At this point you should’ve made it through our CBD introductory guide (if not, that’s a great starting point) and be well on your way to becoming a bona fide CBD expert. The next step? Learning about CBD carrier oils.
During your CBD journey, whether just by doing some amateur detective work when reading , or just by taking CBD products yourself, you've realised that what you get isn't just pure CBD in most cases.
Some CBD oils or CBD sprays contain added flavours to make them more palatable. Other times, you get additional terpenes and flavonoids to replicate the natural hemp plant make-up. But these additives don't even explain the one staring us in the face — CBD oil.
You might assume that the liquid you're taking is an oil derived from the hemp plant. However, most CBD oils consist of an additional carrier oil that makes it easier for you to consume your daily dose of CBD. Time to dive in and learn more about this essential CBD ingredient!
What is a carrier oil?
Carrier oils dilute another natural oil or substance to make the latter easier for your body to ingest. But, we don't just use carrier oils to make CBD comfortably digestible. For example, many essential oils require a carrier for safe application to the skin. Otherwise, they can cause epidermal irritation.
No matter what the use, most carrier oils share common properties. They have a light scent or flavour. More importantly, though, they don't interfere with your body's ability to absorb the substance that’s been mixed into your carrier oil—if anything, they make it easier!
For the best results, try selecting as pure of a carrier oil as possible. If you're going to mix it with CBD drops or spray that you'll take orally, choose an organic or cold-pressed option.
Why does CBD need a carrier oil?
Hemp plants go through one of several extraction processes to separate out CBD for our intake. The resulting CBD will come in a variety of colors. CBD isolate is a white powdery substance. Meanwhile, broad spectrum CBD appears brown or dark green — which makes sense, considering it contains more parts of the hemp plant.
There are, of course, differences between CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD. But either base will require you to use a carrier oil for three main reasons.
1. It makes dosage a breeze
Whether you choose CBD drops or a CBD spray, you’ll always want to keep track of how much cannabidiol you're taking each day. A carrier oil makes it easier for you to ingest just the right amount.
When we extract CBD from hemp plants, it has a very high concentration of CBD. You don't want to take this much at once, so a carrier oil helps to dilute it. Once it's diluted, it's easier for you to measure how much you take daily.
2. Carrier oils boost bioavailability
Your body has an easier time processing CBD if it comes mixed in a carrier oil. The hemp-derived compounds bind with the oil's fat molecules, and we have natural internal processes that know how to break down that fat.
With the right carrier oil, hemp has a higher bioavailability. This term just means your body can process more CBD when it's attached to fat molecules.
3. It's easier to take
The last CBD benefit is a pretty direct one for you. There's a reason why no one sells plain old CBD powder — it doesn't taste good.
Mixing your CBD with a carrier oil, and perhaps a few natural flavourings, makes taking it that much more of an enjoyable experience. Since we recommend taking CBD oils sublingually—where you let the CBD oil sit under your tongue for 90 seconds—you’ll want them to taste good!
Okay, then which carrier oil should I use?
Carriers make CBD intake easier on your body and on you. But not all CBD oils are created equal — and you want to know which carrier oil is the best partner for your hemp-based products.
Let's start by pointing out that there's no single right answer to this question. In most cases, it's up to the manufacturer and the customer to decide which carrier oil works best for them. But we want to break down what we know about each option — and let you make the final decision yourself.
Option 1: Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains long and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which makes it an excellent carrier option. Before you can use it, though, it has to go through fractionating. This process skims the large fat molecules from the oil.
What's left behind are the MCTs, which the body can easily break down, unlike long-chain versions. Clearly, the ease with which we process coconut oil makes it an ideal carrier for CBD.
On top of that, coconut oil has a sweet flavour, one that masks the earthy tang of CBD.
Coconut oil in its liquid form has the perfect thin consistency, too. It's easy to dose with precision. We believe in the power of MCTs and coconut oil, and that's why you'll find it as the carrier oil of choice in our CBD sprays.
Option 2: Hemp seed oil
Another popular option is hemp seed oil, and you're probably thinking, "hemp seed oil makes a lot of sense for a hemp-based product!" And while hemp seed oil doesn’t contain any additional CBD, it does make for a great natural partner.
The major hemp seed oil benefit comes from what's called the entourage effect. This theory posits that CBD'seffects get amplified when delivered alongside other hemp compounds.
This natural synergy works for us — and that's why we use hemp seed oil as the carrier in our CBD drops.
Option 3: Olive oil
Olive oil is delicious, and it has so many body-bettering benefits. Splash it over a salad or use it to roast tonight's veggies. Either way, you won't be disappointed in the way it tastes. But flavour and ability as a carrier are two separate categories. Olive oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats, which the body takes a while to process.
Plus, olive oil can be quite viscous, which makes it tough to dose. In the end, it's not as efficient as coconut oil for these reasons. However, if you're whipping up a batch of CBD oil at home, olive oil can work — and many people use it as their carrier of choice. Plus, it tastes nice and goes well with the natural flavour of CBD.
Option 4: Palm oil
Palm oil functions very similarly to coconut oil, when it comes to carrying CBD into your body. It has MCT, which makes it easy for your body to break it down.
However, palm oil contributes significantly to global deforestation. Acres of rainforest disappear in order to harvest it, and the loss of this habitat has a slew of devastating side effects. Not only do animals lose their homes, but losing trees contributes to global warming, too.
So, from an eco-conscious standpoint, avoid palm oil as a carrier. However, if you have a bottle that you want to get rid of, you can use it as a temporary carrier before moving onto something better for the planet.
Learn more about CBD oil