Edible gummies infused with cannabis extracts have become increasingly popular in recent years as a discreet and tasty way to consume THC and CBD. Edible gummies come in a wide variety of delicious flavors and provide a consistent dose when compared to other edible options.
However, like any food product, edible gummies do have expiration dates and at some point will go bad. So what actually happens if you eat gummies that are past their expiration date? Here is a comprehensive look at the safety, potency, and effects of expired edible gummies.
Do Edible Gummies Go Bad?
Yes, edible gummies can spoil and expire just like any other food. The expiration date printed on the packaging indicates the date up until which the manufacturer can guarantee the product’s safety, quality, and potency.
Edible gummies are susceptible to the same processes that cause other foods to go bad. Over time, ingredients like corn syrup and natural flavors can degrade in quality. The cannabinoid extracts can also oxidize and lose potency. Exposure to heat, light, and oxygen speeds up these spoilage processes.
So while properly stored unopened edible gummies may remain safe and enjoyable for some time past the printed expiration date, their quality cannot be guaranteed beyond that date. Consuming gummies after the expiration date runs the risk of ingesting degraded ingredients and lower potency cannabinoids.
Are Expired Gummies Safe To Eat?
Eating slightly expired edible gummies is generally safe, though potency and taste may be affected. However, at some point the gummies can become unsafe to eat.
There are a few factors that determine whether expired gummies are safe for consumption:
- Time since expiration – The longer past the expiration date, the more degraded the gummies are likely to be. Within a few weeks or months past expiration is generally safe if stored properly. More than 6-12 months poses higher risks.
- Storage conditions – If the gummies were stored in a cool, dark place they may stay safe longer. Heat and sunlight accelerate spoilage. Refrigeration can extend shelf life.
- Package seal – Once the package is opened, the gummies are exposed to more oxygen and moisture which shortens safe shelf life. Unopened packages keep gummies fresher longer.
- Preservatives – Some gummies contain preservatives like citric acid that help prolong shelf life and safety. Homemade gummies without preservatives spoil faster.
- Signs of spoilage – Visible mold, foul odors, texture changes, and separations indicate the gummies have spoiled and may not be safe.
Ultimately, use common sense – fresher gummies in properly stored unopened packages are less risky to consume past their expiration date.
Do Expired Gummies Still Work?
Expired edible gummies can still provide effects from the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids they contain. However, the potency and duration of effects may be reduced.
There are a few reasons why expired gummies lose potency:
- Cannabinoids like THC and CBD degrade over time, especially when exposed to air, light, and heat. This reduces their potency.
- Other compounds like terpenes that influence the effects also degrade and evaporate.
- Conversion of THC into CBN accelerates as gummies expire. CBN produces weaker psychoactive effects.
Testing has shown measurable declines in cannabinoid concentrations in edibles a few months after production. So while expired gummies aren’t necessarily inert, their potency can drop below the labeled amounts.
The duration of effects from expired gummies may also decrease since less potent cannabinoids are metabolized faster. Consuming higher doses can prolong effects, but dosing can be unpredictable.
What Are The Risks and Side Effects?
Eating expired edible gummies comes with some potential health and safety risks to be aware of:
- Foodborne illness – Outdated gummies run a higher risk of harboring mold, bacteria, and other pathogens that can cause food poisoning symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.
- Inconsistent dosing – With degraded THC and CBD, the actual dosage consumed becomes less reliable, increasing chances of accidental over-consumption. Too much THC can cause anxiety, paranoia, dizziness and impairment.
- Allergic reactions – Spoiled gummies are more likely to contain compounds you could be allergic or sensitive to but aren’t present in fresh edibles.
- Off tastes and textures – Degraded ingredients like corn syrup and gelatin can give the gummies an unpalatable taste and texture.
- Reduced effects – Expired product means lower concentrations of THC, CBD and other active compounds, so effects may be disappointing or require consuming more.
While not guaranteed to make you sick, eating stale gummies does come with some risks you wouldn’t encounter with a fresh product. Start low and slow if consuming expired product. Also, inspect carefully for any signs of spoilage.
How Can You Tell If Gummies Have Gone Bad?
Here are some signs that your edible gummies have spoiled and should be discarded:
- Change in texture – Drying out, hardening, crystallization, mushiness, or chewiness different from a fresh gummy.
- Discoloration – Mold can produce spots of white, green, or blue. Oxidation creates darker color changes.
- Odd odors – Smells like chemicals, rotten food, or ammonia indicate spoilage.
- Taste changes – Loss of flavor, bad aftertaste, bitterness, sourness are red flags.
- Visible mold – Fuzzy or slimy spots visible on the exterior or interior of gummies signals they’ve gone bad.
- Separation – Weeping liquid or oily layer on surface shows ingredients have separated.
- Crumbles – Dried out, crumbling gummies instead of soft, chewy texture.
- Clumping – Gummies sticking together, melding into one piece indicates the sugars have recrystallized.
Ideally compare to a fresh gummy to detect differences in appearance, texture, smell and taste. Any distinct change likely means the gummies should be discarded, especially if storing for many months or after opening.
How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Edible Gummies
Proper storage is key to keeping your edible gummies fresh and potent as long as possible:
- Keep unopened packages sealed in a cool, dark place around 60-70°F. Heat and sunlight break down cannabinoids faster.
- Refrigerate after opening to optimize shelf life. Freezing can extend it for even longer.
- Ensure containers have an airtight seal and minimal air inside to limit oxidation.
- Avoid temperature fluctuations – don’t leave gummies in the car or fluctuating garage temps.
- Check ingredients and avoid gummies with fewer or no preservatives.
- Buy only as many gummies as you can consume before expiration.
- When in doubt, remember the phrase “out with the old, in with the new” – expired gummies deserve the trash.
With optimal storage conditions and smaller package sizes, edible gummies can retain ideal texture, taste and potency for many months past the expiration date. But once those signs of spoilage appear, it’s best to discard them and enjoy a fresh, safe product.
Frequently Asked Questions About Expired Edible Gummies
Can you get sick from eating old gummies?
Yes, eating gummies that are badly expired or spoiled runs a higher risk of foodborne illness. Signs like mold, foul odors, or texture changes mean pathogens have grown and gummies should be discarded.
Do gummies lose potency after the expiration date?
Yes, THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in edible gummies can degrade and lose potency over time after the expiration date. Effects may be shorter and less intense. Dosing becomes less predictable.
How long do opened gummies last?
Once opened, edible gummies last about 6 months if properly refrigerated or frozen. Leaving gummies at room temp after opening shortens shelf life to 2-3 months due to increased exposure to air and moisture.
Can you eat gummies a year past expiration?
Eating gummies more than 6-12 months past the expiration date is risky. Potency declines and odds of spoilage, mold, bacteria, and foodborne illness increase exponentially, even if unopened.
Do expired gummies make you sick?
Eating expired gummies is not guaranteed to make you sick, but the risk increases the longer they are stored past expiration, especially if signs of spoilage like mold appear. Start small to check tolerance of any expired gummies.
Will expired gummies hurt my dog?
Yes, dogs should never consume edible cannabis products. But expired gummies pose even more risks to dogs like intestinal upset, lethargy, confusion and other concerning symptoms. Keep gummies far away from pets.
How should I store gummies?
Store unopened edible gummies in a cool dark place around 60-70°F. Refrigerating after opening can extend shelf life. Freeze for even longer storage. Ensure containers have an airtight seal to limit oxygen exposure.
Can you freeze edible gummies?
Yes, freezing is a great option for storing edible gummies long-term after opening. Freezing prevents spoilage and mold growth. Allow gummies to thaw before consuming and be aware freezing can alter texture slightly.
Should you wrap opened gummies?
Wrapping or sealing opened gummy packages in plastic wrap or bags helps prevent air exposure and keeps them fresher longer. Oxygen absorbers or descicant packets can also be added to limit oxidation during storage.
Do homemade gummies expire faster?
Yes, homemade edible gummies expire faster than commercially made gummies, around 1-2 months without preservatives. Homemade gummies should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten soon for best quality, taste, and potency.