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why is my cbd oil turning brown

Why does my vape cartridge oil turn dark brown

Have you ever had the cannabis oil in your vape cartridge turn dark brown? If so, do you know why that happened and what it means? Can cannabis oil go bad? In this article I will address these questions, will discuss how your vape cartridge works, and will provide tips on how to maintain your cartridge to increase its longevity.

What is Inside Your Cannabis Vape Cartridge?

Contained within the glass or plastic tube in your vape cartridge is approximately one gram of cannabis concentrate oil full of cannabinoids and terpenes. At the bottom of the cartridge, there is a metal plate that is heated by the battery located at one end of the vape pen. The oil is vaporized and inhaled through the mouthpiece.

Flower can lose its potency fairly quickly over time as it dries out, leading to the degradation of terpenes. While vape cartridges have a longer shelf-life, they do not last forever.

How The Oil in Cartridges Changes Over Time

In case you weren’t aware, your cannabis oil is made up of lipids and molecules in complex chains whose bonds are not terribly strong. The heating of the oil on a regular basis results in the breakdown of these molecular bonds. It is important to note that THC molecules in cannabis will degrade into CBN no matter what delivery method you use. For those unfamiliar with CBN, when cannabis ages, the THC breaks down into CBN which has only mild psychotropic effects. The rate of THC degradation in your vape cartridge depends on the following:

Heat Inside and Outside the Cartridge

Exposure to high temperatures over a period of time will increase the degradation of both the oil and the THC. Not only does the heat come from within the cartridge, it also comes from outside the cartridge. Because vape manufacturers choose to make their cartridges as cheaply as possible, this means that the tubes are not very effective at keeping out the heat from external sources. These include:

  • Exposure to high temperature in a car or any other hot enclosure
  • Body heat transmitted through a pocket of the user
  • High temperature on a hot day

Exposure to Light

Exposure to light, especially sunlight, will quickly age your THC into CBN which does have some medicinal benefits.

3 Ways to Tell If A Vape Cartridge Is Bad

While vaping an old cartridge doesn’t actually carry any serious health risks, here are the ways to tell if your cartridge is bad:

      Check the Clarity and Viscosity of the Oil
      The oil in the cartridge should be as clear and viscous as when you bought it; uniformly light yellow to amber in color and fairly transparent. If the liquid is discolored or has turned brown, the cartridge should be thrown away. If the oil is thick, full of sludge, cloudy or you can see crystals growing from the sides, it is time to throw it away.
  • Please note that in doing my research for this article, I found several posts in which consumers disagreed with the above analysis. Here is their explanation for a darkening of cannabis oil in vape cartridges:
    • Because high-quality vape oils are free of additives and preservatives, the ingredients that they contain are responsible for changes in the color of the oil over time.
    • Every time you vape, the oil is subject to the application of heat and oxygen which leads to the oxidation process. This causes a change in the color of the oil. The older the vape oil, the more likely it has gone through the oxidation process and the darker the oil. This does not mean that your vape oil cartridge is bad and needs to be discarded.
  • Taste Test
    Even if there is little noticeable change in the oil, the taste test will be a giveaway. If the vapor tastes bitter or sour, it should be tossed away. It may also make you cough much more, make you tired or give you a headache.
  • Loss of Potency
    You will notice that there is a reduction in the potency of your vape oil.
  • Ways to Increase the Longevity of Your Vape Cartridge

    By purchasing high-quality cartridges and storing them properly, they can last up to a year without loss of potency. It is highly recommended that you purchase vape cartridges from a trusted source such as your local medical cannabis dispensary. Make sure that they include the following information:

    • Lab Reports
    • List of Ingredients
    • Place of Origin

    Remove The Cartridge From the Battery

    Even when you are not using the vape cartridge, as long as the metal plate maintains contact with the battery, there will be a small amount of power generated which will continue to heat the oil. That will ultimately damage the integrity of the cannabinoids and terpenes. By unscrewing the cartridge from the battery and storing it upright, it will also prevent oil leakage and potential damage to the cartridge from breakage.

    • Store Your Cartridge in A Cool, Dry Place
      When THC molecules are exposed to temperatures above 70° F, they start to degrade into CBN. Consider buying a small protective case to protect it from heat if you tend to carry the cartridge in your pocket. At home, if it is not in a protective case, store it in a cool, dry place like a drawer. Avoid placing it on a windowsill!
    • Buy A Hash Oil Syringe
      Another way to preserve the oil in your vape cartridges is to buy a hash oil syringe and fill your own cartridges. You can buy them at many dispensaries. Obviously, you need to store the oil in a cool, dry place until needed.

    Learn how your cartirdge oil can change in color and what you can do to increase the longevity of your vape cartridge.

    CBD Oil Color

    How CBD Oil’s Color, Clarity and Extraction Affect your Experience

    cbd oil color clarity extraction

    Here’s The Deal:

    CBD oil has exploded in popularity in recent years. Consumers are digging for more information about cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, as more research and media stories come out to the public. What is it? How do I shop for it? How do I know if I’m purchasing high-quality products?

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 112+ known cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical components that are found in the cannabis and hemp plants. THC is another popular cannabinoid known for its psychoactive effects. It’s the cannabinoid that gets you high. CBD is known for its therapeutic benefits and is non-psychoactive, so you won’t get high from consuming it alone. CBD is popular among those seeking relief from anxiety, pain, inflammation, sleep-deprivation, spasms or other conditions. First, CBD must be extracted from the plant before it’s infused into products like gummies, oil, salves, lotion, pet treats, and vape oil. CBD products are hitting the market with force. One of the most popular products is CBD oil, also known as CBD tincture. These oils are taken orally by placing the product beneath your tongue, holding for a few seconds, and then swallowing.

    Oils mentioned in this video: Endoca (Raw/Dark Oil), BlueBird (Decarboxylated/lighter) and Medterra (Isolate/clear)

    The color of CBD oil can offer some clues about the quality and makeup of the product. In order understand more about this, it helps to understand how CBD oil is made.

    Further Reading: CBD Tincture Review

    How CBD Oil is Made

    Most CBD products available for purchase in the United States are sourced from industrial hemp that’s grown either domestically or abroad. CBD products containing less than .03% THC, sourced from the seeds or stalks of industrial hemp, are federally legal and may be sold in any state, regardless of its marijuana laws.

    # Name Rating Rating
    1 Medterra Review

    Why Do Growing Conditions Matter?

    Hemp is a known soil remediator. This means that hemp will suck up toxins in the soil that it’s grown in and will clean these toxins out. Hemp is great at doing this job, so it’s worth noting where the hemp is sourced from in any hemp-based CBD product that you purchase. Clean soil and growing conditions make for a better end product.

    cbd oil co2 extraction

    Extraction Methods Matter Because…

    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. Solvent-based extraction methods involve 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 and butane are the most common. Solvent-based extraction methods are used frequently with the cannabis plant because the solvents work well with the cannabis flower.

    Because CBD oil is often made from industrial hemp, in which case CBD must come from the seeds and stalks of the plant, 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.

    There’s More:

    CO2 extraction methods are even further classified into two — supercritical and subcritical extraction. Subcritical CO2 extractions use low temperature and low pressure and take more time. They produce smaller returns but can retain terpenes and oils, creating a full-spectrum CBD product in the end. Supercritical CO2 extractions use high temperature and high pressure. This process may damage terpenes and other chemicals, but it will extract larger molecules like omegas, creating a different, but still potentially potent product. Full-spectrum products take the “entourage effect” into consideration. The entourage effect states that the plant chemicals work better together than they do alone. To put it simply, a CBD oil that has terpenes and other cannabinoids mixed in will have a greater impact on the body than a CBD oil with only CBD in it.

    CBD Oil Color

    Once the CBD has been extracted, it can undergo a filtering process that determines the color of the oil. There are generally three different categories that CBD oils fall into:

    Raw CBD oil is exactly what it sounds like: “raw.” Once extracted from the hemp plant, this type of oil undergoes no further processing or filtration, resulting in a green, viscous oil packed with plant compounds and cannabinoids like CBDA and THCA.

    These compounds work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid, a phenomenon referred to as the “entourage effect.”

    Raw CBD has proven beneficial for those with mild anxiety or insomnia, and it’s usually the product of choice for those looking to benefit from the entire hemp plant and not necessarily just cannabidiol.


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

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

    This makes decarboxylated oils a great choice for those with more severe cases of anxiety, arthritis, migraines, and insomnia.


    Filtered or distilled CBD oils are created by further refining decarboxylated oils to strip everything from the cannabinoids within, including chlorophyll and lipids.

    The resulting product is a mild-flavored, light gold liquid with a higher concentration of CBD and lower concentration of terpenes and other cannabinoids.

    This makes filtered and distilled CBD oils extremely versatile and easy to consume sublingually or in your favorite beverage.


    CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, produced by removing all other plant compounds found in hemp including terpenes, flavonoids, chlorophyll, and other cannabinoids.

    The highly refined CBD is then combined with a base like coconut or MCT oil for a final product that’s usually flavorless, nearly transparent, and extremely fluid.

    While products that combine different cannabinoids may provide a greater entourage effect, CBD isolate is extremely potent in CBD and contains zero THC, making it great for those looking to avoid THC while still gaining the health benefits of CBD.


    Typically dark or light gold in color, these oils contain a wide range of compounds found naturally occurring in the plant, including terpenes, cannabinoids, and essential oils.

    These extracts may also undergo additional processes like nanoemulsion encapsulation, which gives the product higher bioavailability to help CBD and other compounds enter the bloodstream with greater ease.

    While there’s a lot of discrepancy between products labeled full, complete, and broad spectrum due to lack of industry standards, most companies provide third-party lab results on their website so you know exactly what’s in your CBD.

    Bottom Line?

    The darker or more opaque a CBD oil is the less amount of processing it’s had. Clear, gold CBD oil is considered the highest quality, but it doesn’t mean that the other forms are not valuable. It is important to remember that color can often be indicative of the manufacturing process and thus the quality of the oil, but it’s not the only consideration.

    Why are some CBD Oils different colors? Find out what the color and clarity says about your cannabidiol oil in this article.