Alpha CBD

CBD OIL TYPES AND SPECTRUMS – Taste and Colour Explained

CBD has never been in the public eye as much as it is currently. You can literally find CBD products everywhere and it’s only going to get bigger and better. With this increasing popularity, we are also beginning to see more and more versions of CBD oil from Raw to Distilled to Isolate. Refined, Pure, Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Whole Plant, the list is ever extending.

That’s just the names, what about the taste and differing colours? It’s no wonder so many get confused and just give up! Worry not – we will try and break it all down in simple terms. Let’s start with CBD extraction.


This refers only to how the goodies are actually taken out of the cannabis hemp plant in the first place. This is not about what actually ends up in your CBD oil or CBD products as that is a secondary or thirdary (is that a word?) process.

There are two main ways that CBD can be extracted. The first is by using a solvent and the second is by using temperature and pressure (CO2 Extraction). With getting too techy here’s a quick guide to both.

Solvent-based extraction method

This involves passing a solvent through the product and then burning off the solvent, so that only the desired chemical compound, like CBD, remains. There are a number of different solvents that can be used, but ethanol, butane and alcohol are the most common.

Solvent-based extraction methods were used frequently with the cannabis plant because the solvents worked well with the cannabis flower. The downside of this method is that many countries don’t allow any CBD product that has been produced using the flowers and buds of the cannabis plant. Further For this reason CO2 extraction is the preferred method for many premium CBD brands.

CO2 Extraction

Because CBD oil is often made from industrial hemp, in which case CBD must come from the seeds and stalks of the plant (a legal requirement in many countries), CO2 extraction methods are most often used.

CO2 extraction methods use a combination of temperature and pressure to extract the CBD from the plant material. In the CBD industry, CO2 extraction methods are often considered the gold standard because they don’t involve the use of chemical solvents and do a better job of preserving CBD and other beneficial chemical compounds.

NOTE: All our products use CO2 extracted CBD.

That was the simple part. So what happens now that whatever you wanted to extract has been extracted? Here’s where it gets a little more confusing as there are several ways of now preparing this extracted product and producing a sellable and usable CBD oil.


There are only really three main types of legal CBD product that is manufactured after the initial extraction process. Let’s take a look at what these are:

CBD Isolate (also referred to as Raw, Pure CBD)

CBD isolate contains exactly that, just CBD and no other cannabinoids or substance from the cannabis plant. It was once considered the best way to take CBD but this is now not the case. Research has since shown that a combination of CBD and other cannabinoids provides the most benefit to the user. This is also known as the ‘entourage effect’.

Also CBD isolate has a very small window for when it is most effective. Taking it too early or too late significantly reduces any benefit. On the plus side it contains zero THC as everything but the CBD is removed.

CBD isolate is not an oil but comes in a white(ish) powder form.

Raw CBD (also referred to as Pure, Natural, Whole Plant, Full Spectrum, Complete)

For a long time now raw CBD oil has been the most abundant form of CBD available. Raw CBD oil is commonly created through CO2 extraction, and contains all medical properties of the plant (cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids), along with non-beneficial plant matter like chlorophyll and potentially solvent residue.

Raw CBD oil tends to have a lower concentration of CBD compared to distilled or isolate, but still provides many therapeutic benefits. In fact, because of the phenomenon called the ‘entourage effect’ (a combination of CBD and other cannabis plant extracts), raw CBD oil offers a much wider range benefits than CBD isolate because terpenes and flavonoids produce their own medical properties.

The downside of raw CBD is that as more plant material is used (even the bits you don’t need), the substance is thicker and the oil has a somewhat bitter taste. This is sometimes referred to as “sludge” and not everyone takes to the taste, smell or texture.

Raw CBD is usually green in colour. If it is more brown then it isn’t quite raw but has had a slight filtration process carried out known as decarboxylation*

*Decarboxylation: Decarboxylated CBD is slightly heated after extraction to convert CBDA into CBD but still retains a high level of phytonutrients, as indicated by the greenish brown color.

By consequence, decarboxylated oils have a higher concentration of CBD than raw CBD and generally take effect quicker as they’re easier for your body to process.

Distilled CBD (also referred to as Refined, Whole Plant, Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Complete, Gold Standard and sometimes Pure)

Distilled CBD oil is created when you take the cannabis plant extract and refine it through a process known as ‘short path distillation”. This process is carried out after decarboxylation and extracts the CBD, terpenes and flavonoids which are then used to create a more concentrated CBD oil product.

Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids all have different temperature points where they are released from the extract. This means they can be extracted individually and then added to the CBD oil in whichever amount is required.

This is really exciting because by doing this, we can potentially create different mixtures that are condition specific such as “Distilled CBD Oil for Seizures”, or “Distilled CBD Oil for Anxiety”. This is the future of CBD!

Distilled or Refined CBD oil is considered the Gold Standard of CBD oil, but don’t let the name fool you, because not all products who claim this title are genuine.The easiest way to tell if you have a highly distilled CBD oil is if it’s clear (no bits in it) and doesn’t smell.

Distilled is a great option if you dislike the earthy and grassy taste that raw CBD oil has. You still have a slightly nutty plant like taste but it is mild in comparison. Refined CBD oil focuses on the cannabinoids and terpenes that produce the most medical properties — you’ll have to pay more, but you get what you pay for.

NOTE: All our CBD oils are Refined ‘Gold Standard’ oils 


Sort of, but what about all those names in brackets and the different Spectrums?

Another point of confusion is the whole spectrum of CBD that is available. We have labels stating Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Whole Spectrum and Complete Spectrum without anyone really knowing what it means.

Don’t be alarmed, it’s nothing to worry about. All these terms are being used interchangeably these days and more as a marketing phrase rather than any real specific difference.

Originally Full Spectrum meant the CBD contained all of the cannabis plants’ cannabiniods, terpenes, flavonoids, plant product and even THC. Broad Spectrum was used to indicate that only the beneficial components were being used and that the THC and other non-beneficial plant product was taken out.

CBD Oil Types and Spectrums

As not many countries allow more than a trace amount of THC anyway pretty much all legal CBD oils use Broad Spectrum but still label it as Full, Whole or Complete. So any CBD oil you purchase from a reputable supplier should be okay to use . If in doubt just ask for the lab reports to see exactly what is in the product.

Until there is some strict government legislation CBD products will continue to have interchangeable and confusing labels. We have seen all types of CBD oil called ‘Pure’ with no explanation of why and ‘Full Spectrum’ seems to be a buzz word right now.

In short what was Full Spectrum doesn’t really exist anymore and what was Broad Spectrum is know pretty much classed as Full Spectrum! Is it any wonder why people give up before they even start?

NOW I GET IT – What About the Oil Colour Though?

As mentioned before don’t worry about product labeling too much as suppliers seem to be sticking any old label on their bottles without a care in the world. Instead take a look at the colour of your oil to define it’s quality.

CBD Oil Colours

The colour of your CBD oil simply indicates the filtration process that the product has undergone. The oil’s final colour gives you an idea of its filtration processing.

White CBD Oil: There is no truly white CBD oil but there are noticeably clear yellows and golds which have undergone extensive filtration and decarboxylation. However, there is a process that extracts CBD from the plant material and further refines it into a white powder which is often used in edibles. Also, pure CBD forms a white powder which is referred to as CBD isolate.

Green CBD Oil: Green CBD oil contains chlorophyll which is what gives the plant its green coloration. This CBD oil is considered raw and has never undergone filtration.

Brown CBD Oil: Brownish CBD oil has been decarboxylated to activate the CBD and THC. However, it has not experienced further filtration so is still contains flavonoids and plant material.

Gold/Yellow CBD Oil: Premium filtered CBD oil is golden or yellow. It often bears a resemblance to honey. All the plant’s material and chlorophyll have been removed.

If you use our oils you can probably guess which category they belong to!

And there you have it. Hopefully this has provided a fairly simple and straightforward insight into what can sometimes be quite a confusing and daunting look at CBD.

As usual if you have any questions or need some advice just get in touch.