What are carrier oils in CBD? Does it matter in picking the best tinctures or topicals?

What is a Carrier Oil for CBD? Does it matter in picking the best Tincture or Topical?

Patrick VandiverJul 14, '208 comments

What are Carrier Oils?

Carrier Oils are aptly named.  These are oils that carry essential oils into the body for absorption and some work better in different applications than others!

With essential oils, a carrier oil is needed because typically the essential oils are so concentrated that they have potential to make consumers sick or irritate and damage the skin.  In these cases the carrier oil is used to dilute the essential oil and keep it in the "mix" without evaporating.

With CBD, carrier oils are even more important!  These carrier oils are responsible for retaining the potency of the extract while carrying the cannabinoids through the body to CB1 and CB2 receptors found mostly in the nervous system. 

Without the assistance of a carrier oil, your body would be unable to fully process the CBD consumed. When CBD is combined with a carrier oil (always a fatty plant-based oil), it directly binds with the fat molecules that your body is already used to processing This helps to strengthen the product's absorption as well as its bioavailability.  CBD is a lipophilic substance, so it emulsifies well with other oils. 

Picking the right carrier oil for each type of product is what you hope your favorite CBD company would do.  But there's a lot of choices with benefits of each and drawbacks to many.  If a company is too cheap to use the best ingredients, you may be the one to suffer.

Simply put...As a consumer, you probably haven't put too much thought into what carrier oil is used in your CBD products...but you should!

So with all that, what is the Best Carrier Oils for CBD? Here's our top picks!

1. MCT (Fractionated Coconut Oil) is recommended for Oral Application of CBD.

MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides.  There are different types of MCT, but the most popular is Fractionated Coconut Oil.  This is widely thought to be the best carrier oil for oral consumption of cannabidiol.  Because of the shorter length of triglycerides, the body has an easier time absorbing the oil, making for a higher bioavailability of cannabinoids.

In addition to the idea that MCT is a better retainer of potency and faster-absorbing and more efficient, there are tons of potential benefits to using fractionated coconut oil.  These benefits include, but are not limited to, weight loss and energy!

To best get the CBD and other Cannabinoids to carried into the the body, a carrier oil is needed. The extracted oil is blended with a MCT (Fractionated Coconut Oil) carrier oil. Fractionated Coconut Oil is thought to be an excellent carrier for the extracted CBD; it is flavorless and quickly absorbs into the body because, as its name implies, it is Medium-Chain Triglycerides, which are quickly absorbed directly into the portal circulation and transported to the liver for rapid oxidation.

Pro Tip- Keeping your CBD Tincture under your tongue for up to 5 minutes before swallowing achieves significantly higher absorption levels compared with immediately swallowing the oil.

Related: The Best CBD Tinctures using MCT Oil as a Carrier Oil.

Grape Seed Oil is the best Carrier Oil for CBD Topicals:

One of the best oils for skin is grape seed oil.  Its benefits are thought to be everything from treating acne outbreaks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Along with grape seed oil's outstanding benefits for the consumer alone, when used as a carrier oil for CBD, it is perfect for skin absorption.  It is a less greasy oil and therefore, preferred in massage oils.  For this reason, many people prefer CBD Topicals using grape seed oil. 

Related: Topicals using grapeseed oil are popular at Revive CBD in Littleton, CO.


Despite what you'd think, Hemp Seed Oil is not the best option as a CBD carrier oil!

Many people gravitate to hemp seed oil as a carrier oil because it is thought to be close to the source.  And while there may be truth to this, there are definite drawbacks:

Hemp Seed Oil is bitter.  Some people love the taste.  But those people are few and far between!  Hemp seed oil is an acquired taste.

Hemp Seed Oil is NOT the same as Hemp Oil or a Hemp CBD tincture.  Still, many dubious companies market this as the same.

Hemp Seed Oil is NOT the best retainer of potency.  That spot goes to MCT (see above).

Still, Hemp Seed Oil is a decent carrier oil and is sometimes used in CBD Tinctures. We just wouldn't pick it if we had a choice!


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