweets like hard candies or savory items that do not last as long? Have you ever forgotten about an edible and tried it only to discover it was disgusting and worthless? Share your edible stories in the comments section below!