If you’ve tried a few different CBD oil products, you’ve probably noticed that various CBD oils can taste very different from one another – and if you’ve only tried one CBD oil, you may have had the misfortune of buying one with a flavor that didn’t agree with you at all. Some CBD oils taste a bit bitter and, well – hempy. If you’re not lucky enough to have a local expert like Pittsburgh CBD seller Vapor Connection to guide you through the process, you might end up with a CBD oil that you don’t really like.

Here’s the good news. The fact that different CBD oils taste different from one another means that you can almost certainly find one with a flavor that works for you. The bad news, though, is that the flavor of a CBD oil has a lot to do with the way in which it’s processed – and CBD brands aren’t usually quick to share the details of how their products get from the plant to the bottle.

In this article, we’re going to explain why some CBD oils taste different from others and describe how choices made during the processing of the raw hemp oil can affect the taste of the final product. Once you understand why different CBD oils taste the way they do, you should have a much better chance of selecting one with a flavor you enjoy.

Cannabis Strain

As you likely already know, cannabis is one of the world’s most potent smelling and tasting plants. Humans can detect the smell of hemp in the parts per million. That’s because cannabis is a rich source of plant-based compounds called terpenes. Terpenes give spices and flowers their distinctive scents, and they’re also the core of aromatherapy. While all cannabis is rich in terpenes, there are hundreds of different cannabis strains, and each strain has a different blend of terpenes that produces a different characteristic scent and flavor.

How can you tell what cannabis strain a given CBD oil producer is using? You can’t, of course – unless the company in question is vertically integrated – like Charlotte’s Web – and is growing a strain developed in house. You should, however, look for information giving you some clue as to where the company’s hemp supply is grown. If you find two CBD brands both claiming that their hemp comes from a “research farm in Oregon,” or something along those lines, it’s probable that the two companies use the same cannabis strain because they’re probably both sourcing their hemp from the same farm.

Level of Post Processing

When a hemp processor puts cannabis through an extraction machine, what comes out is an extremely thick, oily substance. You can turn raw hemp extract into a CBD oil that’s ready to use just by diluting the hemp extract with a carrier oil. Most companies don’t do that, though, because the finished product simply doesn’t taste very good. If you’ve ever tried a CBD oil that tasted very, very hempy and bitter, it was probably made in this fashion.

So, what do you do to get rid of those undesirable flavors? Hemp processors winterize the raw hemp extract by combining it with alcohol and freezing the mixture. Undesirable compounds like chlorophyll and plant waxes solidify and clump together, making it easy to filter those compounds out. After the mixture is filtered, it’s boiled to remove the alcohol. Here, once again, you can mix the hemp oil with a carrier oil to make a finished product. Removing the chlorophyll and waxes removes the bitter flavor, but the CBD oil will still taste hempy because most of the terpenes are still there.

A process called fractional distillation selectively removes compounds from a mixture by boiling the mixture at the specific temperatures at which those compounds evaporate. It’s even possible to use fractional distillation to remove most of the minor cannabinoids from a hemp extract, leaving nothing but the CBD. At that point, mixing the hemp extract with a solvent causes pure crystalline CBD to precipitate out of the solution. Crystalline CBD is called CBD isolate. It’s more than 99 percent pure and has virtually no flavor. A CBD oil made from CBD isolate shouldn’t taste hempy at all.

Added Terpenes and Flavors

If every CBD oil product was nothing but hemp extract and carrier oil, there wouldn’t be much to separate one product from the next. One of the ways in which CBD brands differentiate themselves is by enhancing or flavoring their CBD oils during post-production.

One common way of enhancing a CBD oil is by adding terpenes. As previously mentioned in this article, terpenes are beneficial compounds in their own right. We use terpenes for aromatherapy because some support relaxation and stress relief, while others support concentration and a sense of well-being. Adding terpenes to CBD oil can enhance its existing beneficial effects while also improving its flavor. Limonene, for example, is abundant in hemp and is often added to CBD oil. It gives the resulting product a distinctly citrusy flavor.

The final way in which CBD oil producers enhance the flavor of their products is simply by adding natural or artificial flavors. A bit of berry or orange flavor, for example, can do an excellent job of covering any residual hemp notes.

Choice of Carrier Oils

The most common carrier oil used for CBD oil products is MCT oil from coconuts. MCT oil is fractionated from whole coconut oil, and it has no real flavor of its own. A few CBD oil companies, however, do use cold-pressed oils such as olive oil and hemp oil as carriers. As you’ve no doubt noticed when eating a salad with an olive oil-based dressing, a cold-pressed oil retains some of the flavor of the original fruit or seed. If you can’t find any other reason why a particular CBD oil tastes different from others, check the ingredient list. You may find that the producer of that CBD oil used an unusual carrier when bottling the product.