Different cannabis brands and products use different carrier oils for medicinal cannabis application. The numerous types of carrier oils all have different properties and uses, and each will react differently to a person’s body and endocannabinoid system. [1]

MCT or medium-chain triglyceride is a popular oil for use in ingested healthcare products and medicines. MCT oil is found in coconut oil and other Aceraceae family trees, which has increased in popularity in health circles in recent year, resulting in it being a sought after and popular method of ingestion. [2]

While MCT remains popular, other oils are also used for several reasons. These include availability, health benefits and taste, among others. Let’s take a look at MCT oil and its alternatives, breakdown the pros and cons of these alternatives and discuss their use in medicinal cannabis products.  

Popular alternative carrier oils in medicinal cannabis oil products include hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, castor oil, sesame oil and even substances like water and bees wax. All of these have a different relationship with the cannabis plant and interact differently with cannabinoids within the cannabis plant and its derivative medicines.[3]

Taste and Smell of Carrier Oils

MCT oil has a very mild flavour, as such it can be added to foods, products, and medicines without any significant risk of spoiling your experience. Therefore, it has been a popular choice for those looking for a quality and discerning carrier oil. In contrast other oils have a heavier taste palate with hemp seed oil has a nutty flavour due to pyrroline and pyrazines which are commonly found in chocolate and coffee.[4] Sunflower oil, if cold pressed can have a pleasant taste mainly being sappy, pithy, woody, and nutty, however a lot of cheaper processed sunflower oil can taste slightly chemical and pungent, which might not make for a pleasant taste. [5]

Additional Medicinal properties of Carrier oils

The difference between oils with medium tryglyceride chains (from coconut or Aceraceae fruit) and long trygliceride chains (sunflower), lies mainly in the length of their carbon chain and their unsaturation. These structural features will affect their properties, stability, and the way these oils are processed in the body.. Because MCT oils have short chains, they are absorbed quickly and metabolised easily making them a better option for people with absorption issues or gastrointestinal disorder. LCTs on the other hand, are processed slowly and  can be very difficult to digest.[6] Due to these physic-chemical properties, MCTs are also more resistant to oxidation and have a better shelf life than sunflower oil and other alternatives.

Last but not least, MCT oil is less caloric than LCTs and some publications have even proven that MCT oil increases energy expenditure and can create a faster satiety than LCT-based diets and thus reduce the risk of obesity.[7]

Source of MCT oils

Coconut oil is the primary source for MCT oil.  The oil is produced in a process called fractionation that extracts the acid from the other fats in the oil.[8] Coconut oil have received some attention recently and has gained popularity for its additional health benefits including weight management and Alzheimer’s reduction.

When it comes to choosing an oil for you, it all comes down to personal preference. With increasing applications for gastrointestinal disorders and extra attention on additional health benefits of selected oils, MCT has become one of the front runners for medicinal cannabis carrier oils.

It is a stable choice, that maintains a consistent flavour and visual characteristics, which overall can improve the bioavailability of your CBD medicine and make for a more pleasant experience.

What about LGP cannabis oils?

Little Green Pharma cannabis oils consist of whole plant cannabis extracts mixed with edible carrier MCT oil that is sustainably sourced.

[1] What is a carrier oil? Best oils and uses (medicalnewstoday.com)

[2] 7 Science-Based Benefits of MCT Oil (healthline.com)

[3] Australian Medical Cannabis Products, Find a Medical Cannabis Product | Canna Reviews Australia

[4] What do Hemp Seeds Taste Like? & How to Consume Them – HempBuzz

[5] Top 6 Properties and Benefits of Sunflower Oil – NatureWord

[6] Medium-chain triglycerides – ScienceDirect

[7] Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men | European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (nature.com)

[8] What Is MCT Oil? MCT Oil Uses, Benefits, Sources & More (acme-hardesty.com)

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