When shopping for CBD oil, you might bump into bottles that contain MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or another type of oil listed on the label. While it’s easy to think that CBD oil is pure CBD, this is usually not the case. CBD is diluted in a carrier oil to enhance its bioavailability and fuel our endocannabinoid system.
So what is a carrier oil? Also known as a base oil, a carrier oil is a plant-derived oil that is used to carry essential oils and plant supplements like CBD. Carrier oils are often mild in scent and flavor and have their own benefits. Using carrier oil enables our bodies to fully absorb the CBD compounds.
Why Do You Need Carrier Oils?
Adding carrier oils to CBD provides the following advantages:
They make CBD oils bioavailable - As mentioned earlier, carrier oils allow our bodies to easily absorb CBD. Extracted CBD is highly concentrated and generally has a thick, waxy texture, so it needs to be diluted. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to fully process the CBD compounds and feel the calming and balancing effects they’re known to provide.
They provide versatile methods of ingestion - Carrier oils provide a variety of ways to absorb CBD. Since everyone’s bodies are different, using carrier oils creates different CBD products that can help you find an administration method that works for you. For example, adding MCT or hemp seed oils to CBD creates products that can be taken sublingually. Meanwhile, combining vegetable glycerin with CBD creates a product that can be vaporized, used under the tongue, or mixed in drinks.
They help easily measure CBD servings - Even in tiny amounts, CBD extract is highly potent. And since the extract is in powder or crystallized form, measuring CBD servings can’t be done with the naked eye and requires special tools. But by combining CBD extract with a carrier oil, it becomes practical and easier to measure serving sizes; you can do so by counting drops of oil or by using a measuring spoon.
How Do Carrier Oils Work?
After the CBD is extracted from the hemp plant using CO2 extraction, the extract is blended with a carrier oil. CBD is known to be lipophilic, so when CBD is combined with a plant-based oil, it directly binds with the fat molecules your body is familiar with processing.
What Are Different Types of Carrier Oils?
The common types of carrier oils used with CBD are:
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) carrier oil - High in fat-soluble compounds, MCT oil is a palm-derived oil. It’s easily absorbed and metabolized by the body and carries valuable properties that support brain health and fat-burning. MCT oil is tasteless, odorless, and colorless.
Hemp seed carrier oil - This oil is extracted from hemp seeds. Containing the complete Omega-chain, along with minerals like potassium and magnesium, hemp seed oil is full of nutrition. It has an earthy scent and a nutty flavor.
Vegetable glycerin - Also referred to as vegetable glycerol, this is a liquid derived from palm, soybean, or coconut oils. Vegetable glycerin is known to promote good skin and boost hydration. It's clear and odorless and has a mild, sweet flavor.
Coconut carrier oil - Extracted from mature coconuts, this oil comes in two kinds: refined and unrefined. Refined coconut oil comes from dried copra, or dried coconut meat, and does not carry any distinct coconut flavor or scent. It’s usually processed with chemicals to remove contaminants and its flavor/scent. Unrefined coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat; it’s not processed at all, which means it carries its natural coconut taste and smell. Because it’s all-natural, unrefined coconut oil is generally preferred as a carrier oil over refined coconut oil.
Jojoba carrier oil - This is an oil that comes from the seeds of the jojoba plant. Jojoba oil is technically not an oil but a liquid wax known to soothe skin with its anti-inflammatory properties. It has a nutty fragrance and just like CBD oils, jojoba oils are known to be used in massage oils.
Castor carrier oil - Made from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, also known as the castor bean plant, castor oil has a negative reputation of being an “old wives’ ” oil, or an oil you were force-fed by spoon as a kid to ward off illness. So it might have you wondering, “Is castor oil a carrier oil?” Yes, castor oil is a versatile oil that can be diluted in supplements. With strong levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, it’s known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Castor oil is commonly used in hair and skin products.
Learn More about Our CBD Oils
Understanding carrier oils is important in learning what your CBD oil is made up of and what you’re actually putting into your body. Knowing the kind of role other ingredients have in your diet and your overall experience of CBD can help you make educated decisions.