What Color Is CBD Oil Supposed To Be?

We often get asked why CBD oil drops from different brands are different colors. You may even notice differences in color between tinctures from the same brand. While color alone doesn’t mean that one will be more effective for you than another, it can tell you quite a bit about the product and how it was made.

The color of CBD oils can range from clear or slightly golden, to a dark brown, almost black. Several factors determine the color of the finished product. These include the type of hemp extract, the extraction method, the carrier oil and additional ingredients. 

In this article, we discuss each of these factors to help you understand how each of them affect the color of your CBD oil drops.

How the Type of Hemp Extract Affects Color

Pure CBD isolate in its raw form is a white, almost powdery, substance. When combined with a carrier oil such as coconut MCT oil, it dissolves and imparts little to no color. This is why most tinctures made from CBD isolate are completely clear. 

In contrast, full spectrum hemp extract is typically dark green or brown. Full spectrum extract contains all of the naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes and other raw plant material. Its dark color is reflective of the hemp plant from which it came.

So as a result, full spectrum CBD oil drops tend to range in color from golden to dark brown. The more concentrated the hemp extract, the darker the color of the finished product will be.

How Carrier Oils Affect CBD Oil Color

All CBD oils are made by diluting hemp extract into a carrier oil. Without a carrier oil, the raw hemp extract would be too thick and not easily consumable in the form of drops. The most common carrier oils used to make CBD tinctures are coconut MCT oil, hemp seed oil and olive oil.

The liquid in a bottle of CBD oil drops is usually about 97% carrier oil and 3% hemp extract. So not surprisingly, the type and color of the carrier oil used has a strong impact on the color of the finished product. 

Coconut MCT oil is nearly colorless or clear. Hemp seed oil and olive oil are typically golden-colored with a hint of green. As a result, CBD oils that use hemp seed oil or olive oil as the carrier oil tend to be darker in color than those with coconut MCT oil.

How Extraction Method Can Affect Color

In order to get the hemp extract that goes into making a CBD product, the processor must go through an extraction process. This means separating the useful hemp extract from the rest of the raw plant material. The two most common extraction methods used by companies that make CBD products are ethanol extraction and CO2 extraction.

The ethanol extraction process tends to also extract things such as chlorophyll which CO2 extraction does not. Chlorophyll has a tendency to impart a green hue to the finished product. The chlorophyll can be filtered out but its presence is often desired since it’s a natural component of hemp. CBD oil drops that are more green in color, could indicate the presence of chlorophyll and that the ethanol extraction method was used.

Additional Ingredients

Other ingredients, such as natural or artificial flavors, can also impact the color of CBD oil drops. For example, the popular Charlotte’s Web chocolate mint-flavored tincture is quite dark for this reason. The combination of the dark chocolate mint flavoring and a very concentrated full spectrum extract leads to a dark golden-brown, almost black, finished product.

The Bottom Line on CBD Oil Color

If you have a CBD oil that is completely clear and colorless, then it’s likely an isolate or broad spectrum product that uses coconut MCT oil as the carrier oil. If it’s dark green or brown, then it’s likely full spectrum. It’s always a good idea to read your CBD product’s label and third-party lab reports for greater insight into the ingredients in your specific products.

As explained above, the color of CBD tinctures can vary widely and depends on a number of different factors. The type of hemp extract, carrier oil used, extraction method and added ingredients can all play a role in determine the color of the finished product.

CBD oil color can even vary a bit from batch to batch of the same brand. This commonly happens when a company changes where it is sourcing its hemp or carrier oil supplier. If you notice a significant change and have concerns, you can contact the company directly to see if anything has changed. 

Sarah Jorczyk

Sarah Jorczyk is an advocate for CBD products and one of the Administrators of the CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook. She strives to educate the public, and promotes the use of safe products while helping others throughout their CBD journey. You can also find a variety of her content, including reviews and educational videos, on the group's youtube page.

2 Comments
  1. I have tried several brands of CBD oils and they have all usually had a golden to dark brown color and with a very earthy taste, expect this one new brand I just purchased which is completely clear in color with a mint flavor. The maker advertises it’s CBD oil as being “full Spectrum, with all terpentenes and cannabinoids”, and all I can taste is mint – no earthy/grassy taste whatsoever. One dropper is supposed to have 33.5 mcg of CBD. Is it possible this product is fake?

  2. Thank you for your explanation of CBD color variations. I bought from another company and the color was different so your explanation really helped!

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