New Phase Blends received a question from one of our new Wholesale Accounts with a question about crystallized CBD oil from another supplier they work with (not us!). I’d like to take the time to address exactly what this is, 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 and/or Hemp oil, while easy to store, can take on some strange forms when stored incorrectly, like 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 that almost resembles nano-emulsified (water soluble) CBD – even though it isn’t. Why is this happening? Why is my CBD oil cloudy?
We need to keep a couple things in mind:
- The CBD oil you consume is essentially a heavily concentrated oil extract that’s mixed with a lipid carrier (at New Phase Blends we use MCT oil).
- 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.
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.
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. 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.
Figure 1.0 – cloudy CBD oil
Why Did It 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 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.” 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.
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 why you see the crystals – the oil is out of suspension. I would bet that 99 times out of 100, you noticed your crystallized 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. The cloudy 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 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.
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.
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 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. 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). If they do not, you can 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!
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.
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. 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…
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National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30999117/