7 Ways to Recognize High-Grade CBD Oil
In 2018, the Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp throughout the US. Because of this, the CBD market has exploded in the last few years and will likely continue to grow.
For reference, in 2015, the CBD market earned $202 million, and in 2016 it grew to $688 million. By 2025, some financial estimations surmise that the market could grow by another 20-23%.
While this is unquestionably exciting news, it is still worth recognizing that the cannabis industry is a relatively unregulated market. Some brands, trying to make a quick sale, may pass off low-quality and unsafe products to unsuspecting customers. Therefore, it’s wise to do thorough research to find the best products on the market because CBD oil isn’t cheap!
In this article, we provide you with seven excellent ways to spot high-grade CBD oil to ensure you have an impactful and positive CBD experience.
How to Identify High-Grade CBD Oil
With so many CBD oils on the market, it’s never been more important to scrutinize quality. Often this centers around the specific brand and how they implement quality control throughout the growing, extracting, and manufacturing process.
Fortunately, there are various ways to identify superior CBD oils. Most, importantly, you should check if the company:
- Sources organic and ethically-grown hemp
- Uses CO2 extraction
- Publishes 3rd party lab reports
Additionally, you can learn more about an oil by looking at its color and cannabinoid content (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, isolate).
For new CBD users or those who want more information on products, we’ve listed 7 top ways to identify high-grade CBD oil.
1 – Check the Color of CBD Hemp Oil
A surprising number of people are blissfully unaware that CBD hemp oil comes in varying degrees of strength and quality. The oil must be extracted via the supercritical and/or subcritical CO2 extraction method, but that still doesn’t necessarily mean the oil will be pure.
Generally speaking, there are three types of CBD oil:
Raw: This type of oil is almost black in appearance (or dark green) because once it has been extracted from the raw hemp material, no further purification processes have been implemented. Therefore, your oil will contain terpenes and chlorophyll along with other parts of the plant.
Decarboxylated: Decarboxylated CBD oils are similar to raw CBD oils except the active compounds have undergone the ‘decarboxylation’ process. In the raw plant material, both THC and CBD exist as acidic molecules (THC-A and CBD-A, respectively). Still, the chemical process of decarboxylation “drops” the acid, which (some claim) improves bioavailability. Appearance-wise these are also unfiltered oils and have a dark green or black color similar to the raw tinctures.
Filtered: This is the CBD oil that most manufacturers make and that most people consume. It comes in a lovely light golden color and has undergone both decarboxylation and filtering processes. These processes remove the parts of the plant that were leftover from the initial extraction process. If you want to look at things in a more ‘translatable’ way, high-grade CBD hemp oil is like a fine brandy or vodka insofar as it has been triple distilled for purity!
2 – Where Is the Hemp Sourced?
You will notice that most high-grade CBD hemp oil comes from Colorado or Denmark. However, other locations grow extremely high-quality hemp (including Kentucky, Germany, the Netherlands, and other Scandinavian countries). The most important factors include where the plant was grown, how it was grown, and the species of cannabis (whether it’s a Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, or Cannabis ruderalis variety). The soil, climate, and even the plants growing in neighboring farms all affect the quality of the product.
If you choose CBD sourced from hemp grown under “non-food” conditions, you could be consuming toxic substances.
Also, it is crucial to remember that cannabis is a ‘hyperaccumulator.’ This means it absorbs contaminants from the soil (and the air) that it grows in with ease. If you choose CBD sourced from hemp grown under “non-food” conditions, you could be consuming toxic substances.
European hemp farms (particularly German-certified farms) are notorious for having some of the strictest agricultural regulations in the world. You might say that they represent the “gold standard” in terms of the purest, highest quality raw CBD material. Also, remember that all organic hemp grown in Europe adheres to European Union standards, which are far stricter than in the United States.
3 – How Is CBD Oil Manufactured?
There are many ways to extract CBD from hemp. However, the main purpose is always to isolate the desired phytocompounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids) and filter out any unwanted plant material.
Extraction methods include:
- CO2 extraction (typically supercritical carbon dioxide)
- Alcohol extraction (ethanol, butane, etc.)
Generally, CO2 supercritical extraction is considered the best method, despite its high cost. Not only does it gently extract hemp’s compounds, ensuring they aren’t damaged, but it is solventless, which means little risk of contamination.
On the other hand, alcohol extraction is inexpensive and often a more straightforward process. However, companies may run the risk of extracts containing residue, especially if little filtering has been conducted.
When it comes to extraction, safety is paramount, which is why CO2 extraction is often recommended.
4 – Is It Extracted Using Supercritical CO2?
Supercritical CO2 extraction is expensive; despite this, most reputable brands choose this method because it produces high-quality extracts.
Companies either use supercritical, mid-critical, or subcritical. Generally, these methods are very similar and follow the below step-by-step process.
- The hemp material is placed inside an extraction chamber that is slowly filled with carbon dioxide.
- The pressure inside the chamber is slowly increased, turning the CO2 gas into a liquid. During this stage, the liquid becomes infused with hemp’s compounds, including CBD.
- The liquid is transferred to another chamber, where the CO2 is once again turned into a gas, isolating the CO2 from the hemp extract.
- Once the extract is infused, the manufacturers can then purify it until they are satisfied with its purity.
For a greater understanding of the different types of CO2 extraction, please take a look at our overview below.
5 – Is the CBD Hemp Oil Tested by an Independent Third Party?
Since cannabis is not an FDA-approved food or drug, independent third-party testing is NOT a mandatory requirement in the CBD oil industry. As such, some companies avoid it altogether to avoid paying more costs. On the other hand, reputable companies routinely pay thousands of dollars to use independent third-party labs. Lab testing verifies the contents of their products in terms of both purity and potency.
For some of the larger CBD companies out there, the overall cost of third-party testing easily runs into six figures. Only a company with high-grade CBD hemp oil will pay such a large sum to prove the validity of its marketing pitch. Most organizations that pay for the tests post their Certificate of Verification on their website. So be on the lookout for this when you’re shopping around (or if you don’t see one, feel free to call the company directly to ask them where you can view their lab reports).
Do your research and ensure that the third-party lab is genuine and not some fictitious operation made up to fool customers. A simple online search for the analytics lab should take you directly to their website.
Finally, it’s essential to understand that third-party labs test the cannabinoid profile of the oil, along with any potential contaminants. Quality certificates will tell you the percentage of CBD, terpenes, and other phytocannabinoids in the oil and any pesticides, heavy metals, or other microbiological contaminants. In simple terms, independent third-party lab testing means there is nowhere to hide for low-quality CBD oil producers
6 – Beware of the THC Content
CBD hemp oil must contain less than 0.3% THC to be legal to sell and ship across the United States as a food supplement. THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana, but industrial hemp naturally contains very low levels of it. On the other hand, CBD is non-intoxicating and helps relieve pain and deal with a host of other medical issues without being intoxicating.
The trouble is, some manufacturers are less than open about the full ingredients of their CBD hemp oil. As a rule of thumb, it is best not to risk purchasing any oil which doesn’t provide you with the complete list of ingredients, especially the THC and CBD content. It’s imperative if you are worried about drug testing.
Even at 0.3% THC, there is a possibility of failing a company drug test if you consume a large amount of CBD oil. As such, you should be looking for products with THC content as close to zero as possible. A handful of brands sell CBD oils with practically no THC.
7 – Is It Whole Plant Extract?
There are oils made from whole-plant hemp and oils made from isolated hemp. Whole plant hemp is extracted from the seeds, stems, and stalks. Not only does the oil contain CBD, but it also has a full range of other natural cannabis compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, and “secondary” cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBG-A.
In contrast, isolate CBD oils means that an oil contains at least 70% of pure CBD, with few additional phytocannabinoids. The creators of these products remove all the fatty acids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant’s trichomes. The CBD ‘crystals’ are the only remaining component, and the end product resembles a white powder, CBD in its purest form.
Some research shows that CBD oil containing the full cannabis spectrum is more effective than its isolated hemp counterpart.
Isolates are more time-consuming and expensive for companies to produce, as they have to undergo extensive filtering. Therefore, these products will be costly for consumers. Additionally, some research shows that CBD oil containing the full cannabis spectrum is more effective than its isolated hemp counterpart because it produces the entourage effect.
However, opinion is still split, and customers can purchase high-grade CBD isolate and full-spectrum oil.
How to Know if CBD Is Good Quality
Want to know if CBD is good quality? Thinking about the above topics can help you make an informed decision.
Once you have identified a brand that sources premium hemp plant material, conducts thorough manufacturing checks, and offers third-party lab reports, you’ll have to decide which product is right for you.
Important considerations are:
- Product type (oils, topicals, capsules, etc.)
- Strength (what mg of CBD it contains)
- Additional ingredients
Choosing a product that fits your lifestyle and daily routine is an excellent way to ensure you consistently use a product.
Final Thoughts on How to Identify High-Grade CBD Hemp Oil
Research shows the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions. This versatile cannabis compound is a potential game-changer in the medical field as it produces no high. But to receive its true therapeutic potential, you will need to distinguish the high-grade CBD oils from the host of low-quality ones on the market.
Although the FDA is cracking down on companies that sell low-quality oil, never assume that a company with a professional-looking website and a valid marketing campaign is the real deal. Instead, play detective and make sure it is golden filtered oil that’s grown in the right location and tested by an independent third party (with an exceptionally low level of THC). Nothing else is worth your money.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. Take a look below for some of the best quality CBD oils on the market now.
What Does CBD Oil Taste Like?
There is a lot of natural curiosity around the taste of CBD oil. We can understand that the taste of a new food supplement can sometimes cause some hesitation, especially if friends and family have been sharing mixed feelings about the taste. Ultimately, the potential therapeutic benefits of a food supplement like CBD oil are far more important than the product’s taste.
When it comes to taste, we all have different preferences. Some food supplements have more unique tastes than others. However, it’s important to remember that the primary purpose of food supplements is not to satisfy your taste buds. There are plenty of food supplements that taste delicious, like CBD gummies, but they are not being consumed for their tasty flavor.
Overall, we feel that discussions on the taste of CBD oil have been greatly exaggerated. This shouldn’t be the focus of the conversation. Instead, we should be looking at the stunning scientific and anecdotal evidence that supports the many therapeutic benefits of this cannabis-derived chemical compound .
In this article, we are going to be addressing the taste of CBD oil whilst answering some of your common questions about this food supplement. The taste of CBD oil is wildly overstated. Many of the urban myths that circle the topic of CBD tend to stem from the stigma associated with the cannabis plant.
It should always be noted that CBD and cannabis are two very different things. CBD is just one component of the cannabis plant. This particular compound is non-intoxicating and cannot get you high. This high sensation that is often linked with cannabis comes from THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC , but this isn’t enough to result in a high or present any noticeable psychoactive effects.
We will be answering the following questions on CBD in this article:
- What does CBD oil taste like?
- Does broad-spectrum CBD oil taste different?
- What are terpenes?
- How do terpenes affect the body?
- How does CBD oil make you feel?
- How do you mask the taste of CBD oil?
- Will CBD make you feel high?
- Is CBD safe to consume?
Taste is subjective but let’s set the record straight and talk about what you can expect, based on anecdotal evidence, from a food supplement like CBD oil.
What does CBD oil taste like?
We all know that everyone’s taste buds are slightly different . Although, across the board, the same words seem to come up again and again when it comes to the taste of CBD oil. Those words are earthy , nutty , and grass-like . Most CBD oil is often described as having a grassy flavor. This isn’t necessarily unpleasant. Many people find this to be rather appealing.
If you like earthy flavors , the taste of CBD oil is probably going to appeal to you. Some people say that CBD oil has a little bite, much like dark chocolate. Depending on the products that you are using, flavor is going to vary considerably. CBD manufacturers use different extraction methods to create their products. This can cause significant variations in flavor and taste.
What might taste earthy to one person may taste completely different to another. Taste is such a subjective thing , it’s incredibly personal. You won’t know unless you try! With a product like CBD oil, you shouldn’t be able to taste too much of the flavor because it isn’t designed to be orally ingested. Instead, sublingual administration is the suggested method of consumption.
Sublingual administration is the process of placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and holding them for up to 30 seconds . This gives the oil time to diffuse into the bloodstream through tissues in your tongue . This is a far more efficient way to get CBD into your system than orally ingesting the compound. You want the compound’s route to your bloodstream to be as short as possible, minimizing the potential for any CBD to be lost along the way.
Does broad-spectrum CBD oil taste different?
Broad-spectrum CBD oil can taste slightly different from CBD isolate – but what’s the difference? Well, broad-spectrum CBD oil utilizes a range of cannabinoids and terpenes , whereas CBD isolate consists solely of CBD. It can sometimes contain trace amounts of THC but this does not alter its effectiveness as a therapeutic in any way.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are a group of chemical compounds found in many different plants, including cannabis. They usually have a rather strong odor and taste used as a defense mechanism to protect the plants from parasites and predators that may threaten their existence. Terpenes can also be found in plants like conifers, being directly responsible for their distinctive smell .
How do terpenes affect the body?
There has been some evidence to suggest that terpenes, such as limonene and linalool , can potentially have a profound effect on your mood and state of mind. This can add to the overall therapeutic effects of full-spectrum CBD oil when it is consumed. Strains of CBD that are rich with linalool have been found to offer a calming effect . In contrast, limonene-rich strains of this chemical compound are said to be mood-lifting , elevating your spirits when you’re down.
How does CBD oil make you feel?
CBD oil can offer a sense of calm and overall wellbeing . It achieves this by creating a balance between all of your core functions, helping you to feel grounded. This is more commonly known as homeostasis . To function at an optimal level, the core functions in your body need to be working in harmony with each other. You can think of your body as being like a brass band. If just one player in the brass band is out of sync, the output will lack rhythm and harmony.
CBD can bring balance to your body and influence homeostasis through the endocannabinoid system. We recently wrote an article all about the endocannabinoid system , but if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, we’ll give you a quick run-through here. This is a complex cell-signaling system that is located in many different areas of the body.
The endocannabinoid system’s mission is simple: it wants to bring balance to your body and keep everything functioning optimally regardless of any external challenges that you may be presented with. It’s a tough mission and sometimes your body needs a helping hand. This is where CBD comes in. CBD can interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body to trigger cascades of homeostasis, strengthening the ECS and helping it to do its job effectively.
Some people have stronger endocannabinoid systems than others. In other words, there are often people that are naturally more balanced than others who may be looking to add more harmony to their inner wellbeing. Things like stress can contribute towards a weak ECS, disrupting the system’s ability to create a balance between your core functions.
The consumption of cannabinoids like CBD is not the only way to give your ECS a boost. General wellbeing tips such as having a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep can help to support your endocannabinoid system and its ability to perform when you need it most.
After taking CBD oil for several days in a row, the compound will gradually start to build up in your system. You may not notice any effects in the first few days. As time goes on, the therapeutic effects are likely to be more profound, but this can vary from person to person.
How do you mask the taste of CBD oil?
If you are just periodically placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue, you shouldn’t be able to taste too much of the oil. Inevitably, your tongue will come into contact with the oil at some point whilst it sits under the tongue. When this happens, you may start to become familiar with the taste of CBD oil. With just a few drops of oil going under the tongue at a time, the taste of CBD oil is unlikely to be particularly noticeable.
To begin with, if you are concerned about the potential taste, start by placing just a single drop of CBD oil under your tongue using the dropper. This will give you a subtle introduction to the compound without overwhelming you. Whenever you try a new food supplement, the taste tends to be more profound than usual because you have a heightened sense of awareness.
We encourage those that dislike the taste of CBD oil to not abandon the supplement entirely. After a few rounds of using the dropper , you will start to get used to the taste of CBD oil. You need to stay focused on why you are using CBD oil. Nobody is consuming CBD oil for the taste. Consumers want to see therapeutic results from this compound. If it can deliver, does the taste matter in the grand scheme of things?
Some recommend the use of small mint refreshments before or after the use of CBD oil to quickly extinguish the taste. Much like the rest of the process for administering CBD oil, this is very straightforward and can easily still be part of your daily wellness routine . If you were to follow this method, you would simply suck a mint for a few minutes either side of placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue for up to 30 seconds .
We’re sure that you can think of some other creative ways to reduce the taste of CBD oil and turn the consumption of this food supplement into more of a pleasant experience. For the vast majority of people, the taste of CBD oil is not an issue. Whilst it certainly has a unique taste, most consumers just take it for what it is and focus on the therapeutic benefits that will follow.
It isn’t worth dwelling on the taste of CBD oil. Even if you are concerned about what it might taste like, how do you know you won’t like it if you’ve never tried it? Artificial flavoring can be added to food supplements to improve their taste, but this is rarely done to CBD oil. You are more likely to find artificial flavoring in products like CBD gummies than you are in oils.
Will CBD make you feel high?
Once you’ve administered your CBD product of choice , you will gradually start to notice some of the therapeutic benefits. These will become more profound after several weeks of taking CBD regularly, creating a build-up effect. The potential benefits of CBD are not instant. You will need to be patient and give the compound time to build up in your system .
Sometimes, you can start to experience the therapeutic effects of CBD within 15 minutes of consumption . This is more common with products like oils and vapes because the compound has a shorter route to your bloodstream. CBD edibles can take far longer to offer therapeutic benefits because the route to the bloodstream is longer.
As we said earlier, CBD cannot make you feel high . This is one of the big misconceptions about this cannabis-derived chemical compound and we believe that it stems directly from the stigma that surrounds the cannabis plant. People that do not understand CBD often assume it’s a form of medical cannabis . This is not the case.
The big difference between CBD and medical cannabis is THC content. CBD isolate only contains trace amounts of THC , whereas medical cannabis can contain vast quantities of the chemical compound that is known to result in a euphoric high sensation. Medical cannabis consists of the whole plant, whilst CBD is just one isolated compound found in the plant.
The cannabis plant contains a group of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Each of these compounds has its unique properties. As a collective, this group of compounds makes up the overall characteristic profile of cannabis . CBD and THC share the same molecular structure, but the two compounds could not be more different.
Is CBD safe to consume?
CBD products on the market are regarded as safe to consume. Certain products, such as CBD vape, may have age restrictions in their usage guidelines. In a case like this, you should always refer to the specific guidance on the product packaging. It is not possible to overdose on CBD because it is a non-intoxicating substance that is not known to have any poisonous effects.
Although you cannot overdose on CBD, this doesn’t mean that you should suddenly start consuming excessive quantities of this chemical compound. If you are new to the world of CBD, you need to recognize that your body is going to need some time to get used to this chemical compound. In extremely rare cases, some people can suffer from mild side effects after taking CBD.
If you are new to CBD, there is always a small possibility that you may have an adverse reaction to the compound. This is why it is advisable to start small before gradually increasing the dosage over time. By doing this, you are keeping your intake low at the beginning , so that you can wait to see how your body reacts. This is an approach you should take whenever you are introducing a new food supplement to your diet.
Taking CBD as part of your daily wellness routine should be an enjoyable experience for all. There are many exciting CBD food supplements on the market that can help you to take control of your wellbeing. You cannot use CBD in place of prescribed medications. This is why we are constantly emphasizing that CBD is a food supplement , not medication.
Whilst several scientific studies have indicated that CBD has potential medicinal properties , the relevant regulatory bodies are not yet comfortable with calling this compound a medicine. There’s still much that we do not know about CBD, even though it has been used for thousands of years. As public interest continues to grow, we expect to see more scientists starting to take an interest in this compound.
We hope you have enjoyed finding out more about what CBD oil tastes like. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a definitive answer on what CBD tastes like, you’re going to need to get a bottle and try some yourself. At Spero CBD , we offer tinctures in both pure and peppermint flavor. Our peppermint flavored tincture will take the edge off the taste of CBD, offering a refreshing experience.
For those who have tried CBD oil and dislike the taste, we would highly recommend that you consider trying some of our CBD gel capsules which can be orally ingested with a sip of water. If you don’t like the taste of CBD, this does not mean that the compound cannot still be a core part of your daily wellness routine. There are many CBD products on the market for you to consider.
Are you ready to begin your wellness journey? Explore our CBD product range today!