Weed enthusiasts everywhere are trying their hand at making their own homemade cannabis products. Cannabutter, cannasugar, and cannabis oils are being cooked up in kitchens all over the world. These types of products make using cannabis more versatile because instead of just smoking or vaporizing cannabis, they can eat it mixed into other foods, by itself, or use it topically. While it is possible to buy many of these products ready-made, people like to know what really goes into them, and making them at home is one way to ensure the ingredients are all good.
One of the most popular cannabis products to make at home is cannabis oils. They can be used in cooking, but they can also be taken in drops or made into capsules. Many people use these things to get high, while others use them for certain medicinal reasons. The essential part of making cannabis oil is the oil you use. Here is where the debate begins. What type of oil is best to use as a carrier?
What Is A Carrier Oil?
If you want to make cannabis oil, then you must have oil. The oil that is used helps deliver important cannabinoids of marijuana to the body. Mainly, cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As many cannabis users know, CBD is a cannabinoid that is thought to provide many medicinal benefits, and THC, the cannabinoid that makes you high, is also thought to have medicinal benefits other than just getting you stoned.
The carrier oil acts as a solvent that will dissolve the cannabis compounds to make them easier to use. It's similar to the way Kool-Aid is dissolved in water. However, cannabinoids of marijuana are not water-soluble so oil is used instead.
Different Types Of Oil Can Be Used
When it comes to which type of oil is the best to use, different people prefer different types. One thing that is important to keep in mind is what you are going to use your cannabis oil for. Will it be used as a medicine that you take by drops only or is it something you want to cook with? Will you use it as a topical skin treatment for pain or some other skin issue? Two of the most popular oils that are used are MCT and coconut oil. But which one has the most versatility and health benefits?
What Is MCT?
MCT is a man-made, highly concentrated source of medium-chain-triglycerides using a process called fractionation. The process extracts and isolates MCTs from palm kernel oil and coconut oil. MCT oil usually contains 100% capric acid (C10) or 100% caprylic acid (C8), or both.
A triglyceride is made up of three fatty acids and a glycerol molecule. These fatty acids are comprised of carbon atoms that are linked together in chains that can vary in the size of their links. The majority of fatty acids in dietary triglycerides are long-chain, which means they have more than 12 carbon atoms.
In comparison, the fatty acids in MCTs have a medium-length that contains 6-12 carbon atoms. The chain length of the fatty acids is what makes MCTs unique. Most dietary sources of fat like avocados, fish, seeds, nuts, and olive oil are made up of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). The medium-chain-length of MCTs do not require the bile acids or enzymes for absorption the way that LCTs require.
This will allow MCTs to go directly to the liver. They are then rapidly digested and absorbed. They are used immediately for energy or turned into ketones. Ketones are compounds that are produced when the liver breaks down a lot of fat. The body can use them for energy instead of glucose or sugar. MCTs are less likely to be stored as fat. This means they are more likely to promote weight loss than other fatty acids.
Below are four types of MCTs. They are listed in order of their fatty acid chain length.
Caproic acid – 6 carbon atoms
caprylic acid – 8 carbon atoms
capric acid – 10 carbon atoms
lauric acid – 12 carbon atoms
Because lauric acid is often classified as an LCT because it is digested and absorbed slower than other MCTs, some experts define MCT fatty acids as those that have a length of 6-10 carbons instead of 12.
MTC can be found in a variety of organic foods, among them is coconut. These acids help the body absorb THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids found in cannabis. MCT is very versatile when it comes to infusing it with cannabis. So when all is said and done concerning MCT, it contains 100% MCTs that makes it a concentrated source of all of the best goodies to be used as a carrier oil for cannabis.
You can use it in cannabis capsules, cannabis drops, cooking and baking, or to add to beverages. Even though some people do vaporize it like e-juice, some physicians don't support this method of use because it is inhaled and it contains oil.
Pros and Cons of Coconut Oil As A Carrier Oil
Coconut oil is made from copra, which is the kernel or the meat of a coconut. Just to begin with, coconut oil is not 100% MCTs. This means that is it also not 100% absorbable. The fats need to be digested before you can get to the fatty acids which marijuana cannabinoids cling to. When you break coconut oil down, it is roughly 60% MCTs and is as follows:
Capric acid – 6%
Caprylic acid – 7%
Lauric acid - 45%
Even though coconut oil is easier to digest when compared to other fats, not everyone can efficiently break down fat no matter what type it is. To break down fat, the body needs a healthy liver and gall bladder. When these organs are healthy, they produce healthy bile. The bile helps to digest fat and promotes the secretion of pancreatic enzymes that will further help to break down fat. Fat digestion actually begins in the mouth with the aid of an enzyme called lingual lipase. It is then broken down even further in the small intestine with the aid of bile and enzymes.
The reasons why some people can not break down fat easily can include things like chewing or eating too fast and eating while stressed out can be a problem. Of course, living a toxic lifestyle that affects the gall bladder and liver is also a major issue. Any of these problems can result in poor digestion of fat.
This is not to say that all aspects of using coconut oil as a carrier oil for cannabis are bad ideas. It's actually quite the contrary according to many. Many people that have no problem breaking down fat really like the idea of using coconut oil because it has no many beneficial health properties of its own. Even though coconut oil has not been shown consistently to give the same ketogenic or weight loss advantages as pure MCT oil, there are advantages.
Cannabis coconut oil is great for cooking, especially when it comes to pan-frying and stir-frying. It has a higher smoke point than MCT oil does. The smoke point is important because it's the temperature at which fat begins to oxidize and when this happens it can negatively affect the taste of the oil and its nutritional content. MCT oil has a smoke point of 302°F (150°C) compared to Coconut oil which has a smoke point of 350°F (177°C). This simply means that coconut oil can be used at higher temperatures before the taste and nutritional value is affected in a bad way.
Coconut oil has become very popular among most people, not just those that use it for cannabis coconut oil. It's used in so many things today. Because it has a high percentage of lauric acid, it makes it ideal for skincare and beauty treatments. Lauric acid has been shown to have strong antibacterial properties. Many people are using it to help treat acne.
Since some researchers believe that cannabis can be very helpful to manage pain, using cannabis coconut oil is great to rub into the skin to help relieve things like arthritis and muscle strains. Coconut oil seems to be a wonder product similar to aspirin. It's good for so many things and it's even better when used with cannabis.