Learn why CBD is commonly paired with MCT oil and how this combination provides unique benefits and advantages. MCT acts as an effective carrier for CBD and is becoming known as a superfood. We look at how it works, why it’s highly regarded and why it is paired with CBD. CBD absorption in the body can be enhanced by using a carrier oil such as medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.
8 Reasons CBD in MCT Oil Is Good for You
MCT oil helps the body absorb CBD better, but it also offers its own unique benefits. Learn more about the advantages of using CBD in MCT oil.
Note: This post was originally published in June of 2017 and has been updated for clarity and to include current information.
When people say “CBD oil” what they typically mean is CBD + oil, because isolated CBD usually comes in a highly concentrated powdered or crystallized form. It’s only when you add concentrated CBD to an oil (called carrier oils, which we’ll cover in another post) that you get CBD oil a.k.a concentrated CBD mixed evenly in an oil.
One of the most commonly used oils in CBD products is MCT oil, which comes from coconuts or palm plants. These are just a few of the reasons why CBD in MCT oil is good for you.
1. Absorb CBD Better
Like we mentioned earlier, CBD oil actually refers to a product where CBD concentrate is mixed into an oil called a “carrier oil”. This is because our bodies can’t effectively absorb concentrated CBD through the digestive system.
The good news is that CBD dissolves really well in fats such as MCT oil, making it much easier for CBD to work its way into your system.
Benefits of CBD Oil
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, belongs to a group of compounds known as cannabinoids. These compounds interact with systems in the body to promote a wide range of benefits. Its effects differ from person to person, but are generally described as providing balance and a sense of well-being. The best way for a person to understand CBD and its benefits is by experiencing it directly.
2. Absorb CBD Faster
MCT oil helps your body absorb CBD, but so do other carrier oils. What’s unique about MCT oil is that its chemical structure is smaller than other oils, which means your body breaks it down and starts using it faster.
What Makes CBD Oil So Special?
CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and the number one most abundant cannabinoid in hemp plants. There is still a lot that we’re learning about these plants and the compounds that they produce, but it’s already clear that CBD plays an important role in the way cannabinoids interact with people and animals.
3. Helps Measure CBD Servings
CBD concentrate is highly potent in even tiny amounts. It would require small, unique measuring tools in order to get a person’s ideal serving size. Mixing CBD concentrate evenly into MCT oil makes it easier for the average person to measure out the right amount of CBD.
Does CBD Oil Work?
People who try CBD oil tend to notice it working, especially once they find a serving size that meets their needs. Although, CBD oil may not work for everybody. Learn about the pros and cons of CBD oil here. The best way to know if CBD will work for you is to try it for yourself or ask a medical professional for their advice.
4. Prevents Bacterial Growth
MCT oil has shown to prevent the growth of bacteria which makes it good for protecting the quality and shelf-life of CBD and may even provide other health benefits.
5. MCT Oil Is an Ideal Source of Energy for Your Brain
MCT may help improve your focus, mental clarity, and memory by providing the fuel that your brain needs to function effectively. This is one of the reasons it’s commonly used by “bio-hackers” such as Bulletproof founder Dave Aspry.
Benefits of MCT Oil
Medium-chain triglycerides, commonly referred to as MCTs, are a type of dietary fat with a unique chemical structure. They provide a long list of potential benefits. Compared to longer-chain fats, MCTs are absorbed more easily in the body and are able to provide energy to the brain and body more quickly.
6. MCT Oil Is an Ideal Source of Energy for Your Body
The same fuel source used by your brain is what’s used by many parts of your body. In the same way that MCT breaks down easier and faster, allowing your brain to utilize its energy more quickly, taking MCT oil can also provide rapid energy to your body. MCT oil is popular with many athletes and fitness enthusiasts for this reason.
7. MCT Oil Is Clear and Tasteless
One of MCT oil’s drawbacks might actually be a positive. MCT oil is usually clear and pretty much tasteless. When it’s taken by itself, this could be called a downside to using CBD in MCT oil. But because it’s clear and tasteless it makes it easy to add to smoothies, salads, and other recipes in order to capture the benefits of CBD and MCT oil without having to worry about changing the appearance or taste of a drink or dish.
What Makes MCT Oils So Special?
One of the reasons MCTs are so special is how quickly and easily they are digested and sent to the liver. This allows them to provide fast energy to the body as well as essential nutrients without being stored as fat. Some sources say that medium-chain fats like MCTs can help positively alter a person’s metabolism.
8. MCT Oil Is Keto-Friendly
MCT oil is popular in the keto community and many suspect it may be an effective addition to the keto weight loss approach. MCT is broken down directly into ketones, which might help the body enter the fat-burning state of “ketosis”.
Does MCT Oil Work?
MCT oil has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including improved cognitive function, weight management, and more. These healthy fatty acids are largely missing in the typical Western diet partly because of the misconception that all saturated fats are harmful.
Since any CBD oil product is really a unique blend of plant extracts, CBD being the most abundant or the highlighted ingredient, it’s important to understand what role the other extracts and compounds are playing in your diet. MCT oil is a popular choice for pairing with CBD, and for good reason. We recommend you try it yourself.
Jason Croxford May 28, 2020 Tags: Nutrition
About The Author
With 15 years of marketing experience under his belt, Jason is clearly a powerhouse. Lately, he’s turned that energy toward holistic health and biohacking to maximize his health and lengthen his lifespan. Jason is breathwork-certified and is working towards his 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training cert.
MCT oil & CBD oil – A happy partnership
MCT oil is a commonly used carrier for cannabidiol (CBD). It is a high fat oil which is extracted from either coconut or palm.
For years fats have been viewed as the enemy of health, weight loss and well-being. Now we know better. Fats have many vital roles and are an important part of a healthy diet.
MCT goes a step beyond. It is an oil that is packed with nutritional benefits as well as having a role in enhancing and targeting other ingredients.
Medium chain triglycerides: fast facts
- Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is fat-based and rich in caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid.
- MCT oil is used as a carrier for CBD because it helps to increase bioavailability.
- The addition of MCT to CBD as a carrier oil prevents the cannabidiol from being broken down in your digestive tract.
- Consuming MCT oil is linked to good gut health and weight loss.
What is MCT oil?
Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are fatty acids found in coconut oil and palm oil. It is often reported that they boost energy and support an increase in brain power. It is a clear liquid with no smell and is often added to food or coffee (also called Keto or Bulletproof Coffee) and smoothies.
MCT oil is a general term for several different oils including caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid. Each has varying effects and are found in different amounts in MCT oil.
Most MCTs get their reputation and quick effects from by-passing the digestive tract and going straight to the liver to be broken down. They quickly become high-energy ketones and are transported to the bloodstream. This quick action makes them a source of fast energy and a useful delivery method for other substances such as CBD, which can be broken down in the digestive tract.
Benefits of MCT oil
Some studies have observed a link between a diet rich in MCTs and weight loss. They appear to have links to good gut health and can modify the gut microbiota to support metabolic processes. At the same time, they are both antifungal and antimicrobial, which keeps your digestive system healthy. MCTs have considerable potential for gut health, weight loss and provide a quick source of energy that can reach your cells faster than other forms.
Note: The amount of MCT consumed when taking a CBD oil is minimal. A few drops of MCT oil are not going to provide these same health benefits.
MCT oil vs coconut oil
Coconut oil is packed full of beneficial oils, 62% of which are MCTs. However, of that percentage, a large majority is lauric acid. While lauric acid is beneficial it does not behave like other MCTs and can be broken down in your digestive tract instead of the liver.
Coconut oil is a great choice and can work well in many diets. However, if you want the benefits associated with MCT oil it is best not to buy coconut oil.
MCT oil & cannabidiol (CBD)
When adding any food supplement to your diet it is important to consider its bio-availability. Bio-availability refers to the amount of active ingredient that will reach your bloodstream.
CBD is often broken down by your liver before it can be used by your body. If you ingest CBD, only 4% to 20% will reach your bloodstream and this could take up to two hours.
However, this is still a well-used method of consuming CBD. It is still used because:
1. Ingesting CBD is convenient, and it can easily be added to food or drink.
2. The effect of CBD is often longer when it has been ingested.
3. Taking CBD in this way means that you won’t need to carry any other items such as vaporisers.
Because ingestion is the method of choice for many CBD users there has been lots of research into ways of making it more efficient. It has been found that the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids that reach your bloodstream increases when combined with fats. MCT oil is particularly effective at doing this.
CBD is fat-soluble so the MCT acts as a carrier and prevents it from being broken down in the digestive system. This allows a greater amount of CBD to reach your bloodstream than if you were to swallow the CBD.
MCT oil is a source of healthy fats that can build your energy and maintain your gut health. When combined with CBD the key benefit is enhanced bioavailability of CBD.
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Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.
The perfect pairing: MCTs and CBD
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil may provide functional benefits, and can also be used as a carrier oil to deliver CBD to the body.
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is a flavorless ingredient that acts as a carrier oil while also offering a neutral odor and long shelf life. Widely used for its therapeutic properties 1 and antimicrobial 2 and anti-inflammatory effects, 3 MCT oil may be the ideal ingredient to elevate a brand’s CBD products.
As MCTs have become essential dietary supplement and personal care additives worldwide and consumers learn their benefits, an excellent opportunity exists for manufacturers in the CBD industry to invest in this ingredient. MCTs can be incorporated as a high-quality carrier or emollient in the formulation of natural CBD cosmetics and dietary supplements.
What MCTs are
As health trends have grown across the U.S. and around the world, MCTs have skyrocketed in popularity. Composed of six to 12 carbons that are fatty-acid esters of glycerol, their short length enables the body to absorb the oil efficiently. 4 MCTs passively diffuse from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract into the portal vein without requiring the modification that long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) or very-LCFAs do. 4
MCTs are produced in the U.S., Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of the world from vegetable oil fatty acids from natural sources. MCT oil is most commonly derived from palm kernel oil and coconut oil. With both sources, the extraction process is called fractionation and it separates MCT oil into a concentrate. The four types of MCTs include the commonly used caprylic acid and capric acid.
How MCTs are used
MCTs have many applications across the personal care, aromatherapy and cosmetic industries. MCT oil may be used as a stand-alone product or added to lotions, creams, foams, topical aerosols, ointments, cleansing oils, bath scrubs, makeup and CBD oil. MCT oil is a go-to carrier oil for CBD products and CBD tinctures, as MCT is absorbed into the bloodstream faster than longer-chain fatty acids. 4 MCTs are also versatile enough to be incorporated into food and beverage products, with the possibility to offer science-backed functionality.
The potential benefits of MCTs
Clinical research around MCT oil surrounds health benefits such as aiding in weight loss, 5 energy 6 and heart health, 7 and potentially playing a role in alleviating inflammation 3 and mitigating other issues. 8
Among MCT oil’s areas of influence, weight loss ranks high on the list because of the extensive amount of research. In clinical trials, MCT oil has been shown to promote the feeling of fullness, to help reduce body weight and waist circumference, to reduce or prevent obesity, and to help the body burn extra calories. 5
Excess body weight can contribute to heart disease, so by aiding weight loss and with the potential to help reduce inflammation, 3 MCT oil may bolster heart health. 7 A clinical trial around MCT oil consumption and metabolic profile suggested MCT oil is a crucial ingredient to help reduce the risk factors for heart disease, with the potential to aid in maintaining healthy blood pressure. 7
Research has also indicated a promising role for MCTs with specific issues, including epilepsy and autism. One study explored the ability of MCTs to offer increased seizure control. 8 Another study showed positive improvements for people with autism who incorporated MCTs into their diet, tracking results over six months. 9 Other studies have assessed MCTs’ ability to influence memory loss and help patients in an Alzheimer’s disease population. 10
Although more clinical research is needed to further prove any links between MCT oil and benefitting inflammation or other adverse indications, 3 it stands to reason that MCT would be a positive addition to the diet. It provides an immediate source of power for the human body through quick absorption, allowing for faster conversion to energy, according to a clinical trial led by researchers Peter Schonfeld and Lech Wojtczak. 11
The perfect pairing
CBD is a chemical compound derived from the hemp plant, one of 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD is growing in popularity in the U.S. and around the world. According to a CBD report from Research and Markets, the global CBD industry is projected to reach US$13.4 billion by 2028.
CBD will not produce an impact unless it is accessible to the human body, which means a carrier oil can be essential for absorption. 12 In addition to helping increase the bioavailability of CBD, carrier oils can improve the stability of a formulation by making it easier to produce nanoemulsions with small droplet sizes. 12
For manufacturers in the food and beverage or personal care industry looking to incorporate CBD into their product line or bolster products they already have, high-quality MCT can be a seamless addition to natural formulations.
To read additional articles on the CBD niche, visit the “ CBD seeks red-hot status ” digital magazine.
Mike Efting has been a senior executive in the chemical distribution industry for more than 35 years and an entrepreneur for well over a decade. He is the current president and founder of Viachem , a specialty chemical food additive and ingredient distributor, and American Pure Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Viachem that includes premium personal care brands spanning hand sanitizer to CBD.
1 Ulrich H et al. “Parenteral Use of Medium-Chain Triglycerides: A Reappraisal.” Nutrition. 1996;12(4):231-238.
2 Khoramnia A et al. “Improvement of Medium Chain Fatty Acid Content and Antimicrobial Activity of Coconut Oil via Solid-State Fermentation Using a Malaysian Geotrichum Candidum.” Biomed Res Int. 2013;954542.
3 Yu S et al. “Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Oil Affects the Immunophenotype via Reprogramming of Mitochondrial Respiration in Murine Macrophages.” Foods. 2019;8(11):553.
4 You N et al. “Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Long-Chain Triglycerides, or 2-Monododecanoin on Fatty Acid Composition in the Portal Vein, Intestinal Lymph, and Systemic Circulation in Rats.” JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2008;32(2):169-175.
5 St-Onge MP and Jones PJH. “Greater Rise in Fat Oxidation with Medium-Chain Triglyceride Consumption Relative to Long-Chain Triglyceride Is Associated with Lower Initial Body Weight and Greater Loss of Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue.” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003;27(12):1565-1571.
6 St-Onge MP et al. “Medium-Chain Triglycerides Increase Energy Expenditure and Decrease Adiposity in Overweight Men.” Obes Res. 2003;11(3):395-402.
7 St-Onge MP et al. “Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil Consumption as Part of a Weight Loss Diet Does Not Lead to an Adverse Metabolic Profile When Compared to Olive Oil.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2008;27(5):547-552.
8 Chang P et al. “Seizure Control by Ketogenic Diet-Associated Medium Chain Fatty Acids.”Neuropharmacol. 2013;69:105-114.
9 Evangeliou A et al. “Application of a Ketogenic Diet in Children with Autistic Behavior: Pilot Study.” J Child Neurol. 2003;18(2):113-118.
10 Augustin K et al. “Mechanisms of Action for the Medium-Chain Triglyceride Ketogenic Diet in Neurological and Metabolic Disorders.” Lancet Neurol. 2018;17(1):84-93.
11 Schönfeld P and Wojtczak L. “Short- and Medium-Chain Fatty Acids in Energy Metabolism: The Cellular Perspective.” J Lipid Res. 2016;57(6):943-954.
12 Leibtag S and Peshkovsky AS. “Cannabis Extract Nanoemulsions Produced by High-Intensity Ultrasound: Formulation Development and Scale-Up.” J Drug Deliv Sci Technol. 2020;60.