If you are a savvy shopper who is well in tune with the ins and outs of CBD, chances are you have noticed the term “carrier oil” printed on the list of ingredients on the label or box of your CBD oil. But are you familiar with the wide range of carrier oils out there? Let’s dive a little deeper into what a carrier oil is and what you should look out for.
What are carrier oils?
Carrier oil, sometimes referred to as a base- or vegetable oil, is a plant-derived fatty oil that can be used as a carrier for cannabidiol (CBD) and other active ingredients derived from the hemp plant. Carrier oils can also be used to dilute essential oils and "carry" them to your skin. The reason carrier oils are used is because CBD or whatever active ingredient the carrier oil delivers are very potent and strong on their own. Meanwhile, carrier oils are usually mild in taste, scent and weight.
Can any oil be used as a carrier oil? Not really. We would encourage you to avoid using oils such as butter, jelly, mineral oils or petroleum since these can cause harm to your body.
Perhaps you are familiar with palm-oil which is used in a wide range of products. We would like to drop a note here to make you aware of the fact that the use of palm oil in consumer products leads to clearing of forests in parts of Indonesia to make room for producing the commodity. Consequently, tropical forests, people and species that rely on them are put at risk. For instance, the Sumatran orangutan has been listed as critically endangered as a result. So be aware of what effects your consumption decisions may have on the planet 💚
Characteristics of a good carrier oil
Back to basics! What goes on our skin, goes into our body so make sure you are buying products which contain ingredients that you can trust. Look out for oils that are cold-pressed, 100% pure and free of additives or preservatives. If you are using carrier oils in products you consume orally - it is even more important to find cold-pressed and organic options.
The best carrier oils will ensure delivery, potency and freshness.
What does delivery imply?
When you drop CBD under your tongue and wait a few seconds, your body may not be able to to fully absorb and process it without its dear friend, the carrier oil. The reason you ask? Well, when CBD is combined with a fatty plant based oil, it directly mixes with the fat molecule of the carrier oil that your body can process. This strengthens the ability to absorb the active CBD compound and its bioavailability.
What does potency imply?
When CBD is initially extracted, its concentration is very high and very strong. Put simply, ingesting pure CBD powder isn’t the most pleasant experience, unless you like that super bitter, grassy taste. By using a carrier oil and perhaps even adding flavourings, its a lot yummier! Also, you will find that different CBD oils have different CBD percentage, and by diluting CBD it’s easier to cater to individuals needs and preference. As a reference point, MANTLE's The Original Oil has 10% CBD (...watch this space for new releases!). The best way to take CBD with success is maintaining consistency and figuring out what dose works best for you.
What does freshness imply?
Carrier oils helps maintain freshness. Active CBD compounds can maintain both potency and stability for longer period of time when mixed with a carrier oil. Have you noticed that your olive oil or coconut oil in your cupboard stays fresher longer then your fruit and veggies in your fridge? We have! This is because fats oxidise at a slower rate, the result of their specific chemical structure.
What are the different types of carrier oils?
At MANTLE we use organic MCT coconut oil, we love its yummy taste and benefits! Coconut oil provides easy and fast absorption of the CBD. Our mix of the hemp extract and carrier oil results in a pure, organic oil with an earthy and grassy taste.
Of course, there are many other carrier oils out there, each with their own tastes and benefits. We made the following list which includes popular carrier oils that are commonly used for aromatherapy, massage, skincare and in grocery products.
Our go-to carrier oil! MCT oil, or Medium-Chain-Triglycerides (MCT), is a saturated fat made from coconut pulp. It is considered to be the best carrier oil, of course we agree! Why you wonder? Well, it absorbs better than most other alternatives while providing greater CBD bioavailability. It's great at masking the strong earthy, grassy flavour of CBD, and its thin consistency makes it easier to proportion and dose the right concentration.
Hemp seed oil
Not to be confused with the hemp oil that is extracted from hemp flowers and used to make full-spectrum hemp extract and CBD isolate. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. Like hemp seeds, hemp seed oil is considered a superfood in part because it is packed with essential fatty acids.
Aside from the fatty acids, hemp seed oil contains a ton of vitamins and minerals. Everything from calcium and vitamin D, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. The list goes on.
Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil is made from grape seeds that are left over from wine production. Its taste is very neutral and characterised by its light color and an aroma similar to wine. Grape oil is an excellent source of vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties. It is widely used in salad dressings, mayonnaise and as the base in oil infusions of garlic, rosemary and other herbs and spices. It may also be used in pancakes, waffles and other baked goods.
We guess this one needs no introduction! Olive oil is produced by pressing whole olives. You probably already use it for cooking, dressings and frying. It is rich in phytonutrients, iron, vitamin K, vitamin E and antioxidants. The downside is that it takes longer time for your body to break it down. In other words, it takes a bit longer to feel the effect from the CBD. Additionally, its characteristic and strong taste makes it less relevant to use as a CBD carrier oil.
A natural oil derived from the sunflower plant. known, as the happy flower making them the perfect gift to bring joy and a smile to someone's day. It's also a great carrier oil! Sunflower oil contains lecithin which is said to help your CBD take effect faster and be more effective. Sunflower oil has a mild taste and variety of health benefits. It’s rich in vitamins, high in good fats, and can even withstand hot temperatures. It's usually colourless and tasteless. If you're allergic to coconut (in MCT oil) this can be a good alternative.
Avocado lovers rejoice! Avocado oil is an edible oil pressed from the fruit of the Persea americana (
Pomegranate seed oil
Pomegranate oil is a luxurious oil cold-pressed from the seeds of pomegranate fruit. It is one of the most therapeutic carrier oils available as it is packed with vitamins and essential fats. It can be helpful for reducing inflammation and healing wounds which makes it a popular ingredient in skincare. The oil can be used to treat certain skin conditions, including psoriasis and eczema.
Derived from the arnica flower of the sunflower family, arnica oil helps to reduce inflammatory pain when applied topically. The oil has a light yellow consistency and is renowned for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It can help to alleviate tired muscles, soft tissue injuries and rheumatic pain. This makes it a popular addition to a deep tissue massage oil for treating sore muscles!
So… what are the best carrier oils?
As far as we know now there's is no one-size-fits-all carrier oil - it comes down to preference, dosage and what ingredient the oil is meant to carry. Try them out and find which one you prefer!
We prefer organic MCT oil at MANTLE which is why we use it in The Original Oil ensuring that our product is organic, vegan, natural, THC- and GMO free. We hope you love it as much as we do!
If you want to learn more about oils, check out our post on the difference between CBD-, hemp and cannabis oil.