We have a tendency to clump ‘CBD’ and ‘Oil’ together as if it were one entity, much like you have a tendency to do with those things that, taken together, create one magical gestalt experience – like fudge sundaes for example, or cocktails, or even more cocktails… you know, the important things. But did you know that the ‘CBD’-part and the ‘Oil’-part of ‘CBD Oil’ are actually two different things? That’s right, to get the CBD Oil you know and love, you mix one part CBD extract with what is known as a CBD Carrier Oil.
Now, the CBD part of this equation, with good reason, gets a lot of attention. But just like cocktails need a combination of the show stopper (usually gin) and the back-up band (a modest splash of tonic), so too does CBD. Without a good carrier oil, the entire experience falls entirely short.
So let’s explore what, exactly, a CBD carrier oil is, what kinds there are, which are the best, and why the right carrier oil can make your CBD experience that much better, while the wrong one can have more negative consequences than you might expect…
What is a CBD carrier oil?
But let’s back up a bit – what exactly is a carrier oil? And why do you need to combine CBD extract, like other essential oils, with a carrier oil in the first place? A CBD carrier oil, also known as ‘base’ oil, is used to dilute essential oils and absolutes, and when it comes to CBD, carrier oils need to be fat based.
This is because carrier oils act as solvents – that is, they dissolve compounds like CBD within hemp extracts to make them easier to absorb into, or be digested by, the body. Simply put, without a fat based carrier oil, CBD extract alone wouldn’t be as effective when consumed, because CBD is a fat soluble compound.
Moreover, extracts in their pure, undiluted form can be harsh on the digestive tract, and also far too strong to try to properly dose. CBD carrier oils have three main purposes (with a fourth surprise purpose – keep on reading!), let’s look at these in a bit more detail.
Why are CBD Carrier Oils Important?
CBD carrier oils have three main purposes (with a fourth surprise purpose – keep on reading!), which make them absolutely integral to your overall hemp oil experience. Let’s look at these in a bit more detail:
Carrier oils help the body digest CBD effectively
So the word ‘fat’ has a bit of a bad reputation, but sometimes fats are absolutely necessary – this is indeed the case for CBD extracts. So what’s with all the fat? Well, the body has two different pathways through which it can absorb nutrients from the things we ingest – the water soluble pathway and the fat soluble pathway. Both of these forms of absorption take place in the part of the digestive tract called the microvilli.
Water soluble compounds are, essentially, easier to effectively digest because blood is itself a water-based substance. Water soluble substances like sugars and minerals get the biological equivalent of a free backstage pass to the bloodstream – they can just waltz right in. Fat soluble compounds, however, need to go through a bit of a security check and can’t go straight to the bloodstream. They first get converted into droplets called micelles and eventually enter the bloodstream.
So what’s with the science lesson? Simply, absorbing fats requires enzymes located in the digestive tract to prepare fat molecules for absorption. So when we take CBD with a fat based carrier oil, we basically send a signal to the digestive system to get ready for absorption action. This makes CBD much more easy to absorb, and increases the amount that will make its way to the bloodstream.
Fun fact: The amount of CBD that ends up in our blood streams is known as the amount of bioavailability the CBD has.
Carrier oils help dilute CBD extract for an exact dose –
CBD extract, in its undiluted form, is strong and can contain varying levels of CBD. CBD in this form is incredibly hard, if not impossible, to dose properly as well as being disruptive and potentially harsh on the system.
Adding a carrier oil helps to equalise the concentration of CBD to create a potency that is easy to dose as well as creating a blend that is more gentle to our delicate digestive tract. It’s simply easier to achieve human-friendly doses of CBD when it is evenly distributed into a carrier oil, such as 100 mg, 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1000 mg CBD per bottle.
Carrier oils help keep your CBD fresh
A good example of oil staying fresh can be found, most probably, on your kitchen counter or in your pantry. That olive oil you drizzle on pretty much everything, you never really consider it to be a perishable product, do you? It sort of just lasts for ages, which is a good thing!
Translate this into your CBD carrier oil and it lasts just as long. And it’s not just freshness that carrier oils maintain, it’s potency as well! The science behind this is blessedly simple as well. Fats merely oxidize (or react with oxygen, or age) at a slow rate, so using a fatty carrier oil preserves that precious CBD for longer.
They carry other nutrients into the system
As a bonus, hemp carrier oils can also be good for your body in their own right! And this, my friends, has all kinds of important consequences that we’ll discuss in more detail below. For now, we can again refer to the olive oil example above – although you don’t (or shouldn’t, anyways) consuming vast quantities of oil day to day, you probably still take the time to buy cooking oils that are healthier for you.
This is why you may choose olive oil over oils that contain trans fats, for example. The same scenario is applicable to CBD oils – there are several different types of CBD oils, and let’s just say that some are higher in quality than others.
What Kinds Of CBD Carrier Oils Are There?
There are all kinds of carrier oils used to blend with CBD extract, but some are much more common. Each, too, comes with its own set of nutrients that can make your CBD experience even more packed with wellness:
- MCT Oil – Medium-chain triglyceride oil, or coconut oil, is a common CBD carrier. The hint is in the name, because MCT oil has a shorter overall structure, it’s absorbed almost immediately through the digestive tract into the bloodstream, rather than having to be broken down into smaller pieces first. This increases its absorption rate.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil is rich in phytonutrients such as iron, vitamin K, vitamin E, and a host of antioxidant compounds, which is one of the reasons it’s consumed as a common ingredient in its own right.
- Grape Seed Oil – This oil has a light, bright, fruity flavor and is high in unsaturated fats, as well as having well-established antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Hemp Seed Oil – But hang on, isn’t this just CBD? Nope! Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant, which are thought to be relatively free of CBD but have a wide range of health benefits in their own right. It contains a perfect ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and so much protein that it’s touted as ideal for vegans or anyone else who might be lacking in this essential nutrient.
- Sunflower Oil – Sunflower oil may seem like a commoner amongst these more exotic oils, but there’s a reason so many CBD manufacturers choose to use it as a carrier oil. Rich in vitamin E, sunflower oil may help to promote the growth of replacement skin cells. That means smoother, healthier skin that’s less affected by UV damage.
Which Carrier Oils Are Best
Now that we’ve gone through why CBD carrier oils are important, which ones are the best? Well, this has to do with two large factors: the health benefits of the carrier oil in itself, and the way in which the plants that turned into the carrier oil were grown, cultivated, harvested, and indeed extracted.
As we’ve seen above, all of the most common CBD carrier oils are packed with nutrients naturally, so what external factors is it worth considering when looking for the best carrier oil? Well, sourcing & extraction practices, flavoring, and nutritional additives play a large role in the quality of the carrier oil that goes into the CBD oil you love, and can affect the overall efficacy of the product.
Just as it’s important to consider the whole seed to shelf process of your CBD, it’s important to consider this with the carrier oils used as well:
- Look for 100% pure carrier oils
- Look for those extracted using cold pressed methods
- Look for additive and preservative free carrier oils
- Look for organic carrier oils
The rest, really, comes down to personal preference. What are you looking for in a CBD carrier oil? Some oils are more flavorful and have stronger odors, some have longer shelf lives, some may even be more or less viscous.
Rogue Bear Farms’ Carrier Oils
If we think back to above when we discussed the different benefits of different carrier oils, we looked at each individually – but Rogue Bear Farms has gone a bit… rogue… on us by combining two carrier oils in their signature hemp Tinctures.They use a mixture of 100% organic sunflower and 100% organic hemp seed oil to carry their cannabinoids.
Sunflower Oil is packed with Vitamin E – an effective antioxidant that can promote the health of our cells, tissues, and organs, Vitamin E may also boost the immune system, reduce the risk of heart disease, and keep your skin young and healthy.
Hemp Seed Oil, moreover, contains a large amount of nutrients, including minerals (such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc), healthy proteins, Essential Fatty Acids, and antioxidants. Not only that, but it’s widely suggested that using hemp seed oil as a carrier can actually increase the coveted ‘entourage effect’ due to the potential miniscule presence of hemp-produced phytocannabinoids in the seeds. So, in the end, Rogue Bear Farms ensures their carrier oils are just as pure as their premium hemp extract, something that all responsible and eco conscious CBD companies should do.
As we can see, carrier oils are way more important that we usually give them credit for. But, if you take the time to do your homework, you can choose a CBD oil that is carried by oils that are beneficial not just to you, but to the planet. This is the Rogue Bear Farm way, so why not feel good inside and out about the CBD oil you use?