MCT oil is a type of plant-based oil that has gained a significant amount of attention recently in health and wellness industries. Most commonly used in pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, and some foods, MCT oil is considered somewhat of a wonder-supplement with many potential health benefits. It’s also widely considered one of the best carrier oils for cannabis-infused tinctures. Read on to better understand what exactly MCT oil is, how it interacts with cannabis, and its pros and cons.
What is MCT oil?
MCT is an acronym short for “medium chain triglycerides” which are naturally occurring oils that can be synthesized from several plant-based sources. MCT oil is most commonly sourced from unrefined coconuts.
What is a carrier oil?
A carrier oil are vegetable oils used to dilute more concentrated forms of oil like essential oils, or in our case, cannabis-infused oils. When a cannabis plant is processed into a crude oil, and then processed further to remove unwanted waxes and toxins, it renders what’s called a winterized distillate oil. This is a highly concentrated form of cannabis. Because it’s so concentrated, even a small amount will contain a high percentage of cannabinoid content like THC or CBD. To make dosing easier, these concentrates are diluted with carrier oils to thin out the THC or CBD content per dose.
Potential benefits of MCT with cannabis
MCT is the leading choice for carrier oils in cannabis-infused oil products for several reasons, the most significant of which is the oil’s absorption rate. MCTs are very easy for the body to digest, which also makes it effective in aiding the absorption of nutrients [*]. In much the same way that putting olive oil or butter on your vegetables helps your body absorb and process fat-soluble nutrients more efficiently, MCT oils help your body absorb cannabinoids like CBD and THC more effectively [*]. MCT is also an ideal carrier oil for cannabis tinctures because relative to other carrier oils like olive or hemp, MCT doesn’t have an overwhelming or distinct flavour.
Other MCT oil potential health benefits
Although MCT is championed in the cannabis industry for its ease of absorption, its other potential benefits include:
- Instant energy source: because the body absorbs MCTs faster than other fats, your body converts those oils to energy much faster [*].
- Reduce lactate buildup: this is particularly helpful for patients looking to reduce inflammation, muscle stiffness, and soreness [*].
- Keto/low carb friendly: for those with strict ketogenic or low carb diets, MCT is an ideal carrier oil choice [*].
Cons of MCT oil
As with any medicine, supplement or food you plan on ingesting, it’s important to be aware of any potential side effects you could experience. The two side effects patients should be aware of with MCT both pertain to digestion [*]:
- May cause stomach irritation: some first time users of MCT oil have reported experiencing an upset stomach, especially when ingested on an empty stomach. The best way to try to avoid it is to take MCT oil with food.
- May cause diarrhea: In rare cases, some patients have also reported experiencing diarrhea after first use of MCT oil. A good option to potentially reduce this symptom is to introduce MCT into your system slowly. You can order a small vial of just MCT oil (without cannabis-infused tinctures) and ingest small amounts leading up to dosing your cannabis-infused tinctures with MCT carrier oils.