CO2 Hemp Extract (CBD) boasts some pretty amazing health benefits: from better sleep, reduction in inflammation and pain, to easier management of stress and anxiety. It’s easy to want to try it out!
If you’ve been getting to know essential oils, and believe that CBD is just another one of those little oils in the little amber bottles, please know that this isn’t so. While CBD shares some similarities with essential oils, it is specifically different to essential oils and deserves its own sum of knowledge and explanation.
Most importantly, I want to explain whether or not CBD is an essential oil, and what the main differences are between these two popular alternative health options.
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What Is CBD Anyway?
CBD is extracted from the plant Cannabis sativa, an annual herbaceous plant native to eastern Asia. It has been widely populated across multiple cultures and continents, and you can find it in any part of the world now.
The Cannabis plant contains more than 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that have been identified to date (1). The two most popular cannabinoids are:
- THC, which is responsible for creating an intoxicated state; and
- CBD, which is not psychoactive.
CBD simply stands for Cannabidiol, which is a name given to this particular cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. It is only one of many cannabinoids, but produced in high enough concentrations to deserve its own name and attention.
TCS stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol, and is also simply another name given to a cannabinoid that is produced by the hemp plant in substantial quantities.
How is CBD Produced?
The hemp plant is a unisexual plant that can be either male or female (2). Any given hemp plant contains a varying level of the different compounds depending on external factors such as cultivation practices, weather influences, and season of harvest. In this regard, hemp plants and essential oil plant materials are quite similar: they are both products of nature that are subject to nature’s ways of letting them grow and develop their natural qualities.
Certainly, how the plant is cultivated for commercial production also affects CBD levels, overall harvest yield and quality. Established industry providers breed their own proprietary strands of hemp, which can bring a uniqueness to their hemp and CBD products that can be very appealing to brand loyal customers.
This is, of course, also a reason why one CBD brand may differ from another. As with essential oils, it’s all in the brand and company quality standards of the product you choose to buy. There’s always better and less optimal ways to make a product.
CBD Extraction Process
Essential oil enthusiasts may be familiar with steam distillation process for extracting essential oils from plant materials.
The CBD extraction process is different than essential oil steam distillation in that it most commonly uses the CO2 extraction method or a related solvent extraction method such as soaking in alcohol (3).
Solvent extraction is considered a pure and clean extraction method as there is no residue left after extraction (4). Steam distillation leaves left-over components that cam be further used in form of essential oil hydrosols.
There are also CO2 extracted essential oils for sale, but these extracts are a lot less common than “traditional” steam distilled essential oils. For that reason, I will omit further explanation of CO2 extracted essential oils for now.
In short, CBD production uses solvent extraction methods which differ from essential oil steam distillation.
Broad-Spectrum vs. Full-Spectrum
A wholesome cannabis plant contains more than 104 cannabinoids; THC and CBD being only two of many. When trying to use nature’s plants for humans, we should want to try and preserve as much of the natural complexity as possible.
While we understand the effects of CBD in its isolated version, it’s recommended to make use of the many other cannabinoids included in the plant mark-up, as well. Enter: broad-spectrum CBD:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD starts as full-spectrum but has the THC removed.
In broad-spectrum CBD, all of nature’s complex make-up and chemical constituents are still included, with only the psychoactive THC component removed (5). When shopping, look for broad-spectrum CBD to get the most out of your purchase.
Benefits of CBD
You can utilize CBD for a selection of different ailments and wellness conditions. It offers all of the wellness benefits supplied by hemp, but without any psychoactive results.
For Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are a much more common problem than many of us realize. If you’re an anxiety sufferer, it’s important to understand that you aren’t powerless over the attacks. CBD may be one step in the right direction to locate the most productive procedures of overcoming anxiety for you.
According to a small study, CBD claims to lessen the intensity of anxiety attacks, and specifically aid with social anxiety issues (6). As a natural and alternative method to address anxiety, CBD can produce an overall calmer and more relaxed state of mind.
For Pain Management
Pain – chronic pain especially – can significantly impair one’s quality of life. In a small study, 15 of 18 people reported a significant pain-relieving effect when using cannabinoids compared to the placebo group (7). Certain components of the hemp plant, including CBD, are responsible for its pain-relieving effects. For best results with pain management using CBD, make sure to shop for broad-spectrum CBD.
How to Use CBD
There are various ways in which hemp-derived products are consumed in the United States; for both medical and recreational purposes.
First and foremost, consult with your physician if you’re taking any other medicines for other medical conditions, and are planning to start using CBD. Unfortunate medication combinations can result in serious side effects. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professionals prior to making any use of CBD.
Getting to the correct dosage of CBD for yourself is a little bit of an experiment. Everybody is different, so there are only general guidelines to follow, and not a one size fits all type of answer. Industry best practices recommend to “start low and go slow” (7).
- Start with the lowest dose and use it consistently over a few days.
- If you’d like to increase your dose, do so and notice whether you feel better or worse.
- If all still feels good, maintain the dose for a few days at least until you consider another increase.
- If you start feeling worse after an increase, revert back to the previous level and stay there. That will be your optimal dose.
- IMPORTANT: When trying to stop CBD use, taper back your dose in the same way as you’ve increased it. Don’t stop cold-turkey.
Plant Therapy’s CBD comes in four different strengths so you can find the right serving size for your body. It also comes in three flavor choices: Cinnamint, Pina Colada & Unflavored.
CBD is very widely available now. But even with that, it isn’t an exception to the rule of always seeking advice from your doctor prior to starting any new regiment.
CBD vs. Essential Oils
Is CBD an essential oil? In short, NO; and here’s why:
- The main differentiation between CBD and essential oils is that of internal use. It is rarely recommended to take essential oils internally, while CBD is intentionally taken under the tongue as its main mode of use.
- CBD bottles are sold with a dosage dropper, whereas essential oil drops are used directly from the bottle and most commonly added to carrier oil for topical use through massage, or put into an essential oil diffuser unit.
- Both CBD and essential oils are products of nature that stem from natural plant materials.
- Essential oils are most commonly extracted through steam distillation, whereas CBD uses solvent extraction. The processes are different enough to not put the end product into the same category.
How does this relate to Aromatherapy?
As you’re learning how to use essential oils in your daily life, you’re likely to have seen your favorite essential oil brand now selling CBD.
CBD is a great choice for supporting general well-being, and if you’re into dietary supplements, you may like to give it a try! It can be a good source of pain relief, and can also help with depression and anxiety. In any case, please choose a high quality CBD for the best chance that it will be able to help you and your ailments.
If you have further questions or would like more specific product information, please check these CBD FAQs for answer specifically regarding Plant Therapy’s CBD.
To your well-being,
- Cannabis Chemical Make-Up: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425762/
- Cannabis sativa on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_sativa
- How is CBD Hemp Oil Made? https://floydsofleadville.com/the-abcs-of-making-cbd/
- The CBD Extraction Process & How CBD Oil is Made: https://www.apekssupercritical.com/cbd-extraction-process/
- Full-spectrum vs. Broad-spectrum CBD: https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2019/06/25/full-spectrum-vs-broad-spectrum-cbd/
- 7 Benefits and Uses of CBD: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits
- Considerations for Cannabinoids to Relieve Pain: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5922297/
- CBD Dosage: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/cbd-dosage