Bad tasting CBD isolate and how to avoid it.

We recently came across what was sold as CBD Isolate which when smoked tasted awful. It’s been my experience that isolate usually had no flavor or one somewhat similar to the strain used.

Those with more experience crystallizing CBD, is there a decent explanation for any flavor to isolate both good and bad? Also, would there be any particular processing blunders to avoid doing this?

1 Like

I know as a consumer, that CBD isolate can often have a slight cherry taste to it, which is why some breeders are aiming to breed strains that have cherry-ish terpenes. Cherrywine is one I can think of off the top of my head.

As far as the bad taste, not sure what to tell you, was it sourced from China? I know I’ve heard rumors that people import Chinese CBD that often has heavy metal residuals.

They prolly used a short path during the process. If the processor did not have a fantastic vacuum below 100 mtorr they will get degredation which will carry over to the isolate if that was not processed correctly as well.

In oregon you have a 20% variance on product purity. So alot of processors suck at making isolate and have many impurities. They just get it test until it passes that 20% variance ie 80% cbd"isolate"

Most likely degraded terpenes, phospholipids, cannabinoids etc from long term exposure to 160+ temperatures in a short path.

There is nothing short about batch short paths they are infinitesimally longer paths than most wiped films and they should not be used in cbd distillation on large scales.


Curious to hear what other’s experiences are too. Most of the CBD isolate I have tasted has an almost minty flavor to it. Is that normal?

Mine smells slightly sweet and a slight cherry flavor.

cbdistillary smells a little antiseptic/plastic from the package i have received. I didnt taste it because it smelled off for my elitist standards. It also had chunks of wood, brush, and a piece of a latex glove. I believe that company brokers most of the isolate too not all made in house.


What did it taste like? Ive had isolate that had some floral type terpenes in it which made it taste interesting, as well as isolate that tastes like plastic. One friend described it as “halloween mask”, like a weird latex/rubber taste. What flavors were you getting from the bad taste?

1 Like

If you process (Wash) your isolate appropriately then none of those things matter, seeing as how the CBD has been Isolated from the impurities…

The reason a WFE is superior for CBD isolate production is due to the fact that CBD distillate doesn’t need to reach very high purity for crystallization, typically allowing for a single pass on the WFE to suffice.

1 Like

Hence why I referenced the lack of testing accuracy and the products that are deemed safe for consumption have a 20% tolerance. Therefore even if some isolate comes back at a 99% rating means it could actually be roughly 80% pure CBD. The testing creates dubious assumptions and many choose testing centers which inflate numbers (because its bad for business to have accurate numbers…cough cough knuckle dragging business monkeys lol)

The original post was a question about the awful taste of the isolate. The reason is because the crystallization and possible Re-crystallization with subsequent washes were not performed adequately to achieve a pure product, yes. But even if you had impurities in the isolate aka distillate, there would not be a bad taste, example being, most cbd vape pens are made from distillate and taste great. The most likely cause of the poor isolate taste stems not only from the isolate purification but from the previous distillation step. I am presuming this processor used a batch short bath which I will reiterate again… THERE IS NOTHING SHORT ABOUT A BATCH SHORT PATH (it is a marketing tool which misguides many people in this community). The path length is offensive to your CBD crude/distillate compared to a wiped film evaporator. These are heat sensitive molecules and exposing them to 160+ degrees centigrade temps does degrade the molecules.

I love you and respect you but I vehemently disagree and believe you are being disingenuous.

The reasons why a wiped film is better:
1.short path length of evaporation
2. ability to train an unskilled laborer to run the machine
3. scalability (ever seen a 12 liter Lab Society vs. a chemtek KD30???)
4. continuous feed
5. limited heat exposure to heat sensitive molecules

Unless you have an extremely technical vacuum set up on a batch short path you will not be able to achieve the NECESSARY low pressures to mitigate compound degradation of your thousands of molecules within your boiling flask mix. A batch short path is a lamentable option for the distillation of CBD rich crude/distillate one is wishing to process.


I’ve seen top quality isolate that came from a WFE and virtually identical isolate from SPD. They both test pure, 99.95% from reputable labs, for what it’s worth. They both taste like cherry Robitussin.

The reasons you listed are definitely more pros for a WFE, but most of them also mean you are into your project 100’s of thousands of dollars just on distillation equipment.

What’s disengenuous is making it sound like it’s impossible to make good isolate with a SPD because it somehow destroys the CBD molecule. Yes it’s a longer path, but with relatively simple proper operation, and with a much simpler vacuum system than most WFE utilize, you can make comparable quality Isolate with either.

Do other, unwanted compounds degrade? Sure, who cares, the target compound is fine.

Also, comparing a LS 12L to a SS KD30 is like comparing a bicycle to a small personal plane. Both will get you around, one just has a bunch of barriers to entry.


Yes I have made isolate from both pieces of equiptment and made comprable isolate. But batch short path is vastly inferior.

Wiped films are wildly more simple than all short paths, you set 3 temperatures and fill a continuous feed…

Again I vehemently disagree, for a batch to distill and create a high quality product the vacuum system needs to be far more complex. When you buy an american made wiped film the technician literally shows you how to operate the whole machine including the vacuum system. So to think they are easier to operate is not true and is misleading your community.

The reason I compare a kd30 to a 12 liter is because, My goal is PRODUCTION. I want to scale, a maxed out 12 liter can do only about 0.75 kilos an hour after you spend hours taking it apart, cleaning, and putting it back together. This is the largest batch on the market and it takes about all day to set up, run 7 liters starting crude, tear down, clean and reset. A Kd30 is not even close to the biggest WFP on the market and is incomprehensible compared to any batch.

You defend you batches alot, Its almost like you might teach classes and make money off of this misinformation cough cough cough.


Agreed about the wash. It might be worth testing for residual solvents. If there are any then there’s your answer regarding the wash or lack thereof.

Right but the bad taste doesnt come from well made distillate it comes from bad distillate which has degraded molecules creating a gnarly smell which with the non-adequate wash or lack of wash that is when these gnarly smells and tastes make it through to the isolate.

Why would you suggest testing residual solvents?

Wow, I wasn’t expecting this thread to turn into an SPD vs WFE debate, though in regards to the original sample I posted about things got a little odd.

As far as I am aware this isolate is not imported, however what is a bit bizarre is that we ran GCFID on the sample and it turned up with no CBD at all, it did turn up with THCA and D9THC peaks. I did not personally smoke the sample, however my partner that did was generally already high so any effects of smoking a small amount of THC wouldn’t really be noticeable to him, however the taste was.

We ran the GC 5 different times with samples from different parts of the jar and they all turned up relatively the same. Analytical Chemist is a MS Pharm Chem that I trust 100% on his calibration, dilution, etc.
In terms of SPD vs WFE,

In my experience I’ve found that when operated by a seasoned tech, WFE can generally run faster than SPD when accounting for the sum of each throughput time component as @QGA stated, I also find that having a WFE in stainless has many advantages, overall though the ability to run a truly continues process vs batch and ease of operation are definitely what keeps me a fan of WFE.

However, I do operate both. And I believe that @Future has a point about cost of entry.

The bottom line to me is that while possible with SPD, running CBD Isolate sample prep with SPD requires extra care in your processing and will not be sufficient for large scale operations, however it may get someone by who is starting out at a small scale and budget. WFE would be the best option for more throughput, continues operation, and the best chance of reducing degradation.


Care to share any of your analytical data on here? GC read outs etc? Also where did you buy this from so our community knows not to buy “isolate” from whatever processor.

1 Like

Just a way to see if it was being washed properly or not. It might be good info to take back to the seller if they want to follow up with them on the issue. To your point, it could be various things contributing to the taste but this one simple test might help put to rest the adequate washing issue as suggested by Future. We don’t actually know how this batch was made and whether it was done from distillate or not. Looking for residual solvents is just running down one angle of the cause, not necessarily finding the true root cause.

I teach classes on how to make money in the hash industry. SPD is one way. WFE is another. For large scale THC I usually suggest a WFE followed by a SPD. At larger scale it’s a series of WFE. I help people decide which is best for their specific case. If that’s misinformation in your opinion maybe you should reconsider the definition of the word.

A WFE has much more specific vacuum requirements than SPD. If your vac levels aren’t precise on a WFE you aren’t distilling anything. SPD is much more forgiving.

That’s nice you are big scale, not everyone is. Sounds to me like you are trying to scare anyone who can’t afford a WFE from trying to make Isolate, which is either you lying or just your ignorance showing through. I’d wager there are more people here than just me who have or currently are using a SPD to crank out high quality isolate


If the isolate came from China, I can’t imagine lead tastes very good.

It’s simple to rewash the isolate over a lab pepper in a filter funnel with some 0c Pentane, just be sure to dry it in the vac oven before taste testing again

Forms of lead will not be soluable in cold pentane. I would suggest a water wash at neutal ph. If that does not work to remove lead may have to adjust ph accordingly.

I’ve always been curious as to where exactly the heavy metals are hanging out on/with Chinese based CBD, it seems that if they can be easily washed off that it would be a pretty good business venture, especially after looking at bulk isolate prices on Alibaba…

1 Like

I was going to say that maybe the temperature in your gc was too high and it was degrading completely; which I assume must happen at some temperature, but if you’re gettting a thc-a peak then I guess that couldn’t be happening. Where do you get THC-A coming out in you r chromatogram if you don’t mind me asking? do you have a standard or is it common knowledge? Also, I get that it will depend on your flow rate and many other factors so maybe it’s location relative to cbd would be more helpful? Cheers, regardless.