What are Carrier Oils?

You’ve probably seen the term carrier oils used when purchasing and researching CBD. But, what are carrier oils? The simple explanation is a carrier oil is one that is used as a base to mix CBD oil, essential oils and terpenes with to make the combination of ingredients a cohesive emulsion. The other purpose is to dilute topical essential oils to prevent skin irritation.

Common Carrier Oils

You might notice that there are a few carrier oils that are used by most companies. Coconut oil is quite popular, followed by MCT oil and olive oil. Hemp seed oil and grapeseed oil are used by some companies, but since they cost considerably more they’re more likely to be seen in combination with other carrier oils.

Common carrier oils:

  • Olive oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • MCT oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil

Hemp seed oil, when used, is often combined with another carrier oil due to its richness and expensive nature. Olive oil is all that common, also due to its price. CBD oil manufacturers do their best to source quality ingredients that will also keep the price of the product reasonable for consumers.

MCT oil and coconut oil are the most common carrier oils used.

What is MCT Oil?

MCT oil is short for medium-chain triglyceride oil. The majority of MCT oils today are extracted from coconuts and other natural sources like palm kernels. It’s noted that over 50% of coconut oil’s fat is from medium-chain triglycerides. Palm oil and some dairy products also contain MCTs.

MCT oil is one of the most common, if not the most common, carrier oil used in CBD and cannabis oil preparations.

Other than the ease of use and wide availability of MCT oil, there are several other reasons that CBD and cannabis oil manufacturers prefer this oil. It’s a healthy oil that science continues to support.

Some of the science-backed potential benefits of MCT oil include:

  • 10% less calories than long-chain triglycerides
  • Instant source of energy
  • Fuels the brain
  • May benefit a ketogenic diet
  • It’s a better fat option for those on a cardiovascular health diet

Another benefit of MCT oil is that its flavor is very mild, so it’s rather easy to use in a multitude of applications.

Living Matrix uses MCT oil as our carrier oil of choice.

Carrier Oils to Avoid

While carrier oils help the delivery of CBD through various formulas for tinctures, vape and some topicals, not all carrier oils are ideal. If you notice vegetable glycerin listed as an ingredient, make sure that the manufacturer is using a food-grade version. This carrier oil can be hard to digest and may not agree with all bodies. It’s hard to digest.

One benefit of vegetable glycerin being in a carrier oil blend is that it helps protect the CBD during heated applications such as cooking or baking. It’s just not an ideal oil to have as the base carrier oil.

Manufactured oils are another one of the carrier oils to avoid. These oils may not contain all natural or organic ingredients. It’s also hard to know how these will perform raw in the body since most CBD applications are not cooked and are ingested as they are.

Closing Thoughts

It is important to review product descriptions to see which carrier oil a CBD manufacturer uses. The ideal carrier oils are MCT oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil and coconut oil. These are healthier, easier to digest oils that have accepted benefits of their own. They also work well with the natural flavor of the CBD oil.