CBD, short for cannabidiol is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Unlike the other well-known cannabinoid THC, CBD is non-psychoactive which means, no matter how much you take it will not induce any psychoactive effects, however, CBD has been proved to aid with things such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, Inflammation, recovery and many many more. The most common form of taking CBD (currently within the UK) is through sublingual methods. Place the CBD on your sublingual glands (under your tongue) and then wait for 30-60 seconds until the CBD oil goes into your bloodstream. This method offers high bioavailability and fast and effective results. The other most common ways f taking CBD involve Inhalation (vape or smoking) Ingestion (capsules, drinks and foods) and Topical (creams and balms)
Why use a carrier oil and what are the benefits? Even though the vast majority of people that take CBD Oil have it as their go-to option - most people don’t actually like the taste of the oil itself, there are a few reasons why this may be the case or you may just be missing a trick here, or not exploring what the market has to offer. When you buy CBD oil, the CBD is blended with something called a carrier oil. One key reason for using a carrier oil is that they improve bioavailability, which means they help your body absorb CBD oil. CBD is fat-soluble, which means that it dissolves in oil rather than water. Fat-soluble substances are better absorbed when digested along with fat, even in small amounts. Another benefit is that the oil helps with dosing. CBD is a potent chemical meaning that you don’t need much of it for it to have an effect on you or for you to see the benefits. Therefore, rather than taking a microdose of CBD isolate crystal then you can measure the strength in a couple of drops of CBD oil via a pipette. Finally, the carrier oils themselves can have their own added benefits of their own or further enhance the proposed benefits of CBD.
There are a number of carrier oils you can go to when wanting to consume, some are more effective than others, some are cheaper. It is all down to preference and cost. Some of the most popular carrier oils are:
- - Hemp seed oil
- - Avocado oil
- - Olive oil
- - Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil
Each of these carriers has its own pros and cons and most importantly their own taste.
Hemp Oil, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s from the same plant as CBD but from the seed rather than the plant itself, whilst Hemp seeds are from the same plant, the seeds themselves actually possess fewer benefits. The oil itself is less soluble than other carrier oils such as MCT Oil and it is also more expensive than other carrier oils but when it comes to the taste, it possesses a very distinctive sharp, earthy taste which is undesirable to most.
- Ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids13
- High antioxidant levels
- Good source of fiber
- Contains magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc
- Possible entourage effect (only for full spectrum CBD)
- Side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, throat irritation, slow heart rate, high blood pressure
- Lower solvency than MCT oil, meaning it can’t hold as much CBD
- Higher priced than MCT oil
- Flavor (sometimes described as “sharp” or “herby”) may not be to your liking
The next one is olive oil which is the one that people are probably most aware of and is the best researched (to date) it is also used more commonly for cooking due to the exposure it has had on its potential health benefits:
- - High in iron, vitamin K, vitamin E
- - Rich in antioxidants
- - Highly researched
- - Absorbed by skin even faster than MCT5
- - Its long-chain triglycerides are slower to absorb than MCT (but may absorb more efficiently)
- - Lower solvency than MCT, meaning it can’t hold as much CBD
- - Thicker than most other carrier oils, which may be unpleasant
- - Flavor is relatively strong and may be distasteful to some, similar to that of Hempseed oil.
Avocado oil is another carrier oil that has become more popular for a variety of uses, (similar to olive oil) including cooking as an alternative to olive oil. As researchers have learned about its health benefits this is being used more widely as a CBD carrier oil but it’s used most often in topical products, but you can find it in products meant to be ingested, as well. Avocado oil is a carrier oil that has seen an uptake in usage but is still one of the least popular options when it comes to using for a carrier CBD oil, here are some pros and cons of the oil:
- - Quickly and easily absorbed by your skin and digestive tract which makes it a good oil to be used in topical products.
- - Especially good for topical uses
- - Rich in antioxidants
- - High in vitamins A, B, D, and E
- - Much thicker than most carrier oils, which may be unpleasant
- - Significantly more expensive than many carrier oils
- - Higher allergy risk than many carrier oils
Finally, there is MCT oil which is what we use at FIKA CBD. MCT oil is the most common carrier oil for CBD products. It is derived from coconut oil and is essentially a concentrated version of this. On labels, it’s sometimes listed as fractionated coconut oil. Medium-chain triglycerides are a type of fatty acid that your body can quickly absorb because it doesn’t have to break them down via digestion before sending them off to the lymph system. The reasoning behind us using MCT as carrier oil is not only to allow us to incorporate funky and fresh flavours into our grat tasting CBD oil but do it its other properties... The calories in MCT combine with oxygen and metabolise instantly therefore, rather than storing in your body as fat it is used as a source of energy and become keytones. Furthermore, they're used as energy for the brain in place of glucose or sugar which not only promotes weight loss but mental stimulation.
Long-chain triglycerides require more digestion time and short-chain triglycerides are often consumed by gut bacteria before they’ve had time to be absorbed, so MCTs are the most useful.
- Quick absorption due to the molecular structure
- 90% saturated fat, which also aids absorption
- Light, thin oil
- Almost flavourless and can have other flavours incorporated into a carrier solution for a pleasant taste
- Doesn’t require chemical processing
- Less expensive than some carrier oils
- Slow to break down and go rancid giving the CBD a longer shelf life.
- Possibly, excessive build-up of ketones in the body (dangerous with poorly controlled diabetes)
- Not recommended for people with liver disease
- May interact with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs
Some scientific evidence suggests that MCT oil could:
- - Help with weight loss by reducing your appetite, increasing metabolism, and making your body burn calories faster
- - Have benefits for people with autism, epilepsy, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease
- - Activate the immune system
- to fight yeast and bacterial overgrowth
While promising, much of this research is preliminary and more work is needed before MCT oil can be recommended for these uses.
It’s hard to say which CBD carrier oil is the best—it depends on multiple factors, including the type and uses of the CBD product, whether you have allergies or certain conditions, and your personal preferences.
If you try one you don’t like, you can always try a different one. The most important thing is that you’re making informed choices about what you put in and on your body. With an overview of all the oils, this means that when buying CBD oil you have a number of choices when it comes to what taste you want from your CBD oil. If you’re a fan of the earthy, sharp taste then it’s better to go with the hempseed or olive oil whilst Avocado oil offers a more nutty based taste. Personally, our favourite is MCT which is why we have used it in all of our oils. Our mission to pioneer the destigmatisation of CBD goes right down to the nth degree, that being the flavour and the taste of the CBD oil we bring to market. One of the common misconceptions we came across from people who had never tried CBD before was that it ‘tastes horrible’ or ‘it tastes like soil’ or ‘the flavour isn’t pleasant at all (you get the picture) so we wanted to bring something to you that trumped all of those misconceptions and provided you with the option to choose from a range of vibrant flavours that tasted good whilst breaking the boundaries of what is possible for CBD. Our MCT Drops come in 2 flavours. Our 250mg Oil provides a refreshing peppermint flavour whilst our 500mg Blueberry oil comes in a delicious blueberry flavour. Tackling the stigma against CBD in every way possible is at the forefront of our minds at all times!