In CBD oil, one of the most common ingredients you may find is medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT). But many question the hazards of this lipid complex. Does vaping MCT in CBD vape oil contribute to pneumonia?
Although the Internet spreads rumors quickly, some are only half-based in truth. Before using any CBD oil, it’s important to understand all the facts about what you are using.
What is MCT? What does it have to do with CBD oil?
According to WebMD, medium-chain triglycerides is a processed product derived from coconut and palm kernel oils. During the laboratory process, fatty acids are attached to the MCT, known as medium-chain fatty acids.
MCTs are used as a medicinal component, particularly in the digestive system. Medicines for diarrhea, indigestion, or celiac disease often contain MCTs. They are also found in cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease and pediatric seizures.
While there are some beneficial properties to MCTs, the term became a buzzword in recent years. Popular diet plans, including the Bulletproof Diet and the Paleo Diet, brought MCTs to the forefront. Both claim diets high in MCTs from coconut oil could aid concentration, focus and weight loss.
Why is MCT found in CBD oil?
When you look at your CBD oil tincture or CBD oil capsule, you may find two ingredients: cannabinoids and MCT oil. It may seem these two have very little in common, but peer-reviewed studies suggest the two may linked.
A 2007 study published in Chemistry and Biodiversity focused on the connection between fatty acids and cannabidiol. The research discovered that industrial hemp contains over 400 different chemical compounds. These include “amino acids, hydrocarbons, carbohydrates, terpenes, and simple and fatty acids.” Studying the distribution of cannabinoids after administration, the research found that CBD is easily absorbed in fat cells. The research concluded: “It is suggested that fatty acid conjugates of [cannabinoids] may be formed, increasing the stability of these compounds in fat.”
A second study in 2016 published in the American Journal of Translational Research found comparable results. A multinational team performed research by introducing cannabinoids alongside lipids to rats. The team wrote in their report: “co-administration of dietary lipids or pharmaceutical lipid excipients has the potential to substantially increase the exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines.” They concluded: “The increase in patient exposure to cannabinoids is of high clinical importance as it could affect the therapeutic effect, but also toxicity, of orally administered cannabis or cannabis-based medicines.”
Both studies suggest that the body absorbs cannabinoids when introduced alongside a fatty acid. Coconut oils are a natural source of the MCTs, which also act as a binder for the cannabinoids in CBD oil. When put together, MCT offers a natural boost to cannabinoids that deliver the good oils into your body faster.
Can MCT oil combined in CBD oil cause pneumonia?
While research on harmful effects are limited, the discussion around MCT oil and pneumonia focuses on one study: a 1998 article published in Pediatric Radiology. The doctors involved self-reported one case of lipid aspiration pneumonia after an infant received MCT oil through a nasogastric tube. The patient later died from the condition.
Doctors reported another case of MCTs contributing to exogenous lipoid pneumonia in 2007 and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. But in this situation, the diagnosis is linked to using mineral oil for another medical condition.
Most of the concern around MCTs contributing to pneumonia has to do with CBD vape oils that contain coconut oil extract. While it may not be a good idea to use CBD vape oil with MCT oil (the best ones have a combination of PG and VG), using a CBD oil tincture or CBD oil capsule with MCT oil may not be hazardous.
Although studies exist linking MCT oil to pneumonia, the verdict is still out on if using it in a CBD vape oil can cause pneumonia. We always recommend using a CBD vape oil with a combination of PG and VG solutions, but as always: your experience may vary.