What are cbd carrier oils and how do you choose the best one?


A good CBD product has many components, including CBD itself, companion cannabinoids, terpene mixtures and aromatic additives. However, an important ingredient that cannot be ignored is the CBD carrier oil.

After all, the carrier oil is usually the first ingredient in most CBD products, meaning it makes up a fairly large percentage of the overall formula. In addition, it affects the taste, absorption, consistency and price of any CBD product. You may be surprised to learn that many different oils can be used to suspend CBD in tinctures, softgels and topicals. The type of carrier oil used varies depending on what the product is trying to accomplish and its intended use.

What does this mean for you?

It means that if you want to choose the most effective CBD formula to suit your needs, you need to know your stuff. Here we will do a breakdown of the most popular CBD carrier oils and when they are the best choice so you can choose the formula that is right for you.

First of all, let’s start with the basics:

What is a carrier oil?”

A CBD carrier oil is an oil used to suspend the CBD molecule and increase absorption in the body. CBD products are not the only type of product where carrier oils are used – this practice is widespread and used in almost all health and topical supplements.

Typically, carrier oils are plant or nut-based oils, such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil, which offer a mild flavor and potentially even some nutritional benefits. Different carrier oils have different scents, which is why some people prefer one over the other. Some companies may also use a blend of different carrier oils to achieve different flavor profiles or nutritional benefits.

Although different oils are used in different formulations, you will find carrier oils in CBD oral products and CBD topical products.

Does CBD need a carrier oil (and why?)

Technically, CBD does not always need a carrier oil, but oil is required for almost all forms of CBD. The exception to the rule is CBD isolate powder or other powdered products that may not contain carrier oil.

In most cases, however, CBD products do contain carrier oil. This applies to almost all oral and topical products. There are many reasons why CBD products contain carrier oils, such as:

Ease of use

First of all, the CBD is suspended in oil to regulate the strength of the pure CBD extract. Since CBD extract can be highly potent, the simple dose may be too small to be measured. Manufacturers can produce a product that is easy to measure consistently by adding it to a food-grade carrier oil. This allows you to measure half doses, double doses or other incremental doses more efficiently, so you have more control over your CBD dosing routine.

Aiding absorption

CBD is fat soluble, meaning fat is needed for the body to break it down and use it. For this reason, manufacturers usually use a rich source of healthy fat, such as MCT oil derived from coconuts.

If CBD products do not contain fat, you would need to make sure that you take some source of healthy fat with your CBD dose. Otherwise, the CBD could pass through you and dissipate.

Maintaining the integrity of cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are volatile when left exposed. In other words, they are sensitive to temperature, sunlight and other elements and can degrade rapidly over time. Carrier oils help protect CBD from the elements and create a product with a longer shelf life. Of course, you should store CBD products in a cool, dark place to keep them fresh for as long as possible.

Promoting Nutritional Benefits

Some CBD products target specific health benefits, and carrier oils can help achieve these effects by providing various vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and more.

Changing the Taste

It’s no secret that different oils taste different, and manufacturers often use this to their advantage when creating different CBD products. For example, an oil with a deeper aroma can be used to create products with a dark chocolate flavor profile, while oils with a lighter aroma are often chosen for products with a natural taste. While some carrier oils are easier to find than others, the choice of flavor profile depends entirely on your preference.

Safety and Precautions

In general, you can mix CBD with any edible oil to create safe CBD products, but there are some things to be aware of when choosing the best CBD carrier oil for you. In particular, some oils contain allergens (think coconut or tree nut allergies) that can be dangerous for some people. Also, low-quality oils spoil faster and can cause digestive upset, especially in high doses. Oils can also go rancid, but you should be able to tell this problem by the smell. Some products contain more than one carrier oil, which can be misleading if you are not careful when reading the label. In general, you should make sure to check the entire ingredient list before buying a product to ensure that the carrier oils meet your needs and dietary restrictions.

To ensure the safety and quality of the final batch, pay attention to other key quality elements such as the quality of the CBD, the type of formula used and the brand’s laboratory testing process. Check out our CBD product reviews to save some of the work.

What is the best carrier oil for CBD?

The best carrier oil for CBD products is usually MCT coconut oil. It offers a mild flavor and provides a special composition of essential fatty acids needed to aid CBD absorption. Of course, hemp oil is another highly nutritious, natural option used in many CBD products.

Ultimately, the carrier oil is essential, but the quality of the CBD and the lack of contaminants can trump the type of carrier oil used. Be sure to pay attention to all aspects of a product’s quality when choosing the best CBD oil for you.

If you are allergic to coconut oil or want a CBD product with a different flavor profile, there are plenty of other carrier oil options to choose from. Let’s take a look at the most common options:

1) MCT Oil: The best carrier oil for CBD

MCT oil (or medium chain triglyceride oil) is the most popular carrier oil used to make CBD products. MCT oil can be obtained from a variety of sources such as palm oil or coconut oil, but coconut oil is much more sustainable.

This carrier oil is thin and easy to measure, while also providing a powerful dose of essential fats and antioxidants. MCT oil offers a mild flavor that is pleasant and versatile, meaning it can be used in products that need to achieve delicate or complex flavor profiles. Because MCT molecules are small, they can help deliver CBD to the body quickly.

This is the most affordable type of carrier oil you can find and you can find it in topical and oral CBD products.


  • Can hold a lot of CBD
  • Fast absorption
  • Mild flavor profile
  • Highly available
  • Cost effective
  • Can be an eco-friendly option


  • Low nutrient profile
  • May pose a problem for those with coconut allergies

2) Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a thick carrier oil that is gaining popularity as the health benefits of avocados become more recognized. As a carrier oil, avocado oil can provide a high dose of vitamins and essential fats. However, it is a thicker oil that is harder to measure than coconut oil, so it is a more popular choice for topical products.


  • Mild, nutty flavor
  • Luxurious feel for topical products
  • High vitamin and antioxidant content
  • Quickly absorbed by the skin


  • Thicker and harder to measure than coconut oil
  • One of the more expensive options
  • Can be difficult to find in stores

3) Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seeds are mostly composed of oil, but the oil contains little to no cannabinoids. It does, however, contain a strong dose of healthy fats and a number of vitamins and antioxidants.

Some sources suggest that hemp seed oil may help manage inflammation, but there is no evidence to compare the effectiveness of these benefits with the potential anti-inflammatory benefits of other oils. Still, because hemp seed oil is a by-product of the CBD production process, many people prefer it as a more “natural” option. It is also the most common carrier oil found in full-spectrum products, as it is thought to potentially increase side effects among cannabinoids.


  • High in antioxidants and essential oils
  • May enhance the antagonistic effect of cannabis
  • Value effective


  • Stronger aroma, which is unpleasant for some people

4) Olive Oil

Olive oil is a less common carrier oil for CBD products, but can more easily be found in topical products. While its mild, nutty flavor may be beneficial for some people, it is a denser carrier oil that can be more difficult to measure when used to make products for oral administration. This is also a popular option for some people who want to avoid certain allergens such as coconut oil or nut oils.


  • Plenty of vitamins and antioxidants
  • May have additional benefits to heart health
  • Mild taste


  • Poorer absorption
  • Difficult to measure
  • Contains less CBD compared to other carrier oils

5) Grape seed oil

Grape seed oil is another mild-tasting oil that has recently grown in popularity due to its potential health benefits. However, it does not have a high saturated fat profile, making it a more popular choice for topical CBD products. Still, it is a nutritious option that is useful for most topical applications, including those allergic to other nut-based topical oils.


  • Moisturizing and high in vitamin E
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Absorbs fast, not greasy


  • Not suitable for oral products
  • Easily absorbed when swallowed
  • More difficult to find


Carrier oils are found in almost all CBD products (except powdered isolates and other powdered products) because they facilitate product dosage and aid CBD absorption. Different CBD carrier oils have different properties, such as different flavor profiles, nutrients and absorption rates. You will find that some carrier oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil, are primarily used for topical products because they are thicker and not suitable for tinctures or other dosing that needs to be carefully measured.

In most cases The best carrier oil for CBD is MCT coconut oil, as it can be absorbed quickly, is cost-effective and has a mild flavor profile. You can find a wide range of CBD tinctures, softgels and more made with premium MCT coconut oil, often at very affordable prices.


Can CBD be a carrier oil?

No, CBD is not a fat, although it is a fat-soluble molecule. It therefore needs fat to be broken down and absorbed into the body. You will often find CBD products made with MCT coconut oil, hemp seed oil or another high-quality carrier oil.

How do you mix CBD oil with a carrier oil?

Most CBD products already contain a carrier oil. If you want to dose your CBD with oil, the best option is to buy it pre-prepared with a high-quality carrier oil, as the CBD will already be evenly distributed within the product. If you prefer, you can mix the CBD isolate powder into the oil by first measuring your dose and then adding a few drops of your chosen oil. Alternatively, you can learn to make CBD oil from scratch.

Can hemp oil be used as a carrier oil?

Yes! Besides MCT coconut oil, hemp oil is the most popular carrier oil used in CBD products. Hemp oil is a rich source of fatty acids that are naturally produced during the CBD production process, so many CBD products will contain some hemp oil.

Can olive oil be used as a carrier oil?

Yes, olive oil is another possible, though less common, option for CBD carrier oils. While many people prefer the flavor profile and mouthfeel of olive oil-based products, their thicker consistency can make these products difficult to measure.<1

YouTube video: What are CBD carrier oils and how do you choose the best one?

Rate article
Review of CBD products, news, and guides from The CBD Encyclopedia | TopCBDhempOilTrust