Carrier Oils and CBD: do they matter?

CBD oils can be made with MCT oil, hemp seeds, avocado, olive oil, and more. What is the difference? Is vegetable oil important? We explore this topic in depth.

IF you look at the label of your CBD oil, you will 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 glycerin.

These oils have an important purpose - to help diffuse the active component - in our case, CBD - in 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 its own. own set of positives and negatives.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about the vegetable oil selection process. We cover MCT, olive, hemp seed, grapeseed, and glycerin oils - including the pros and cons of each.

So let's get started.

What is a carrier oil?

As its name suggests, a "  carrier oil  " sup - door CBD and other phytochemicals. It is a simple solution. The carrier oil acts as a solvent to dissolve the compounds in the hemp plant to make them easier to use.

This concept is not unique to CBD products. This same concept applies when making Kool-aid by dissolving the flavored powder in water, or when making soapy water for washing dishes.

The only difference lies in the fact that we use here a body of fat instead of water. This is because cannabinoids are soluble in oils and fats rather than in water.

What are the benefits of adding carrier oils to CBD?

There are three main reasons that carrier oils are used. Let's take a look at each of them in more detail.

1. Carrier oils enhance absorption of CBD

One of the main reasons CBD oil makers dilute hemp extracts like CBD in a vegetable oil relates to better absorption in the gut. This works considering that CBD is a fat-soluble substance.

This is important since the body offers two distinct pathways for absorbing compounds into the body - a water-soluble pathway and a fat-soluble pathway. All of this 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 into the water-based blood through the intestinal wall. From here they are transported through the body. In the diagram above, the water-soluble substances enter the red part below the surface (the blood).

However, fat-soluble substances - like CBD - cannot go directly into the blood. They must first be packaged into tiny droplets called micelles. These micelles then enter adipose lymphatic tissue - a network of compounds made up of fat and immune cells. They then travel up through the lymph to the body, then enter the bloodstream directly above the heart. In the diagram above, the lymph corresponds to the green tubes (called lactates). These pints of milk carry CBD (and other cannabinoids) to the lymphatic system.

Absorbing fat 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 ingest fat, the taste receptors in our mouths send signals to the digestive tract to prepare these enzymes.

When we take CBD along with other fats, it helps prepare the body for this - signaling the rest of the body to prepare for fat absorption - which effectively increases the amount of CBD that the body has. the body can absorb.

2. Carrier oils facilitate dose measurement

The difference between 5mg and 50mg of pure CBD crystals is tiny - 50mg of this highly refined source of CBD is roughly the size of a match head.

To get precise doses like 7.5 mg, you need a precision scale and it is not possible to proceed with precision with the naked eye. We need special equipment for this, which just isn't realistic for most CBD users.

The solution is to first dilute the CBD crystals in vegetable oil in a predictable amount - like 100 mg, 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1000 mg of CBD per vial, as you will find on most CBD oils.

From there, the larger volume of oil containing dissolved CBD is much easier to measure. The same 50 mg dose can be measured by counting the drops of oil or measuring the liquid in a measuring spoon. It makes the dosage of CBD significantly more precise and consistent.

3. Mineral oils may offer other health benefits

Many vegetable oils provide their own health benefits.

For example, coconut oil is widely recognized for its antibacterial and antifungal properties and may help raise HDL cholesterol (the "  good  " cholesterol) .

Olive oil is said to reduce the risk of heart disease in other ways.

Other carrier oils offer antioxidant benefits, provide the body with a small amount of energy, and also offer beneficial omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Of course, most of these benefits would require relatively larger amounts of carrier oil. Effective doses of these fats usually start around 10 mL and above.

The dose of CBD oil can vary from 1 to 10 mL depending on the potency of the oil.

Regular carrier oils and CBD

Different brands of CBD use different carrier oils, and some even mix multiple carrier oils in the same product for a unique blend.

By far the most common carrier oil used to make hemp oils is TCM (“ Medium Chain Triglycerides ”) oil - but there are several possible carrier oil choices for CBD.

1. Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil (MCT)

Fat molecules produced in nature normally occur in groups of three, called triglycerides.

Essentially, a triglyceride is a combination of three fatty acids of different lengths (short, medium, and long-chain fats) with a sweet glyceride center joint holding them all together. This is how fats are found in plants and animals.

The length of fatty acid chains is determined by the number of carbon atoms they are made of:

  • Short-chain fatty acids - 2 to 5 carbon atoms
  • Medium-chain fatty acids - 6 to 12 carbon atoms
  • Long-chain fatty acids - 13 or more carbon atoms
  • MCT oil is derived from coconut or palm oil which is naturally rich in triglycerides of medium-chain fatty acids like caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10 ), and lauric acid (C12).

    Medium-chain fatty acids are considered best for CBD oils because their shorter structure allows them to be absorbed immediately through the digestive tract rather than having to be broken down into smaller pieces first - this which would mean a much slower absorption rate.

    Short-chain fatty acids are unwanted because they serve as the primary food source for the bacteria that live in the gut - which means they are quickly consumed by our bacteria before the body can absorb them.

    TCM oils are ideal for CBD oils and are exceptionally inexpensive due to the abundance of coconut, soy, and palm oils available on the market.

    Advantages and disadvantages of TCM oil


    • A source of inexpensive vegetable oils
    • Has high solubility - resulting in high potency CBD oils.
    • Absorbed quickly and efficiently through the digestive tract


    • Does not contain other phytochemicals or antioxidants offered by other carrier oils.
    • Offers little or no flavor
    • It often happens that they are highly transformed

    2. Hemp seed oil

    Not to be confused with hemp oil which is extracted from hemp flowers and used to make full-spectrum hemp extracts and CBD isolates. Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the hemp. There are hardly any cannabinoids or terpenes in these oils.

    Although hemp seeds do not contain cannabinoids, research suggests that it is possible that hemp oil contains traces of cannabinoids due to the seeds coming into contact with resin oil secreted by hemp flowers. Since we're adding the cannabinoids to the mix anyway to make hemp oil, that's not a big concern.

    Many experts claim that producing CBD oils from hemp seed oil can further enhance the entourage effect due to the presence of other phytochemicals produced by hemp that may not be found in it. the extract made from the leaves and flowers.

    Hemp seed oil is popular as a health supplement on its own. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids - which are widely known for their benefits on the brain, joints, skin, and immune tissue. The oil even has an ideal 4: 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.

    You will typically find this oil in high-end CBD oils marketed as full-spectrum, aimed at taking advantage of the entourage effect where possible.

    Advantages and disadvantages of hemp seed oil


    • Ideal 4: 1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids
    • Provides a rich source of phytochemicals from hemp that are not found in leaves and flowers
    • Adds a unique herbaceous flavor  


    • May not be suitable for ultra-high potency CBD oils due to lower solvency than TCM oil
    • More expensive than TCM oil.  

    3. Grape seed oil

    As the name suggests, the grapeseed oil is extracted from grape seeds. This oil has a slightly fruity flavor and a high content of unsaturated fats. It is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which give it additional benefits when used as a carrier oil .

    Grapeseed oil contains compounds like tocopherol, linolenic acid, resveratrol, quercetin, procyanidins, carotenoids, phytosterols as well as various short, medium, and long-chain triglycerides. The most abundant fatty acids in the mixture are oleic acid, which is made up of about 18 carbons - making it a long-chain fatty acid.

    Grapeseed oil is less common than hemp seed oil or TCM oil, but it's still a great carrier oil. It exhibits high solubility, a subtle fruity flavor, and a relatively fast absorption rate.

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