In the latest CBD oil news, we’re talking CBD carrier oils! Never heard of CBD carrier oils? Well, here’s the lowdown on what the best CBD carrier oils are, why carrier oil for CBD matters, different types of carrier oils for CBD, and how to choose the best CBD carrier oil for the best absorption.
What is CBD Carrier Oil?
It may come as a surprise, but the CBD oil you buy isn’t just that! Meaning? Regardless of what CBD product you buy, whether full spectrum CBD that contains small amounts of flavonoids and terpenes, or additional flavoring, there is always oil aka carrier oil involved!
CBD oil is made by extracting cannabidiol from a cannabis plant, but it is then diluted with an oil such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil, and here’s why! If you think about how much CBD oil from one plant is extracted, the answer is roughly just one pound of CBD oil.
But this single pound of CBD oil is highly concentrated, generally very thick, similar to crude oil, and infused with very potent molecules. CBD in this form is extremely strong, would probably cause irritation or other ill effects, and does not offer any health benefits.
And given that CBD is fat-soluble, hence cannot be dissolved in water, it has to be diluted in a carrier oil to make it fit for cosmetic and culinary applications. Carrier oils, also referred to as base oils are plant-based fatty vegetable oils that are derived from various parts of a plant.
Why CBD Carrier Oil Matters
Base oils are often very subtle in terms of flavor and essence and help with the absorption of the active contents of the CBD. The fact is that the resulting product following the extraction process slots in between CBD isolates or a broad-spectrum extract.
Either way, this resulting extract must be diluted with a carrier oil for three key reasons — delivery, potency, and freshness.
Delivery (Ease of Dosage)
If you consume CBD oil after its initial extraction, your body will not be able to fully consume it, owing to the high concentration of CBD. This makes it a bit tricky to alter the dosage to suit different people.
This is where carrier oil proves handy because it directly gels with the fat molecules your body is familiar with processing, which enhances absorption and bioavailability.
Water-soluble substances such as sugar, myriad different minerals and vitamins do not work the same way as fat-soluble substances, because your digestive tract directs them directly to your bloodstream, owing to the fact that blood is water-based liquid.
Contrarily, fat-soluble substances work a bit differently in that your digestive tracts them into the fatty tissues, therefore the CDB is distributed throughout your body by the lymphatic system.
When CBD compounds are mixed with a carrier oil, they can maintain both potency and stability for longer-lasting freshness over time. As an example, take a look at the coconut oil or olive oil in your kitchen, and compare it with the fruits and vegetables in your fridge. The oils stay fresh much longer because the fats oxidize at a slower rate.
Other Key Benefits of Carrier Oils
Just like essential oils, some carrier oils provide more benefits than others in terms of bioavailability, absorption, making them more desirable for use in any CBD product. For example, MCT carrier oil is regarded as the best CBD carrier oil for dogs, owing to several reasons including the ability to help heal digestive orders.
Sunflower oil, on the other hand, soothes skin irritation and works miraculously towards improving skin health. That said, here’s a list of some of the best carrier oils for CBD, and their advantages and disadvantages.
Best Types of Carrier Oil for CBD?
There is no single best carrier oil for CBD, as each one provides therapeutic benefits of its own. But here are some of the most popular CBD carrier oils, and the perk each one provides.
1. MCT Oil – Fractionated Coconut Oil
MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) fractionated coconut oil is regarded as the best CBD carrier oil, most notably because it offers several health benefits. It is processed with palm kernel or coconut oil in a lab via a process called fractionation.
MCT fractionated coconut oil serves as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, features anti-fungal and anti-bacteria benefits, and is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, C8 and C10, which metabolize quickly by the liver, resulting in a great boost in energy.
Another noteworthy reason why MCT oil tops the list of best CBD carrier oils is its lack of flavor, making it a great choice for creating flavored tinctures. Adding to this, MCT coconut carrier oil tends to stay in liquid form at cooler temperatures, and has a longer shelf life, making it easier to dispense and use.
According to leading medical publications, MCT coconut oil does promote weight loss and accelerates the release of two hormones — peptide YY and leptin, which collectively regulate body weight by reducing food intake.
MCT fractionated coconut oil is also easily absorbed and transported throughout the body, so you feel the effects of the CBD oil a whole lot quicker. It is often the preferred carrier oil choice for CBD because it enhances the CBD’s bioavailability.
Here’s how MCT carrier oil bioavailability works: when you take a vitamin orally in any form be it a capsule or tincture, its active compound goes through a delivery process. i.e., through the stomach, intestine, and liver before it reaches the bloodstream.
Along the way, some amount of the active ingredients gets lost in the process, resulting in less CBD reaching your bloodstream. But MCT carrier CBD oils move much quicker through the digestive system, as MCT oil does not need bile salts for absorption.
2. Hempseed Oil
Often referred to as hemp oil, hemp seed oil is a green colored oil that is made by cold-pressing hemp seeds of the cannabis Sativa plant. Hempseed carrier oil may have considerably low amounts of THC and offers several health benefits for skin health.
Hemp oil is rich in fatty acids and nutrients, and when used topically strengthens the skin and its emollients.
Further, this therapeutic-grade carrier oil is known to balance oil production in the skin of all types, and can even be mixed with your favorite shampoos and conditioners to protect your hair and scalp, and leave your skin strong, shinier, and healthier.
It is regarded as a versatile carrier oil, and is also beneficial for heart health, owing to its composition of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are also known to considerably improve dog skin and coat health, and may also be helpful to dogs suffering from allergic skin disease. Another interesting component of help carrier oil is vitamin D, which may help prevent osteoporosis.
Some CBD users find the aroma of hemp oil to be too strong, while others like the scent of its nutty aroma when it’s fresh. Hemp seed carrier oil is often confused with CBD oil because both products come from the same plant.
But the biggest difference between the two oils is that hempseed carrier oil is not psychoactive, whereas cannabis strains are psychoactive. Therefore, you may be disappointed if you’re using hemp oil, and expecting the same benefits as CBD oil.
3. Olive Oil
You’re probably already aware of the numerous benefits of olive oil when used as a cooking oil. But olive carrier oil offers several health benefits too, due to its high composition of antioxidants, iron, vitamin K and vitamin E.
Olive oil is also known to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, aid in blood clotting, and support proper nerve function. Olive oil is also rich in phytonutrients and is a thicker oil with a strong fruity flavor.
However, olive oil’s high nutrient density does have a downside, where it takes longer to dissolve CBD and cannabinoids. This is the reason why you will find olive oil in low potency products such as in the 20 mg/mL range or below.
Compared to hemp seed carrier oil, olive oil offers a much higher 10:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, where a healthy nutritional intake should be lower than 4:1.
The next big difference between the two oils is the taste, where olive oil offers a much milder and familiar taste, which makes it a great choice for those who can’t handle even a mild cannabis taste.
But on a brighter note, olive oil offers a longer shelf life, so if you’re going to take your CBD oils on the go or would like to store them for a longer period of time, olive oil is perhaps a better option for you.
4. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil can also be used as a CBD carrier oil and is packed with vitamins and healthy fats. This thick, edible oil is made from the avocado fruit and has a nutty aroma.
Avocado oil just like the fruit is expensive, but on a brighter note is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, minerals, and antioxidants, which work miraculously to soothe and heal your skin.
You can use avocado CBD carrier oil to calm itchy skin, hydrate and moisturize your skin, protect your skin against damage, heal chapped skin, shield skin from harmful ultraviolet radiation, replenish dry skin, and much more.
Apart from avocado’s skin healing benefits, it is high in chlorophyll and magnesium, which help detox your body from the many toxins you ingest on a daily basis.
Further, it contains organic compounds called, “pro-inflammatory cytokine molecules”, which are known to reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow throughout your body.
Avocado oil is also good for your vision, as it is rich in lutein — a protein that drastically slows down the degenerative effects of Glaucoma, and other degenerative eye diseases. When paired with cannabis, you not only reap the benefits of avocado oil but also provide your body with the terpenes and cannabinoid cannabis is known for.
5. Sunflower Oil
Often referred to as sunflower seed oil or simply sunflower oil, sunflower carrier oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the sunflower, and when used topically provides an array of benefits including facilitating the ski’s regeneration.
Sunflower carrier oil contains several chemical constituents, most notably oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid.
Linoleic acids dubbed as Omega-6 are known to soothe acne, and greatly reduce the chances of future outbreaks, moisturize hair and promote hair growth, moisture retention in skin and hair, and slow the look of aging.
Oleic acids dubbed as Omega-9 boost immunity, prevent joint inflammation, eliminate dandruff and support hair growth, and exhibit antioxidant properties. Palmitic acid is known to soften hair growth, whereas stearic acid possesses cleansing properties, softens skin, and helps products stay potent when stored over a longer period of time.
Sunflower carrier oil is also rich in vitamin A, which slows the look of wrinkles and fine lines, and prevents damage caused by overexposure to the sun. Another noteworthy benefit of sunflower carrier oil is its thin consistency, which allows it to be easily absorbed by the skin without clogging your pores.
6. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed carrier or simply grape oil, in short, is extracted from the seeds of the Vitis vinifera botanical. Even though most of the seeds are often discarded, they are claimed to be most conducive to human health.
Grapeseed carrier oil is thin, and emits a wine-like aroma, making it a preferred carrier oil for skincare products. With regards to skincare benefits, grape carrier oil tightens and tones the skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, and blemishes, protects your skin against sun damage.
Just like sunflower oil, linoleic acid palmitic acid, and stearic acid are the main chemical constituents in grapeseed oil, therefore you can expect similar benefits. However, grapeseed oil does contain a rich dose of beta-carotene, which soothes acne and burns, tightens skin, and slows the look of aging.
7. Pomegranate Seed Oil
Pomegranates are often referred to as “Nature’s Super Fruit”, so you can simply imagine the benefits the fruit’s seed provides for human health. Produced by pressing pomegranate seeds, pomegranate carrier oil promotes optimal health and is known to enhance several body systems and functions.
Pomegranate carrier oil is typically used topically in CBD skincare and massages and offers myriad benefits including accelerating collagen production, reducing the appearance of scarring, enhancing skin elasticity, and aiding with the reversal of skin damage.
Oleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid, and punicic acid are the main chemical constituents in a pomegranate carrier oil. Punicic acid soothes muscle pain, reduces inflammation, increases collagen production, and rejuvenates and strengthens the hair.
Pomegranate carrier oil also contains vitamin E, which provides soothing relief to burned skin, prevents moisture loss from your hair and skin, slows down the look of aging, and deeply cleanses pores, and balances oil production.
8. Arnica Oil
Arnica oil is derived from the arnica flower of the sunflower family and is often billed as the healing carrier oil for several good reasons. For starters, arnica oil possesses anti-inflammatory soothing and healing properties and is known to reduce pain and swelling.
In fact, arnica oil has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions including bruises, arthritis, insect bites, dislocated shoulders, muscular strains, torn ligaments, and much more.
CBD and arnica carrier oil when mixed together targets discomforts and irritations to provide quick relief. It is also used by massage therapists to loosen tight muscles.
Organic vs. Non-Organic CBD Oil
When deciding on the best CBD carrier oil for your lifestyle, you’ll come across two common CBD oil types — organic and non-organic. But the big question is have you ever come across non-organic CBD oil? Probably not, because most if not all CBD oil manufacturers wear the organic badge with pride.
Should you settle for non-organic CBD oil, even though it costs less? Well, that’s a personal preference, but here’s the difference between organic and non-organic CBD oil. Most modern consumers often steer towards organic products, and for several good reasons.
Similar to organic fruits and vegetables that you would but at your local grocery store, organic CBD oils are is created to a much higher standard than non-organic CBD oils. The USDA states that in order for crops and products to be certified organic, they must meet criteria such as:
- Soil the crops are growing on must not contain certain pesticides for three years before growing
- The soil must be maintained via natural ground tilling and naturally-sourced fertilizers
- Not established from genetically engineered seeds
- No synthetic additives should be added to the soil to boost growth
While the “Organic” label by the USDA has been around for ages, it has only been applied to CBD-grade hemp recently in 2018.