what is the best carrier oil for cbd

What is the Best Carrier Oil for CBD?

If you’re still trying to figure out what works best for you with CBD, looking at all the different kinds of carrier oils can be overwhelming. Everything from grapeseed to MCT is in use, and they all have their distinct pros and cons. That said, we’re going to make your search a little easier.

CBD and carrier oils

Here are the most common ones and what they can do for you.


Arnica oil comes from the arnica plant- known for its healing properties. Although it’s great for transporting CBD, this oil is not for internal use and has to be used topically only. This oil can also help with rough skin, dry hair, or cracking nails . Although you can’t ingest it, it does have many options that may make it worthwhile.


The avocado has been having its moment in the sun for the last ten years. Trending, food-safe, and full of good fats and antioxidants, avocado oil has a lot to offer. This base is versatile, able to be used on the skin, and internally. This oil is a popular choice but can be more expensive since it’s trendy.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Another food-safe oil that’s familiar with any home cook, extra virgin olive oil is excellent to take internally or use on your skin. The only problem with this is the oil is thicker when it sits on hair and skin, and may not come off as easily.


Since it gets used in everything from cooking to beauty products, grapeseed oil is terrific for CBD. Rich in fatty acids, vitamin E, and with a neutral flavor- this oil is very versatile. Grapeseed is relatively inexpensive, which may make it a better option if you want to save money.

Hemp Seed

If you want to feel like you’re using all the plants, hemp seed oil can achieve that for you . This oil is by far the most popular, and many would argue it’s the best option.

Medium-chain triglycerides are an easily digestible type of fat that gets sourced from many plants. Although it can come from olive oil, palm kernel oil, soybean oil, or avocado oil, it can bring many perks with how much it delivers.

Pomegranate Seed

Pomegranate seed oil is smooth, won’t clog pores , and is non-greasy. If you want a smooth oil that won’t leave behind too much, this should be your choice.


Full of vitamins A and E, and polyunsaturated fats, sunflower oil brings a lot to the table if you’re concerned about benefits. It has a neutral flavor and offers a great way to carry your CBD oil.

The bottom line

When you look at these options down, it may seem overwhelming, but if you want to dissolve your CBD slab into something, hemp seed oil may be the way to go. It’s able to be used topically or mixed into food or drink. If instead you want to go for the best payout for health benefits – avocado oil is the way to go. It offers many vitamins, is good for skin and hair, and can do a lot besides transfer your CBD.

More reading

Speaking of olive oil, not all is created equal. In fact, there is a lot of oil out there that is fake. Here’s how to tell it or not. Read more.

What is the Best Carrier Oil for CBD?

Reading the labels on CBD oil products, you will see the name of the oil in addition to the CBD oil. The other oil is called carrier oil, and it has an important role in helping you enjoy the full benefits of CBD. A CBD carrier oil is a vegetable oil that is extracted from the fatty plant parts, and its job is to help you absorb the CBD oil.

Benefits of CBD Carrier Oils

CBD is lipophilic, which means it dissolves in fats rather than water. The body will resist absorption of CBD oil without a carrier oil which means most of the CBD will simply pass through the digestive system.

The carrier oils that are combined with CBD oil are plant-derived fatty oils for this reason. The carrier oil acts like a solvent, dissolving the hemp plant compounds so your body can absorb them easier. Fat-soluble compounds like CBD need assistance in order to reach the bloodstream.

The benefits of CBD carrier oils include:

  • Improves CBD bioavailability
  • Natural scent
  • Mild taste that offsets strong CBD oil taste
  • Not volatile
  • Improves stability of CBD and other cannabinoids
  • Unsaturated fats from plants have proven health benefits
  • Makes accurate dosing easier because a predictable amount of CBD is added to the CBD oil and measuring the dosage is easier with the combined oils

Common Carrier Oils

1. MCT Oil

MCT is the acronym for medium-chain triglyceride. MCT is found in high concentrations in coconut, palm kernels and some other seeds. For this reason, MCT oil is commonly derived from coconuts and palm kernels and is one of the most common carrier oils combined with CBD oil. MCTs are good with CBD oils because the shorter structure, compared to long-chain fatty acids, is more easily absorbed in the digestive tract.

CBD coconut oil is the most common carrier oil mixture. It may be called fractionated coconut oil on CBD oil product labels. Fractionated coconut oil is oil in which longer fat molecules are removed to leave only the MCTs.

  • Improves bioavailability of the CBD because it is quickly broken down in the liver, making the excess easily absorbed by the intestine
  • Nearly flavorless
  • Colorless and odorless
  • Medium-chain triglycerides are fatty acids (saturated fats) that are easier to digest compared to other oils and are easily absorbed into the skin
  • Thinner oil
  • Long shelf life
  • May lead to digestive side effects in some people
  • Highly processed because it is first fractionated and then further processed which removes some of the healthy phytonutrients
  • Low content of omega-3 fatty acids which research has shown provide many health benefits

2. Hemp Seed Oil

There are plenty of carrier oil options when you want CBD without coconut oil to avoid saturated fats. Hemp seed oil is one of them. It is made from hemp seeds, while CBD is extracted from the hemp flower and other plant parts.

  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • High concentration of plant-based protein
  • Combining hemp oil with CBD oil may produce the entourage effect because all hemp plant parts are used
  • Contains some minerals like iron and magnesium
  • Has a grassy smell and taste which some people do not like
  • Hemp seeds contain fewer cannabinoids and terpenes compared to flowers
  • Compared to MCT oil, it has a lower solvency

3. Palm Oil

Palm oil is similar to MCT oil. In fact, palm kernel oil is used to make MCT oil. It is extracted from African oil palm fruit.

  • Smaller fat molecules of MCT oil from palm oil is easily absorbed by the body
  • Rich in the saturated fat palmitic acid
  • High in monounsaturated fat (40 percent), a healthy kind of fat
  • Contains vitamins A and E
  • Excessive harvesting of palm kernel plants is harming the environment, so buy products with sustainability sourced palm oil
  • Highly processed
  • Contains 50 percent saturated fat which is unhealthy fat

4. Olive Oil

Olive oil is made by crushing olives into a pulp. The natural oil is then separated from the pulp.

  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • High in oleic acid
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Faster skin absorption compared to MCT oil
  • Not as easy to digest as some other oils
  • Has a distinctive strong flavor that some people find disagreeable
  • Thicker consistency than other carrier oils

5. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is extracted from the avocado fruit, so you get the nutritional benefits of the fruit itself. Avocadoes contain minerals, vitamins, fiber and healthy fats.

  • High in oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that may help relieve dry skin
  • Pleasant nutty aroma
  • Subtle avocado taste
  • Easily absorbed by digestive tract and skin
  • Very thick, heavy oil so not good for some skin types, like oily skin
  • May reduce the efficacy of some medications, like warfarin
  • Some people are allergic to avocadoes
  • Usually more expensive than many other CBD carrier oils

6. Grapeseed Oil

Just like the name implies, grapeseed oil is pressed from grape seeds. Grape seeds contain high amounts of flavonoids and antioxidants.

  • Light or thin texture
  • Not greasy
  • Neutral, mild taste with no bitterness
  • High content of omega-6 fatty acid and vitamin E of flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids and tannins
  • May contain traces of chemical solvents used during processing
  • Lower solvency compared to MCT oil
  • Slower absorption compared to MCT oil

What Makes an Oil the Best Carrier Oil?

The best carrier oil for CBD has certain features that include the following.

  • Promotes the best CBD bioavailability
  • Easily digested
  • Free of preservatives and harmful chemicals
  • Cold-pressed because fatty acids subjected to heat denatures them (destroys the natural properties)


The CBD MCT oil benefits make this combination one of the preferred consumer choices. Because MCT oil is thinner, it makes a good CBD MCT oil tincture.

However, different carrier oils can serve different purposes. For example, olive oil may be used in CBD oil topically because it is thicker and more easily absorbed by the skin. Some people prefer CBD without MCT oil because MCT oil is highly processed. Each person is unique, and it is important to choose the carrier oil that works best for you. Fortunately, you have many choices in carrier oils today!

What’s the Best Carrier Oil for CBD?

Did you know there’s more than just CBD in your CBD oil? All CBD oils contain an inert carrier oil, whether that’s MCT, coconut, hemp, olive or palm kernel oil.

What’s a carrier oil?

A carrier oil is just what the name implies. It’s an oil that carries another substance, much the way a perfume contains a base that carries the scent. But with CBD, a carrier oil does more than just act as a base. It powerfully influences how much CBD you absorb and utilize.

If you were to extract and dry the CBD from hemp, it wouldn’t do you much good. First, pure CBD powder would be hard to measure accurately because the doses are so small. (It’s powerful stuff!) But second, powdered CBD is not very bioavailable since it needs to be in the presence of fat to be effectively absorbed. Thus, the carrier oils.

Does it matter which kind of carrier oil is used?

We think so. In Barlean’s Ideal CBD Hemp Oil and our Extra Strength Ideal CBD Hemp Oil, we use hempseed oil and MCT oil as carriers. Here’s why:

Hempseed oil does not contain any CBD. This constituent occurs in other parts of the hemp plant. So when you use hempseed as the carrier oil, you are reuniting some of the various components of the whole plant, which may work in synergy together. [1] Same goes for hemp extract and other hemp compounds, which we’ve added to the Extra Strength version. What hempseed oil and CBD don’t have is more than a trace of THC, the psychoactive constituent of marijuana. Neither will get you high.

MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. Derived from coconut or sustainably sourced palm kernel oil, MCTs are easier to digest and absorb than long chain triglycerides (like the ones in olive oil). As a result, the CBD they carry is released into your system quickly. MCT oil also preserves more CBD during the extraction process than other oils. In fact, coconut oil has been called a “near perfect medium for cannabis” products because of the ease with which CBD binds to it. [2]

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