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How to Combine CBD and Essential Oils

Guide to combine CBD with essential oils.

Combining CBD and essential oils can help you get the best of both. Image Credit: By Kerdkanno on Shutterstock

CBD and essential oils seem like a match made in self care heaven, but mixing the two isn’t as simple as it may seem. It’s not impossible, though, and when done correctly, it can help you get the most out of both.

‘Essential oil‘ is a broad term that refers to oils which have been extracted from plants and are believed to exhibit medicinal properties. These could include the ability to fight inflammation, reduce pain, soothe anxiety, or enhance the skin and hair. By this definition, CBD oil itself could technically be considered an essential oil (though it’s different than cannabis essential oil), and while it hasn’t been around as long — or studied in the same depth — as some others, it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular.

Many of us already have a basic understanding of the most common oils, and have tried using them in one way or another. One of the most popular methods is sprinkling lavender oil on your pillow for a better night’s sleep. Another is applying tea tree oil to stubborn pimples, or adding a few drops of evening primrose oil to your bath for pain relief from menstrual cramps.

But more experienced alternative medicine enthusiasts create their own complex cocktails of oils to achieve specific effects — and a growing number of them are adding CBD to the mix.

How CBD Oil, Carrier Oils, and Essential Oils Work Together

To understand how these concoctions are made, it’s important to understand the role of carrier oils. Sometimes called base oils, these are an important component of any oil infusion. They help the others to mix and combine fully while also diluting them. But why would you want to dilute your oils?

There are two main reasons: it makes essential oils easier to digest and absorb if you’re ingesting them, and it makes them less irritating to the skin if you’re applying them topically.

When you ingest an oil, it has to be broken down and passed through the intestinal wall to be fully absorbed. Carrier oils like Coconut oil help dissolve the essential oil and convert it into a form the body can process. Carriers with higher fat contents are more effective at this, which is why some popular “healthy oils” (like olive or hemp seed oils) aren’t as well suited for the task.

In terms of topicals, most essential oils are made with a technique known as cold pressing. This makes them concentrated enough to cause irritation, even if you don’t have particularly sensitive skin or a diagnosed skin condition. Diluting them with a carrier oil lessens the intensity of their effects and makes them gentle enough to apply to the skin.

That’s how essential and carrier oils work together, but what happens when CBD oil is added as well?

It’s too early to say for certain, but studies indicate that “cocktails” of these oils could be far more effective than individual isolates. Known as “the entourage effect” or “cannabis synergy,” researchers have discovered that the compounds in cannabis plants work best in conjunction with each other — and essential oils are believed to function in much the same way. For example, the sleep-promoting benefits of lavender essential oil are accentuated by the presence of CBD, while the anti-anxiety effects of the latter are boosted by contact with the former.

Tips for Using Infused Essential Oils on Your Skin

Choose the Right Carrier
Coconut oil is an excellent one as its high lipid content (around 90 percent, compared to butter’s 64 percent) makes it easy for the oils to dissolve. Despite this, the molecular structure of the oil means it won’t lead to high cholesterol or other heart problems. It’s also known for its pleasing smell, agreeable taste, and widespread availability.

Get the Ratio Right
There is some debate about what the ratio of carrier oil to essential oil (including CBD oil) should be, but the generally accepted rule of thumb is to have 30 ml of carrier oil for every 12 drops of essential oils. This rule should be followed when you’re adding oil infusions to food, drinks, applying directly to your skin, or adding to bath water.

Research the Oils You Use
There are over 90 different kinds of essential oils on the market — like jojoba oil, avocado oil, citrus oil, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil, to name a few — and many of them have overlapping effects. Doing a little reading online or (if you’re serious about becoming a student of alternative medicine) buying some well-reviewed books could go a long way towards ensuring that you choose the best possible oils for your needs.

The same can be said for CBD oil, which varies significantly according to the extent to which it has been processed. In most cases a full spectrum CBD oil will deliver the best results, as it’s richer in cannabinoids, essential fatty acids, and terpenes (all of which have their own health benefits) than pure CBD isolate.

CBD oil and essential oils can be a great combination. But to get the most out of them, you'll need the right carrier oil.

Combining Essential Oils with CBD Oil: Maximizing the Benefits

Written by Jason Brett — Edited by on November 18, 2020

With more and more research coming out that shines a light on the reported health benefits of CBD and essential oils, people are starting to experiment with combining the two and achieving some surprising results.

While there are many potential benefits, it’s important to combine your CBD oil and essential oils carefully to avoid unwanted effects.

Before jumping in and mixing up your own CBD and essential oil blend, it’s important that you educate yourself on these beneficial compounds and their potential uses. Continue on for an explanation of how essential oils and CBD act on your body separately, as well as how certain combinations of the two could provide maximum relief from certain conditions.

What Are Essential Oils and How Do They Work?

Essential oil is a generalized term that describes a concentrated oil derived from plant material. These highly concentrated oils and are usually made by cold-pressing the plant parts, or through a steam-distillation process. Essentials oils can be made from the seeds, leaves, stems, roots, and even the fruits of plants.

Many essential oils are reported to have a variety of health benefits when used properly. Reportedly, by way of stimulating the limbic system, many of these essential oils are able to elicit positive physiological and psychoactive effects.

Some potential use cases for essential oils include:

  • Alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Aiding digestion
  • Pain relief
  • Skin care
  • Sleep aid

Essential oils derived from lavender and sandalwood may provide calming effects from their smell alone. Others, such as peppermint oil, may calm your digestive system when taken orally in small amounts.

Terpenes in CBD Oil and Essential Oils

While CBD oil and essential oils are talked about quite a bit, terpenes have flown under the radar until very recently. Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds that give plants their distinct aromas, flavors, and colors. Unsurprisingly, terpenes are found in essential oils and certain types of CBD oils.

The cannabis plant produces over 100 different terpenes and researchers have found many to offer various potential health benefits. Pinene, for example, is found both in pine trees and cannabis plants and has shown potential as an effective anxiety reducer.

To access the benefits of terpenes in your CBD oil, you’ll likely need to find a product that’s broad- or full-spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD oils are made from the whole hemp plant, so they keep the other compounds, like THC and terpenes, intact; broad-spectrum CBD products include everything a full-spectrum CBD oil does except THC. Alternatively, some items made with CBD isolate will include terpenes that have been added to the finished product.

Whether producing a refreshing scent, enhancing your mood, or exerting benefits on your physical body, terpenes are crucial components of essential oils and CBD oil alike. Through a phenomenon known as the entourage effect, terpenes work with the other natural compounds in CBD oil to produce amplified benefits. For this reason, adding more terpenes to the mix via essential oils could boost the positive effects you receive from your CBD oil.

CBD and Essential Oil Potential Uses

CBD and essential oils have many claimed uses and benefits, many of which have overlap in their methods of application and action.

Many essential oils elicit effects when simply breathed in, while others need to be applied topically. Oral ingestion is also an option, though it’s important you educate yourself on the individual oil you are interested in, as some essential oils, such as birch, cedar wood, or eucalyptus are dangerous when eaten or drank.

CBD oil is available in many forms, and can easily be combined with a lot of the more popular essential oils. Edibles, vaporizers, capsules, topicals, and drops are available which make combining CBD with essential oils easy.

Here’s a closer look at some of the ways essential oils can be combined with CBD oil to increase their potential benefits.

Bergamot Essential Oil and CBD Oil to Calm Anxiety

Bergamot oil is an essential oil derived from the bergamot orange and has a citrus scent. Researchers have found that inhaling bergamot oil improves mood and even relieve symptoms of anxiety.

Quite a few studies have also looked into CBD oil’s potential anti-anxiety effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that during animal studies, CBD had the potential to reduce stress and decreased signs of anxiety in test subjects.

Furthermore, a study conducted on test subjects with social anxiety disorder found those who were given 600 mg of CBD before a public speaking test showed significantly fewer signs of anxiety and discomfort than those given a placebo.

To enjoy and capitalize on the anti-anxiety effects of both bergamot and CBD oil, add a few drops of bergamot oil to a cloth, or apply it to your pulse points (wrists, neck, temples) for easy inhalation throughout the day. Combine this with a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue or a CBD edible for added long-lasting relief. If you need additional, on-the-spot anxiety relief, a CBD vape coupled with a few sniffs of bergamot oil should do the trick.

Chamomile Essential Oil and CBD Oil for Depression

Chamomile oil is derived from the chamomile plant and has a variety of uses. Aside from its calming and digestion-aiding properties, chamomile may also provide relief from the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Researchers from Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and Pharmacognosy Review conducted a study examining the effect of ingested chamomile extract on patients with depression, anxiety, or a combination of the two. The results were meaningful, and the study concluded, “Chamomile may provide clinically meaningful antidepressant activity that occurs in addition to its previously observed anxiolytic [anti-anxiety] activity.”

CBD oil has been shown to have antidepressant qualities too, through its activation of the 5-HT1A receptor. By acting on this neural pathway, CBD is able to make more serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of wellbeing, available in the brain. Traditional antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective by similar mechanisms.

If you’re thinking about combining chamomile oil with CBD oil, there are a few different ways to do so. Chamomile oil is safe for consumption, so you can try adding it, along with a few drops of CBD oil, to a cup of tea, coffee, or water. You can also keep a bottle of chamomile oil handy for inhalation throughout the day, and take a CBD edible or capsule in the morning for longer-lasting relief from depressive symptoms.

Lavender Oil and CBD Oil for Better Sleep

Derived from the lavender plant, lavender oil is widely accepted as a natural sleep aid.

A 2005 study examining 31 young men and women who were “healthy sleepers” found lavender to produce mild sedative effects and promote slow-wave and deep-wave sleep. All participants reported feeling more vigorous and better rested the next morning.

Sleep is essential for cognitive function as well as muscle repair and relaxation. Like lavender oil, CBD oil has also shown promise as a sleep aid.

CBD has been found to decrease cortisol levels, reducing stress in the body. Cortisol is produced as a response to stress, keeping the body alert and prepared to react to external stressors or stimuli. Today, stress—and high cortisol levels—have become a part of daily life, which can take a toll on your mental and physical body. CBD regulates these cortisol levels, ultimately reducing stress and allowing your mind and body to relax and recover. When you’re at ease, you can more easily fall asleep and stay asleep.

CBD has also been found to reduce the involuntary muscle movements involved with REM behavior disorder (RBD). RBD often occurs in people with conditions like Parkinson’s disease and it can lead to self-injury and sleep disturbances.

Lavender oil and CBD oil can easily be used in combination. There are products available on the market, like tinctures and lotions, that already combine the two. But if you didn’t want to spring for yet another product, you can work with what you already have.

Add lavender oil to a diffuser, warm bath, or your pulse points for its aromatherapy benefits. Then, take your nightly CBD oil dose and it won’t be long before you feel the calming, stress-relieving benefits that help you to drift off for a peaceful, restorative sleep. Adding a few drops of CBD oil to a lavender tea is another way to reap the benefits of this combination.

Peppermint Oil and CBD Oil for Digestive Relief

Peppermint essential oil comes from the peppermint plant and has been identified as a potential remedy for indigestion.

In a review of 14 clinical trials done on nearly 200 children, peppermint showed potential to reduce the length, severity, and frequency or abdominal pain.

In another study with 200 participants who were receiving chemotherapy treatments for cancer, capsules containing peppermint oil appeared to reduce the occurrence and intensity of vomiting and nausea, compared to those given a placebo.

Like peppermint oil, CBD oil may provide relief from digestive upset. Researchers used several different methods to tests its effectiveness in reducing the inflammation associated with colitis. CBD was found to provide potential relief from gastrointestinal inflammation, and if taken prior to its onset, could potentially even prevent it.

One way to combine peppermint oil and CBD oil for relief of digestion problems is in the form of a tea. Adding a few drops of CBD oil to a freshly brewed cup of peppermint tea may be a great way to enjoy relief from indigestion and general stomach upset. If you’d prefer not to drink or taste the CBD oil, taking a CBD capsule with your tea is an easy alternative.

There is a great deal of potential for finding amplified relief and benefits when combining essential oils with CBD oil. As both are naturally occurring and typically gentle on the body, you should be able to safely experiment with different mixtures of your favorite essential oils and CBD products. However, if you experience adverse effects, talk to your doctor immediately.

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