What is MCT Oil and is it OK in CBD Tinctures? CBD tinctures are quickly gaining popularity with us mature adults. They’re easy to use and store, and are very discreet. Plus, if they are products Ryan is a content manager at thecannaschool.ca who has a background in economics. Ryan specializes in making cannabis edibles at home but loves to write about all things cannabis! Follow Ryan on Twitter Making cannabis tinctures at home is easier than you think. Get the step-by-step instructions for making cannabis tinctures in your own kitchen with our guide.
What is MCT Oil and is it OK in CBD Tinctures?
CBD tinctures are quickly gaining popularity with us mature adults. They’re easy to use and store, and are very discreet. Plus, if they are products with no THC (or less than .03%), you can easily find them online without going to a cannabis dispensary. We have several reputable CBD tincture products on our site, so you can visit our CBD tinctures page to learn more about them. When you do, you may notice that most of the tinctures contain MCT oil; but what is MCT oil and is it OK in CBD tinctures? If you’re an adult considering using CBD oil for health and wellness benefits, we thought it might be helpful to provide some information about MCT, and why so many companies use it.
What is MCT?
I bet that most of us do not remember much from our high school chemistry class. Heck, I barely remember high school at all. Putting on our science hats on for a moment, MCT stands for “Medium Chain Triglycerides” or “Medium Chain Fatty Acids.” In the natural world, they come from coconut oil, palm oil, and some dairy products.
For tinctures, our bodies process cannabidiol, aka CBD, much better when it’s combined with a fat-based “carrier oil.” CBD is fat soluble, meaning it breaks down better in oil rather than water. As a result, the CBD is delivered more efficiently in our bodies. For CBD and other tinctures, MCT is becoming quite popular as the main carrier oil to mix with the CBD oil. Medium chain triglycerides have fewer carbohydrates and calories than “long chain triglycerides” (LCT) found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados.
While the medical community considers LCTs as healthy oils, our bodies process MCT oils differently than LCT oils because MCTs travel through our digestive systems and liver more efficiently. Again, this means the body absorbs more CBD molecules because they don’t get stopped in the liver. Getting back to my fondness for gambling, I bet that many readers are thinking “So why not use hemp seed oil as the carrier oil?” It comes down to carbs, calories, and again, the way our bodies process hemp oil. MCT oil also has fewer calories than hemp seed oil which makes MCT a more efficient delivery system. MCT allows for a better ratio of carrier oil to CBD oil, so the tincture can have higher CBD content. This same premise holds true for other LCT oils like olive oil or pure palm oil. They are not bad for you, MCT is simply better for distributing the CBD throughout our bodies.
MCT vs Pure Coconut Oil
The MCT extracted from the coconut oil is in the form of Capric acid and Caprylic acid. That is not a typo. The difference is the number of carbon atoms in each acid. Pure coconut oil also contains “Lauric acid” that many biochemists consider an LCT. Again, as an LCT, our bodies process it differently. There’s nothing wrong with using coconut oil as a carrier oil, and in fact, these tinctures may be cheaper because there is less processing involved. But according to scientists smarter than me, extracting the MCT from the coconut oil or palm oil makes for a more efficient carrier oil because our bodies process it differently.
Straight, No Chaser
MCT on its own is clear, tasteless, and it’s odorless. This means you can put it in your morning coffee, tea, or straight from the eye dropper. Using it in smoothies or salad dressing is also popular. When used in a CBD or THC tincture, the taste may vary with different products. I personally use a CBD/MCT oil tincture a couple of hours prior to bedtime for better sleep. It has no taste and I put it under my tongue letting it soak into my mouth for about 90 seconds before swallowing.
What are the Health Benefits of MCT Oil?
MCT by itself may help our brains for improved memory and brain function. According to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, MCT may also combat the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Without a doubt, additional research is needed about how MCT may improve brain function, and we will pay close attention to these types of studies.
It may also be helpful with weight loss. A 2009 study found that MCT helped reduce women’s body mass index, and it may also help maintain better cholesterol and sugar levels. MCT oil may also help with our digestive system by inducing good bacteria into our stomach lining.
A Ketogenic diet consists of a low-carb, high-fat meal plan. According to Harvard Health News, with a Keto diet, our bodies get fuel from fat “ketones,” not carbohydrates found in other foods. MCT helps burn calories, so this may help someone trying to lose weight on a Keto diet. Going a step further, because MCT oil is a fuel source on its own, the body does not need to store the fat you’re eating at every meal on a Keto diet. The Epilepsy Foundation believes a Keto diet in conjunction with MCT oil may be helpful in providing relief for older children suffering from epileptic seizures. This is mainly because ketones serve as a fuel for the brain as well as the body.
The Health Benefits of MCT and CBD
When you combine MCT with the potential health benefits of CBD, it’s easy to understand why quality-conscious companies prefer it in their products. CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and relaxation agent without the euphoric feeling caused by its fellow cannabinoid companion, THC. Many people also find it helpful for both chronic and temporary pain relief, and insomnia.
A Low Smoke Point
MCT oil has a low smoke point. No, I am not referring to smoking or vaping MCT oil on its own. A low smoke point means you should never cook with it because it can ignite at low temperatures. Stick with your standard olive, canola, or vegetable oils for cooking. Besides, cooking with MCT oil would be really expensive.
Better Health and Wellness
Together, CBD and MCT make a powerful combination for better overall health and wellness. Each has its own positive attributes, and combining them makes for excellent products. If you’re currently taking other medications, always check with your doctor before starting an MCT/CBD regimen.
Are you currently using a CBD/MCT tincture? How do you use it? In coffee? Straight out of the dropper? We’d love to hear your story.
Philip Rebentish is a writer and the Content Editor for Three Wells.
How to Make CBD MCT Oil
MCT oil is a healthy cooking medium used in many recipes. MCT stands for ‘medium-chain triglycerides’, these are the compounds that give oils their beneficial properties. The reason they are so beneficial is they can be metabolized quickly and are almost immediately bioavailable to the body. Therefore when infused with CBD, it allows for faster absorption into the body compared to other methods. This brings on the medicinal and therapeutic properties of CBD much faster. This beginner guide will teach you how to make CBD MCT oil and how to calculate the potency of it.
We recommend you scroll to the bottom of this post before you make the recipe. At the bottom, you will find a potency calculator for the CBD MCT oil. Play around with the calculator until you find a dosage that fits your preferences. Then you will know exactly how much of each ingredient you need for the infusion.
Here is What You’ll Need
To make CBD MCT oil, there are only two ingredients the recipe calls for. The main ingredient you won’t be able to purchase at the grocery store. That ingredient is CBD isolate. CBD isolate is simple to use and very affordable. If you would like to purchase isolate or read more information on it, here is the company we have been using:
The only other ingredient needed for the recipe is MCT oil. You can buy organic MCT oil on Amazon – click here to learn more. There is also some equipment you will need.
CBD MCT Oil Potency Guide
We recommend that you calculate the potency of the CBD MCT oil prior to making it. This will allow you to adjust the recipe until you find a dosage that fits your preferences. To calculate the potency of each recipe you make, you must know the potency of the infused-MCT oil. Furthermore, if you know the MCT oils potency, you can determine how many mg of CBD are in each portion of the recipe.
Infusion Machines Make Edibles For You!
Decarboxylating and infusing your cannabis edibles can take a lot of time and effort. Luckily, there are great infusion devices to make this process as easy and seamless as possible. Cannabis-infusion machines are countertop devices that decarboxylate and infuse your butter, oils, and other ingredients for you. With just a few clicks you will have cannabis edibles at your disposal!
We recommend LEVO Infusion Machines and Ardent Cannabis Infusion Machines, which are two of the most widely used devices on the market. Use code CANNASCHOOL at checkout for 10% OFF!
To calculate the potency, you will need to measure the amount of CBD isolate used in the infusion. The CBD isolate package may have guidelines and directions for how to measure and dose it. To measure the amount of CBD used in each recipe we make, we use a digital scale. CBD is measured in milligrams (mg), so if the scale reads 0.1g (grams) that is equivalent to 100mg.
We recommend that you aim to use approximately 0.5 grams of CBD isolate per cup of MCT oil, which is equivalent to 500mg of CBD per cup. At the bottom of this article, we made a potency calculator to help you find a dosage you want! Do this prior to making the infused-MCT oil so you know precisely how much CBD isolate and oil to add!
If you need a digital scale to measure the CBD isolate for the infusion, this is the scale we recommend: here is a link to the scale we use which can be purchased on Amazon!
How to Make Cannabis Tinctures at Home
Cannabis tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts made by soaking cannabis in oil, vegetable glycerin, or high-proof alcohol. Many herbal tinctures are made this way. Most cannabis tinctures are infused with medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. Cannabis tinctures are easy to make, have a long shelf life, and are relatively easy to dose. They are also great for medical patients who wish to avoid smoking cannabis.
Benefits of DIY Cannabis Tinctures
Cannabis tinctures are one of the most approachable ways of using cannabis, especially for medical patients. Here are some of the benefits of cannabis tinctures .
You don’t have to smoke cannabis.
Inhaling the smoke of burning matter is not ideal for anyone concerned about their health, especially medical marijuana patients. Yes, there are vaporizers and inhalers, but far fewer things can go wrong with a good quality tincture (i.e., there aren’t any parts that can melt or break apart).
Suitable for a wide range of ages
Smoking or vaporizing cannabis isn’t for everybody, and minors with serious conditions will generally want to avoid anything that involves smoking, both for health and sometimes legal reasons. People of any age can use tinctures.
Blowing cannabis smoke or vapor is not always the most discreet method of intake, and if you’re in public, it could potentially land you in legal trouble or lead to other social problems. Opening a bottle of tincture won’t smell as much and won’t stink out a room or get in anyone’s face in public! The bottles are also easy to carry around in a pocket or bag if needed.
Tinctures are simple to measure and dose
Many methods of consuming cannabis can be relatively difficult to measure accurately. With tinctures, all you have to do is place a little bit of oil under the tongue and hold it there for about 20 – 30 seconds. Tinctures can be taken using a graded dropper, and you can get a relatively precise dosage of cannabinoids by using the following formula (assuming you know the concentration level of the tincture):
- Target Dose (mg) / Concentration (mg/mL) = Volume of Dose (mL)
For example, if you have a 100mg THC target dose with a 30mg/mL THC oil, the calculation is 100 / 30 = 3.33 mL.
Tinctures can be taken directly under the tongue, added to food or drinks, or even your favorite beauty product, and used externally as a salve or topical.
Powerful and quick-acting
Edibles can be useful for their potency and the amount of time they last but can take some time to take effect, and the results can be overwhelming. Smoking or vaping has immediate effects but may not be powerful or long-lasting enough for some.
Tinctures take effect within 30 minutes compared to one to two hours with edibles, and you can measure the dosage a lot easier. Tinctures can also have longer-lasting effects compared to inhaling or vaping (about six to eight hours compared to three to four hours, depending on dosage), so tinctures represent a great “in-between” point.
Tips for Making Cannabis Tinctures
- Keep it as simple as possible. — or even use already been vaped (ABV) cannabis.
- Coconut, MCT, or olive oil are the best oils for tinctures.
- Avoid alcohol-based tinctures (isopropyl alcohol, grain alcohol, etc.).
- Infusing cannabis into olive oil is great for adding to recipes .
- Infusing cannabis into coconut oil is great for applying to the skin.
- Use almost equal amounts of oil (or alcohol) to fresh, decarbed cannabis for maximum potency: 500 ml olive or coconut oil to 440 to 460 g cannabis.
- If you want to reduce potency, use half, quarter, or even lower proportions of cannabis needed for maximum potency, so 500 ml oil to 220 – 230 g cannabis for half strength, 110 to 120 g for quarter strength, 50 to 60 g for one-eighth strength and so on.
- Using ABV cannabis will result in less-potent tinctures, but some may prefer this.
- If you want a cannabidiol-rich ( CBD-rich ) tincture, use a variety of cannabis high in CBD or a THC-rich variety for a THC-rich tincture.
- There is approximately 1,000 mg of cannabinoids in every gram of cannabis, so a gram of 20% THC cannabis will contain 200 mg of THC.
How to Make Cannabis Tinctures
There are a variety of ways to make tinctures. For more detailed instructions, check out our article on making cannabis-infused oil here .
What You’ll Need
- Rimmed baking tray
- Baking paper
- Crockpot, double boiler, or saucepan
- Cheesecloth or strainer
- Cooking twine to tie the cheesecloth
- 3.5 grams of flower
- 1/2 cup of cooking oil (coconut oil or olive oil)
Decarboxylate the cannabis
Break up any cannabis flower or “buds” you have into smaller pieces.
Layer the pieces onto a rimmed baking tray lined with baking paper/parchment. Place the baking tray into the center of a preheated oven set to 240°F-248°F (115°C-120°C) for 30-40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
Allow the cannabis to cool to room temperature. It should appear darker in color – usually, light brown or yellow, not as green as fresh cannabis.
Note: you do not have to decarboxylate the cannabis if you are using marijuana that’s already been vaped.
Making your oil-based cannabis tincture
Combine the cannabis and coconut or olive oil using one of the following methods:
- In a slow cooker or crockpot
- On low for about four to six hours, stirring occasionally.
- On low for six to eight hours, stirring occasionally – a simple heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water will suffice.
- On low heat for three hours, stirring regularly. This method is the fastest but most susceptible to scorching. You can add a small amount of water to the oil to prevent scorching.
Note that the oil temperature should never exceed 245°F (118°C).
Strain your cannabis tincture through a cheesecloth or strainer to remove the plant material and store your oil in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place.
Alternative Methods for Making Cannabis Tinctures
The simple method
You do not necessarily need to heat your oil and cannabis together to infuse it. If you are willing to wait a few weeks, you can combine decarboxylated or ABV cannabis with oil and leave it to infuse for three to five weeks in a cool, dark place, turning the jar once every day. You will have a canna-oil similar to the product made by heating the two ingredients together.
Alcohol-based cannabis tinctures (aka “Green Dragon”)
You can make alcohol-infused tinctures instead of oil-based ones similar to the simple method above. Use ABV or decarbed cannabis (many people start using 1 or 2 ounces of cannabis to 750 ml bottle of high-strength, consumable, neutral alcohol such as Everclear or high-strength vodka. Then:
1. Mix your cannabis flower with high-proof alcohol in a mason jar.
2. Close the jar and let it sit in a cool, dark place for a few weeks, shaking it once a day.
3. After a few weeks, strain the alcohol through a coffee filter to remove any plant material.
How to Store Cannabis Tinctures
Store your cannabis tincture in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place out of direct sunlight. Glass containers like mason jars are usually best.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make tinctures without alcohol?
Yes, the main recipe we have given above (and the one we recommend) is oil-based, and most tinctures available on the market today are made using oil. Oil-based tinctures are generally safer to consume from a health perspective, as it’s not ideal for holding alcohol in the mouth. Alcohol-based tinctures are probably best avoided for minors who need medical cannabis as well.
Do cannabis tinctures get you drunk?
If the base is alcohol and you drink a lot of it, yes! However, you should only drink low quantities of alcohol-based tinctures, as the effect from the cannabis will be quite strong even at low doses. You should also avoid drinking large amounts of high-proof alcohol.
Why are so many cannabis tinctures made with MCT oil?
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is a type of oil that contains medium-length chains of fats called “triglycerides.” Due to their shorter length, triglycerides from MCT are more quickly and readily digestible by the body. MCT oil is usually extracted from coconut oil.
The other reason why MCT oil (and coconut or olive oil) is often used to make cannabis and hemp tinctures is that it has a high amount of healthy fat that cannabinoids can combine with. As cannabinoids are lipophilic (i.e., they love binding to fats), you need to combine them with high-fat foods like oils and butter to get the effect you want.
Article written by
Dipak Hemraj Head of Research and Education
Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture and economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.
Keep updated with our social media
Phone: +1 (800) 660-9085
©2022 Leafwell. Note: Information on this site does not constitute medical advice or legal advice.
- In a slow cooker or crockpot