If you’ve found an old vape cartridge and wondered if you could still get a hit from the dregs of oil coating the bottom – this is for you. As tempting as it may be, that cartridge has likely been sitting in your drawer for weeks or even months, and it can be difficult to assess whether the oil inside is still good to smoke. Today we are going to talk about delta 8 vape cartridges and if they have an expiration date.
The signs of spoiled oil aren’t as clear as they would be with something like cannabis flower. The texture, smell, and even sight of the bud can be all the indication you need. But with oil, the chemical breakdown is more subtle. So can these carts expire? And how do you know if yours has crossed that threshold?
The Life of a Vape Cartridge
Delta 8 carts are typically glass cylinders filled with a concentrated version of the compound. The metal bottom is attached to a battery, which, when heated, vaporizes the oil. The user then inhales the vapor and enjoys the soothing effects as the delta 8 binds to receptors located all over the body.
In this concentrate form, the delta 8 and other cannabinoids are more stable than they would be ordinarily. This means they remain static for the most part. However, all cannabinoids break down naturally over time, and the delta 8 in your cartridge is no different. It began its existence as a different version of THC, and it will eventually oxidize down.
This process occurring means your product is losing potency. The beneficial active effects of delta 8 will be replaced by the far milder sensations. The transformation is inevitable and unavoidable. But, the speed of this breakdown is determined by several factors, and these controllable variables can be mitigated by users in order to slow the loss of THC within the oil.
Saving Your Delta 8 Vape Cartridges
The single most important factor is heat. A cartridge left in warm environments — hot cars, direct sunlight, or near warm surfaces — will begin to break down much more quickly. Too much light can cause a similar but less severe degradation.
With that in mind, the best way to preserve the longevity of your cart is to store it in a cool, dark place, while using your battery at the correct heat setting. A battery that is too hot can begin to affect the rest of the oil in a similar way. Some people recommend removing the battery entirely when not using the cartridge, as the small connection can sometimes leak residual heat up into the oil. Additionally, if you carry your cartridge around like most people do, consider putting it in a bag or case to avoid having it sit against your body for long stretches. Even our natural warmth can contribute, however minimally, to this process.
The good news is cartridges last significantly longer than cannabis flower or edibles. A properly-stored cartridge can last up to a year without notable consequence. The natural breakdown is very slow in controlled environments, and the delta 8 will remain potent for a long time in this stable oil state.
How Do I Know If It’s Too Late?
With that in mind, it is important to be able to gauge how well your oil has held up. There are several important indicators that your delta 8 vape cartridges need to be retired. Many of these are similar to the signs of spoiler flower, but in a more subtle way.
Delta 8 oil from 3Chi is famously crystal-clear.
If your oil has changed color in any way, this may be a sign not to use it. Any darkening of the oil is a clear sign that the delta 8 has begun to break down. It likely won’t be harmful to consume, but it will have lost its potency, and will likely taste foul.
Change in Consistency
Clumping, thickening, and congealing are all indicators that your delta 8 cartridge may be past its prime.
Change in Taste
Even if the oil appears pristine, a change in smell or flavor is likely a sign that your oil has gone bad.
These types of changes are rare, and likely will not happen to your delta 8 product. But it is important to know and recognize the signs of expiration, and if you do encounter any, be sure to take the necessary steps to safely dispose of the cartridge.