Carrier Oils and How They Affect CBD

The absorption rate of cannabidiol or CBD in the body ultimately determines its effectiveness. In the medical world, that technical term for this rate is bioavailability. When it comes to CBD, carrier oils play a significant role in this regard.

Understanding Carrier Oils and How They Work

Carrier oils are liquids extracted from vegetables, seeds, nuts, or kernels. These oils are used to make CBD easier to administer. Most CBD products start with the compound in isolate form. Isolate is the pure cannabidiol, but it only comes in either powder or crystals form. Administering CBD effectively and accurately in this granulated state is impossible.

In addition to preserving the potency of CBD, carrier oils also help increase the cannabinoids’ bioavailability. They do this by helping the compound bind to fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs). FABPs act as intracellular carriers for CBD and THC. These binding proteins also prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA).

Types of Carrier Oils Used In CBD

Carrier oils are inert and do not interfere with the therapeutic properties of CBD. CBD is hydrophobic and lipophilic, meaning the compound dissolves better in fat than in aqueous solutions. The best carrier oils for use with CBD are those with a high saturated fat content. MCTs oils are at the top of that list.


This is the most common carrier liquid used for pet-based hemp products(see

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) or medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are a type of fatty acid composed of a 6-to-12 carbon chain. MCFAs offer the best bioavailability for CBD. This is because the body hydrolizes and absorbs them more rapidly than any other type of fat.

Fractionated coconut oil is a distilled version of virgin coconut oil. This is one of the most popular MCT carrier oils used for CBD. The oil contains no long-chain fatty acids and is tasteless and odorless. Fractionated coconut oil, has antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. In addition, the oil helps improve cognitive function, heart health, energy, and reduces food cravings.

Fractionated coconut oil is tasteless, odorless and has a thin consistency that can dispense easily be measured accurately. The liquid does not solidify at lower temperatures but is usually more expensive than the regular version.

Palm kernel oil, another type of MCT oil, has the second highest percentage of fatty acids after coconut oil. Large scale deforestation and human rights abuses are linked to palm oil production, so its use is generally frowned upon.

Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Oil

Cold-pressing the seeds of the hemp plant produces an oil with nutritive and health-enhancing properties. This oil does not boost the bioavailability of CBD as impressively as MCTs. But, it’s an option for those who have serious allergies to coconut or do not like the oil’s scent.

Hemp seed oil contains an ideal alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to linoleic acid (LA) ratio. These fatty acids help support a healthy immune system due to their anti-inflammatory effects. Hemp seed oil is also a natural analgesic and has anti-oxidant benefits thanks to its rich Vitamin E content.

Oil made from hemp seeds has a slightly nutty flavor. The liquid is non-greasy and is great for topical use.

The majority of CBD products out there(for example, the ones shown at our main page at use either MCT oil or this type of cold-pressed hemp seed oil.

Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is an extract from the seeds of Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine. The oil has a faintly sweet smell with a touch of nuttiness. Oil made from grape seeds is rich in polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids). The body needs these for brain function and cell growth. These fatty acids also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The oil is also a good source of the fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps your skin battle free radicals and environmental factors such as sun, wind, and pollution. Oil made from grape seeds also has antiseptic properties and is a mild astringent. The oil has a lighter consistency than coconut oil. It absorbs into the skin easily without leaving any traces of greasy residue.

Polyunsaturated fats are more susceptible to oxidation and can lower the shelf life of your product.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is an extract of the plant’s fruit pulp. The oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E. The oil can nourish and moisturize the skin and relieve inflammation due to arthritis, psoriasis, and eczema. Using avocado oil can also help reduce signs of aging and improve nail and scalp health.

The oil has a mild nutty and buttery flavor. The consistency is highly viscous making it a good option for topical CBD products. The thickness, however, may make it difficult to work with. You can thin the liquid with olive oil or sweet almond oil. Avocado oil is one of the more expensive carrier oils.

Olive Oil

Olive oil comes from the pressed fruit of the olive tree. All fatty acids in olive oil are long-chain fatty acids so CBD absorption rates are low. Olive oil does, however, offer impressive health benefits.

The oil is an excellent choice for your heart and cardiovascular system as it contains 75% oleic acid. Olive oil is also a potent anti-inflammatory and may help to reduce insulin resistance. The oil has a fruity aroma and is not greasy. Unrefined extra virgin olive oil is the best choice to use as a carrier oil.

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