What Should CBD Oil Look Like


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The True Color of CBD Oil CBD Oil is available in different strengths & from many brands. But, what color should CBD Oil be? Should it be clear, golden, or darker brown? I set out on a mission to Why are some CBD Oils different colors? Find out what the color and clarity says about your cannabidiol oil in this article.

The True Color of CBD Oil

CBD Oil is available in different strengths & from many brands. But, what color should CBD Oil be? Should it be clear, golden, or darker brown? I set out on a mission to get to the bottom of this & to see what color we should be looking for, here’s what I’ve found.

CBD Oil can vary in color. Depending on various factors such as the extraction method, any additional ingredients, & lastly the “spectrum” (Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate). Full Spectrum oil should resemble a darker gold & sometimes brown color. Broad Spectrum Oil usually has a light golden color to it. Lastly, CBD Isolate should be virtually clear as it is the most refined.

How CBD Oil is Made

To understand what color CBD Oil should be let’s learn how it’s made! CBD is extracted from the Hemp plant. In order to process the extract to be used in the final product, an extraction must occur to pull the CBD & other cannabinoids from the plant. In this process, a solvent / chemical is used which causes the CBD to be extracted from the Hemp.

The plants are soaked in the solvent which creates a cannabinoid-rich extract. But, the solvent must still be removed. So, next the extract is filtered to get rid of the solvent, leaving a CBD-rich oil that is solvent-free! After this process, the oil is further filtered, heated, & processed to ensure the cleanest CBD extract possible.

Raw CBD Oil, straight from the plant is dark brown in color & very thick. It’s almost a paste in it’s raw form, which proves hard to work with & absorb. Which is why the raw extract is later blended with a carrier oil such as MCT or Hemp Seed Oil to thin it out & help with absorption!

There are a number of solvents that can help to extract CBD from Hemp. Although, the most widely recognized methods seek to provide effective extraction while not being harmful to the cannabinoids or to the consumer.

Different Extraction Methods

The most widely recognized & accepted as “safe” extraction methods involve one of two solvents. One is C02 extraction, which includes utilizing Carbon Dioxide to safely & cleanly extract the CBD from the plant. This method is known to be a great choice to ensure a solventless end product that is safe to consume & cannabinoid-rich. It is a method that is used to extract many different substances from plants & is our top choice.

Ethanol extraction is another very common & widely accepted solvent to use. Ethanol is a very potent alcohol that helps to separate the Cannabinoids from the plant material! The important caveat is to ensure that human AKA food-grade Ethanol is used. This ensures that the Ethanol is safe for human consumption, even though in the end product there will be minimal to none of it left.

Both of these methods are generally accepted to be the best choices. C02 extraction is more expensive than Ethanol extraction which is why many companies opt for the latter. Although the debate between using these two solvents exists, they are two of the best choices for extraction.

How Does Extraction Affect Color?

So, you might be wondering what all of this “extraction” talk have to do with the color of your CBD Oil? Well, it has a lot to do with it! In fact, it’s one of the biggest factors as to the color of your oil.

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C02 extraction tends to produce a clearer, golden, & refined extract. These kinds of oils are easier to take, as they don’t retain as much of the original plant matter. This makes for a more “pleasant” experience with a less botanical, earthy taste. This can be beneficial for those who find the flavor & aroma of CBD oil to be off-putting.

Ethanol extraction usually results in a darker-colored, brown extract. This is because it preserves more of the plant material! It doesn’t filter out as much of the chlorophyll, waxes, & color of the raw extract. These kinds of oils produce a more raw, botanical flavor & texture. They are best for those who want a more raw, natural extract. It’s not recommended for those who dislike earthy tastes & textures. But, they certainly provide a more “in tune with nature” experience.

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or CBD Isolate?

Another factor in the color of your CBD Oil is the CBD “Spectrum.” This refers to the cannabinoids that are present in the oil. Cannabinoids refer to the various different parts of Cannabis (CBD, THC, CBN, CBG..).

Full Spectrum – These CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids that are naturally present in Hemp. This includes, but isn’t limited to, THC. Products that fall under this category have the most preserved cannabinoid profile of all three choices. More cannabinoids means less refinement/processing. All of that results in a darker gold & sometimes brown color. This is simply because there is less filtration that occured in the making of these products.

Broad Spectrum – This refers to CBD oil that contains most but not all cannabinoids. Usually, these kinds of products go through an additional step of processing where the THC is completely removed. This is a good choice for those who get drug tested, as it virtually eliminates the chance of you having THC in your system! Because of the additional processing, broad-spectrum CBD oil usually has a more golden/clear color. Once again, this is due to the additional refinement that this oil goes through before being bottled.

CBD Isolate – Serving as the most refined version of CBD, isolate products just that. They only contain CBD, without any of the remaining 100+ cannabinoids from the Hemp plant. This makes for the safest option for those concerned about drug testing. As sometimes the various other cannabinoids can trigger a false positive drug test result. These products are clear or light gold in color, as they have gone through the most refinement of all. Since most everything has been stripped away, the oil will be nearly tasteless & should be very easy to take.

Additional Ingredients

The last factor to consider when looking at what color CBD Oil should be is the presence of any additional ingredients. Sometimes, to add to the healthy nature of CBD, companies can include additional ingredients aimed at promoting wellness. We’ve seen a number of companies infusing different ingredients.

Some examples include things like Melatonin, Hemp Seed Oil, Frankinscence & more! These added ingredients can sometimes alter the color of the CBD extract. As many times they have their own distinct color/hue which throws off the original color of the CBD oil. Bluebird Botanicals, one of our partners, has infused Frankinscence into their “Signature” line of oil tinctures.

Frankinscence has many incredible health benefits. But, it also has a dark color by nature. Which results in the CBD extract having a very dark, almost black color to it. Which makes it stand out from many of the other CBD oils. This oil looks very unlike any other that we have seen & it is simply because of the addition of Frankinscence which has it’s own distinct color.


CBD Oil varies in color & many different factors come into play. But, hopefully after reading this article you have a good grasp on what color your CBD oil should be. Based on the factors we explained, you should be able to tell if your oil’s label is telling the truth about what kind of extract it is.

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So, take a look at different CBD oils that are made in different ways & you may realize some better or worse effects. Experiment & keep an open mind. Have a great day!

CBD Oil Color

CBD oil has exploded in popularity in recent years. Consumers are digging for more information about cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, as more research and media stories come out to the public. What is it? How do I shop for it? How do I know if I’m purchasing high-quality products?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 112+ known cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical components that are found in the cannabis and hemp plants. THC is another popular cannabinoid known for its psychoactive effects. It’s the cannabinoid that gets you high. CBD is known for its therapeutic benefits and is non-psychoactive, so you won’t get high from consuming it alone. CBD is popular among those seeking relief from anxiety, pain, inflammation, sleep-deprivation, spasms or other conditions. First, CBD must be extracted from the plant before it’s infused into products like gummies, oil, salves, lotion, pet treats, and vape oil. CBD products are hitting the market with force. One of the most popular products is CBD oil, also known as CBD tincture. These oils are taken orally by placing the product beneath your tongue, holding for a few seconds, and then swallowing.

Oils mentioned in this video: Endoca (Raw/Dark Oil), BlueBird (Decarboxylated/lighter) and Medterra (Isolate/clear)

The color of CBD oil can offer some clues about the quality and makeup of the product. In order understand more about this, it helps to understand how CBD oil is made.

Further Reading: CBD Tincture Review

How CBD Oil is Made

Most CBD products available for purchase in the United States are sourced from industrial hemp that’s grown either domestically or abroad. CBD products containing less than .03% THC, sourced from the seeds or stalks of industrial hemp, are federally legal and may be sold in any state, regardless of its marijuana laws.

Why Do Growing Conditions Matter?

Hemp is a known soil remediator. This means that hemp will suck up toxins in the soil that it’s grown in and will clean these toxins out. Hemp is great at doing this job, so it’s worth noting where the hemp is sourced from in any hemp-based CBD product that you purchase. Clean soil and growing conditions make for a better end product.

Extraction Methods Matter Because…

There are two main ways that CBD can be extracted. The first is by using a solvent and the second is by using temperature and pressure. Solvent-based extraction methods involve passing a solvent through the product and then burning off the solvent, so that only the desired chemical compound, like CBD, remains. There are a number of different solvents that can be used, but ethanol and butane are the most common. Solvent-based extraction methods are used frequently with the cannabis plant because the solvents work well with the cannabis flower.

Because CBD oil is often made from industrial hemp, in which case CBD must come from the seeds and stalks of the plant, CO2 extraction methods are most often used. CO2 extraction methods use a combination of temperature and pressure to extract the CBD from the plant material. In the CBD industry, CO2 extraction methods are often considered the gold standard because they don’t involve the use of chemical solvents and do a better job of preserving CBD and other beneficial chemical compounds.

There’s More:

CO2 extraction methods are even further classified into two — supercritical and subcritical extraction. Subcritical CO2 extractions use low temperature and low pressure and take more time. They produce smaller returns but can retain terpenes and oils, creating a full-spectrum CBD product in the end. Supercritical CO2 extractions use high temperature and high pressure. This process may damage terpenes and other chemicals, but it will extract larger molecules like omegas, creating a different, but still potentially potent product. Full-spectrum products take the “entourage effect” into consideration. The entourage effect states that the plant chemicals work better together than they do alone. To put it simply, a CBD oil that has terpenes and other cannabinoids mixed in will have a greater impact on the body than a CBD oil with only CBD in it.

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CBD Oil Color

Once the CBD has been extracted, it can undergo a filtering process that determines the color of the oil. There are generally three different categories that CBD oils fall into:

Raw CBD oil is exactly what it sounds like: “raw.” Once extracted from the hemp plant, this type of oil undergoes no further processing or filtration, resulting in a green, viscous oil packed with plant compounds and cannabinoids like CBDA and THCA.

These compounds work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid, a phenomenon referred to as the “entourage effect.”

Raw CBD has proven beneficial for those with mild anxiety or insomnia, and it’s usually the product of choice for those looking to benefit from the entire hemp plant and not necessarily just cannabidiol.


Decarboxylated CBD is slightly heated after extraction to convert CBDA into CBD but still retain a high level of phytonutrients, as indicated by the greenish brown color.

By consequence, decarboxylated oils have a higher concentration of CBD and generally take effect more quickly than raw oils as they’re easier for your body to process.

This makes decarboxylated oils a great choice for those with more severe cases of anxiety, arthritis, migraines, and insomnia.


Filtered or distilled CBD oils are created by further refining decarboxylated oils to strip everything from the cannabinoids within, including chlorophyll and lipids.

The resulting product is a mild-flavored, light gold liquid with a higher concentration of CBD and lower concentration of terpenes and other cannabinoids.

This makes filtered and distilled CBD oils extremely versatile and easy to consume sublingually or in your favorite beverage.


CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, produced by removing all other plant compounds found in hemp including terpenes, flavonoids, chlorophyll, and other cannabinoids.

The highly refined CBD is then combined with a base like coconut or MCT oil for a final product that’s usually flavorless, nearly transparent, and extremely fluid.

While products that combine different cannabinoids may provide a greater entourage effect, CBD isolate is extremely potent in CBD and contains zero THC, making it great for those looking to avoid THC while still gaining the health benefits of CBD.


Typically dark or light gold in color, these oils contain a wide range of compounds found naturally occurring in the plant, including terpenes, cannabinoids, and essential oils.

These extracts may also undergo additional processes like nanoemulsion encapsulation, which gives the product higher bioavailability to help CBD and other compounds enter the bloodstream with greater ease.

While there’s a lot of discrepancy between products labeled full, complete, and broad spectrum due to lack of industry standards, most companies provide third-party lab results on their website so you know exactly what’s in your CBD.

Bottom Line?

The darker or more opaque a CBD oil is the less amount of processing it’s had. Clear, gold CBD oil is considered the highest quality, but it doesn’t mean that the other forms are not valuable. It is important to remember that color can often be indicative of the manufacturing process and thus the quality of the oil, but it’s not the only consideration.

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