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CBD Oil vs. Essential Oils

By Meredith Summers   |   June 13, 2018

When aromatherapy started to make waves amongst the public, it was partially because it promised so many distinct benefits. “All you have to do is take a whiff of lavender, and your stress will be gone!” “Feeling that cold that’s been going around the office start to creep up on you? Try some oregano oil and you’ll cure the ailment on the spot!” 

CBD oil is another health-trend many people seem to claim has benefits similar to or better than essential oils. They both seem to provide a sense of health and well-being, but what are the differences and similarities between these two oils? Read more to see the details on how they compare to one another.

 

What is Essential Oil? 

Aromatherapy, also known as essential oil therapy, is a holistic healing method that utilizes plant compounds to promote and enhance health. The plant compounds used for aromatherapy are called essential oils. These oils capture the plant's scents and flavors, or the essence of the plant. Aroma oil is a diluted version of essential oils, as it sometimes only contains 2% plant extract and base oils. Essential oils typically contain 93% plant extract and base oils. These oils are used in a number of ways to improve health.  

Aromatherapy works through skin absorption and smelling the oil through the following methods: 

  • Diffusers or humidifiers 

  • Body creams, oils, or topical application 

  • Inhalers 

  • Bath salts 

  • Hot or cold compresses

  • Facial steamers or treatments 

Essential oils are not meant to be consumed, unlike CBD oils. Inhaling the scents from essential oils interacts with the limbic system in the brain that contributes to human behavior, emotions, memory, and smell. When applied to the skin, some of the oil is absorbed into the skin, but the research on the benefits of essential oils being absorbed into the skin are lacking. Applying concentrated essential oils to the skin can sometimes cause irritation, like burning, itching, and redness. It’s important to use essential oils that contain other base oils, creams or lotions that are meant for skin use to avoid irritations. 

There are over 90 types of essential oils extracted from different plants. These essential oils have different uses and benefits. Some popular essential oils include peppermint used to boost energy, lavender used to relax, and rose used to improve mood. 

 

What is CBD Oil? 

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a compound naturally found in the cannabis plant family. CBD is extracted from hemp plants because it contains high levels of CBD and low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. For full spectrum oil, the CBD compound is extracted from the plant in a meticulous way in order to extract the CBD and terpene and flavonoid compounds. Terpenes are the plant’s scent molecules, and flavonoids are the flavor molecules, which enhance the benefits of CBD. After the CBD is isolated, it’s a thick and bitter substance that is refined and tested for purity and potency standards. The CBD is then added to a carrier oil or water and flavoring to make it pleasant and easy to use or consume. 

CBD oil comes in various forms and can be used in different ways, including: 

  • Cbd terpene rich topical serum

    Consumed in edible CBD products

  • Taken in pill or capsule form 

  • Vaped with vapable CBD oils 

  • Topical products applied to the skin 

  • CBD oil tinctures or water solubles taken orally

Since everyone’s body’s and needs are different, the best method of use and the best dosage varies by person. CBD oils come in a variety of forms, flavors, scents, and dosages. Just like essential oils, some companies offer high-quality oils while others do not. When purchasing CBD oil, it is important to make sure you are purchasing CBD products from a reliable, reputable source. 

 

What is the Difference Between Essential Oil and CBD Oil?

CBD oil is similar to essential oils, as they are both extracted from plants, but the ways in which they are made and used are different. But the biggest difference between the two is the ways in which CBD interacts with the body. 

Unlike essential oils, CBD can be consumed and this is where the benefits of CBD oils come into play. Once CBD enters the body, it works with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a set of receptors that help regulate many of the body’s functions. These receptors are activated when cannabinoids are introduced and give the endocannabinoid system a boost to help regulate its functions. The endocannabinoid system helps regulate sleep, mood, everyday stress, joint function, appetite, and more. When CBD oil is taken regularly, it can help minimize discomfort, boost energy, and improve overall health. 

Since CBD oil and essential oils work differently, there are different benefits someone might be seeking that one oil offers over another. CBD oil works within the body to help regulate and support the body’s health, while essential oils work primarily through smell to help improve functions in the brain. 

Both of these remedies have a lot in common when it comes to the available studies and hard evidence: the research is still lacking for both. One reason is likely because aromatherapy is somewhat limited in terms of what it can do for a person, but the biggest reason is that cannabis is still controversial when it comes to government regulations.

 

Can CBD Oil Be Used as an Essential Oil?

Since CBD oil is made of hemp plant extract, carrier oils, and flavors or scents, it can be used as an essential oil. Since they both contain a plant extract of some kind and additive oils, CBD oil can be used instead of essential oils or in addition to your essential oil regiment. It is important to note that essential oils are not meant to be consumed like CBD oils. 

CBD can be used in a diffuser or humidifier to offer an aromatic atmosphere for a room. Some CBD oils already contain other essential oils to offer added benefits when used as an aromatherapy. However, when CBD is used in a diffuser, this will only vaporize the oil to make for an aromatic smell and won’t inherently lead to the significant health benefits one might get from consuming the CBD oil or using it on the skin. 

CBD can be used as a topical essential oil by applying it to the skin for absorption. Many CBD companies already offer products specifically geared towards topical use, like serums, creams, lotions, and body oils. Using CBD oil topically provides more benefits than essential oils as it can help improve muscle, joint, and skin relaxation. 

There are some people who can try both essential oil and CBD oil and claim that neither of them did anything. This phenomenon could be for any number of different reasons. Perhaps a person’s body chemistry wasn’t suited for CBD oil, maybe they didn’t take enough of it, or maybe they took the wrong kind of CBD product. Not everyone has the same experience with CBD oil and essential oils because everyone’s body is different. 

 

The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. While research has shown that CBD has the potential to help provide beneficial outcomes for several complaints, it is advisable to seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider when you have questions regarding any medical condition and when starting, augmenting or discontinuing any existing health routine.

 

Recommended Readings 

Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: The Same or Different? 

Why Buy Organic CBD Oil? 

The History of Cannabis and Hemp




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