One of the main reasons CBD oil manufacturers dilute hemp extracts like CBD in a carrier oil is to improve absorption in the gut. This works because CBD is a fat-soluble substance.
As the name implies, a “carrier oil” carries the CBD and other phytochemicals. It’s a simple solution. The carrier oil acts as a solvent to dissolve the compounds of the hemp plant to make them easier to use.
If you look at the label of your CBD oil, you’ll see that it contains more than just hemp extract.
What is a Carrier Oil?
The difference between 5 mg and 50 mg of pure CBD crystals is minuscule — 50 mg of this highly-refined source of CBD is about the size of a match head.
This is important because the body has two separate pathways for absorbing compounds into the body — a water-soluble pathway and a fat-soluble pathway. This all happens at the working unit of the intestinal tract known as the microvilli (pictured below).
There are three main reasons carrier oils are used. Let’s cover each one in more detail.
As the name suggests, CBD oils also include an oil — which is usually some form of vegetable oil or vegetable glycerine.
CBD oil manufacturers then take this extract and dilute it with a carrier oil to create the final product. Not only does this allow them to create products with varying concentrations of CBD, but it also helps to improve the absorption and bioavailability of the compounds in the CBD extract.
MCT oil is made of medium-chain triglycerides. Unlike long-chain triglycerides (which are found in most of the fats we eat), MCTs are smaller molecules and much easier to digest. This is why MCT oil is one of the most common carrier oils used in the CBD market.
Most Common CBD Carrier Oils: Benefits and Drawbacks
After discovering these seeds in the tombs of King Tutankhamun, scientists believe that black cumin seed has long played a central role in medicine and cooking. Studies suggest, for example, that black cumin seed oil is super rich in antioxidants  and may help relieve inflammation (when ingested or applied topically to the skin).
First and foremost, olive oil is extremely rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to reduce inflammation  and, in some studies, even inhibit tumour cell proliferation  . Olive oil is also rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which are important components of cell membranes and precursors to many vital compounds that help regulate inflammation and blood pressure.
Studies  have shown that inhaling CBD via a vaporizer boasts the highest bioavailability of any administration method, ranging from 34–46% (or as high as 56% in some cases  ). Sublingually administered CBD oil, on the other hand, comes in second with a bioavailability ranging from 13–35%. Finally, swallowing CBD oil or ingesting CBD edibles (like gummies, for example) has the lowest bioavailability (aside from topical absorption), ranging from 6–20%.
If you’ve ever used a CBD oil, you’ve gotten more from the product than just cannabidiol (CBD). For multiple reasons, manufacturers need to put CBD into carrier oils. You should always check the label of your CBD product and know what’s in it.
The seeds contain fewer beneficial chemicals (cannabinoids and terpenes) than the flower and in much lower concentrations. However, they do contain some hemp phytochemicals that aren’t present in the flowers.
Benefits of CBD Carrier Oils
If there’s an oil you’d like to get more of in your diet, adding it into your CBD regimen is one way to get slightly more. (It’s debatable whether one or two droppersful a day is enough to have any tangible impact on your health.)
Most of the research into avocado oil has only been performed on animals. It’ll need to be studied in humans to determine whether it’s a safe and effective treatment for any condition.
Some topical CBD formulations may include essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus oils because of their purported health benefits.