What Is A Carrier Oil & What Types Are There?

If the term “carrier oil” sounds familiar, you may have heard about it on the topic of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy where various essential oils are applied to the body to aid both physical and emotional health and well-being. Carrier oils dilute the concentrated essential oils so they can be applied to the skin without side effects.


Essential oils are distilled from the aromatic leaves, bark, and roots of plants. If applied to the skin directly, they can cause reactions, such as severe irritation, redness or burning.

Carrier oils are used to dilute the essential oils and help “carry” them into the skin. Aloe vera gels and unscented body lotion are also sometimes used as carriers.

Why does CBD need a carrier oil? “Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are lipophilic [which means] fat-loving,” said Melany Dobson of Hudson Hemp. “Administering them with oil is a great way to increase an otherwise poorly absorbed molecule. Studies have shown that consuming CBD with fat triples the amount of CBD absorbed as compared to when it isn’t.”

In essence, this means the carrier oil is the delivery guy, bringing your package (the CBD) to your doorstep (your receptor cells). The better the delivery guy (carrier oil) the more quickly and efficiently you get that package (CBD).

Carrier Oils:

MCT and hemp seed oil seem to be some of the best options. “Cold-pressed hemp seed oil provides all nine essential fatty acids and is high in alpha-linolenic acid (the plant form of omega 3),” Melany Dobson of Hudson Hemp told Svn Space. “In fact, hemp seed oil has the ideal ratio of two essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3), as well as contains other essential amino acids like Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arginine.” What’s more is that hemp seed oil is all part of the same plant, which as Dobson told Svn Space, “speaks to the full-plant/full-spectrum story.”

Other options include coconut, olive, avocado, grape seed, and sunflower oils. “Sunflower seed oil is rich in vitamin E, omega-9, and omega-6,” Dobson told Svn Space. She recommends the use of hemp seed and sunflower oils as carriers, but also recommends looking into flaxseed and sesame oils (which aren’t popular at present).

While the “best” option has yet to be determined, you can use these tips to find the best option for your wellness routine — one that perfectly suits your needs.

Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash

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