CBD oil is a lot like marmite – you either love it or you hate it.
First-time users are often put off by the earthy and bitter flavour profile, while CBD oil enthusiasts soak this up like a fine wine.
Like wine, every batch of CBD will have a distinct flavour.
CBD is a natural product, and the less processing it goes through, the better. The flavour of CBD oil comes from the terpenes and flavonoids, which are extracted from the hemp plant during processing.
Together, these compounds help create a unique flavour profile and provide additional therapeutic benefits. They also enhance the CBD to make it even more effective.
Different plant strains will have different profiles, which is why two bottles of CBD oil from the same brand could have a vastly different taste.
But if you aren’t a fan of floral, earthy or musky tastes, then there are plenty of things you can do to mask the flavour.
But what does CBD oil taste like?
What's in this Guide?
What Does CBD Oil Taste Like?
CBD is typically described as being earthy, bitter, nutty or grass-like. It’s certainly a very natural flavour profile.
High-quality CBD oil will taste better than cheap CBD oil because of the extraction methods used and the commitment to filtering out contaminants.
Solvent extraction provides unpredictable and often unpleasant results. Therefore, supercritical CO2 extraction is the method preferred by most CBD companies.
Another factor that will determine the flavour profile is the spectrum type. CBD isolate crystals have no flavour, whereas broad and full-spectrum CBD oil will have the characteristic earthy flavour.
The distinct flavour is down to terpene and flavonoid content. These are compounds found in many plants that give them their characteristic taste and smell.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in most plants. They give plants and flowers such as pine, lavender and oranges their distinct smell.
Plants often use terpenes to attract pollinators or repel foraging animals while the plant is in flower. Terpenes can also play a role in a plant’s defences. For example, the smell of freshly cut grass is a distress signal from the plant.
The hemp plant is rich in terpenes, including pinene, linalool, myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene, and humulene. Pinene is associated with the classic Christmas tree scent and is thought to help with memory retention.
Linalool is found in high concentrations in the lavender plant. It has a calming influence that is excellent for symptoms of depression and anxiety. Myrcene is responsible for the musky aroma associated with cannabis.
Limonene has a citrusy fragrance, while caryophyllene offers a spicy profile similar to fresh cracked black pepper. And finally, humulene provides an earthy, spicy scent.
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids are found in many plants and are thought to offer health benefits for cell signalling while also providing antioxidant effects.
Flavonoids are often responsible for the bitter citrus peel taste in CBD oil.
There are six different types of flavonoids, including flavonols, flavones, flavanols, flavanones, isoflavones, and anthocyanidins.
They are abundant in foods like fruits, vegetables, red wine, cocoa, and teas.
What Influences The Flavour Profile?
The strain of the hemp plant used to produce the CBD plant will significantly influence the final flavour. However, the CBD oil strength or presence of THC does not have an impact on the taste.
The choice of carrier oil can influence the final taste. For example, hemp seed oil will provide an earthier profile, while MCT oil offers a slightly sweeter flavour. Other carrier oils include sunflower oil and avocado oil.
Some manufacturers add natural flavours to their CBD oil to help mask the earthiness. Common flavour choices include cherry, strawberry, mint and orange.
However, while these will mask the flavour, they will not conceal it entirely.
How Can I Mask The Taste Of CBD Oil?
CBD is an acquired taste. While some purists believe that the taste is all part of the experience, we know that the earthy, bitter and leafy flavour isn’t for everyone.
Some people have a sensitive palette and find the taste of CBD to be unbearable.
And since CBD oil needs to be held under the tongue for the best results, this can make it nearly impossible to enjoy.
If you aren’t keen on the taste of CBD oil, the first option to consider is a flavoured CBD oil.
Provided you choose a reputable supplier, there is no reason to believe that a flavoured CBD oil is less potent or efficacious than a natural-flavoured CBD oil.
If you take your CBD oil in the morning or before bed, avoid citrus flavours as this won’t mix well with toothpaste.
Also, some people find that brushing their teeth right before they take their CBD oil helps conceal the flavour.
Popping a sweet or a strong mint in your mouth before taking your CBD oil will also help conceal the flavour.
And then there’s also the age-old method of holding your nose. Our sense of smell is 80% of taste, so if you aren’t inhaling through your nose, you won’t experience the flavour as intensely.
Another great way to mask the flavour of CBD oil is to try it in a different format. If you have a sweet tooth, CBD gummies are an excellent option.
It’s also much easier to get the same dose every time.
CBD capsules have no taste and can be taken just like a multivitamin. You don’t have to chew them; just swallow with a glass of water.
However, it’s worth pointing out that this method does not offer the best bioavailability.
You need to hold the CBD oil under your tongue to experience the highest bioavailability outside of vaping. CBD is also available in tea bags, which can be a much more pleasant way to enjoy a daily dose of cannabinoids.
And finally, topical CBD products can also provide a simple way to skip the earthy flavours. If you are looking for skin and pain relief benefits, a balm or skin cream could be more effective for your needs. And you won’t have to worry about the flavour.