Weed tinctures, also known as cannabis tinctures or marijuana tinctures, are liquid cannabis extracts that are made by soaking cannabis in alcohol or another solvent. Tinctures allow you to easily measure out and consume cannabis. But how long do opened weed tinctures stay good for?
How are weed tinctures made?
Weed tinctures are made by soaking cannabis flowers or concentrate in a high-proof grain alcohol, such as Everclear. The cannabis soaks in the alcohol for weeks or months to fully extract the cannabinoids and terpenes. The liquid is then strained to remove the plant material, leaving behind a potent cannabis extract.
Weed tinctures can be made using dried cannabis flowers, trim, or concentrate like wax or shatter. Using concentrates results in a more potent tincture. The longer the cannabis soaks, the more potent the finished tincture will be.
Do weed tinctures expire?
Yes, opened weed tinctures can expire and go bad, but unopened weed tinctures can last for years. Here’s how long weed tinctures last in different situations:
- Unopened tinctures – 2+ years when stored properly in a cool, dark place
- Opened tinctures – About 1 year stored properly after opening
- Tinctures with fresh cannabis – About 6 months when refrigerated
The cannabis flowers or trim used to make some tinctures can provide a place for mold and bacteria to grow over time. Refrigerating opened weed tinctures can help them last longer.
How to tell if weed tincture has gone bad
Here are some signs that an opened weed tincture has expired and gone bad:
- Change in color – Tincture may darken or become cloudy
- Layer separation – Layers of plant material may separate out
- Mold growth – Look for fuzzy mold anywhere in the bottle
- Strange smell – May smell rancid instead of like cannabis
- Change in effects – Weakened effects when consuming the same dose
If you notice any of these changes in your weed tincture, it’s best to stop using it and make a fresh batch.
Proper storage for maximum freshness
Follow these weed tincture storage tips to help your tinctures last as long as possible:
- Store in cool, dark place – Light and heat degrade cannabis compounds
- Refrigerate after opening – Especially when made with fresh plant material
- Use airtight bottles – Prevents air exposure which degrades cannabis
- Avoid plastic bottles – Glass helps block light and is non-porous
Exposure to light, heat, air, and plastic all speed up the degradation of cannabis tinctures. Keeping tinctures sealed in glass bottles in the fridge gives them the best chance of staying fresh and potent.
Can you recover expired weed tinctures?
It is not recommended to try to recover weed tinctures after they have clearly expired. Consuming tinctures with mold or other contamination can make you sick.
However, if a tincture has just started to degrade but is still safe, you may be able to extend its lifespan a bit longer by:
- Filtering – Strain through a filter to remove plant material
- Simmering – Gently heat to drive off some alcohol and concentrate
- Mixing – Blend with fresh tincture to balance the potency
But these methods are only temporary fixes. For the best quality and safety, it’s better to make a new batch of weed tincture when your current one goes bad.
Does freezing extend shelf life?
Freezing is not necessary for long-term tincture storage. An unopened tincture will last 2+ years stored in a cool, dark cupboard without freezing.
Freezing may help extend the shelf life of opened tinctures slightly by slowing the growth of mold and bacteria. But it can also cause cloudiness or layer separation issues.
Refrigerating opened tinctures is typically sufficient for storage. Freezing is an extra step that provides limited additional preservation benefit.
Preserving THC content
Over time, the THC levels in cannabis tinctures will degrade and lower in potency. Here are some tips to help preserve THC:
- Use glass containers – Blocks light to slow THC breakdown
- Completely cover flower – Minimizes air exposure during soaking
- Store in cool place – Heat accelerates THC degradation
- Limit air exposure – Oxygen and UV light degrade THC
Making tinctures using concentrates instead of flower can also help maintain stable THC levels for longer since concentrates have already been purified and stabilized.
Consuming rancid or moldy weed tincture can cause side effects like:
- Abdominal pain
This is why it’s so important to learn how to properly identify when your weed tincture has expired and dispose of it. Don’t take chances with your health.
Also avoid keeping tincture in plastic bottles long-term. Plastic can leach chemicals into the tincture over time.
How long do homemade weed tinctures last?
Homemade weed tinctures can last 1-2 years unopened. Once opened, they will stay good for about 1 year if stored properly in a cool, dark place. Refrigeration extends the shelf life of opened tinctures.
Do weed tinctures need to be refrigerated?
Refrigeration is recommended for opened weed tinctures to help them last as long as possible, especially if made using fresh plant material. Unopened tinctures can be kept at room temperature in a dark cupboard.
Can you get food poisoning from bad weed tincture?
Yes, consuming rancid weed tincture with mold or bacteria growth can cause food poisoning symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Always inspect tinctures carefully before use and discard if you see any signs of spoilage.
How can you tell if a tincture went bad?
Signs a weed tincture has gone bad include changes in color, texture, smell or flavor, separation into layers, cloudiness, weakened effects, mold growth, and a rancid smell. If you notice any of these, throw the tincture away.
What is the best way to store cannabis tincture?
The best storage methods for maximum weed tincture shelf life include: storing in sealed glass bottles, keeping in a cool dark place, refrigerating after opening, keeping away from light and heat, and minimizing air exposure.
Properly stored weed tinctures can remain fresh and safe to consume for 1-2 years. But once opened, their shelf life decreases down to around 1 year. Refrigeration can help extend the lifespan of opened tinctures.
Watch for signs of spoilage like changes in smell, taste, and appearance. Discard expired weed tinctures to avoid getting sick. And make sure to keep tinctures sealed in glass bottles in cool, dark conditions for best preservation.