Which is Better: CBD Oil or Essential Oils?

Which is better...CBD Oil or Essential Oils?

Let’s cut right to the chase, they are both amazing in their own ways, but one certainly stands out as a more holistic approach to what ails you.

Occasionally we get asked some form of this comparison question, “which is better... X Essential Oil or CBD Oil?” or “is copaiba oil really better than CBD?” As with most topics in wellness, it can be difficult to separate the science from the marketing hype, so let's break it down for you here by starting with a little pertinent scientific information on the endocannabinoid system, essential oils, and CBD oil.

The Endocannabinoid System

Have you ever heard of it? It’s totally fine if you haven’t, because it was actually only discovered a few decades ago. In science, a discovery that is only a few decades old is often not fully developed, and true to this pattern, science is still discovering new tidbits about the endocannabinoid system all the time, especially as we decriminalize cannabis.

The Endocannabinoid system’s primary focus is to create a perfect balance within the body, sometimes also called homeostasis. It releases and regulates different internal cannabinoids in reaction to anything, external or internal, that threatens to throw the body off balance. Sometimes this reaction is in response to a physical health threat, but much of what the endocannabinoid system deals with is the mental/neurological/energetic side of the threat.

A good example is stress, whether it is related to a internal stress like a health issue or an external stress, the endocannabinoid system regulates the internal chemical release around that stress. This is why the endocannabinoid system is often considered a type of subconscious emotional regulatory system.

There are 4 internal endocannabinoids that are the most well understood currently:

  1. Oxytocin. Oxytocin in an internal endocannabinoid molecule that is often associated with being strictly a female hormone. It's actually produced and used by both males and females. Oxytocin is generated during labor, orgasms, and sexual activity, but it's also produced during other affectionate expressions, like during hugs and moments of bonding. It’s also associated with empathy, trust, and generosity.


  1. Serotonin. Serotonin is another well-known molecule, although it is uncommon to know it as an internal endocannabinoid. Interestingly, serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is primarily made and regulated by the gut, bringing truth to the old saying that “the way to a person's heart is through their tummy.” Many happy feelings, such as the feeling of safety, positivity, and calmness mostly come from within your stomach and intestines.


  1. Anandamide. This cannabinoid is a big influencer in your mental health. It is often called the ‘bliss molecule' as it promotes relaxation and feelings of happiness. Anandamide is produced within human cell membranes and is a neurotransmitter which interacts with both CB1 and the CB2 receptors.


  1. Acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter responsible for attention, memory, creativity, and neuroplasticity. The cool thing about this cannabinoid is that depending on where it is in the body, it can have opposing effects. Acetylcholine interacts primarily with the CB1 receptor.

CB1 and CB2 Receptors

In telling you about the Endocannabinoid system I mentioned the neurochemicals above as well as the receptors where the body uses the neurochemicals. There are two primary receptors in the Endocannabinoid system for both internal and external cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2. These are important when comparing Copaiba and CBD oil because it will help you see the difference in the two substances and how they work on the body, and perhaps more importantly, in their therapeutic uses.

CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system and both CB1 and CB2 receptors in certain peripheral tissues. CB1 receptors are neuromodulators as well as immunomodulators meaning the play a big role in both your mental health as well as your immune system health, they are specifically involved in the pituitary gland, immune cells, and reproductive tissues.

CB2 receptors are found primarily in peripheral tissues. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors CB1

activation appears to relieve inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

So now we know what the system is that both CBD and Copaiba essential oil act on and the receptors that are involved, let's take a look at each CBD and Copaiba a little closer.

Essential Oils

First, let's look at Copaiba. Essential oils are wonderful wellness tools and can be used for a myriad of ailments. The essential oil most often compared to CBD oil is Copaiba oil, although a few other oils, like Rosemary, share very similar terpene profile to the Copaiba, and that drives the comparison of CBD and Copaiba.

Copaiba essential oil comes from the Copaifera tree, which like another popular essential oil, Frankincense, can be found throughout South America. The Copaifera tree produces a resin, that is steam-distilled, and the end product is copaiba essential oil.

Copaiba oil has recently been subject to some fairly intense scientific exploration. Early studies show evidence of Copaiba’s legitimate healing capabilities in antibacterial wound-healing and anti-inflammation. Once these studies were released, many oil-lovers started shouting from the rooftops that Copaiba is the new “legal” CBD oil.

Copaiba’s medicinal properties are largely related to the terpene content, specifically beta-caryophyllene, which is also an ingredient/property in CBD oil, thus compounding the oil-markets excitement and lots of confusion.

Copaiba is touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it is, but it is different from CBD in how it reacts in the body, or how the body can put it to use. Copaiba has a single pathway, through  terpene beta-caryophyllene, to act on inflammation and pain through the endocannabinoid system on only the CB2 receptor.

One of the drawbacks of Copaiba over CBD oil is that it is still an essential oil, and although it is a unique essential oil because it is safe to use internally in low doses. Unless you are under the care of a qualified Clinical Aromatherapist, I would discourage this at home because dosing is difficult to calculate and measure. The side effect of ingesting too much Copaiba oil will cause general tummy distress, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. Prolonged ingestion can lead to damaged stomach and intestinal lining.


In comparison, CBD oil is a lot like an essential oil in that it is derived from plants and is natural and has been used for many years in healing and wellness. Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is a cannabinoid sourced from the cannabis sativa genus of plants, usually from industrial hemp plants (not marijuana). CBD is often confused with THC (from marijuana), but even though the are both cannabinoids, CBD is legal in all 50 states and is non-psychoactive. This means that despite what some essential oil purveyors may try to lead you to believe, CBD oil does not trigger a ‘high,’ anxiety, or euphoria. It triggers a mild sense of relaxation, if any physical sensation is noted at all.

The medicinal properties of CBD oil are attributed to two ingredients/properties, both terpenes (like you find in Copaiba oil)  and cannabinoids (found only in the CBD oil). CBD oil is pretty unique in that especially when using whole-plant extracts, CBD oil can contain many different compounds, each with its own unique effects on the endocannabinoid system. Through this interaction and with the benefit of a broad range of healing compounds, CBD has demonstrated huge potential as a treatment option for lots of health issues, including mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, autoimmune disorders, pain issues, cancer, inflammatory diseases and so much more.

As mentioned, CBD oil does contain beta-caryophyllene which acts on the CB2 receptors, and yes, this is the same terpene as Copaiba. CBD’s benefit over Copaiba is really in its influence over the entire endocannabinoid system, both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD targets pain and inflammation in multiple ways, even beyond the beta-caryophyllene terpenes.

Currently, there is no recommended maximum dosage for CBD oil, and there are some documented acute treatments using upwards of 1,000 mg of CBD oil a day. While that isn’t a dose I would recommend without consulting your Wellness Practitioner, over-the-counter dosages are regarded as safe and perfect for oral consumption.

So which is better?

Copaiba, while a good essential oil with many healing properties, simply does not stack up to the healing ability of CBD oil. As mentioned, Copaiba’s health benefits come only from its beta-caryophyllene contents that act on a single receptor, CB2.  Whole-plant CBD (not CBD isolate) oil benefits from a synergistic effect between all the complex compounds, like the cannabinoids and terpenes. Multiple studies have confirmed the various compounds in CBD are stronger when working together, instead of isolating their parts. Copaiba would be considering isolating only one of CBD’s beneficial parts.

CBD oil is THC free and is legal in all 50 states. If you are wondering if CBD oil would be helpful for you, get in contact with me here. http://gk3.e81.myftpupload.com/audreychristie/