essential oils or cbd oil for anxiety


Let’s cut right to the chase, they are both amazing in their own ways, but one certainly stands out as a more holistic approach to what ails you.

Occasionally we get asked some form of this comparison question, “which is better. X Essential Oil or CBD Oil?” or “is copaiba oil really better than CBD?” As with most topics in wellness, it can be difficult to separate the science from the marketing hype, so let’s break it down for you here by starting with a little pertinent scientific information on the endocannabinoid system, essential oils, and CBD oil.

The Endocannabinoid System

Have you ever heard of it? It’s totally fine if you haven’t, because it was actually only discovered a few decades ago. In science, a discovery that is only a few decades old is often not fully developed, and true to this pattern, science is still discovering new tidbits about the endocannabinoid system all the time, especially as we decriminalize cannabis.

The Endocannabinoid system’s primary focus is to create a perfect balance within the body, sometimes also called homeostasis. It releases and regulates different internal cannabinoids in reaction to anything, external or internal, that threatens to throw the body off balance. Sometimes this reaction is in response to a physical health threat, but much of what the endocannabinoid system deals with is the mental/neurological/energetic side of the threat.

A good example is stress, whether it is related to a internal stress like a health issue or an external stress, the endocannabinoid system regulates the internal chemical release around that stress. This is why the endocannabinoid system is often considered a type of subconscious emotional regulatory system.

There are 4 internal endocannabinoids that are the most well understood currently:

Oxytocin. Oxytocin in an internal endocannabinoid molecule that is often associated with being strictly a female hormone. It’s actually produced and used by both males and females. Oxytocin is generated during labor, orgasms, and sexual activity, but it’s also produced during other affectionate expressions, like during hugs and moments of bonding. It’s also associated with empathy, trust, and generosity.

Serotonin. Serotonin is another well-known molecule, although it is uncommon to know it as an internal endocannabinoid. Interestingly, serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is primarily made and regulated by the gut, bringing truth to the old saying that “the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy.” Many happy feelings, such as the feeling of safety, positivity, and calmness mostly come from within your stomach and intestines.

Anandamide. This cannabinoid is a big influencer in your mental health. It is often called the ‘bliss molecule’ as it promotes relaxation and feelings of happiness. Anandamide is produced within human cell membranes and is a neurotransmitter which interacts with both CB1 and the CB2 receptors.

Acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter responsible for attention, memory, creativity, and neuroplasticity. The cool thing about this cannabinoid is that depending on where it is in the body, it can have opposing effects. Acetylcholine interacts primarily with the CB1 receptor.

CB1 and CB2 Receptors

In telling you about the Endocannabinoid system I mentioned the neurochemicals above as well as the receptors where the body uses the neurochemicals. There are two primary receptors in the Endocannabinoid system for both internal and external cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2. These are important when comparing Copaiba and CBD oil because it will help you see the difference in the two substances and how they work on the body, and perhaps more importantly, in their therapeutic uses.

CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system and both CB1 and CB2 receptors in certain peripheral tissues. CB1 receptors are neuromodulators as well as immunomodulators meaning the play a big role in both your mental health as well as your immune system health, they are specifically involved in the pituitary gland, immune cells, and reproductive tissues.

CB2 receptors are found primarily in peripheral tissues. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors CB1

activation appears to relieve inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

So now we know what the system is that both CBD and Copaiba essential oil act on and the receptors that are involved, let’s take a look at each CBD and Copaiba a little closer.

Essential Oils

First, let’s look at Copaiba. Essential oils are wonderful wellness tools and can be used for a myriad of ailments. The essential oil most often compared to CBD oil is Copaiba oil, although a few other oils, like Rosemary, share very similar terpene profile to the Copaiba, and that drives the comparison of CBD and Copaiba.

Copaiba essential oil comes from the Copaifera tree, which like another popular essential oil, Frankincense, can be found throughout South America. The Copaifera tree produces a resin, that is steam-distilled, and the end product is copaiba essential oil.

Copaiba oil has recently been subject to some fairly intense scientific exploration. Early studies show evidence of Copaiba’s legitimate healing capabilities in antibacterial wound-healing and anti-inflammation. Once these studies were released, many oil-lovers started shouting from the rooftops that Copaiba is the new “legal” CBD oil.

Copaiba’s medicinal properties are largely related to the terpene content, specifically beta-caryophyllene, which is also an ingredient/property in CBD oil, thus compounding the oil-markets excitement and lots of confusion.

Copaiba is touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it is, but it is different from CBD in how it reacts in the body, or how the body can put it to use. Copaiba has a single pathway, through terpene beta-caryophyllene, to act on inflammation and pain through the endocannabinoid system on only the CB2 receptor.

One of the drawbacks of Copaiba over CBD oil is that it is still an essential oil, and although it is a unique essential oil because it is safe to use internally in low doses. Unless you are under the care of a qualified Clinical Aromatherapist, I would discourage this at home because dosing is difficult to calculate and measure. The side effect of ingesting too much Copaiba oil will cause general tummy distress, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. Prolonged ingestion can lead to damaged stomach and intestinal lining.


In comparison, CBD oil is a lot like an essential oil in that it is derived from plants and is natural and has been used for many years in healing and wellness. Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is a cannabinoid sourced from the cannabis sativa genus of plants, usually from industrial hemp plants (not marijuana). CBD is often confused with THC (from marijuana), but even though the are both cannabinoids, CBD is legal in all 50 states and is non-psychoactive. This means that despite what some essential oil purveyors may try to lead you to believe, CBD oil does not trigger a ‘high,’ anxiety, or euphoria. It triggers a mild sense of relaxation, if any physical sensation is noted at all.

The medicinal properties of CBD oil are attributed to two ingredients/properties, both terpenes (like you find in Copaiba oil) and cannabinoids (found only in the CBD oil). CBD oil is pretty unique in that especially when using whole-plant extracts, CBD oil can contain many different compounds, each with its own unique effects on the endocannabinoid system. Through this interaction and with the benefit of a broad range of healing compounds, CBD has demonstrated huge potential as a treatment option for lots of health issues, including mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, autoimmune disorders, pain issues, cancer, inflammatory diseases and so much more.

As mentioned, CBD oil does contain beta-caryophyllene which acts on the CB2 receptors, and yes, this is the same terpene as Copaiba. CBD’s benefit over Copaiba is really in its influence over the entire endocannabinoid system, both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD targets pain and inflammation in multiple ways, even beyond the beta-caryophyllene terpenes.

Currently, there is no recommended maximum dosage for CBD oil, and there are some documented acute treatments using upwards of 1,000 mg of CBD oil a day. While that isn’t a dose I would recommend without consulting your Wellness Practitioner, over-the-counter dosages are regarded as safe and perfect for oral consumption.

So which is better?

Copaiba, while a good essential oil with many healing properties, simply does not stack up to the healing ability of CBD oil. As mentioned, Copaiba’s health benefits come only from its beta-caryophyllene contents that act on a single receptor, CB2. Whole-plant CBD (not CBD isolate) oil benefits from a synergistic effect between all the complex compounds, like the cannabinoids and terpenes. Multiple studies have confirmed the various compounds in CBD are stronger when working together, instead of isolating their parts. Copaiba would be considering isolating only one of CBD’s beneficial parts.

Cannabis Essential Oil: A Preliminary Study for the Evaluation of the Brain Effects

We examined the effects of essential oil from legal (THC <0.2% w/v) hemp variety on the nervous system in 5 healthy volunteers. GC/EIMS and GC/FID analysis of the EO showed that the main components were myrcene and β-caryophyllene. The experiment consisted of measuring autonomic nervous system (ANS) parameters; evaluations of the mood state; and electroencephalography (EEG) recording before treatment, during treatment, and after hemp inhalation periods as compared with control conditions. The results revealed decreased diastolic blood pressure, increased heart rate, and significant increased skin temperature. The subjects described themselves as more energetic, relaxed, and calm. The analysis EEG showed a significant increase in the mean frequency of alpha (8–13 Hz) and significant decreased mean frequency and relative power of beta 2 (18,5–30 Hz) waves. Moreover, an increased power, relative power, and amplitude of theta (4–8 Hz) and alpha brain waves activities and an increment in the delta wave (0,5–4 Hz) power and relative power was recorded in the posterior region of the brain. These results suggest that the brain wave activity and ANS are affected by the inhalation of the EO of Cannabis sativa suggesting a neuromodular activity in cases of stress, depression, and anxiety.

1. Introduction

The European Pharmacopoeia, sixth Edition (2007), lists 28 essential oils (EOs) [1]. These oils are employed by inhalation and dermal (percutaneous absorption) and oral ingestion in the form of capsules. Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L. cultivars) is cultivated for fiber and seed production, but has an incredible number of possible applications as ingredient in the cosmetics industry, as flavouring for beverages (food industry), and in medicine. Several studies have been carried out on the cannabinoid content, resin, and seed oil of Cannabis sativa L. cultivars, but few studies have focused on the chemical composition and pharmacology of the essential oil extracted from fresh inflorescences and even fewer studies are concerned with its possible uses [2–6].

The hemp essential oil is a complex mixture of many volatile compounds, mainly monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and other terpenoid-like substances [7]. The main chemical components are myrcene, β-caryophyllene, limonene, α-pinene, β-pinene, terpinolene, and α-humulene. The general properties of these substances include antidepressant, relaxant, anxiolytic, sedative, antimicrobial, and antioxidants [8]. Some researchers studied the antibacterial properties of this oil. These findings show that industrial hemp EOs exhibited good antimicrobial activities, with respect to Gram (+) bacteria such as Enterococcus hirae, Enterococcus faecium, and S. salivarius subsp. thermophilus and against clostridia (in this case only C. sativa L. varieties Futura) [9]. The study of Russo describes pharmacological properties of main terpenoids present in industrial hemp EOs [8].

In the research by Bahia et al., they reported that β-caryophyllene may be useful in treating anxiety and depression. Moreover they demonstrated the effect of β-caryophyllene and its underlying mechanism in a CB2 receptor-dependent manner in mice [10]. These β-caryophyllene’s properties may explain why Cannabis users often cite relief of anxiety and depression as reason for their use. But, presently, the effects of hemp EOs inhalation on the brain in humans have not been studied and there are no studies on the possible therapeutic use. However, these studies support that hemp EOs inhalation can have a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Thus, this study is the first to focus on aspects such as brain wave activity and ANS parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and skin temperature, as well as the assessment of mood states through comparative measures. Moreover gas chromatography characterization of hemp EOs was conducted.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Essential Oil Analysis

Hexane used for preparing working solution was purchased from Carlo Erba (Rodano, MI, Italy), while the linear n-hydrocarbons (C9–C40) were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich.

The EO used in this study is an extract of Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae; hemp) purchased from Assocanapa Association (Carmagnola, TO, Italy). The EO was obtained from fresh leaves and inflorescences of Cannabis sativa L. were collected and steam distilled by Assocanapa Association, as given by the Italian Official Pharmacopoeia (2,5 L water distilled, 2 h in Clevenger-type apparatus). The Cannabis EO (CEO) yield was 0,11% v/w. CEO and EOs dilutions were stored at 4°C before use. Gas chromatography/electronic ionization mass spectrometry (GC/EIMS) and gas chromatography/Flame Ionization Detector (GC/FID) analyses were accomplished using an HP‐5890 Series II instrument equipped with HP-WAX and HP-5 capillary columns (30 μm × 0.25 mm, 0.25 μm film thickness), detector dual FID, working with the following temperature programme: 60°C for 10 min, ramp of 5°C/min to 220°C; injector and detector temperatures 250°C; carrier gas nitrogen (2 ml/min); detector dual FID; split ratio 1 : 30; injection of 0.5 μl. For both columns, components were identified by comparing their retention times with those of pure authentic samples and by means of their linear retention indices (l.r.i.) [11, 12] relative to the series of n-hydrocarbons. The relative proportions of the EO constituents were percentages obtained by FID peak-area normalization, all relative response factors being taken as one. GC/EIMS analyses were performed with Varian CP‐3800 gas chromatograph (Variant, Inc. Palo Alto CA) equipped with a DB-5 capillary column (Agilent Technologies Hewlett-Packard, Waldbronn, Germany, 30 m × 0.25 mm; coating thickness 0.25 μm) and a Varian Saturn 2000 ion trap mass detector. Analytical conditions were as follows: injector and transfer line temperatures 220 and 240°C, respectively; oven temperature programmed from 60 to 240°C at 3°C/min; carrier gas helium at 1 ml/min; injection of 0.2 μl (10% hexane solution); split ratio 1 : 30. Identification of constituents was based on comparison of the retention times with those of authentic samples, comparing their l.r.i. relative to the series of n-hydrocarbons (C9–C40), and on computer matching against commercial (NIST 98 and ADAMS 95) and home-made library mass spectra built up from pure substances and components of known oils and MS literature data [13, 14].

The percentage compositions were computed from the GC peak areas. Moreover, the molecular weights of the all identified substances were confirmed by GC/CIMS, using MeOH as CI ionizing gas. Analysis of the essential oils identified 35 constituents ( Table 1 ), accounting for 97.6% of the total oils (only compounds >0,1% are reported in Table 1 ). Monoterpene hydrocarbons represented the 57.2% of total volatiles and myrcene was the main constituent (22.9%). Sesquiterpenes hydrocarbons represented the second class of volatiles (34.3%) with the most abundant being β-caryophyllene (18.7%).

Table 1

GC-MS results of the essential oil extracted from hemp inflorescences (Cannabis sativa L. var. monoica).

Constituents l.r.i. ∧ Percentage
α-Pinene 941 7,7
Camphene 955 0,2
Sabinene 978 0,2
β-Pinene 982 3,7
Myrcene 993 22,9
α-Phellandrene 1007 0,3
δ-3-Carene 1010 0,6
α-Terpinene 1020 0,3
p-Cymene 1028 0,5
Limonene 1033 3,9
1,8-Cineole 1035 0,2
(Z)-β-Ocimene 1042 0,7
(E)-β-Ocimene 1053 3,9
γ-Terpinene 1063 0,3
Terpinolene 1090 12,0
Linalool 1101 0,3
p-Cymen-8-ol 1184 0,5
α-Terpineol 1192 0,2
Carvacrol 1301 0,2
(Z)-Caryophyllene 1406 0,7
β-Caryophyllene 1419 18,7
transα-Bergamotene 1438 1,5
α-Humulene 1455 6,2
9-epi-Caryophyllene 1468 2,3
γ-Muurolene 1478 0,2
β-Selinene 1487 1,6
α-Selinene 1495 1,5
β-Bisabolene 1508 0,4
transγ-Cadinene 1514 0,2
δ-Cadinene 1524 0,2
Selina-3,7(11)-diene 1544 0,6
Germacrene B 1557 0,2
Caryophyllene oxide 1582 3,7
Humulene oxide II 1607 1,0
Monoterpene hydrocarbons 57,2
Oxygenated monoterpenes 1,4
Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons 34,3
Oxygenated sesquiterpenes 4,7
Total identified 97,6

Percentages are obtained by FID peak-area normalization, all relative response factors being take as one (HP-5) column. Mean of three analyses. ∧ Linear retention indices (HP-5 column) relative to the series of n-hydrocarbons.

2.2. Subjects

Five healthy volunteers (3 males and 2 females) aged 30 to 57 years (mean age 40,8 ± 12,19 years) and with body mass index (BMI) between 19,05 and 34,60 kg/m 2 (mean BMI 26,986 ± 7,18 kg/m 2 ) participated in this study. Demographic data of the participants is presented in Table 2 . Only five volunteers were available for the experimental session preprogrammed; other recording experimental sessions were not made because environmental parameters would not be reproducible and comparable. None of the subjects had cardiovascular disease, they did not exhibit any symptoms of upper respiratory infection, and women were not to be in their menstrual period on the day of the tests. Two subjects were smokers and one of the male subjects had a slight headache at the time of the experiment. All experimental procedures were followed with the strict ethical standards formulated in the Helsinki Declaration of 1964 that was revised in 2000 and all the subjects have participated in the study after signing the informed consent. The study was conducted in private healthcare facilities outside the network of the Regional Health System. Therefore, any ethical and managerial assumption is rooted in the direct relationship between the patient, who has released the relative consent, and the host structure.

Combining Essential Oils with Cannabis Oil: Maximizing the Benefits

There has been a lot of research and positive feedback on the effects of CBD on various ailments, including amnesia, migraines, stress, and depression, among other conditions. Similarly, the combination of CBD oil and essential oils is bound to have even better results.

With the recent concerns about the medicinal benefits of cannabidiol, there has been growing interest to determine whether it is possible to combine it with a variety of essential oils. These two extracts are fundamental in providing the body with various natural, safe, and reliable benefits.

Do you know what is CBD? Popularly known as cannabidiol, CBD is one of the most useful and common chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol combines with other active body chemical compounds to bring about medicinal and recreational benefits to the users.

On the other hand, essential oils are highly-concentrated extracts whose extraction involves cold-pressing plant parts, including seeds, fruits, stems, roots, and leaves. They work mainly through smell to improve body functions. Therefore, the difference between essential oils and CBD oil is their mode of operation.

Examples of essences include peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, chamomile, bergamot, cider, and birch extracts. Often, these extracts are linked to a wide array of benefits, including:

  • Relieving symptoms and effects of anxiety and depression
  • Supporting the digestion process
  • Relieving pain
  • Aiding sleep through combating symptoms of insomnia
  • Skincare and hair health, among others

The health significance of essences, either compliments, supports, or even overlaps CBD oil benefits. Therefore, it is vital to consider the type of essence you wish to combine with cannabidiol and the targeted outcomes.

Useful Combination of Essential Oils and CBD Oil

There are plenty of options when combining these extracts. The primary consideration when determining the type of essence to combine with cannabidiol is how such type would cooperate with various CBD oil ingredients to achieve positive outcomes.

Cannabidiol ingredients such as some traces of THC, Cannabidiol (CBD), and Terpenes are ideal for providing a handful of benefits. These include alleviating anxiety and depression, feelings of activeness, and “high” (THC), reducing inflammations, aiding sleep, among others. The benefits are crucial in providing opportunities for prospective combinations with several essences. Examples of essential oils, which combine properly with cannabidiol are described below.

1. Lavender essence and cannabidiol for proper sleep

Lavender extract is a natural remedy for insomnia. On the other hand, cannabidiol is known to reduce the concentration of the cortisol-a chemical produced due to stress. Also, CBD is active in reducing involuntary muscle movements due to Parkinson’s disease.

Therefore, it is ideal for promoting relaxation and proper sleep. It is possible to infuse Lavender extracts in the best CBD massage oil and lotions to achieve appropriate results.

2. Cannabidiol and Chamomile essence for depression

How does CBD oil make you feel better? Often, it is known to improve moods through the activation of the 5-HT1A receptor and increase serotonin production, a neurotransmitter responsible for happiness, and the general feeling of well-being.

On the other hand, Chamomile extract is known for relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety. The CBD combination is appropriate since Chamomile is safe for consumption.

3. Cannabidiol and Peppermint essence for digestive relief

Peppermint extract is a traditional regimen for a variety of digestive complications. Scientific researchers link it to reducing the severity and frequency of abdominal pains emanating from digestive disorders.

On the other hand, cannabidiol is an active compound, which helps in reducing gastrointestinal inflammation. Due to these characteristics, the two extracts can combine through drinks, drops, and tinctures to bring about collective benefits.

Alongside the notable three combinations above, cannabidiol can also combine with Bergamot essence to reduce anxiety and associated headaches. Bergamot essence contains a citrus scent, which helps to improve moods and headache relieves.

Also, cannabidiol contains traces of Terpenes, which are ideal in alleviating anxiety and migraines. Terpenes are available in the whole hemp plant.

There are a variety of ways to use the combinations of cannabidiol and essences. Importantly, it is vital to consider CBD oil dosage and the number of extracts you would add to your combination. For instance, there is no exact cannabidiol dosage available, since its effects vary across people.

The other considerations when combining essential oils and CBD oils include your body metabolism, the level of assimilation of the combination, the safety aspects of essences, and the intended outcomes. Consequently, here are strategies on how to take CBD oil for significant results:

  • Through edibles such as cakes
  • Topical application whereby you apply lotion, balms, and massage oils on your skin
  • Sublingual application whereby you place drops under the tongue to allow slow but consistent assimilation
  • Vaporizing whereby cannabidiol is infused into vaporizers, heated by e-coils and the user inhales the vapors
  • Other methods such as tinctures and transdermal patch

Final Thoughts

There is the prospect of essential oils combine well with cannabidiol to bring about desirable health benefits. Various studies focus on tapping the benefits of essential oils and cannabidiol to provide safe, natural, and reliable regimens.

The future is bright, and everybody will be waiting for further evidence about the effectiveness of various combinations.

Author’s Bio: Rae Hudson has been using a combination of CBD oil and essential oil to treat her arthritic conditions. Ever since she started the regimen, the pain on her joints has greatly reduced. She, however, advises anybody who wants to use the regime to consult with their doctors.

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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.