If you’re new to CBD, it’s understandable why you may be confused by why no product is 100% CBD oil. This is because, at minimum, it must have a carrier oil.
As its name suggests, a carrier oil is a plant or nut oil that is used to dilute and “carry” a compound into the skin or bloodstream. Carrier oils are an important component of CBD products because they help dissolve cannabinoid molecules, allowing the body to absorb the benefits of CBD and other ingredients.
The choice of carrier oils themselves influences the CBD elixir, from its CBD absorption levels to its thickness, flavors, and secondary benefits. They also impact the level of CBD absorption. Most importantly, some common CBD carrier oils are derived from plants that can cause allergic reactions for some individuals.
In this guide, we’ll highlight frequently used CBD Carrier Oils and the pros and cons of each.
Common Carrier Oils for CBD
Hemp seed oil
High in omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to lowering inflammation, hemp seed oil is a common ingredient in CBD products. Often confused with CBD, hemp seed oil also comes from the hemp plant but has very little to no amount of terpenes and cannabinoids – aka the good stuff.
Hemp seed oil is one of the best carrier oils for CBD products due to the “entourage effect” especially when combined with full-spectrum CBD. The entourage effect refers to the synergistic benefit when all the compounds found in the hemp plant are combined, making full-spectrum CBD more potent and effective than other options.
Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil has a very light consistency, making it a useful carrier oil for CBD-infused skin products. High in vitamin E and antioxidants, grape seed oil is a very healthy oil. Despite its natural health benefits, it is not the best carrier oil for CBD because it lacks saturated fat which negatively affects its bioavailability. In other words, your body doesn’t absorb as much CBD as with other carrier oils. If you are planning to use grape seed oil, it’s best suited for topical CBD use or as a secondary ingredient in addition to a primary carrier oil (as seen in our Vitamin C + CBD Elixir).
As one of the most common carrier oils for CBD products, MCT oil, or medium-chain triglycerides,is a type of fatty acid that your body can quickly absorb because it does not have to break down via digestion before sending it off to the lymph system. MCT oil is usually made from palm kernel or coconut oil and is easily absorbed through the skin. MCT oil has no flavor, so it will not distort the CBD taste, making it a good option for ingestible products. Be aware that MCT oil may negatively interact with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and is not recommended for people with liver disease.
Easily absorbed by your skin and digestive tract, avocado oil has a variety of uses including being a common carrier oil for CBD topical and ingestible products. Rich in vitamins A, B, D, and E, avocado oil is an ideal carrier oil, but is also one of the pricier options.
Keep in mind that this oil has one of the higher allergy possibilities. It’s always a good idea to test a carrier oil on a small patch of skin.
Coconut oil is one of the best carrier oils for CBD because it has high solubility and bioavailability; aka it dissolves quickly and is absorbed easily. Coconut oil has been used for centuries as a moisturizing oil for the skin, with natural antimicrobial properties and high levels of lauric acid content, which is a natural fatty acid.
Probably the most well-known oil, olive oil is high in iron, vitamin K, and vitamin E, as well as rich in antioxidants. This carrier oil is by far the most researched out of all oils and has numerous health benefits, however, when it comes to CBD, it is not the best carrier oil. With its thick consistency and unique taste, it is not the chosen oil included in most CBD products. Olive oil also has lower solvency than other options, meaning that it can’t hold as much CBD as other options, so you should probably just save this oil for cooking! If you see it on the list of ingredients for an elixir, treat it as a sign that this is a subpar CBD oil you should avoid.
How important is choosing the right carrier oil
Some Carrier Oils Provide Added Health Benefits
Not only do carrier oils assist in the absorption of CBD, but many of them add enriching vitamins and health benefits, such as hemp seed and grape seed oil. This is something to keep in mind when comparing to carrier oils that lack vitamins such as MCT oil.
Bioavailability and potency
One key reason for using a carrier oil is because it improves bioavailability, which means it helps your body absorb CBD molecules. Bioavailability refers to how much CBD you are obtaining from a product and how quickly it enters your bloodstream. Carrier oils can also preserve the potency and freshness of your CBD by reducing its exposure to oxygen, helping to prevent it from going bad sooner.
Taste and consistency
Depending on if you are taking CBD orally or using a topical application, using a carrier oil will also impact the taste and consistency of the CBD. For example, if applied to your skin, grape seed oil has a much lighter consistency than olive oil and will likely feel better to use as a carrier oil.
New to CBD oil in general? We explain what flavor to expect in What Does CBD Oil Taste Like?
Beware of allergies
In general, carrier oils make it less likely to have an allergic reaction to the CBD or essential oils in products. Be mindful of any allergies you may have such as a nut or fruit allergy when choosing which carrier oil is right for you. It is always a good idea to do a test run on a small patch of skin before slathering on any new skincare product.
Shop Botanika Life for CBD With a Hemp Seed Oil Carrier
Why we chose hemp seed oil as our carrier
The high quality and naturally healing characteristics of hemp seed oil make it the obvious best choice as a carrier oil for CBD products. Hemp seed oil is known for being rich in omegas, amino acids, nutrients, and minerals, contributing to its ability to help reduce inflammation, calm, and hydrate skin, boost digestive issues, and more. As one of the easiest oils to digest, hemp seed oil is ideal for CBD ingestible products and also has a gentle, pleasant texture for topical use.
All plant-based ingredients are organically-grown
Botanika Life products are made from plant-based ingredients and organically grown hemp. Always vegan and never tested on animals, you can rest assured that you are using top-quality products for all of your CBD needs.
After cannabis plants are harvested and dried, they undergo processing to extract CBD. Full-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD that contains all the beneficial compounds naturally found in the cannabis plant including terpenes, cannabinoids, and trace levels of THC. This combination creates what is called the “entourage effect”, making full-spectrum CBD the most potent and effective option. Botanika Life uses CBD that is sourced from pesticide-free, organically-grown hemp, thus making it an ideal choice for your holistic health needs.
By Emily Wegener
With a unique background as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Masters Degree in Teaching and experience in Psychology, Emily spends much of her time researching and trying out new holistic healing modalities.