Despite what you may have heard, CBD and essential oils are not the same, though both have their beneficial uses. Luckily, these all-natural products work well together to provide a whole array of health benefits.
In this article, we’ll break down the differences and look at the unique benefits of each product, discussing which are the best essential oils to use with CBD.
Understanding how they work together to help the body is the first step to getting you on the path to whole-body wellness.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. But, unlike its cousin, THC, CBD will not get you high because it is a non-psychoactive compound.
As a cannabinoid, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a complex network of receptors found throughout the body.
When CBD binds to these receptors, it assists in helping the ECS work at maximum efficiency, regulating vital functions, and maintaining balance throughout the body.
While we still need much more research, some studies have provided very strong evidence that CBD oil can be beneficial for a variety of different issues, from anxiety and insomnia to epilepsy and chronic pain. And now that the 2018 Farm Bill has officially made industrial hemp legal in the United States, it opens up the door for future research and clinical studies.
If you’ve ever shopped at a natural foods store, there’s a good chance you’ve come across essential oils. They’re helpful for a wide variety of reasons and have been useful for thousands of years.
Basically, essential oils are compounds that are found in plants and are responsible for their aroma. They are used in aromatherapy – the use of scents for therapeutic purposes – and are also an all-natural way to help alleviate several physical and mental issues.
The oil is extracted using either steam distillation, cold-pressing, or solvent extraction, with the latter being the most common method used.
In this method, a solvent is used to remove the desired compounds from the plant. The extract is then blended with alcohol or oil and used in various applications.
The benefits of CBD and essential oils
Both CBD and essential oils are pretty powerful on their own, but when combined, their unique qualities form a symbiotic relationship to bring you relief that’s on a whole other level.
If you’re new to using essential oils and CBD, do not fear!
Here’s a list of some of the best essential oils you can combine with your daily CBD regimen to make the most out of their therapeutic properties.
This one is not a plant per se, but a resin that comes from a tree.
It’s actually one of the gifts the three magi brought the baby Jesus in the Bible, so it’s safe to say it’s been around for a while now.
Many people describe the fragrance as similar to incense, and it has a grounding and comforting effect.
Frankinsense oil benefits
- Promotes healthy lung function
- Calms the nerves
- Reduces stretch marks
A refreshing and clean scent, lemon essential oils are great for deodorizing a room and can add a rejuvenating touch to your morning routine.
Limonene is the natural, primary compound that gives this oil its zing.
Lemon oil benefits
- Revives dull and oily skin
- Relieves symptoms of the common cold
- Reduces the appearance of varicose veins
Lemon can work well with CBD to create a relaxing and rejuvenating body lotion.
As one of the most commonly recognized scents, peppermint oil can be intense – so, remember, a little goes a long way.
Its primary component is menthol, the same ingredient found in many therapeutic products found at your local drug store.
This is definitely a popular holiday scent, though it’s benefits can be felt year round.
It’s a very flowery scent and is a more affordable option for rose oil.
It can be both calming as well as invigorating, depending on the amount used – just like CBD. Women often turn to CBD for relief from period cramps and PMS symptoms, due to its pain relieving properties.
Geranium oil benefits
- Supports female reproductive health
- Useful for autoimmune disorders
- Relieves stress and reinvigorates energy
If you love lemon, this essential oil is definitely for you.
It is an uplifting scent that is great to use in a diffuser at the office or while working from home.
When things get difficult, this scent can be just what you need to help find your center. So when life gives you lemons, turn to lemongrass.
Lemongrass oil benefits
- Relaxing and uplifting
- Calms the nerves
- Aids digestion
A sweet, soothing aroma – close your eyes, and you’re immediately transported to a quiet, tree-lined path winding through a forest.
It can be great when used along with meditation or yoga practice, and can also blend well with other, similar scents.
Cedarwood oil benefits
- Soothes skin conditions
- Quiets coughs
- Natural insect repellent
With several different uses, vetiver oil is especially useful for de-stressing after a long day.
It can also help alleviate fears and insecurities and is a pleasant scent for enhancing meditation and supporting self-reflection.
Vetiver oil benefits
- Relieves nervous tension
- Helps reduce PMS symptoms
- Supports a calm, centered mind
One of the stronger-scented essential oils, oregano has an herbaceous, woody aroma.
This scent is best for stimulating purposes.
And while it may be tempting, don’t try drizzling this oil on your pizza.
Oregano oil benefits
- Reduces mucous buildup
- Invigorating and stimulating
Grapefruit oil benefits
- Brightens skin
- Calms the nerves
- Diuretic properties
Another super popular scent, rosemary essential oil contain camphor, so they are frequently used for massage therapy to help improve blood circulation.
This oil’s herby aroma is also beneficial for acting as a decongestant and expectorant.
If you’re looking for a scent with major uplifting potential, this is it!
This complex scent is reminiscent of aromatic Earl Grey tea and can be especially useful for helping with things like depression and general sadness.
Because it’s phototoxic, it may cause a negative reaction when exposed to sunlight – be careful when using it for any topical application.
Bergamot oil benefits
- Stimulates the appetite
- Helps soothe cold sores
- Supports healthy skin
Chamomile is considered to be one of the gentlest essential oils and has a sedative effect that feels similar to drinking a calming cup of herbal tea.
Aromatherapists agree it can be effective for comforting someone in distress and is useful for relieving feelings of sadness or depression.
Chamomile oil benefits
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Beneficial for hair and skin health
- Helps relieve irritated skin and insect bites
One of the more versatile essential oils, sandalwood has been used for centuries to enhance spiritual awareness and chakra work.
If you’re feeling down, foggy-headed, and unsure of yourself, sandalwood can help you re-find your center and self.
Similar to lemon and grapefruit essential oils, orange oil is useful for enhancing all-natural cleaning products because of its refreshing, crisp scent.
It produces a sweet, tart, and tangy aroma that can deodorize rooms and lift spirits.
Just be sure to test a small area first to make sure it won’t damage the surfaces.
Sweet orange oil benefits
- Helps with digestive issues
- Good for gum health
- Calming and stress-relieving
Who doesn’t love to stop and smell the roses?
This essential oil is calming and can help in times of stress or when experiencing anxiety.
Wonderful for aging skin, it can also be useful for supporting hormonal health in women. It’s such a pleasant scent, and perfumiers regularly use in fragrance blends.
Rose oil benefits
- Supports hormone balance
- Beneficial for mature skin
- Helps relieve sadness
Not just for those cute koalas, eucalyptus oil is great for easing pain associated with aching joints and muscles.
It can also help ease congestion and soothes coughs and other breathing-related issues.
This uplifting, woody scent is sometimes described as medicinal.
Eucalyptus oil benefits
- Helps fight infection
- Helps joint and muscle pain
One of the more medicinal-smelling essential oils, tea tree is commonly used for everything from skin problems to sinus issues.
If you find the aroma too strong, try using it sparingly, and it should gradually grow on you.
Tea tree oil benefits
- Good for treating insect bites
- Helps with athlete’s foot symptoms
- Soothing for migraines and headaches
Very high in calming properties, clary sage makes a wonderful oil for helping to soothe tension and anxiety.
It has very similar properties to other scents like lavender and bergamot.
Some even consider this oil to be an aphrodisiac, and it can help support re-balancing chakras.
A stronger-smelling essential oil, clove is a great scent to use around the holidays, but its benefits are useful all year round.
It is considered to be especially beneficial for supporting gum and dental health.
It has properties similar to cinnamon essential oil and, because of its potent quality, is recommended for use in tiny doses.
Clove oil benefits
- Promotes oral hygiene
- Eases muscle pain and cramping
- Useful for alleviating skin irritations
Combining CBD and essential oils
While they both effectively work when used alone, CBD and essentials oils can work together to help address a variety of health-related issues. Often referred to as a “synergistic” effect, CBD works best in combination with the essential oils because they both have very similar properties in terms of how they can help.
For example, CBD is known to be effective for helping with things like pain and anxiety, and when paired with one of the many essential oils intended for similar use, this can boost CBD’s ability to help and vice versa.
Tips for using essential oils and CBD
Because it’s necessary to dilute them, both CBD and essential oils are going to use a carrier oil, and one of the more common carrier oils used is MCT oil – derived from coconuts. It’s possible to find products using different carrier oils though if coconuts are problematic for you.
Due to the wide variety of essential oils available, it’s necessary to familiarize yourself and learn which ones will work best for you and the symptoms you’re experiencing.
You can easily find information online or in books, and most natural food stores are likely to have a health section and can help you find the products and information you need.
So if you’re thinking about giving CBD and essential oils a try, don’t hesitate to get out there and educate yourself on their vast array of health benefits.
Guest post written by Isabella J.
Before contributing to the cbdMD Blog, Isabella worked as a blogger in Milan, wrote various books on art and culture, and worked in a criminal profiling unit. As both an American and Swiss citizen, she’s spent a good portion of time in Europe and thinks mayonnaise is superior to ketchup.