Do Edibles Go Bad or Expire?

Illustration of gummy bear and decorative elements
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: October 4, 2022

With so many cannabis edible gummies options available online and in dispensaries, those with a sweet tooth are spoiled for choice.

But how long do they last until they expire?

Can edibles go bad? Or is it just THC degrading over time?

How to store edibles so that you get the most out of their “best before” date?

In this article, you’ll learn when cannabis edibles expire — and 3 dead-simple steps to preserve their freshness and potency.

Do Edible Gummies Expire?

It shouldn’t be a shock that edibles expire. After all, it’s just a type of food, and all food will eventually go bad — or at least lose some of their desired properties.

Depending on the type of edible — how it was made, what preservatives it contains — it can last and still get you high 3-6 months from when it’s made.

As long as you maintain proper storage.

How Long do Edibles Last and Stay Fresh?

All edibles come with different shelf lives, and those purchased at a local licensed dispensary will usually have an expiration date suggesting when the product is safe to consume and how long it will take effect.

Some baked products, like cookies and tarts, may lose their original aromas and flavors in a week or so, while gummies maintain freshness for months.

If you buy edibles in bulk, you can place them in the freezer if you don’t plan on eating them soon.

Edible goods that are infused with natural, botanical ingredients tend to go bad faster than simpler formulas.

Anyway, you want to make your edibles stay fresh as long as possible.

But before we elaborate on cannabis edibles storage tips, let’s look at common indicators that your products have seen better days.

Signs that Edibles Have Gone Bad

As mentioned, edibles in a professional facility will have a longer shelf life due to the presence of preservatives. As with any food, there are certain indicators that your edibles have gone bad.

Throw them out as soon as you notice:

  • Loss of color
  • Buildup of mold
  • Loss or change in smell
  • Dryness, brittleness, or roughness
  • Condensation droplets in the box

Is the Shelf Life of Edible Gummies Similar to Regular Food?

Yes. That’s because cannabis infusions don’t affect the food’s expiration date. Edibles come with similar “best before” dates to their non-cannabis counterparts.

If you have weed gummies, they will go stale in the same amount of time as regular gummies, as will a cannabis-infused brownie and other formats.

Again, the presence of preservatives extends the shelf life of cannabis edibles. Gummies can last longer than other edibles because they come with significant amounts of sugar and natural acids.

You can use the same principles for homemade edible recipes. Weed-infused cookies should last as long as regular cookies.

Do Edibles Lose Potency Over Time?

Yes, although when stored properly, it should maintain its original potency for up to one year. Gummy edibles are the most popular edible option for a reason. Not only do they stay fresh for longer, but they also don’t lose potency as fast as other formats because it’s infused with cannabis resin oil or distillate instead of cannabutter.

When you make edibles with buttery infusions that involve dried cannabis buds, make sure to use fresh flowers for maximum potency.

Some older studies show the potency of cannabis drops over time:

  • 16% THC lost over 1 year
  • 26 % THC lost in 2 years
  • 34% THC lost in 3 years
  • 41% THC lost over 4 years

Cannabis Edibles Storage Tips

Edibles storage is influenced by environmental factors, such as heat, light, air, moisture, and bacteria.

They can all speed up the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes. Here’s how you can avoid environmental damage when storing your edibles:

  • Heat – some people heat up savory edibles to make them taste better. Try not to exceed 160 degrees Celcius to avoid damaging cannabinoids and terpenes. For sweet edibles, keep them away from direct heat.
  • Light – exposing cannabis to light can degrade its active compounds, so make sure to use dark containers for storage.
  • Moisture – like other food, edibles require proper humidity so they don’t develop mold. Use humidifier controllers, such as Boveda packs to control humidity.
  • Bacteria – if you only want to eat a piece of an edible, cut the desired fragment. When you take a direct bite, you expose the edible to bacteria in your mouth.

Consider Best-Before Dates

Edibles purchased from local legal dispensaries contain a priceless piece of information that helps you monitor the freshness of your edibles.

Whenever you’re not sure if your edibles have gone bad, read the “best before” date on the packaging.

You can contact the manufacturer of the edibles directly to learn about the best storage practices and expiration dates.

We’re stressing this because the expiration date doesn’t necessarily mean your edibles will go bad after that.

When it comes to products containing highly degradable ingredients like butter or dairy, you should stick to the expiration dates provided by the manufacturer.

For other shelf-stable products like gummies, lollipops, or candy, this is just a general figure that signals some of the potency and flavor may be lost once the date is exceeded.

Best Edibles with Long Shelf Life

If you’re looking for the longest-lasting edibles, gummies are an obvious number one. They come infused with sugar, and sugar acts as a great preservative. With gummies, the main goal is to maintain proper temperature and humidity. Some of them are coated with a sweet-and-sour layer, which can melt when stored improperly.

Doing your own research on potential vendors takes time and a lot of digging into third-party lab reports. If you’re short on time, these two companies below offer the best top-shelf THC gummies that can last for months and maintain their original texture when stored properly.

1. Area 52

image of Area 52 Delta8 THC Gummies product on a white background

Area 52 is a California-based brand that has made its name thanks to award-winning delta 8 THC products. Area 52 is one of the best delta 8 THC brands out there with their selection that includes delta 8 tinctures, vape carts, pre-rolled joints, and gummies.

The delta 8 THC gummies from Area 52 pack 25 mg of delta 8 THC per piece — which is significantly above the threshold of around 10 mg.

Each bag contains 30 gummies in a medley of tantalizing Pineapple, Green Apple, and Strawberry flavors.

The Area 52 gummies are also vegan; they use fruit pectin instead of gelatin, making them a cruelty-free product.

Earlier this year, the guys at Area 52 introduced their line of UFO full-spectrum CBD gummies that pack 60 mg of CBG, CBC, CBD, and CBN on top of 5 mg of THC (less than 0.3%).

2. Finest Labs

an image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Gummies on a white background

Finest Labs makes pure delta 8 THC gummies from the distillate. Similar to Area 52, these gummy cubes contain 25 mg of delta 8 per piece, but without other minor cannabinoids.

The removal of the supportive cannabinoids leaves only delta 8 THC and terpenes, making the psychoactive buzz more pronounced, making you really feel the effects of delta 8 gummies and heavier on the body.

The distillate comes from organic hemp, ensuring a pesticide- and heavy metal-free product. These gummies are also tested in a third-party laboratory for potency and purity, with batch-specific certificates on the company’s website.

Unfortunately, Finest Labs offers only one flavor option (Strawberry), so if you’re a flavor chaser, you may be more interested in the gummies from Area 52.

Final Verdict: When Do Cannabis Edibles Expire?

Like any food out there, cannabis edibles have an expiration date.

Depending on how they were made, processed, and whether or not they contain preservatives, the freshness time of your edibles will vary from as little as a few days to as long as six months.

The most stable products in terms of their lasting time are cannabis edible gummies. They contain sugar and citric acids — two decent preservatives — and are based on delta 8 THC distillate oil rather than cannabutter, taking away the botanical ingredients that could compromise their “best before” date.

If you’re looking for ways to extend the shelf life of your edibles, store them in a cool, dark, and dry place. Exposure to air, light, and heat causes cannabinoids and terpenes to degrade, so preventing contact with these environmental factors can preserve the potency of your next munchies treasure.

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.