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CBD and Aromatherapy: When Two Wellness Powerhouses Combine

CBD and aromatherapy are both gaining popularity in the wellness sphere. It is believed that our busy, stress-filled modern lives have led us to turn to these natural remedies to assist our general health. While they both have advantages on their own, combining CBD and essential oils can successfully enhance their properties to help you fully realize and reap the benefits of both. Certain combinations, such as CBD and lavender oil, are believed to be especially effective. This article explains what CBD and aromatherapy are, the advantages of both individually, and considers why they could be used together to help optimize our health and wellbeing.

What Is CBD?

CBD—also known as cannabidiol—is one of 113 chemical compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is often taken as a natural supplement in various forms. It is believed to provide a myriad of general health benefits and can aid in the symptom relief of many common ailments.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive compound derived from this cannabis plant. Still, despite originating from the same plant as CBD, there are many differences to be aware of between the two. CBD is not psychoactive in the same way as THC and cannot get you "high". However, THC does produce this effect, and it is for this reason that it is thought to be the most famous compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. On the other hand, CBD is generally well-tolerated and is not known to cause addictive side effects or dependency. In fact, CBD is thought to reverse the psychoactive effects caused by THC.

You may be surprised to learn that CBD was first discovered in the 1940s; this is especially shocking because of the lack of research and popularity surrounding it until recently. Its true potential is only just beginning to be realized as more time is dedicated to studying this unique cannabinoid. Differences are finally being substantiated between CBD and THC, allowing CBD to shed the stigma historically associated with cannabis use.

The realization of CBD's potential benefits has informed its destigmatization across many countries globally, and the differences between CBD and THC are clearer by the day. Consequently, there is an expanding range of readily available CBD products on the market. Some of these products include CBD edibles, cosmetics, tinctures, and even CBD aromatherapy!

Hemp leaves and glass bottles containing CBD on a yellow background.

Potential Benefits of CBD

Many experts believe that CBD can have a range of positive effects on its user, although it is essential to note that research into CBD is still in its infancy. Let's take a look at a few argued benefits of CBD:

May Decrease Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

One of the more discussed advantages of CBD is its potential to help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. While there is a shortage of research conducted into CBD, studies undertaken so far suggest real promise between this compound and mental wellness.

In one 2020 report, researchers state that "CBD is found to be a microglial stabilizer which is similar to the medication lithium which could be beneficial for depression and mood stabilization". A further study from 2015 found that preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for various anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD).

Of course, there are already pharmaceutical drugs available for such mental health concerns. However, these may be accompanied by unwanted side effects such as insomnia and nausea. Therefore, CBD may be a more appealing and natural alternative for many.

May Assist in Pain Management and Relief

It is believed that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body. The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system responsible for regulating various vital functions and processes of the body, such as pain, sleep, appetite, and mood. It is thought that CBD encourages these pathways of the ECS to transmit its messages better. CBD may also be an efficient anti-inflammatory agent by affecting activity in the endocannabinoid receptors. While many experts believe that CBD interacts with the ECS to assist in managing pain and providing relief, more research is required to confirm the theory.

May Decrease Joint Pain

As previously mentioned, CBD may have anti-inflammatory capabilities. Consequently, it is believed to influence inflammatory conditions such as autoimmune diseases like arthritis and multiple sclerosis. More extensive research is required, however, before this belief can be substantiated.

May Reduce Frequency of Epileptic Seizures

Perhaps the most debated advantage of CBD is its potential to reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures. In 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its first CBD-containing drug to address seizures in specific forms of epilepsy. This is the only prescriptive medicine that the FDA has approved containing CBD, meaning that the FDA believes this product to be effective and safe for its intended use. This approval was a massive step forward for CBD as it demonstrated that it can have positive health benefits and is not to be dismissed.

May Help Improve Skin Condition

Yet another purported advantage of CBD is its capacity to improve general skin conditions. CBD may influence our skin and potentially positively impact specific complaints and symptoms familiar to people who suffer from acne, itching, and other skin-related issues. Indeed, an investigation from 2019 concluded that topical administration of CBD ointment is a safe, effective, and non-invasive alternative to improve the quality of life in patients with some skin disorders, especially those with inflammatory backgrounds.

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the inhalation and topical application of authentic essential oils that derive from aromatic plants. It is sometimes called essential oil therapy, and it uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the mind, body, and spirit. This is done to restore or enhance health, beauty, and general wellbeing. The field of aromatherapy is vast, from the subtle effect of fragrances on the psyche to the deep penetrating therapeutic actions of essential oils. Aromatherapy enforces the self-healing process through preventative methods and helps in stimulating the immune system indirectly.

Humans have used aromatherapy for thousands of years. Aromatic plant components found in balms, oils, and resins were incorporated by ancient cultures in India, China, and Egypt. They were used for religious and medical reasons and were believed to have psychological and physical properties.

The actual term "aromatherapy" was coined by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist and perfumer, in a book he authored on the subject published in 1937. This may have been inspired by his previous discovery of the potential of lavender in treating burns. The book itself details the use of essential oils for various medical conditions.

Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell and skin absorption with products such as diffusers, inhalers, bathing salts, body lotions, and clay masks that all incorporate essential oils. There are dozens of essential oils available such as lemongrass, ginger, eucalyptus, rose, and ylang-ylang.

A photo of ginger essential oil next to pieces of cut ginger.

Potential Benefits of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has a range of potential benefits. It is said to:

  • Manage pain

A study into the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing pain concludes that it could successfully treat pain when combined with conventional treatments.

  • Improve sleep quality

An experiment conducted into the potential relationship between aromatherapy and sleep quality concludes that it improves sleep quality. Furthermore, it states that using aromatherapy through massage was more effective than through inhalation.

  • Reduce stress and anxiety

A 2009 study regarding the effects of aromatherapy on stress in adolescents also proved promising. It explains that aroma inhalation, in particular, could be an effective stress management method.

  • Soothe sore joints

Another purported advantage is the potential of aromatherapy to help with sore joints. Investigations into aromatherapy and arthritis show promise and found that it reduced pain in people with osteoarthritis.

  • Boost immunity

Unfortunately, few essential oils have been sufficiently researched. It is believed that both eucalyptus and ginger essential oils have immune function enhancing or balancing properties based on studies conducted thus far.

As you can see, many of the claimed benefits of CBD are similar to those attributed to aromatherapy. While it is clear that they have similarities, such as their purported benefits and their derivation from plants, it is important to note the differences between the two. Let's take a look at what sets them apart.

The Difference Between CBD and Essential Oils

CBD oil and essential oils have distinct differences, such as how they are made and used. The main difference to note, however, is how CBD interacts with the body.

Unlike CBD, essential oils cannot be consumed, and this is how CBD's benefits are truly demonstrated. As mentioned earlier, CBD is thought to work with the endocannabinoid system when it enters the body. The ECS is a set of receptors that help to regulate various bodily functions such as sleep and mood. As the theory goes, when cannabinoids are introduced, these receptors are activated, which gives the ECS a boost in regulating these functions. When taken routinely, CBD may help to minimize any discomfort, boost general energy and improve overall health.

Because CBD oils work differently from essential oils, there are different benefits that someone may be seeking that one oil presents over the other. While CBD oil works within the body to regulate and support the body's health, essential oils primarily work through smell to improve brain function. Your preferred option will be determined by what potential effects you are looking to benefit from. `

Unfortunately, CBD and essential oils both suffer from a lack of research, so it is hard to pin down their full potentials. For essential oils, this is most likely because aromatherapy is fairly limited in terms of what it can do for a person. With CBD, it is primarily because of the controversy surrounding it due to government regulations.

Benefits of CBD and Essential Oils Together

While CBD and essential oils do have their differences, they also have their similarities. Both derive from plants and may relieve symptoms of various conditions and enhance our general wellbeing. On their own, CBD and essential oils are both powerhouses. However, experts are beginning to realize that if CBD oils are combined with specific essential oils, more positive effects can be obtained. This combination may enhance each component's positive effects.

As CBD and aromatherapy severely lack research, you will not be shocked to learn that studies of the two combined are even more scarce. However, in one study that considered CBD essential oil's effects on the brain, a lot of promise was displayed. The report concluded that both brain wave activity and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) were affected by the inhalation of Cannabis sativa essential oils, which indicated neuromodulatory activity in instances of stress, anxiety, and depression. This, therefore, concluded that CBD essential oils might impact mental health positively.

Some well-known combinations of CBD and essential oils are intended to target specific needs such as focus, sleepiness, and relaxation. Let's look at a couple of these formidable combinations and why they are believed to be so effective.

For Sleep: Lavender Oil and CBD Oil

Derived from the lavender plant, lavender oil is widely thought to be an effective sleep aid. Indeed, in a study released in 2005, 31 young men and women who were classified as “healthy sleepers” took lavender to see if there were any notable effects. Promisingly, they found that the lavender produced mild sedative effects and promoted slow-wave and deep-wave sleep. Every single participant expressed feeling better rested the following morning too.

Sleep is vital for cognitive function and is also crucial for both muscle repair and relaxation. CBD has also shown promise as a sleep aid. CBD may decrease cortisol levels which reduces stress. Cortisol is produced as a response to stress, therefore keeping the body alert. In this fast-paced world, stress—and consequently high cortisol levels—is part of daily life, negatively affecting both the body and mind. CBD may regulate our cortisol levels, which reduces stress and allows us to relax and our body to recover, making it easier to both fall and stay asleep. CBD has also been found to reduce involuntary muscle movements related to REM behavior disorder (RBD).

Here are some essential oils that can help maximize benefits and help you get the rest you deserve:

  • Bergamot

This is a citrus fruit that is the same size as an orange. What makes this citrus oil unique is its ability to be both stimulating and calming, making it ideal for stress or sadness reduction. It also purifies and cleanses the skin while having a calming effect.

  • Chamomile

This unique ingredient is widely used as a calming agent. It is also thought to reduce irritability and help maintain healthy blood pressure. Furthermore, it is believed to remove toxins and cool the body, which is fantastic for fever relief.

  • Lavender

Last but not least, lavender is a calming and soothing sedative, making it ideal for improving sleep quality. It has been shown to relieve muscle discomfort too and improve concentration.

For Pain Relief: Copaiba Oil and CBD Oil

Copaiba oil derives from trees of the same name. It has been credited for providing relief for a wide range of issues. It is believed to be an anti-inflammatory, helps with healing wounds, provides pain relief, and treats various infections. Indeed, a 2018 study that considered the effect of massage with copaiba oil in people with arthritis found that it led to a decrease in pain scores, increased finger strength, and improved dexterity of the fingers.

CBD is also applauded for its potential to provide pain relief for various maladies, including migraines and chronic pain. A 2018 review assessed how CBD relieves chronic pain by considering studies conducted between 1975 and 2018. Researchers concluded that CBD was effective in overall pain management and also did not cause adverse side effects.

Here are essential oils to aid in easing aches and discomfort:

  • Chamomile

This is an effective calming agent and can help reduce irritability and frustration from pain symptoms. It can also remove toxins and cool the body, helping you get back to your best.

  • Copaiba

This is one of the world's most potent anti-inflammatory agents, making it perfect for aiding in pain relief. It is also effective at relieving discomfort, stress and fighting bacteria.

  • Ginger

This component is very well known in the culinary industry but can also be effective in pain management. It is lauded for its ability to aid in digestive health, decrease nausea and provide inflammation relief.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is CBD?

CBD is also known as cannabidiol and is one of 113 compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a popular, natural supplement that many believe could help relieve the symptoms of many varying ailments as well as enhance your existing lifestyle.

Is CBD legal?

CBD is legal in the US. But the law states that CBD oil must meet specific criteria to be legal for human consumption. Therefore it is important to buy CBD from trusted websites to ensure that it is safe. To be legal in the US, CBD oil cannot contain more than 0.3% THC.

What does CBD do?

CBD is believed to provide relief for anxiety, depression, aches, and pains, and its potential to improve sleep. While little research currently exists, what studies there are have proven encouraging. CBD appeals to many people because it is natural and not psychoactive in the same sense as THC, meaning you can reap benefits without getting "high".

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing modality that uses aromatic materials, including essential oils to improve psychological and physical wellbeing.

How does aromatherapy work?

Aromatherapy works by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, sending messages to the limbic system—the part of the brain that controls emotions—through the nervous system.

What happens when CBD is combined with essential oils?

CBD oil works within the body to regulate and support the body's health, while essential oils primarily work through smell to improve brain function. Both CBD and essential oils are attributed to having numerous potential benefits when used separately. However, relief is amplified when combining particular essential oils with CBD oil, and the benefits reaped are maximized.

What are some of the most popular essential oils?

Certain essential oils are believed to be especially effective in providing specific results. For example, lavender is often seen as the best of the bunch to improve sleep quality. Furthermore, copaiba oil is lauded as a powerful anti-inflammatory, and bergamot is believed to have calming properties, making it a perfect way to destress.

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