Is CBD an Essential Oil? Find Out Now.
Sabina King on Jun 20th 2019
They help you meditate, sleep, calm you down, and have several other benefits. We're talking about the rewards you can reap from both essential oils and CBD oil. They’re both oils – so it’s easy to believe that they’re the same, or that CBD is just one of many essential oils. But is CBD an essential oil? There are several differences between CBD oil and essential oils, and while they both provide numerous benefits, they do it in different ways.
What is an Essential Oil?
Essential oils are plant extract compounds. The ‘essence’ of the plant, namely its scent and flavor, are extracted. The final result is a uniquely aromatic compound. If you’ve ever practiced aromatherapy or been subjected to it, you’ve felt the effects of essential oils. That being said, a lot of experts in the field believe that the term ‘aromatherapy’ is a misnomer since it implies that all essential oils smell pleasant. Moreover, there are other ways to reap the benefits of essential oils besides smelling them. People apply them to the skin, and sometimes ingest them - but with caution.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of several compounds found in the hemp plant. People use CBD for many reasons such as to bring focus, calm and a sense of balance. CBD oil is CBD emulsified in a carrier oil, such as MCT, for consumption.
CBD with Essential Oils
Can You Mix CBD and Essential Oils?
It isn't recommended to mix essential oils and CBD oil yourself if you're going to be consuming or vaping it, because you could end up lowering the efficiency of the CBD oil. What you could do instead is purchase a CBD oil blend that comes flavored with essential oils. For instance, Hempure CBD drops come in lemon and peppermint flavors, both of which make use of natural essential oils. Another way to combine the effects of CBD with essential oils is to make it part of a wellness routine. For example, if you take a drop of CBD oil before bedtime for assistance with sleep, you could use a scent diffuser with lavender oil (which is known to help with sleep) as you wind down for the night.
Essential oils are often used as an additive to CBD oil. This is for a few different reasons:
Certain food-grade essential oil flavors such as cinnamon, lemon and peppermint are commonly used to flavor CBD oil tinctures. Adding only a very small amount of essential oil to an entire CBD tincture can do the trick. When adding CBD oil to drinks or food, these flavors can complement the taste of the dish or beverage. Several consumers might also prefer taking a flavored supplement for a more refreshing mouthfeel.
As mentioned before, the main use of essential oils is for their scent, but some of them also have benefits when applied to the skin, which we’ll discuss further on. For both the scent and the topical benefits, CBD products such as balms and lotions could contain essential oils such as lavender and eucalyptus for added relief.
Essential Oil Extraction v/s CBD Extraction
There are three common ways to extract essential oils.
Steam distillation involves directing steam through the plant material to vaporize the lighter chemicals. The steam then condenses, making it possible to extract the essential oil.
Another method is expression or cold pressing, commonly used in citrus oils. When grating or scraping the peel, oils release naturally.
Solvent extraction is a common way to obtain essential oils. However, many experts and essential oil fans do not consider these to be "true" essential oils. It involves separating a compound into different parts based on the solubility of those parts. Choosing a good solvent becomes key since traces of the solvent could end up in the final product. Commonly used solvents are petroleum ether, methanol or hexane. The final product is a very potent, concentrated oil: the essential oil.
On the other hand, CO2 extraction is the most common way to extract CBD from hemp. This is because removing impurities without interfering with the necessary compounds is key with CBD. For instance, Hempure CBD is extracted and purified in a 50,000 sq. ft facility in Colorado using supercritical CO2 extraction. This process keeps phytocannabinoids intact while eliminating all chlorophyll, waxes and THC (the compound in cannabis that gets you ‘high’). The facility then uses chromatography to eliminate even the smallest traces of THC left. It is then nano-emulsified in MCT oil for greater bioavailability. To reiterate, when people refer to CBD Oil, this is what they’re talking about: CBD emulsified in some kind of carrier.
Essential Oil Usage v/s CBD Oil Usage
Using Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is a common use for essential oils. They can be burned or vaporized (with dilution) and inhaled, or diluted and used for massages. Essential oils are typically not meant to be swallowed, although food-grade ones are on the market and increasingly used as well. Even so, people that ingest essential oils dilute them before consumption. Drinking essential oils without diluting them or diluting them badly poses a serious risk to the mucous membranes in the stomach. Even applying an undiluted essential oil to the skin can be dangerous. They can cause irritation, sensitization or cause a burn.
Using CBD Oil
There are many ways to use CBD oil: oral ingestion, vaping, topical application and more. The beauty and makeup industry is rapidly filling up with CBD lip balms, lotions, shampoos and more. CBD balms can offer targeted relief. Use edibles and tinctures for sustained stress relief. Of all the methods, vaping provides the most immediate results.
How Essential Oils Work v/s How CBD Oil Works
The skin can absorb topically applied essential oils. Some people believe that various methods, like using heat while applying an essential oil, may increase absorption. However, research has yet to confirm this. Topical application allows the active ingredients in the essential oil to start working in a targeted way. For example, German chamomile oil contains compounds that are powerful calming agents. It may provide relief for sufferers of irritated skin.1 When inhaled, the aromas from essential oils are said to trigger parts of your limbic system, also known as the ‘emotional brain’. It plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell and memory.2 Ever smelled something and had it trigger a memory? That’s your limbic system at work. The theory is that the inhalation of these oils can trigger a series of positive physiological and psychological changes.
In all its forms, CBD works on the master system of the body, the endocannabinoid system or ECS. It is similar in structure to the endocannabinoids that our body naturally produces, which is why it can provide added support to the ECS. Applying CBD topically, allows it to interact with endocannabinoid receptors in the skin. Being that it is a powerful calming agent, it can bring relief to sore muscles.3 Ingested CBD enters the bloodstream after metabolizing and interacts with receptors in the brain that control factors like mood and focus. Vaping provides the fastest results since it enters the bloodstream almost immediately through the lungs.
To answer the question: is CBD an essential oil? No, it's not. But while CBD oil and essential oils are vastly different, they can both be incorporated into your wellness regimen for the health impacts each has. Always make sure to do your research first, because both the CBD industry and the essential oil industry are rampant with misinformation and confusing labels. When purchasing CBD oil, make sure you insist on third-party lab test results that confirm the components of the oil. If you intend on consuming essential oils, the FDA has a list of oils that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS). With all this new knowledge, you can now integrate both essential oils and CBD oil into your wellness routine!