CBD oils can be made with MCT, hemp seed, avocado, olive oil, and more. What’s the difference? Does the carrier oil matter? We explore this topic in-depth. What is the best carrier oil for CBD? What is a carrier oil anyways? Everything you need to know about the best carrier oil for CBD.
What’s in Your CBD Oil? Why Carrier Oil Matters
CBD oils can be made with MCT, hemp seed, avocado, olive oil, and more. What’s the difference? Does the carrier oil matter? We explore this topic in-depth.
If you look at the label of your CBD oil, you’ll see that it contains more than just hemp extract.
As the name suggests, CBD oils also include an oil — which is usually some form of vegetable oil or vegetable glycerine.
These oils serve an important purpose — to help deliver the active component — in our case, CBD — to the body.
There are many different carrier oils used in CBD products — coconut, MCT, palm, olive, avocado, hemp seed, sesame, and grape seed oil — each with their own set of positives and negatives.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about carrier oil selection. We cover MCT, olive, hemp seed, grape seed, and glycerine — including the pros and cons of each.
So let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 1. Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil
- Pros & Cons of Hemp Seed Oil
- Pros & Cons of Grape Seed Oil
What is a Carrier Oil?
As the name implies, a “carrier oil” carries the CBD and other phytochemicals. It’s a simple solution. The carrier oil acts as a solvent to dissolve the compounds of the hemp plant to make them easier to use.
This concept isn’t unique to CBD products. The same concept applies when making Kool-aid by dissolving the flavored powder into water, or when making soapy water to wash the dishes.
The only difference here is that a fat is used instead of water. This is because cannabinoids are soluble in oils and fats instead of water.
What Are the Benefits of Adding Carrier Oils to CBD?
There are three main reasons carrier oils are used. Let’s cover each one in more detail.
1. Carrier Oils Enhance CBD Absorption
One of the main reasons CBD oil manufacturers dilute hemp extracts like CBD in a carrier oil is to improve absorption in the gut. This works because CBD is a fat-soluble substance.
This is important because the body has two separate pathways for absorbing compounds into the body — a water-soluble pathway and a fat-soluble pathway. This all happens at the working unit of the intestinal tract known as the microvilli (pictured below).
Water-soluble compounds like most amino acids, sugars, and minerals can travel directly through the gut lining into the water-based blood. From here, they’re transported around the body. In the diagram above, water-soluble substances enter the red portion under the surface (the blood).
Fat-soluble substances on the other hand — like CBD — can’t go directly into the bloodstream. They first need to get packaged up into tiny droplets called micelles. These micelles then enter the fatty lymph tissue — a network of fat-based compounds and immune cells. They then travel up the body through the lymph, eventually entering the bloodstream directly above the heart. In the diagram above, the lymph is the green tubes (called lacteals). These lacteals carry the CBD (and other cannabinoids) to the lymphatic system.
Absorbing fats in this way requires a series of enzymes in the digestive tract to prepare the fat molecules for absorption by breaking them down and turning them into micelles. When we eat fats, taste receptors in our mouth send signals to the digestive tract to get these enzymes ready.
When we take CBD alongside other fats, it helps prime the body for this effect — signaling the rest of the body to prepare for fat absorption — which effectively increases the amount of CBD the body can absorb.
2. Carrier Oils Make Measuring Doses Easier
The difference between 5 mg and 50 mg of pure CBD crystals is minuscule — 50 mg of this highly-refined source of CBD is about the size of a match head.
Getting precise doses like 7.5 mg requires a precision scale and can’t be done accurately with the naked eye. We need special equipment for this, which simply isn’t realistic for most CBD users.
The solution is to first dilute the CBD crystals into a carrier oil at a predictable amount — such as 100 mg, 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1000 mg CBD per bottle like you’ll find listed on most CBD oils.
From here, the larger volume of the oil with CBD dissolved is much easier to measure. The same 50 mg dose can be measured by counting the drops of oil or measuring the fluid in a measuring spoon. It makes dosing CBD significantly more accurate and consistent.
What is the Best Carrier Oil for CBD? The 7 Best CBD Carrier Oils
A carrier oil, also known as a base oil, is a plant-derived oil which is used to carry essential oils and plant supplements. Base oils are necessary since essential oils tend to be very strong and would otherwise cause an irritation without a base oil. Supplements such as CBD, absorb better with the help of carrier oil. Base oils are also used to infuse plants and plant compounds with food. Carrier oils are fatty vegetable oils which are derived from various parts of the plant. These oils are often very mild in terms of both flavor and essence. Base oils work to aid the absorption of the plant extracts that they are mixed with while providing therapeutic benefits of their own.
Similar to essential oils, each carrier oil has it’s own unique properties and benefits. Some base oils also provide great bioavailability and absorb better than others. For example, coconut MCT oil is the perfect base oil for making your own tincture. Arnica oi, on the other hand, is better used to treat localized aches and pains.
What are the best carrier oils for CBD
1. MCT Oil (Unrefined)
Unrefined coconut MCT oil is widely considered one of the best carrier oils around. This is because MCT oil absorbs better than most while providing greater CBD bioavailability. MCT Oil seems to come with a few remarkable benefits of its own.
- Anti-Bacterial Properties
- Cognitive Enhancer
- Packed with essential fatty acids
- Skin Health
The difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil is stark, so be sure to look for unrefined coconut MCT oil. Unrefined coconut MCT oil comes from the meat of fresh coconuts and doesn’t undergo chemical processing.
2. Hemp Seed Oil
Like Hemp Seeds, hemp seed oil is considered a superfood in part because it is packed with essential fatty acids. This hemp-based oil is linked to a variety of health benefits such as
- Reduced inflammation
- Brain protectant
- Reduced risk of heart disease
Hemp seed oil is packed with benefits and works well as a carrier oil. You might consider using hemp seed oil for projects involving balms and pastes.
3. Sunflower Oil
Organic sunflower oil is loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals. Sunflower oil is inexpensive and worthy of consideration for any DIY CBD project. Similar to coconut MCT oil, sunflower oil provides benefits of its own:
- Skin Health
- Anti-Oxidant Booster
- Promotes the regeneration of new skin
- Soothes skin irritation
Sunflower oil is a healthy alternative to traditional cooking oils and is eco-friendly too! This oil works as a great carrier oil for CBD but also works effectively with most essential oils.
4. Avocado Oil
Avocado lovers rejoice! Your favorite food makes a great carrier oil as well. As a base oil, Avocado oil isn’t as effective as MCT oil, but it is packed benefits. If you love healthy fats you probably have some level of avocado addiction – for good reason too. Avocado oil provides:
- High Vitamin A, B, D, and E content
- Skin Nourishment
- Rich in Oleic acid – a healthy fat
- High in Lutein
Organic avocado oil promotes the absorption of nutrients into the skin and is the perfect carrier oil when making your own CBD skin products. Avocado oil, which is loaded with healthy fats, continually works to keep your body running optimally.
5. Grapeseed Oil
Grapes are well-known for their anti-oxidant properties. Not surprisingly, grapeseed oil is loaded with these same anti-oxidants. Unlike Avocado oil, Grapeseed oil is very light and feels smoother on the skin. Grapeseed oil works great when used as the base for massage oil.
- May reduce Wrinkles
- Great for dry or irritated skin
- High in Vitamin E
Make a CBD massage oil? Consider using grapeseed oil as your base and adding additional essential oils for fragrance and effect.
6. Pomegranate Seed Oil
Pomegranate seed oil is one of the most therapeutic carrier oils available. Loaded with vitamins and essential fats, pomegranate seed oil is packed with remarkable benefits.
- Immune Boost
- Heart Health Benefits
- Punicic acid found in pomegranate seed oil is linked to preventing cancer
- Healthy Hormone Optimizer
- Promotes digestive health
- May improve cognitive functions
- And More!
The list of benefits associated with pomegranate oil is endless. Pomegranate oil is a favorite carrier oil for skin care products. With all its other benefits, pomegranate seed oil is an ideal choice for a base oil. Consider adding CBD to the mix and take your skin care routine to the next level.
7. Arnica Oil
Arnica is linked by research to anti-inflammatory properties and is a popular alternative for treating sprains, muscle soreness, and bruises. This powerful flower is attributed to aiding with:
- Aches and Pains
- Sprains and Muscle Soreness
- Heals insect Bites
This potent base oil requires you pay a bit more attention. In high, concentrated dosages Arnica can be toxic. If used correctly, however, when combined with CBD arnica can act as a phenomenal pain-aid that provides powerful natural relief.
More With CBD
With a better understanding of carrier oils under your belt, you are now ready to tackle your own CBD projects. Below we’ve included three posts that highlight our favorite DIY CBD projects.
- Interested in making your own CBD oil tincture? Check out our DIY CBD projects post with a complete breakdown.
- Check out our post on how to Infuse CBD Isolate. This is great for anyone who wants to cook with CBD.
- Here we explain how to use CBD oil in our complete guide to CBD oil.
Instead of overpaying for CBD infused products, make your own CBD infused treats with our CBD isolate and your choice of carrier oil. Pure CBD isolate powder is the most versatile CBD product available. Any CBD product you can imagine is made by infusing pure CBD isolate powder with the carrier oil of your choice. From CBD vape juice to CBD guacamole the possibilities are endless. Not every brand is willing to sell CBD isolate, this is because you can make so many CBD infused creations out of CBD isolate. While other brands may be wary, at Bloom, we always have CBD isolate for sale online.
Finally, are you looking for more information about Hemp and CBD? Be sure to follow us on social media @bloomhemp or check out our CBD 101 Guide!