What color is CBD oil?

What color is CBD oil?

With the fast growing market for CBD oil, there are a lot of brands that are fiercely competing against one another. The legalization of CBD has only stiffened the contest between companies, and, unfortunately, it has led to the evolution of many counterfeit and low-quality duplicates.

As consumers, we are affected and left confused by the bombardment of promotions of brands publicizing different strengths and colors. This predicament makes us wonder, what color is CBD oil? Should it be clear and transparent, golden, green or have dark shades of any color?

When choosing CBD oil for your health and wellness, the different colors can become very perplexing. Thankfully, we realized that a lot of people had the same query and set out to provide a clear answer.

By the end of this article, besides learning about everything you came looking for, you can also find some common questions raised by readers and CBD users on the pertinent issue. Throw all your doubts aside and start taking CBD oil confidently!

What color is CBD oil?

Let us jump right into your question. The truth is, it is entirely normal for CBD oil to vary in color. The color is determined by a few factors like the method of extraction, types based on the level of filtering, ingredients added and the use of carrier oil. 

There is no fixed answer on what the color should be, and the oil you choose needs to help your cause. For that reason, it is essential you pick the right product. While the color of the CBD oil is not necessarily a criterion of its quality, it can still give you indications of its efficacy.

You can also ascertain if the manufacturer is genuine by matching the details on the label of the bottle with its color. It reveals how the product was made, making it easier for you to verify it within seconds. 

Keep in mind that different types of CBD oil come in different colors, and there is no definitive pick. It also varies from one manufacturer to another. However, make sure that you only buy high-quality products from well-established brands. In the next section, we will clearly explain the what color is CBD oil in detail and give you all the info you need.

Identifying high-quality CBD oil 

Based on the color of the CBD oil, one can classify it into three types. If the oil emits a dark green to black shade, it is from raw and pure hemp added without undergoing purification processes.

Another type that also has the same color is when the natural hemp undergoes a decarboxylation process, thereby removing the active acidic groups. This type is mainly known for improving the bioavailability of the oil. 

CBD oil that is wholly decarboxylated and filtered exhibits a warm golden color. All the leftover ingredients of the initial extraction processes are removed, and this type is considered the highest level of purity. 

Another important factor that conveniently tells about the grade of the oil is the country or place that the raw material was grown in. Hemp from Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries guarantee you of a high-quality product due to their strict laws. Kentucky and Colorado are some of the locations in the US predominantly famous for hemp production. 

Extraction Methods

There are two widely accepted methods for the extraction of CBD, CO2 extraction and hydrocarbon-based Ethanol extraction. While both are safe and secure methods, most companies prefer the latter as extraction using CO2 is a much expensive process. 

CO2 extraction utilizes carbon dioxide for obtaining CBD and is exceptionally safe due to its solventless procedure. It leaves behind no residual solvents, and the carbon dioxide gas is evaporated quickly, resulting in a purified oil. This process gives the oil a clear golden color as it does not retain the original plant matter. In turn, this makes it easier for you to consume without its natural loamy taste. 

Ethanol extraction does not drain away the plant materials, and therefore, the oil attains either a green or a darker shade of brown. As it preserves the plant matter, items like chlorophyll and wax extracts stay unfiltered and oil tastes more earthy and raw. Safe levels of ethanol are used and do not cause any harm to human consumption. 

Types of hemp extract 

CBD is extracted from hemp, a plant variety of cannabis sativa. Depending on the cannabinoids present, the color of the oil varies and is referred to as the CBD Spectrum. 

Full Spectrum: It is one of the most common forms of CBD and contains all forms of cannabinoids and minuscule amounts of THC that are present in hemp. This is because of a low level of filtration resulting in a gold or darker brown color. 

Broad Spectrum: It is very similar to full-spectrum but does not contain all the cannabinoids as the former. Oils belonging to this spectrum undergo an additional process where the THC is removed, thus giving them a lighter and more transparent golden color. 

Isolates: This is the purest form of CBD and is refined to remove all types of cannabinoids. It is the most potent and undergoes complete purification to obtain a very clear and transparent color. 

Addition of ingredients 

Some companies add artificial flavors or components to the oil to promote its health benefits. These ingredients can alter the color of the CBD oil very easily and confuse us. Some popular brands add chocolate mint to the extract to give it a very dark and almost black shade.

Other manufacturers also blend frankincense, a hardened gum-like material with powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and astringent properties. Added for its rich aromatic property, it changes the color of the CBD extract to a natural dark color, making it stand out from the rest.

The type of carrier oil added to the extract also influences the color. Initially, the raw hemp extract is too thick to consume and is incorporated with carrier oils like coconut MCT oil, hemp seed oil, and olive oil. CBD oils that use the transparent coconut MCT oil attain a much clearer color when compared to dark-colored CBD oils that employ a strong gold with hints of green-colored hemp seed oil or olive oil.

CBD oils can change color 

Some CBD oils start changing their colors when exposed to certain elements. This change in color does not signify any degradation but precisely the contrary. Most oils contain polyphenol oxidase, a compound that shifts the color to a slight pink or purple when exposed to sunlight and oxygen. You can notice this phenomenon when it is placed in a sunny region for an extended period of time, and is not a cause of concern. 

Some tinctures also turn into brownish-black colors when placed in the same environment for a long time. Factors like sunlight, heat and extended shelf time affect the coloration of the oil. Although the color changes are basic chemical reactions, they can speed up your CBD oil’s aging. Storing in a cool and dry place helps counter this issue. 


We hope you now have a good grasp on what color is CBD oil. In short, CBD oils come in a variety of colors depending on the extraction process, type of hemp used and the addition of many ingredients. Depending on the factors mentioned above, they can either be colorless, slightly golden, pale green, brown, or an even darker black. 

While it is not necessary to refrigerate your CBD oil upon opening, storing it in a cool environment can help in extending its lifespan. This measure also prevents your CBD oil from changing in color, which in reality is not something to be bothered about. 


What color is good CBD oil?

The color does not play any part in defining the quality of the oil. If the manufacturer states that the product contains plant matter, then a certain amount of intense green tint is expected to be present. If you dislike the natural earthy taste, then intense green and darker colored extracts are best avoided. Colorless to golden extracts would be a more pleasant experience without the plant-based components. There is not one perfect color for CBD oil.

Should CBD oil be clear or brown?

Any high-grade CBD oil brand should fulfill the following conditions. Full-spectrum oils should display a dark brown color because of their incomplete filtration. Broad-spectrum oils vary from light gold to slightly transparent. Isolates are thoroughly refined and should be completely clear and transparent. If they differ from this, they either aren’t the right quality or have an added ingredient.

How do you know if it’s real CBD oil?

There are various parameters that can show if the CBD oil is genuine or not. First and foremost, verify the Certificate of Analysis. This ensures that the product is third-party tested, considering that the FDA has still not approved non-prescription products. 

Appearance-wise, CBD oil should be quite murky and thick. Cloudy oils are also an indicator of a poor quality product, most often arising when stored in severe conditions like in the direct path of sunlight. It should have a natural and earthy fragrance, and any other unpleasant smell is a clear sign of an inferior product. 


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