What is the Best Carrier Oil for CBD?
Why Are Carrier Oils Necessary?
In order to understand what makes the best carrier oil for CBD, you need to understand why companies take the time and effort to infuse CBD into oils in the first place. Why not just sell pure CBD? Pure CBD, also known as CBD isolate, forms a white powder. Not only would it be extremely difficult to measure out a serving of CBD isolate grain by grain, but more importantly, your body would be unlikely to process the majority of the CBD you take in. For this reason, CBD is often infused into oil-based solutions, where it binds with fat molecules your body is already prone to breaking down. Once the CBD is evenly distributed throughout the oil, it is possible to evenly measure consistent amounts of CBD that your body can process.
What Makes An Oil the Best Carrier Oil?
Bioavailability is the biggest concern when determining the best carrier oil. Bioavailability, in this case, refers to the proportion of CBD your body can process compared to what it takes in. CBD's bioavailability is largely determined by the types of fat molecules contained in the carrier oil. There are many different types of fat, and the way they vary on a molecular level affects how well it can transport CBD into your system. Besides bioavailability, individual differences between oils such as flavor, consistency, and cost may affect their viability as carrier oils. We will do our best cover the pros and cons of the most popular carrier oils in the CBD industry.
Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT Oil)
Coconut oil naturally excels as a carrier oil in a number of categories. Coconut Oil has little to no flavor, which makes it a great choice for making tinctures. Additionally, it is thinner than most oils, making it easy to dispense and measure. Coconut oil has natural antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. However, the best part about coconut oil is its abundance of saturated fats, particularly medium chain triglycerides (MCT). Medium chain triglycerides are smaller fat molecules which are easily absorbed by the body, directly through the liver. Fractionated coconut oil is simply just coconut oil which has had the longer fat molecules removed to isolate the medium chain triglycerides. For this reason, fractionated coconut oil is also known as MCT oil—and one of the best carrier oils for CBD.
Palm oil can also be used to make MCT oil, just like coconut oil. That is because MCT oil is a somewhat general term which refers to the type of fat molecules in an oil, not the natural source of the oil. This is an important distinction because palm oil's manufacturing process is often connected to deforestation, animal cruelty, and climate change. For this reason, we recommend MCT oil which originates from coconuts or other sustainable and eco-friendly sources.
Olive oil has a light fruity taste, which may be noticeable in some tinctures. Additionally, olive oil tends to be thicker, which may affect the measuring process. Monounsaturated fats are the premier fat molecules in olive oil, generally in the form of oleic acid. These larger fat molecules require more processing which may reduce the amount of CBD your body absorbs. However, oleic acid may help reduce inflammation. Further, olive oil is packed with antioxidants.
Similar to olive oil, avocado oil has high concentrations of oleic acid. However, it is much thicker. Avocado oil has a nutty taste and can be added to CBD oils to increase the viscosity. Avocado oil is often chosen for topical applications due to its slow drying time and abundance of vitamins A, D, & E. One downside of avocado oil is that it's one of the most expensive on this list.
Hemp Seed Oil
Although hemp seed oil may seem like it should always be the carrier oil of choice, it is a generally inefficient carrier of CBD on its own. To reach its full potential, it must be mixed with oils with higher bioavailability, such as MCT oil. That is why we add fractionated coconut oil to our full spectrum tinctures. Another thing to note is that some companies try to pass hemp seed oil as being the same as CBD oil. This is not true, so make sure you are buying a product with verified levels of CBD in it. Any reputable CBD company should clearly display the amount of CBD in their products and preferably have test results to support their claims.
Grapeseed oil is thin and has a wine-like aroma. It isn't very greasy, so grapeseed oil is often incorporated into skin and hair products. Unfortunately, grapeseed oil primarily consists of polyunsaturated fats—which doesn't make it the best carrier oil for CBD.