By now you may have noticed that CBD oil isn’t the only ingredient in CBD tinctures and capsules. These products all contain oil. Olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, hemp seed oil, the list goes on and on. You may find yourself wondering why? “Why is my CBD tincture mostly oil and not CBD?” I assure you that this isn’t some sort of scheme to cheat you out of getting the most bang for your buck when purchasing CBD products. CBD companies use these oils as a carrier for their CBD extract for a multitude of reasons, including: dilution, bio-availability and uptake, and dosing purposes. Today we’ll be diving in to these reasons, exploring the most common choices for carrier oils, and discussing why we here at Forge Creek Original Hemp Co. chose MCT oil for our CBD tinctures.
First and foremost, what is a carrier oil?
A carrier oil, in regards to CBD products, is any oil with a high fat content that is used to dilute pure CBD extract. This dilution makes dosing CBD extract far easier than trying to work with only the CBD extract itself. If you’ve never seen or interacted with a CBD extract, it can be difficult to say the least. Imagine dealing with salt or sugar that sticks to your skin, or in the case of a broad or full spectrum oil or distillate, the thickest, stickiest, honey you’ve ever come in contact with (for more information on CBD and the different types of CBD check out our earlier blog posts here and here). Now, imagine trying to accurately measure that out in roughly 10-50 milligram portions and successfully delivering that into your body, either orally or via a sublingual method. Sounds easy, right? This is what makes dilution such a great technique. It takes the headache out of both measuring and administering doses of CBD.
But why oil? Why not water or fruit punch?
Cannabinoids like CBD are what’s known as hydrophobic and fat soluble. In layman’s terms this means that they do not dissolve in water (at least not naturally), but readily dissolve in fats. There are a few companies currently working to address this issue, at least when it comes to CBD isolates. So, for now (minus a wealth of bio-chem knowledge and an absurd amount of money), the industry standard and obvious choice is to dissolve CBD extract into a carrier oil.
Now that we’ve answered the “why,” let’s take a look into “which?”
There are what appears to be endless choices when it comes to oils, just take a look down the baking and oils aisle of your local grocery store. There’s olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, grape seed oil, palm oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil...(this is starting to feel like that scene in “Forrest Gump.” You know the one I’m talking about…). And so on and so forth. Typically, in the CBD industry, the big three oils used by companies as a carrier for their CBD extracts are olive oil, hemp seed oil, and coconut oil. Olive oil is a popular choice for tinctures because of its high fat content. This is where bio-availability and uptake come into play. Bio-availability refers to the amount of a substance, in this case CBD, that can be readily absorbed by the body in a given dose. Just like most things we take into our bodies, not every bit of CBD is absorbed in a given dose. Also, different methods of taking CBD (sublingual, oral, vaping, trans-dermal, etc) provide different rates of bio-availability and absorption. The higher the fat content of the oil, the more cannabinoids that can be efficiently stored and effectively transported by the oil. This all boils down to maximizing the potential bio-availability of sublingual, oral, and trans-dermal methods of delivery. Considering its high fat content, coconut oil also makes for a wonderful carrier oil. Because of this, along with its pleasant scent, skin nourishing properties, and inclination to remain solid at room temperature, we use it in our 500mg broad spectrum CBD salves. Coconut oil is also the go-to carrier when making capsules for oral use. Hemp oil is also commonly used, however, its relatively lower fat content and strong flavor make it a less than ideal choice when it comes to carrier oils. Some companies even sell plain old hemp oil with elaborate marketing and specific word choices to make you believe it’s CBD oil (Don’t get got! Check out our latest video discussing this phenomenon here).
This leads to our choice in carrier oil: MCT.
The MCT in MCT oil stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, meaning: it is made up of medium length chains of fats. The lengths of the fat chains which make up different oils can play a role in how well they are processed and absorbed by the body (this can also vary depending the individual, their diet, genetics, etc.). MCT oil is typically derived from coconut and palm oil, isolating the medium chain triglycerides and concentrating them. This oil is clear, tasteless, scentless, and liquid at room temperature. One tablespoon of MCT oil contains 14 grams of fat and 100 calories. It is higher in fat content than hemp seed oil and more fat-dense than either olive oil or coconut oil (or avocado oil, grape seed oil, canola oil, etc.). This assortment of beneficial properties makes it the best choice for CBD tinctures. As per the wiki: "[MTC's] are generally considered a good biologically inert source of energy that the human body finds reasonably easy to metabolize...[MCT's can be] absorbed rapidly by the body." It has an extremely high fat content and density, making it very accommodating to CBD and other cannabinoids. Being flavorless and free of any scent made the task of flavoring our tinctures not only a much simpler one but it also allowed us to get creative when developing our proprietary white chocolate peppermint flavoring blend. We also preferred the texture and over all mouth feel of MCT oil. Compared to other oils, it is considerably thinner at room temperate. We found this to produce a much more pleasant sublingual experience when using our tinctures, as opposed to a thicker oil like olive oil. Overall, MCT oil provides a host of beneficial properties with none of the drawbacks.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post and after reading it feel much more informed when it comes to carrier oils for CBD tinctures, capsules, and other products. Our main goals with this blog are to provide some insight into our business and to help educate people about CBD and hemp. We believe that the more you know as a consumer translates to better choices when it comes to spending your hard earned money. Thank you for your continued support. If you haven’t yet, follow us on Facebook @ForgeCreekHemp and on Instagram @ForgeCreekHemp. Stay tuned for more content, including: blog posts, updates about our company, where to buy our products, videos, events we’ll be attending, and much more!
Til next time...