Why Is My CBD Oil Cloudy?

New Phase Blends received a question from one of our new Wholesale Accounts with a question about crystallized (or cloudy) CBD oil from another supplier they work with (not us!). I’d like to take the time to address exactly what this is. Then, we’ll discuss how it happened, and what a user can do to try to fix their crystallized CBD oil. If you want to know why your CBD oil is cloudy, keep reading…

CBD oil and/or Hemp oil, while easy to store, can take on some strange forms when stored incorrectly. One of these forms is the CBD oil turning cloudy. In a previous article, we covered how light can affect the coloring of CBD oil. If you missed that article, take a look here.

While rare, it is possible for CBD oil to take on the look of a “cloudy” type substance. It almost resembles nano-emulsified (water soluble) CBD – even though it isn’t. Why is this happening? Why is my CBD oil cloudy?

This article on cloudy CBD oil is going to be a little heavy on the science side. I will try my best to explain what’s going on with your cloudy CBD oil in a way that is easy to understand.

We need to keep a couple things in mind:

  1. Your CBD oil is essentially a heavily concentrated oil extract that’s mixed with a lipid (lipid = fat) carrier – at New Phase Blends we use MCT oil as a lipid carrier.
  2. When the extract mentioned above is exposed to extreme conditions, it can take on a solid form that resembles crystallization. This “cloudy” appearance is what you are seeing – tiny crystals.
Use coupon code ‘CBDblog’ to receive 15% off your order with New Phase Blends. Click here to start shopping for premium CBD products.

What are the Crystals?

Your CBD oil isn’t really cloudy – its crystallized. These crystals are pure phytocannabinoids – that’s it. The lipid carrier (MCT oil, grape seed oil, hemp seed oil, etc…) has separated from the CBD extract, resulting in a solid form of phytocannabinoid presence, similar to the crystallized appearance of THC on the outside of the cannabis flowers and leaves.

Lattice Formation

From a chemical point of view, both THC and CBD have closely related molecular characteristics, and they both take on the form of a crystalline lattice. A lattice is a structure that is crossed and can result in diamond or square shaped spaces in between the compounds.

Cloudy CBD oil lattice
Figure 1.0 – example of a complex lattice formation

Those crystals you see are the purest form of concentrate that exist. That may sound like a good thing, but it’s not. Why? The mixture would result in a widely variable dosage level if you were to take a dropper of that same cloudy CBD oil.

For example, if 1 mL of your oil would have 32 mg of CBD, when it crystallizes, it may result in anywhere from 0 – 200+mg of CBD, depending on the amount of crystals that made it into the dropper. We mix this CBD extract with oil to provide an even, and accurate, amount of CBD per mL of oil. Since the CBD has separated and crystallized, we lost that ability to dose accurately.

Why Did the CBD Crystallize?

If you keep up with New Phase Blends educational articles, you know by now that we mix a phytocannabinoid-rich extract with organic MCT oil (carrier oil) to make our products. During this process, the CBD extract becomes suspended in the MCT oil, resulting in an even and constant amount of CBD throughout the entire bottle.

Depending on how much is in the oil, it will generally remain stable in the oil. According to the National Library of Medicine, “The stability of this formulation [oil suspended compounds] was assessed considering particle size distribution, settling volume ratio, redispersibility, thermal stability, and drug content.” This process is called (you guessed it) “suspension.”

CBD Suspension Explained

During suspension, we are making sure that an even dosage of CBD is maintained throughout the entire 1 mL tincture. If we are making a product that is 1,000 mg of Broad Spectrum CBD, I want to be POSITIVE that every 1 mL of fluid has 33.2 mg of CBD extract in it. By suspending the correct amount of extract in the carrier oil, we can be sure this is the outcome. In a good mixture, no cloudy effect from the CBD oil can be noticed.

Take a look at this incredible picture from kush.com. What you see here is a large scale of what you are noticing in your CBD oil tincture…crystals. This crystal is quite large, but the cloudy effect that you notice is basically a bunch of tiny, micro crystals just like this one. Pretty interesting isn’t it?

Photo Source: Kush.com

Cloudy CBD crystalsFigure 2.0 – crystalline structure

What you see here are basically hexagonal (6-sided) crystals. That is the form that CBD takes when it crystallizes. If you were to zoom in (a LOT) on your cloudy CBD oil, you would notice a bunch of tiny 6-sided crystals, just like what you see above. Below is a picture of the cloudy CBD oil that some of you may be referring to.

Cloudy CBD drops
Figure 3.0 – example of cloudy CBD oil

Coming Out of Suspension

When exposed to extreme conditions, the CBD oil can come out of suspension, which is what gives the CBD oil a cloudy effect. This is exactly why you see the crystals – the CBD oil is out of suspension. I would bet that 99 times out of 100, you noticed your crystallized CBD oil take this form after receiving a shipment of the oil. It likely sat in a VERY hot or cold environment during the shipping process.

Is the Cloudy CBD Oil Safe?

The product isn’t toxic or poisonous in nature, it’s just no longer suspended properly. We need to heat the oil back up to promote the chemical binding of the CBD extract and the oil carrier. As a general rule of thumb, poor quality CBD oils will turn cloudy easier than premium quality stuff will. There are always exceptions, but this is generally true.

The CBD can also come out of suspended because it was never properly suspended to begin with. For example, if you take some MCT oil, and pour in a little bit of CBD isolate powder, you technically have a tincture of CBD oil. You can shake it around vigorously and it would look ok – from the outside. However, over time, you will absolutely notice some of the CBD isolate powder settling at the bottom, and maybe even some crystallized CBD floating around the oil. This is because it wasn’t suspended properly. While it may have looked like it was, it really was not.

How Should It Have Been Suspended?

There are several different ways to properly mix CBD extract into oils, two of them being an ultrasonic mixer and a homogenizer mixer. The ultrasonic mixer uses sound waves to help break down and mix different substances. The homogenizer mixer is basically a very high speed blender (20,000+ RPM). If you have further questions on either of these items, please feel free to reach out to us. I won’t get anymore in depth in regards to how these mixers are used to help properly mix CBD oils.

Use coupon code ‘CBDblog’ to receive 15% off your order with New Phase Blends. Click here to start shopping for premium CBD products.

 

What Should I Do to Remove the Cloudy CBD Oil Appearance?

If you received the CBD oil in a cloudy or crystallized form, I would immediately contact your provider and ask for a refund. It’s not your fault that the shipping conditions from the supplier to you were so extreme that it resulted in a mutated form of what you ordered.

To date, I’ve only heard of ONE company that wasn’t willing to refund their customer, or help them figure out how to get the CBD extract suspended properly again so it doesn’t have a cloudy appearance. I wont name who that company is – but its pathetic that they would treat their customers this way. If they will not refund you, or you would like to try to fix the cloudy CBD oil, keep reading below.

The good news is, when hemp based CBD oil becomes cloudy, you can easily correct the issue – most of the time. Remember when we spoke about suspensions and how compounds can come out of suspension? Ok, great! What we are going to do is put the cloudy CBD back in a suspended state.

Carrier Oils & Their Role

By doing this you are re-introducing the CBD crystals back into the carrier oil. Most CBD products utilize an organic MCT oil as a carrier oil. Some other types of carrier oils include:

  • Hemp seed oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Avocado oil

There are several types of these carrier oils. They all serve the purpose of helping evenly distribute and carry the CBD extract into an evenly split dose. That’s it! People have different preferences for which carrier oils they prefer. One is not necessarily better than the other.

Carrier oils for cloudy CBD

Interesting fact: did you know hemp seed oil has no CBD in it? Hemp seed oil has a high amount of essential fats, but it has no therapeutic value like CBD oil. Some companies take advantage of new consumers and sell hemp seed oil under the guise of CBD oil. This is why certificates of analysis are so important. They show exactly what cannabinoids are in your product.

Moving on!

Methods for Correcting Your Cloudy CBD at Home

You can look into trying to reheat the CBD oil tincture to a reasonable heat level that MAY promote the crystallized CBD to bind back to the lipid carrier oil (oil base). You can do this by…

  1. Boiling a pot of water and placing the CBD tincture (sealed tightly) into the water using a pair of tongs. Use oven mittens and be careful when working over an open flame or hot surface.
  2. Gently shake the oil around with the tongs, being careful not to burn yourself, and see if the crystals slowly go away. If they do, that means they are suspended again properly in the lipids (oil).
  3. You can also try microwaving the tincture at 5-10 seconds at a time to see if you can get a similar result. It should turn clear, and resemble the CBD oil in the picture below. Remember, the microwave method is meant as a method for last resorts. If you still have a cloudy CBD oil left over, then you are most likely out of luck. Sorry!

Non-cloudy CBD oil

Advanced Method for Correcting

For those that have the use of a chemistry set, you can heat your plate and stirring device to 60 degrees Celsius and pour all contents of your CBD oil tincture into the beaker. Gradually heat the oil up to no more than 70 degrees Celsius. This should do the trick. You will notice the cloudy nature of the CBD oil starts to slowly vanish. Wait for the product to cool, and pour it back into your CBD tincture.

Conclusion | Cloudy CBD Oil

So, cloudy CBD oil is really crystallized phytocannabinoids. Science is crazy, isn’t it? I hope this article shed some light on what happened to your CBD oil, why it turned cloudy, and what to do to fix it. For those who like to skip to the end, here are some of the reasons your CBD oil can turn cloudy:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Poor product quality
  • Incorrect manufacturing techniques
  • Improper storage of CBD
Use coupon code ‘CBDblog’ to receive 15% off your order with New Phase Blends. Click here to start shopping for premium CBD products.

Even if you are able to fix it, I would still let your CBD vendor know that their product arrived in a cloudy form. Perhaps they can adjust their manufacturing processes to make it harder to come out of suspension 🙂 Until next time…

Have interest in purchasing any hemp-based or CBD products? Please check out our store by clicking here. If you aren’t signed up to receive updates like this and exclusive discounts on our products, please visit our homepage at www.newphaseblends.com and subscribe! It’s quick and easy.

 

References

American Marijuana: https://americanmarijuana.org/how-to-make-cbd-oil-at-home/
3 Biotech: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4362737/
Intechopen: https://www.intechopen.com/books/food-processing/importance-and-applications-of-ultrasonic-technology-to-improve-food-quality
Kush.com: https://kush.com/blog/how-to-grow-crystal-thc-and-cbd/
National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5345356/
National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30999117/
Pro Scientific: https://proscientific.com/the-field-of-homogenizing
PubChem: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Cannabidiol

3 thoughts on “Why Is My CBD Oil Cloudy?”

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    Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have truly loved browsing your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing for your feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

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