Edibles are food products that contain cannabinoids derived from cannabis plants. You can find edibles in just about any form – gummies, baked goods, drinks, candies, and oils for cooking – which raises the question “do edibles expire?”
Shelf life for different edibles will vary depending on several factors we’ll discuss below. Even so, it’s important to know when they expire because the potency of THC changes over time.
This article will address the question ‘do edibles go bad’ and cover how to store edibles to prevent them from spoiling.
WHY DO EDIBLES LOSE POTENCY OVER TIME?
THC does lose potency over time, but edibles maintain their potency longer than THC flower does. Let’s get technical on the why there’s a loss of potency to begin with:
The effects of marijuana that make it special are due to cannabinoids. These are THC, CBD, and over 100 other cannabinoids that are not as widely known. Cannabinoids can be found in the trichomes of a cannabis plant – those sticky little antenna-like structures around the plant.
Due to exposure to light, heat, and humidity, the potency of cannabinoids, particularly THC, can degrade over time as they are constantly exposed to outside elements and are sensitive to moisture.
CAN EDIBLES EXPIRE?
Edibles don’t ‘go bad’ any faster than other food products, they expire at the same rates. Just like any other cookie that’s been sitting in the pantry too long, edibles can get stale or even spoil if stored around heat and moisture. When considering the potential expiration of a given product, think about the types of ingredients used to make the product.
Cookie Case Study: The average cookie is made with flour, sugar, eggs, salt, milk, and butter. If stored correctly at room temperature, you can expect a typical cookie to last about 5 days. So, you can safely assume that a THC infused cookie would last about the same amount of time in similar conditions.
What Happens If You Eat An Expired Edible
As a general rule, we don’t recommend eating any food that you know is expired. It puts you at risk for food poisoning, allergic reactions, or a simple upset stomach.
As far as expired edibles or gummies go, your high will probably be less intense than if you took a new edible with fresh THC. Research finds that THC loses 16% of its THC content after one year of storage. Keep that in mind the next time you find an old stash of gummies.
HOW LONG ARE EDIBLES GOOD FOR
Trying to determine your edible’s shelf life? Let’s get into the factors that determine how long your edible should last.
There’s a reason candies have later expiration dates than cooked foods. They mostly contain sugar, which, on its own, takes years to expire. When you start adding ingredients like flour, milk, or eggs that don’t last as long, you have to take that into consideration.
Using this logic alone, gummies will last a lot longer than baked goods because baked goods can get stale and gummies can’t. If you’ve purchased edibles without preservatives, these probably have a closer expiration date.
We recommend storing edibles in a cool, dry place with secure packaging or storage bags. Moisture causes mold, especially when combined with warm temperatures. You should be treating your edibles like your other snacks and eating them before they go bad.
Be sure to store edibles away from the reach of children. In fact, it’s important to store edibles in a way that is clearly identifiable as not being regular snacks, so that even adults can easily identify them. It could be dangerous for someone to unknowingly take an edible – and maybe even consume too much – thinking they’re just snacking.
Most edibles you buy from a credible business are cooked with pasteurized ingredients and contain some preservatives, even if it’s not much. This guarantees a longer shelf life of edibles compared to homemade goodies.
Think about brownies you make at home compared to ones in the snack aisle. The homemade treats will probably get stale after a week, whereas the store-bought counterpart has to stay fresh long enough to ship to the grocery store and be enjoyed at home for a week or two.
If you plan on keeping the edibles longer than a week or two, vacuum-sealed packaging is your best bet for extended freshness. It prevents all moisture and air from getting in and compromising your goods. Once opened, double bag them with as little air in the bag as possible.
Type of Edible
You can use general shelf life guidelines for each type of snack. For example, a THC cookie will likely last as long as a non-THC cookie. Candies will last the longest, and oils for cooking should last as long as other cooking or baking oils. View more of our MOOD edibles, available in both D8 and D9 options!
All that said, keep in mind that the THC content decreases after a few months. It’s best to eat them within a few weeks for maximum potency.
WHEN DO EDIBLES EXPIRE? BREAKING IT DOWN BY TYPE
Before we get into the specifics for each type of edible, there are things they all have in common and here are a few general rules to consider:
The state of the packaging: Damaged or inflated packaging can indicate that the edible has been compromised or has spoiled.
Expiration date: You can generally gauge how old something is by how close it is to the expiration date.
Let’s discuss a few signs that indicate an expiration for each type:
Do Edible Gummies Expire?
Edible gummies can expire just like any old gummy bear. Ask yourself these questions if you’re unsure about your gummies:
- Have the gummies changed appearance?
- Are they discolored or hard?
- Was the packaging secure or damaged?
- Have you had them for over a year?
If you answered yes to any of the above, think twice before ingesting. Now, they can’t seriously hurt you if they’re expired – but a tummy ache and low effects may be in the cards.
Be sure to check the expiration date, too!
How Soon Do Delta 8 Gummies Expire?
Most gummies last 6 months to a year plus when stored in a cool, dry place. If possible, observe the edible gummies’ expiration date and don’t eat them if they look sketchy. Keep in mind that THC content may decrease after a year, and they might grow less potent over time.
Cereal bars should be crispy yet chewy and sweet-tasting. Keep an eye out for funky smells, changes in consistency (loss of softness), or any color changes such as mold.
THC-infused beverages are an exciting way to stay refreshed and chill out. If you’re concerned that yours has passed its prime, check for damaged or inflated packaging, color changes, bad smells, and floating chunks. Beverages more so than other edibles should have an expiration printed on the packaging. When in doubt, stick to the expiration date listed!
Because tinctures contain alcohol, their shelf life is usually at least one year. If you’re unsure, check for bad odors, changes in consistency and color, and if the container makes a “puff” sound when you open it, indicating air was built up from fermentation.
Expired edible desserts have the same indicators as any other baked good. If they’re bad, you’d notice mold growth, changes in color and texture, or a funky smell.
Baked goods usually become stale first, then show signs of becoming rotten after time. Stale foods won’t hurt you, but they don’t taste great. After something’s been stale for long, it starts to go bad.
DO EXPIRED EDIBLES STILL WORK?
The cannabinoid content of edibles lasts longer than the food content. This means you won’t get sick from old cannabinoids, but you may from old food. It’s still possible to get high from old edibles. We don’t recommend taking any chances with expired edibles. When in doubt, play it safe and get some more!
TIPS FOR STORING EDIBLES
Keep Them in a Cool, Dry Place
Sunlight, heat, and moisture accelerate the spoiling process and diminish the shelf life of edibles. Remember not to leave them in the car, where it gets hot exponentially faster than indoors.
Utilize Airtight, Child-lock Containers
Your storage containers should be air-tight and see-through if possible, so you don’t have to open the container to see what’s inside. You can inspect the food without exposing it to unnecessary air particles.
If there are children in the home, child-proof containers are ideal, even if you keep the edibles hidden away. Accidents have been known to happen to even the most careful of people.
Establish a Secret Place
Whether you’re worried about kids, pets, or snooping roommates, picking a designated low-traffic hiding place can be great for peace of mind. We recommend a shoebox in the closet, a locked drawer or cabinet, a safe, or one of those cool, hollowed-out books.
Anywhere discreet and out of reach should work. Remember, this is to protect your goods as well as the people you live with.
Label and Date Your Edibles
A foolproof way to keep track of the shelf life of edibles is by dating them as soon as you get them. This way, you can avoid the guessing game if your products have missing or rubbed expiration dates. You can also jot down how they made you feel to help your future self decide the best way to take them. MOOD edibles are great for this because we classify our products by the experience. Choose a body-soother, Energized, Euphoric, among many other moods. Our new Morning Delta 9 THC Gummies are a great way to start the day with an energized and euphoric mood.
Don’t Live Alone? Avoid Storing Edibles in the Pantry
This is how accidents happen – someone mistakes edibles for an innocent snack and winds up having to change their afternoon plans. Edibles look like regular food, but a careless peruser probably won’t notice the difference, and you should keep them out of the pantry.
You also probably aren’t reaching for an edible every time you get hungry. The pantry simply isn’t the best place to store your edibles!
Freezing for Longer Storage
Storing them in the freezer is an easy way to boost your edibles’ shelf life. Unlike THC flower, which loses potency when frozen because the crystals fall off, edibles are usually cooked with oil, protecting their composition and strength.
Freeze your baked goods and gummies without a worry that they’ll lose their spark. Remember to pack them in plastic wrap, sealable bags, or vacuum seal wrap to protect them from freezer damage.
Use up Older Edibles First
It’s normal to find a product you love and use it more than the rest. However, if you let your other edibles sit for too long, they could lose potency or go bad altogether. Eating the oldest edibles first avoids waste and clutter, as we often neglect our less-favorite products and leave them sitting. There’s nothing worse than missing out because you waited too long and have expired edibles.
CHOOSE EDIBLES WITH LONG SHELF LIFE
If you know that it will take several weeks to finish your edibles, choose ones with a longer shelf life, like gummies, candies, or shelf-stable beverages. A longer shelf life equals more stock, so you can order larger quantities and get the most bang for your buck!
If you plan to finish them in a week or two, try our Delta 9 THC Chocolate Cookies or Delta 9 THC Chocolate Crunch Treat. Remember, you can always order more and try new products. Keep the edible’s shelf life in mind when planning your fun. All of our products come tagged with an expiration date, be sure to check it before consuming if you’ve had it stored for a while.
Hero Dose Rapid Onset THC Gummies
These quick-release THC gummies contain Delta 8, Delta 9, and live resin. Feel their versatile mood boost in just 15 minutes max after enjoying their juicy watermelon flavor. In the words of a happy customer, “No more rolling of the dice when it comes to quality and selection,” these gummies are the real deal, and as potent as they come.
Sleepytime Delta-9 THC Gummies
These delightful vegan gummies, infused with full-spectrum cannabinoids and melatonin, are a fantastic way to end your day with relaxation. Each gummy contains 15mg of Delta-9 THC, 15mg of CBD, 15mg of CBN, and 0.5mg of melatonin, so you can relax and drift off into a peaceful night’s rest.
Morning Delta 9 THC Gummies
Say good morning with our vitamin B12 THC gummies. Each of these gummies contains 5mg of Rapid Onset Delta-9 THC, 2mg of THCv, 5mg of Black Pepper Extract, and 2.5 mcg of Vitamin B12. These ingredients work together to give you a burst of energy and mental clarity that takes effect in as little as fifteen minutes.
HOW TO DISPOSE OF EXPIRED EDIBLES
Hopefully you get to enjoy your treats before they spoil, but in case you forget about them and let them go bad, let’s address what to do.
When throwing away our expired edibles, make sure not to put them anywhere someone else might eat them. Even throwing them in the yard to decompose could put surrounding pets and wildlife at risk. Choose a safe disposal method like a trashcan or compost pile (depending on the type of edible).
DO EDIBLES EXPIRE SUMMARY
The shelf life of edibles is generally the same as their non-infused counterparts. A THC brownie should last as long as a regular brownie, and so on. Regarding THC content, it does lose potency over long periods of time – we’re talking several months to a year. If by some chance your edible hasn’t expired in a year (maybe it’s gummy or candy), then the THC will be a little less potent, but still noticeable.
That said, store edibles in a cool, dry place as you would your regular snacks, to extend their shelf lives as long as possible. Keep track of expiration dates and appearances — most foods look, smell, and feel different once they’ve turned.
Lastly, remember to keep edibles stored separately from other foods to avoid unknown grazers from eating something they shouldn’t.