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What Does CBD Oil Taste Like & 6 Ways to Make it Taste Better

6 min read
Taste of CBD oil sublingually

What Does CBD Oil Taste Like & 6 Ways to Make it Taste Better

6 min read

Medically reviewed by

If you’ve never tried CBD oil, you might be wondering: What does CBD oil taste like?

Well, CBD oil is a lot like marmite – you either love it or hate it. 

First-time users are often put off by the distinct taste, but some CBD oil enthusiasts view the flavour as akin to that of fine wine. 

Just like wine, every batch of CBD will have a distinct flavour. Even two different bottles of CBD oil from the same brand can have a vastly different taste (we’ll find out why soon enough!)

And if you aren’t a fan of floral, earthy or musky aromas, there are plenty of things you can do to mask the flavour of CBD.

So we’ve put together a quick guide, detailing everything you need to know about:

  • The what and why of CBD oil taste
  • What terpenes and flavonoids are, and how do they influence the taste of CBD oil
  • How to make CBD oil taste better

Let’s start with the big one…

In this guide:

What does CBD oil taste like?

CBD is a natural product – the less processing it goes through, the better. As such, it has an earthy, bitter flavour profile.

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 itself by contributing to the entourage effect, making it even more effective.

Read more: 7 CBD benefits

Hemp plant influences the taste of CBD oil
Terpenes and flavonoids found in hemp plants are responsible for the earthy, bitter taste of CBD oil.

How do terpenes influence the taste of CBD oil?

“Why does CBD oil taste like that?”

We’ll let you in on a secret – it’s in a large part down to the plant’s terpenes

Terpenes are one of the key components that influence that taste of CBD oil. Love or hate the taste, terpenes are full of goodness – and they aren’t just native to the cannabis plant. 

Terpenes are actually aromatic compounds and found in most plants. If you’ve ever wondered what gives plants and flowers such as pine, lavender and oranges, their distinct smells… Yes, you’ve guessed it – that will be the terpenes.

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. 

“Right, but we’re just talking about scent here – not taste!”

Wrong, sorry. The sensation of flavour is actually a combination of taste and smell. So love them or hate them – blame the terpenes.

How do flavonoids influence the taste of CBD oil?

It’s not just terpenes that contribute to the flavour of CBD oil – flavonoids also have a say. 

So what are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are often responsible for the bitter citrus peel taste in CBD oil. They’re found in many plants and offer a wide range of health benefits for cell signalling while also providing antioxidant effects

There are six different types of flavonoids: flavonols, flavones, flavanols, flavanones, isoflavones, and anthocyanidins. 

These plant compounds are abundant in foods like fruits, vegetables, red wine, cocoa, and teas.

What does CBD oil taste like? CBD taken sublingually.
The strain of hemp used will influence the taste of CBD, meaning each batch of CBD will taste slightly different.

How does the carrier oil influence the taste of CBD?

The choice of carrier oil (the oil mixed with CBD) can influence the final taste of the product.

For example, if your CBD is mixed with hemp seed oil it will provide an earthier profile, while MCT oil offers a slightly sweeter flavour. Other carrier oils include sunflower oil and avocado oil.

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6 tips to make CBD oil taste better

Ok, we admit it. CBD is an acquired taste

While some purists may believe the taste is all part of the experience, the earthy, bitter flavour isn’t for everyone.

If you fall into the latter, 

If you have a sensitive palette and find the taste of CBD to be unbearable, you might be wondering how to make CBD oil taste better.

Well, worry no more, here are our top tips to mask the taste of CBD oil.

1. Consider a flavoured CBD 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, it’s while these will mask the flavour, they will not conceal it entirely.

Provided you choose a reputable supplier, there is no reason that flavoured CBD oil is less potent or efficacious than natural-flavoured CBD oil.

2. Consider the time you take your CBD

Some people find that brushing their teeth right before they take their CBD oil helps conceal the flavour.

But, beware, if you take your CBD oil in the morning or before bed, avoid citrus flavours as this won’t mix well with toothpaste.

Brush your teeth to mask the taste of CBD oil
Brush your teeth before taking CBD oil to help mask the taste.

3. Pop a mint

Popping a sweet or a strong mint in your mouth before taking your CBD oil can also help conceal the flavour.

4. Hold your nose

Ok, we’re veering into grandma territory. But, if you don’t inhale through your nose, you won’t experience the flavour so intensely

So you’re desperate to mask the taste of your CBD oil, there’s no harm in going old school and holding your nose.

5. Try edibles, capsules or tea instead

Another great way to mask the flavour of CBD oil is to consume your cannabinoids in a different format. If you have a sweet tooth, CBD edibles are an excellent option. 

You can enjoy ready-made gummies or make your own CBD brownies, CBD cakes or even CBD superfood smoothies.

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. 

“Put the kettle on, love!”

Yes, that’s right, you can also create a steamy cup of CBD tea or CBD coffee, which can be a much more pleasant way to enjoy a daily dose of cannabinoids.

However, it’s worth pointing out that these methods doesn’t offer the best bioavailability – if you’re looking to absorb as much f that CBD goodness as possible, oil always wins.

6. Use topicals

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 CBD skin cream could be more effective for your needs.

Mask the flavour of CBD oil by using CBD topicals
Using CBD topicals is an excellent option if you are not a fan of the taste of CBD oil.

Final words on CBD oil taste

All in all, CBD oil is an acquired taste. 

If you enjoy the flavour and the goodness in those terpenes and flavanoids – you’re in luck. But if not, there are many ways to mask the taste of CBD – or simply ingest your CBD in a different form.

Frequently asked questions:

Because CBD oil comes in a raw, generally unprocessed state, the flavour tends to be hempy, earthy and bitter. That’s all the goodness in the oil – the terpenes and flavonoids which contribute to its taste and smell.
It won’t harm you to swallow CBD oil, but best results come when you ingest the oil sublingually – put a few drops under your tongue and hold them there for 45-60 seconds.
Many people say that CBD oil tastes a little like olive oil. CBD oil tends to taste a little nuttier than olive oil, though.