April 7, 2021

What Color Should CBD Oil Be?

Written by - Mallory Milne

minute read

From completely clear to almost black, CBD oil can come in a variety of colors, and can even vary from batch to batch with the same company.

But why is this? And what color should CBD oil be?

The different types of CBD oil have some impact on the final color, and the carrier oil that it is in will play a part as well.

CBD Isolate for example, which is CBD in its purest form, comes as a white, crystalline powder. When it is dissolved in a liquid, it is colorless and virtually tasteless.

Other things such as the method used to extract the CBD, or any added ingredients to the product will alter the color of CBD oil.

Color alone isn't something that you should base your purchase on. Your individual needs will play a part, and whether you are able to use Full Spectrum or need to stick with THC free.

For example, some people are sensitive to coconut oil, and in this case MCT oil would not be an option.

What Color Should CBD Oil Be? The Different Forms Of CBD Oil Explained

CBD comes in a few different forms. From raw when it is first extracted to filtered and distilled, whatever stage it is at will result in a different color.


This form of CBD is precisely how it sounds. After extraction, you're left with a raw, unheated, unrefined product, that is rich in terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and any other beneficial parts of the plant.

Applying heat to the product is known as decarboxylation. CBDa (cannabidiolic acid) and THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) are CBD and THC in their acid forms. Once heat is applied, they undergo a chemical compound change that turns them into CBD and THC.

This step is necessary in order to unlock or activate the compounds within. For example, if you were to eat marijuana that hasn't been decarbed instead of smoking it, you wouldn't feel much effect from it. 

Heating it through smoking or vaping allows the decarboxylation to take place and activate the THC, which in turn is what gets you high.

While CBDa needs to be decarbed, or heated, before it can actually become CBD, there is research showing that CBDa has beneficial properties on its own and when combined with other cannabinoids.

Raw CBD oil will generally be green and very dark, due to none of the plant matter being filtered out of it, like chlorophyll.

Decarbed CBD oil will generally be brown or darker brown in color.

Filtered or Distilled

Filtered and distilled CBD oils go through extensive filtering and processing to remove any chlorophyll, waxes, and other unwanted plant material.

What you're left with after the process is a clear golden oil. If the oil is very light it is an indicator on how much processing it has gone through.

CBD Isolate

This is CBD in its purest form. The plant matter undergoes further processing to remove all aspects of the plant matter, other cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. What you are left with is a white crystalline powder that is 99.9% CBD.

This form of CBD can then be added and dissolved into any carrier of choice, and will take on the color of whatever it is added into.

CBD Isolate and Broad Spectrum oils are recommended to go with if you are drug tested. 

CBD Carrier Oils

carrier oils for cbd

There are many different carrier oils that are used for CBD oil, and the color of your oil will depend on which one is used.

Why does a carrier oil matter? CBD on its own is a hydrophobic(water hating) compound. It is also  lipophilic, which means they dissolve in lipids or fats.

By dissolving CBD in a carrier oil, it is increasing the bio-availability rate, which is the rate that your body absorbs and uses the CBD you are ingesting.

CBD can be made compatible with water through nano-technology, by decreasing the particle size substantially.

When you see the term water soluble CBD, the CBD is not actually dissolved in water, the particles are just made small enough, emulsified, and coated with other non-toxic substances so that it is stable in water. This in turn increases the bio-availability rate.

Hemp Seed Oil

CBD oil that is made with hemp seed oil as the carrier will be light to dark green in color. Hemp seed oil is one of the most popular choices for CBD, and many prefer it as it stays as close to the plant as possible.


Another very popular choice is MCT oil. This oil, typically derived from coconuts, has a high bio-availability rate and is clear in color. CBD oil made with MCT will be very light or clear, depending on what stage the CBD is in when added. 

Other Popular Carrier Oils For CBD

It can be difficult to identify what carrier oil is used just on sight alone, as many of the oils used for CBD have similar colors. 

Different carriers will have different bio-availability rates as well.

Olive oil ranges in color from yellow to green, and the color of your CBD oil will vary depending on which olive oil is used. Grape seed oil tends to be yellow to yellowish green, and avocado oil will be an emerald green color. Sunflower oil can range from colorless to yellow.

What Color Of CBD Oil Is Best?

There is no one best color for CBD oil. What you should be basing your decision on is what carrier oil is used, how it is made, what stage it is in(raw, distilled, isolate, etc.), and lab testing.

It is also important to choose a CBD company with high standards and reviews

By choosing an oil that has a carrier with a high bio-availability rate, you are increasing the amount of CBD that is used and absorbed by your body.

In general, the darker the color of the CBD oil means that it has gone through less processing. For people looking to stick as close to the plant as possible and reap the most benefits from it, this is one indicator.

Always be wary of oils that are unnatural in color. CBD oil will never be red or orange, and this is one way to tell if the CBD oil is fake, or loaded with unnecessary ingredients or chemicals.

Have questions? Leave a comment below!

About the author 

Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.


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