What Does CBD Oil Taste Like?

This article has been reviewed and approved for accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Holman, a certified orthopaedic surgeon with more than 30 years of experience and dedication for helping patients with holistic treatments.

When it comes to taste, we all have different preferences. As the CBD industry expands and so does the number of newcomers to the market, questions about what CBD oil tastes like rise to the surface. In the CBD community, discussions about taste have been long-running—and at times exaggerated—where the focus may be better directed at the studies indicating the therapeutic benefits of this hemp-derived compound. But given that taste can be an important part of CBD dosing, this article explains the flavors you can expect from different CBD oil brands and varieties.

What influences how CBD oil tastes?

Let’s cut straight to the chase—a multitude of factors affect how CBD oil tastes. Much like any other food product, two CBD products with the same specs may still taste different if they’re from different brands. In general, these are the factors that most often impact how CBD oil tastes.

Your body

It’s true—CBD oil tastes different to everyone. Some people may taste strong bitterness upon first ingesting it, and others may experience sweetness. A bitter or bad taste can actually indicate that your body really needs it. 

In the case of water-soluble CBD such as Ojai Energetics’ Full-Spectrum Hemp Elixir, the encapsulation technology makes cannabinoids able to immediately enter the system and provide quick feedback using the sweet receptors on our tongue. When you taste a honey-like sweetness, that’s your body telling you you’re at your optimal dose.

This is supported by a 2009 study that discovered that sweet taste responses were enhanced by endocannabinoids. Researchers conducted a series of experiments on mice to determine their responses to sweet taste stimuli before and after endocannabinoids were administered. In all behavioral, neural, and cellular experiments, endocannabinoids selectively enhanced sweet taste.

Cannabinoid concentrations

Does full-spectrum CBD oil taste different from CBD isolate? In most cases, yes! CBD oil comes in three main varieties: isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. The compositions of these oils may slightly impact the taste of the product as terpene and THC concentrations vary.

  • Isolate CBD: Isolate CBD consists solely of cannabidiol without any other compounds, so it can taste bitter.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: This CBD oil is similar to full-spectrum but without the slight THC content. The flavor varies by brand, but you may experience an earthy or slightly bitter taste.
  • Full-spectrum CBD: With the whole medley of terpenes, cannabinoids, and other oils, full-spectrum CBD tends to have the most robust earthy flavor, but this isn’t always the case. 


Terpenes, terpenoids, terps—whatever you call them, these compounds give full and broad-spectrum hemp CBD oils their distinctive aromas and flavors. They also alter the way cannabinoids like CBD interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Hundreds of terpenes are found in cannabis hemp plants, but some of the most notable and their smell/flavor profiles are:

  • Myrcene: musky and earthy 
  • Caryophyllene: spicy and woody
  • Linalool: floral
  • Pinene: piney
  • Humulene: herbal and hoppy
  • Limonene: citrusy
  • Ocimene: sweet and herbal
  • Terpinolene: piney and floral

Carrier oil or base

Most CBD oils use a food-grade carrier oil that makes up most of the taste of the CBD product. The most common carrier oils are:

  • Hemp seed oil: a standard carrier oil, hemp seed oil tastes nutty and earthy.
  • Coconut oil: virgin coconut oil tastes as you might expect, but refined coconut oil is neutral in flavor.
  • MCT oil: medium-chain triglyceride, or MCT, oil is almost flavorless.

As mentioned, our Ojai Energetics full-spectrum CBD oil uses certified organic coconut glycerin to make the product water-soluble. This is a mild, neutral base that’s perfect in combination with cannabis compounds. Contrary to what the name may suggest, it doesn’t have a coconut taste as the coconut glycerin has no coconut proteins, which means those with sensitivity can use the product without issue. For those who enjoy virgin coconut oil, our CBD Coconut Oil may be a better option.

Time of year

For a subset of the population, the time of year can change the flavor of your CBD oil. In cold and flu season—and especially January—your CBD oil may taste unpleasant due to the extra hours the cannabidiol and your endocannabinoid system have to work to keep your immune system strong. In Ojai Energetics products, the carrier base, which is certified organic coconut glycerin, can mask some of this taste. In most cases, the honey sweetness that indicates you’ve taken enough for the day can still be achieved at a higher dose. Just make sure you don’t exceed eight droppers a day.


Some CBD tinctures and oils contain sweeteners or flavorings to mask the natural taste of hemp. Common flavorings include: 

  • Apple
  • Berry
  • Bubblegum
  • Citrus
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut
  • Honey
  • Marshmallow
  • Passionfruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Peppermint
  • Pineapple
  • Tropical
  • Vanilla
  • Watermelon

How to tell if CBD oil is bad

Don’t be fooled by bitter or off-tasting CBD oil. Your taste buds should never be solely relied on to determine if CBD oil has gone bad. 

Make sure you’re starting with a good foundation by purchasing CBD oil from companies that provide detailed lab testing and quality assurance to help you avoid ingesting contaminants. If your product is within its expiration date, it’s likely fine to use, even if it has an unsavory taste. 

At Ojai Energetics, our patented water-soluble tech relies on the progression from bitter flavors to honey-like sweetness to help you gauge the proper dosage.

How to make CBD oil taste better 

If you’re sensitive to taste and cringe every time you pick up your tincture, you may be wondering how to mask the taste of CBD oil. The good news is there are many ways you can ingest CBD oil, including eating or drinking it. Here are some creative ways to use CBD oil and some CBD recipes we’re proud of.

Of course, there’s also the option to mix a few drops of CBD oil into a warm beverage such as coffee or tea or into a cold beverage such as orange or pineapple juice.