This concept isn’t unique to CBD products. The same concept applies when making Kool-aid by dissolving the flavored powder into water, or when making soapy water to wash the dishes.
Fat-soluble substances on the other hand — like CBD — can’t go directly into the bloodstream. They first need to get packaged up into tiny droplets called micelles. These micelles then enter the fatty lymph tissue — a network of fat-based compounds and immune cells. They then travel up the body through the lymph, eventually entering the bloodstream directly above the heart. In the diagram above, the lymph is the green tubes (called lacteals). These lacteals carry the CBD (and other cannabinoids) to the lymphatic system.
What is a Carrier Oil?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about carrier oil selection. We cover MCT, olive, hemp seed, grape seed, and glycerine — including the pros and cons of each.
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.
Absorbing fats in this way requires a series of enzymes in the digestive tract to prepare the fat molecules for absorption by breaking them down and turning them into micelles. When we eat fats, taste receptors in our mouth send signals to the digestive tract to get these enzymes ready.
Most people don’t have side effects from common carrier oils. Some oils, though, may not be right for people with certain illnesses or taking certain medications. Always check with your doctor before adding anything to your treatment regimen—even a “natural” product like CBD in a dietary oil. Natural doesn’t always mean safe.
Side Effects and Precautions
This is called oral allergy syndrome. If you have an allergic reaction to any of these things, you should be tested for a reaction to the others, as well.
Olive oil is probably the carrier oil you’re most familiar with and it’s certainly the best researched. It’s become one of the most commonly used cooking oils because of its many well-established health benefits.