Does Marijuana Expire? What to Know About Cannabis Freshness

does marijuana expire

One of the many things that cannabis patients ask when they are first introduced to this treatment is does marijuana expire? There is so much to learn about cannabis, but answering this one question will help you maintain your prescription’s freshness. Read on to learn how long cannabis lasts in its various forms and how to tell if it has gone bad.

Does Marijuana Expire?

According to older research, cannabis loses about 0.16% of its THC yearly. Cannabis loses about 26% THC after two years, which means it will eventually have very little THC (41% after 4 years).

Like most fruits and vegetables, cannabis has a limited shelf life. Cannabis won’t go bad the way mayonnaise or some other food product might, but it can be “off” or moldy. Just as broccoli or spinach have expiry dates, so does fresh cannabis. 

Luckily, your cannabis will last longer than the perishable items in your refrigerator — at least a year if you store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. 

The two key factors that influence the lifespan of a cannabis or CBD product are:

  • Its product type (e.g., tincture, flower, edible, etc.).
  • How much plant material or other fresh ingredients are present.

Cannabis Freshness Guidelines

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is an umbrella term that can encompass virtually any cannabis product. The best way to know when your medical marijuana expires is to read the label or ask your pharmacist. Medical marijuana products typically have a date of manufacture or expiration date on the label. 

This date will tell you how long the product should be used before being discarded. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns explicitly against using expired medical marijuana products because they may not provide the intended health benefits.

You may be able to treat your pain or medical condition with medical marijuana using products in the following forms:

CBD Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures have the most extended shelf life of any cannabis product. Tinctures infused with high-proof alcohol can stay fresh for up to ten years if stored appropriately. Oil-based tinctures, which are less common, can last for two years. 

CBD is a highly concentrated form of cannabis, so it’s essential to store it properly in order to preserve its potency. Tinctures made with pure CBD oil usually last about two years if stored in a cool, dark place. 

Cannabis Flower

Most of the time, how long cannabis flowers will last is based on how well-cured the flower or bud is and how it’s stored after purchasing it from local dispensaries. For example, the product won’t develop mold or mildew if it’s properly dried and cured. Always store cannibis flower in an air-tight container away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry location.

Cannabis flowers can last 18 months without losing their potency if stored in ideal conditions. But most people don’t have a way of keeping them at ideal conditions 100% of the time, so it’s recommended to use fresh cannabis flowers within six months of purchase.

Cannabis Edibles

Edibles like brownies and cakes are not likely to last longer than two to three days when made at home. Cannabis edibles from dispensaries may contain preservatives that keep longer in the packaging but will still come with a use-by-date. 


When kept in their original packaging and sealed after each use, cannabis topicals such as creams, oils, and gels typically last up to two years. Topicals containing cannabis may only have a two-year shelf life, depending on the components they contain.

How to Tell if  Cannabis is Bad

Marijuana can last anywhere from six months to over a year when stored properly. However, it’s important to remember that marijuana will lose potency over time, usually starting at six months, so it is best to use it before that happens. 

The good news is that it’s not difficult to tell when cannabis has run its course. The key warning signs are as follows:

  • Change in Aroma
  • Change in Texture
  • Change in Taste
  • Mold Has Developed

It’s Time to Pause the Pain!

We know how hard chronic pain can be, and that’s why we’re here to help. Whether you’re dealing with symptoms related to chronic pain or another qualifying condition, our medical cannabis providers will assess your eligibility and help you find the solution that works for you. Call Pause Pain & Wellness at 833-940-5060 or email us at