What Is MCT in CBD Oil? [Comprehend a Label’s Ingredients]

If you’re OCD health nuts like us, you want to know everything that’s in the CBD oil you’re consuming. For instance, you’ve likely seen something about MCT oil on the ingredients sticker of your favorite hemp oil.

But what is MCT? Is it some strange synthetic carrier oil that came from a mad scientist’s lab? Is it going to make you grow a third eye? What about develop an X-Men like superhuman capability (how sweet would that be, btw?)

In this article, we answer the increasingly common question of “what is MCT oil?” It’s clear that the product is popping up more and more as an ingredient in the best CBD oils. If you have any concern over knowing what’s in the daily tincture you’re taking, read on to find out just what this mystery ingredient is.

CBD Oils Are Increasingly Using It, but What Is MCT Oil?

MCT oil stands for “medium chain triglyceride” oil. But what does this mean? Medium chain triglycerides are the compounds that give health and beauty oils (like coconut oil) many of their beneficial properties.


You’ve likely heard over the years that coconut oil can be a one-stop-fix-all super oil. Some say it’s capable of taking care of everything from inflammation and damaged skin to energy levels and thinning hair.

But guess what? It’s not specifically the coconut, per se, that gives coconut oil all of its wonderful characteristics. In fact, based on studies pure coconut oil isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be in terms of its perceived health benefits.

The reason for this?

Besides its supply of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), coconut oil is also chock-full of long-chain triglycerides, or LCTs. LCTs are much more difficult for the body to digest, metabolize, and ultimately use as an energy source. In fact, rather than becoming immediately available as energy, most natural fats in coconut oil (i.e. LCTs) end up being stored rather than burned. This is not good for cardiovascular health, metabolism, and a range of other things.

On the flip side, the body can quickly and easily metabolize MCTs and use them as energy. They provide an almost immediate source of natural fuel, and guess what? Instead of being stored in tissue as fat, MCTs are readily used by cells and metabolized to provide the body with clean, ultra-efficient energy.

But where does MCT oil come from? Well, it is, in fact, a synthetic oil that is processed only in laboratories using a combination of medium chain triglycerides from both coconut oil and palm oil.

Is CBD Oil with Coconut Oil Bad for You?

Regardless of all this talk about CBD products formulated with MCT oil, you can rest assured that pure coconut (or olive) oil are still not unhealthy carriers for CBD. In fact, like most things there is likely a certain element of marketing buzz that goes along with MCT oil — it’s a hot product right now, so whenever possible manufacturers are going to be chomping at the bit to label their top-shelf CBD oils as ‘MCT-containing.’

Coconut oil and olive oil both have health benefits of their own, so either of those two or MCT oil are fine choices, especially at the small amounts generally taken with each dose of CBD.

A Side Note on the ‘Healthiness’ of Coconut Oil

It goes without saying that there’s an ongoing argument over the healthiness of triglyceride consumption. For generations, the American Heart Association held a specific stance on fat consumption, cholesterol levels, and so on. Today, they still recommend against the consumption of coconut oil on grounds that high levels of saturated fat raise LDL levels.

Additionally, Harvard Health’s stance on the healthiness of coconut oil consumption may surprise you. They argue that many of the health claims in favor of coconut oil stem from research done on oils containing 100% MCTs. This is inconsistent, they say, with coconut oil that you find in grocery stores (which contains mostly lauric acid).

In short, be wary that not all coconut oils you see for sale in supermarkets and health food stores are the same. Check the labels, and know what you’re looking for before you grab a bottle and head to the checkout line.

Final Thoughts on MCT Oil and CBD

If you skipped all the way down to the bottom here and skimmed over the meat of the article, here’s the general gist on MCT oil and CBD: basically, MCT (which stands for medium-chain triglycerides) is a synthetically-produced oil that is a combination of both coconut oil and palm oil.

It’s believed to be superior to the pure versions of each oil, as all of the long-chain triglycerides (which are difficult to metabolize and usually end up as stored fat) have been removed. MCTs , on the other hand, are very efficiently metabolized and are almost immediately available to the body as an energy supply.

That said, be wary of the fact that not all CBD oils with coconut oil are made the same. In fact, you’ll find large variations in quality and ingredients among various products on the current market.

Varying qualities of MCT / CBD oils

Many brands nowadays that use MCTs in their coconut oil use a process called CO2 extraction to pull cannabinoids from plant material. Some consider CO2 extraction to be the “gold standard” of CBD oil production. However, there are other extraction techniques that can produce high-quality products.

Cryogenic ethanol extraction, for example, can produce great results. Since ethanol is an alcohol-based solvent, it works chemically to “strip” the hemp of its CBD, as well as other active compounds. What’s left over is a rich hemp extract with a full spectrum of cannabinoids. Additional processing and filtering can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

In short, if you’re going to buy CBD oil with MCT, be sure to do your due diligence and research a quality product. Spend some time reading reviews, and don’t settle on the first product you happen to come across.

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