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CBD Oil & Coconut Oil: Why Do They Work So Well Together?
Those new to the industry often wonder why there is such an emphasis on CBD coconut oil. After all, CBD is the primary ingredient, so why can’t we take it without the oil? As it happens, there is an excellent reason for the CBD oil and coconut oil combination. To properly digest and absorb nutrients, the body must break down and absorb compounds via the intestinal wall.
You can absorb CBD by itself if you wish, but you are missing out. When you ingest it with a carrier oil, you significantly increase the bioavailability. Marijuana and hemp’s cannabinoids are fat-soluble. This means they dissolve in oil instead of water. Therefore, infusing them in a saturated fat boosts the absorption rate of THC or CBD.
As a result, commercially sold CBD oil products contain a carrier oil that often comes from plant-based fats. Instead of diluting the quality of the product, the carrier oil boosts the efficiency. Options include grape seed, olive, avocado, palm, hemp seed, and coconut oils.
What Does a Carrier Oil Do?
Before we discuss CBD-infused coconut oil, let’s check out the purpose of carrier oil. Its main benefit is increasing the rate at which your body absorbs CBD. The higher the absorption rate, the more cannabidiol gets into your bloodstream. The term ‘bioavailability’ relates to how much of a substance the human body is capable of processing at once.
Let’s say you consume 100mg of CBD and its absorption rate is 20%. In this scenario, 20mg of cannabidiol makes it to the bloodstream. Your digestive system metabolizes the rest, and it never makes it to where it is supposed to go. When you reduce CBD to its purest form, it is a white powder. When you dilute the compound in a carrier oil, it becomes far easier to gauge the dose.
The likes of olive and avocado oil offer a trace of flavor. Many of the other options work well because they are flavorless. There are various types of fat, but the way they differ on a molecular level impacts how well it transports CBD into your system.
Introducing Fractionated Coconut Oil (MCT Oil)
CBD-infused coconut oil is the #1 carrier oil. One of its main benefits is that it contains 80%+ saturated fat. You may think it is a recipe for clogged arteries. However, the saturated fats in coconut are mainly comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Fractionated coconut oil comes from regular coconut oil, but long-chain fatty acids are removed in the process.
Medium-chain fatty acids have a very different effect on our metabolism. They travel straight to the liver and can provide a boost in energy. Fractionated MCT oil has no smell or flavor and is arguably the best sublingual carrier oil. Incidentally, be wary of products that say they’re made with MCT oil and not just the fractionated kind. It is a sign that the product contains a lab-blend of palm and coconut oils.
It is important to note that MCT relates to the types of fat molecules it contains. It does not refer to the plant source of the oil.
Why Is CBD Oil and Coconut Oil Such a Good Combination?
The primary reason why CBD-infused coconut oil works so well is due to the extremely high saturated fat content. Remember, CBD breaks down and is stored in fat instead of water. You will find a saturated fat content of at least 80% in coconut oil. In comparison, butter has around 50%, and olive oil has 20%.
Saturated fats are ‘healthy’ because of their link to supporting cardiovascular health. Research indicates that they may contribute to healthy brain functioning and improve the immune system. Coconut oil’s fatty acids create a powerful binding agent for cannabinoids. The result is a mixture efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream and carried all over the body.
Approximately two-thirds of coconut oil’s fats are high in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also known as MCTs. These are ‘shorter’ than other fats. As a result, they are immediately converted into energy without the need for processing. Some studies show how MCFAs boost metabolism and help lose weight. There is no better natural source of MCFAs than coconut oil.
Approximately half of the oil’s fat content is lauric acid. It isn’t majorly abundant in general. The human body converts this acid into something called monolaurin, which has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Incidentally, the second-highest source of lauric acid is breast milk!
Long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) need particular enzyme proteins to break them down. In contrast, the body directly metabolizes MCFAs. The main benefit for CBD users is that MCFAs help quickly release cannabidiol into the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
How Coconut Oil Helps ‘Carry’ CBD
When you consume CBD, it is broken down by the digestive system. Our body dissolves the substance in the stomach before it enters the gastrointestinal tract. Eventually, it travels to the intestines. The human body consumes nutrients from water-based molecules. Whenever our body encounters lipids (fats), it has a problem because there is a molecular difference between fat and water.
Water molecules have positive and negative charges. As a result, it is easy for these molecules to pair up and exchange nutrients. Fat molecules don’t have an electrical charge. This issue makes it tough for our digestive system to extract nutrients. Therefore, when you use oils to consume CBD, the body is unable to digest and process lipids properly. When we use standard oils, the bioavailability plunges to below 10%.
The Benefits of Saturated Fat
With CBD-infused coconut oil, the high saturated fat content comes to the rescue. The relevant term is Intestinal Lymphatic Drug Delivery (ILDD). It may surprise you to learn that coconut oil isn’t easy to process. When we eat food with a high saturated fat content, electron incompatibility makes it hard to take in nutrients from oils.
Fortunately for the CBD industry, saturated fats tend to form fat pockets in the small intestine. The lipids are stuck in the digestive tract and improve the cells’ CBD intake. Blood vessels line the body’s intestinal walls. They help disperse the nutrients carried in the bloodstream around the body.
Once the intestinal tract pockets ‘catches’ the CBD, it is absorbed through the wall instead of the liver. When CBD, or other compounds, enter the liver, they get broken down and metabolized. As a result, the bioavailability rate is meager.
A study by Hyeji Ahn and Ji-Ho Park, published in Biomaterials Research in 2016, looked at how coconut oil impacted the bioavailability of CBD. They found that coconut oil’s high saturated fat content significantly increases the bioavailability of CBD.
Other Common Carrier Oils
CBD coconut oil is regarded as the best option. However, it is worth looking at other popular alternatives.
You can use palm oil to create MCT oil as you would with CBD-infused coconut oil. One of the major downsides of using palm oil is a severe environmental impact. The manufacturer process is linked to animal cruelty, deforestation, and climate change. Therefore, it is best to stick with MCT oil from sustainable, eco-friendly sources like coconuts.
This type of oil is a staple of the famed Mediterranean diet. Experts claim it is one of the healthiest oil types you can eat. It is rich in antioxidants and helps reduce the risk of conditions such as stroke and heart disease. The oleic acid it contains could reduce inflammation.
Olive oil is thicker than its coconut counterpart. You may notice the potent fruity flavor in an oil high in monounsaturated fats. The oil’s large fat molecules take a lot of effort to process. As a result, it could reduce the amount of CBD absorbed by the body.
This type of oil is even thicker than its olive counterpart and is also laden with oleic acid. You can add it to CBD oils to increase their viscosity. If you use it, you may notice a nutty flavor. Cannabidiol sellers often use avocado oil in topical products because of its slow drying time. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive options.
Hemp Seed Oil
Shouldn’t this be the carrier oil of choice? After all, most CBD brands extract the cannabinoid from hemp instead of marijuana. As it happens, hemp seed oil is a relatively inefficient carrier of CBD on its own. It only improves when mixed with MCT oil because it contains just 11% saturated fat. There are consumers that mix hemp seed and CBD oil up. Rest assured, they are not the same thing.
Grape Seed Oil
This is the least ‘oily’ option on the list; it’s thin and not particularly greasy. It rewards users with a slight ‘wine-like’ aroma. As a result, grape seed oil is an excellent addition to CBD skin and hair products. Alas, it mainly contains polyunsaturated fats, which means it isn’t a suitable carrier oil on its own.
How to Make CBD-Infused Coconut Oil
A significant number of CBD brands use coconut oil as the carrier. A few opt for olive oil. Nonetheless, you also have the opportunity to make CBD coconut oil if you have a high-CBD strain such as Charlotte’s Web. You need the following:
● 1 cup of coconut oil
● 1 cup of a high-CBD, low-THC strain
● Cheesecloth or a strainer
● A slow cooker or a saucepan
● A grinder
Now that you have the ‘ingredients,’ here is the ‘recipe.’
- Grind the flower. Remember, anything that fits through the filter ends up in the oil. Therefore, it makes sense to avoid grinding it too finely.
- Add the plant matter and oil in a slow cooker and heat them together. It should take 4-6 hours on low heat. If you elect to use a double-boiler, it could take up to 8 hours. This process decarboxylates the material and turns CBDA into CBD.
- Make sure you stir the mixture occasionally. Try to keep the oil’s temperature below 245 degrees Fahrenheit if possible. It is also a good idea to add some water now and again to stop the liquid burning.
- Strain the oil over the cheesecloth or strainer. Avoid squeezing the cheesecloth. Otherwise, you add more bitter-tasting chlorophyll to the mix.
- Discard the remaining material if you wish.
- Store the oil in an airtight container. It should last up to two months. Refrigerate it to extend the shelf life.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Coconut Oil
Another reason why CBD-infused coconut oil works well is due to coconut oil’s slow oxidation time. Therefore, when you suspend a compound such as CBD in it, you know it won’t spoil for a long time. Once you extract cannabidiol, you must suspend it in an inert solution to make it easy to administer.
Even the taste of the coconut oil makes it an ideal match. High-quality CBD has a bitter taste that some users find unpleasant. Coconut oil makes the cannabinoid taste more palatable.
Overall, there is no mystery as to why coconut oil is the best ‘carrier’ for CBD. The answer is based on science. It has an extremely high level of saturated fat that improves the bioavailability of the CBD. It is absorbed through the intestinal tract rather than the liver. As a result, more of the compound makes it to your bloodstream. CBD oil and coconut oil are a dream team!