What Color Is CBD Oil Supposed To Be?

We often get asked why CBD oil drops from different brands are different colors. We also get asked why the color can vary even within the same brand. It is true that CBD color varies, and while the color doesn’t give you the whole story, it can still often tell you a little bit about the product.

The type of product, carrier oils, extraction processes and additional ingredients can all impact the color of the finished product.

Type of Product Affects CBD Oil Color

Pure crystalline CBD isolate in its raw form is a white, almost powdery, substance. When added into a carrier oil, it dissolves and imparts little to no color.

In contrast, full spectrum extract is typically dark green or brown. By definition, full spectrum extract contains all of the naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes and other raw plant material.

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

If you have a CBD oil that is completely clear and colorless, then it’s likely that it is an isolate or broad spectrum. Isolates contain only pure CBD so typically are clear in color. Broad spectrum products have usually undergone special processing to remove the THC. So they will typically lack the dark color of full spectrum drops.

Carrier Oils

Pretty much all CBD oils are made by diluting CBD extract into a carrier oil, therefore the carrier oil can affect the CBD oil color. Carrier oils are a necessary ingredient of CBD oil drops to make them easily consumable.

The type and color of the carrier oil used will definitely impact the color of the finished product.

Certain carrier oils, such as olive oil and hemp seed oil, are typically golden colored with a hint of green. Other carrier oils, such as coconut or MCT oil, will be nearly completely colorless and clear.

Extraction Method Affects CBD Oil Color

The two most common CBD extraction methods used by companies that manufacture CBD products are ethanol extraction and CO2 extraction.

Typically, ethanol tends to also extract things such as chlorophyll while CO2 does not. Chlorophyll has a tendency to impart a green hue to the finished product. This chlorophyll can then be filtered out but its presence is often desired. CBD oil drops with a green hue that are not in naturally green carrier oils, could indicate the presence of chlorophyll.

Additional Ingredients

Sometimes other ingredients, such as natural or artificial flavors, can impact the CBD oil color. For example, the popular Charlotte’s Web chocolate mint flavored oil is quite dark due to this. Combining the dark chocolate mint flavoring with a very concentrated full spectrum extract leads to a darker golden-brown, almost black, finished product.

CBD Oil Color – The Bottom Line

The color of CBD oil drops can range from clear or slightly golden, to a dark brown, almost black. Color of the finished product is determined by several factors, including the type of CBD extract, the extraction method used, the carrier oil and additional ingredients.

CBD oil color can even vary a little from batch to batch within the same brand. But if you notice a significant change, we recommend that you contact the company directly to see if anything has changed. And as always, we recommend that you read your CBD product label and third party lab reports to gain greater insight into your specific product.

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.

  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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