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Can you mix CBD and essential oils?
How to determine if it is safe to mix CBD and essential oils.
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Over the last few years, more and more people have been turning to cannabidiol — aka CBD — as a part of their health and wellness routine, and it’s easy to see why. Research shows that CBD offers an impressive list of potential health benefits. It can help address issues like pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders, which makes it easy to understand why CBD products are becoming so popular across the United States.
Essential oils are also incredibly popular — with essential oil remedies being shared across the internet — so you might find yourself wondering if you can combine these products, whether or not using CBD and essential oils is safe, and how to try it out for yourself.
What is CBD? How does it work?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of the main active ingredients found in the cannabis plant. Unlike cannabis, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive — meaning it doesn’t cause the “high” feeling typically associated with cannabis use. Plus, CBD is relatively well-tolerated by most people and it has very few side effects, meaning it’s pretty low risk and isn’t associated with potential abuse.
As far as how it works? Researchers are still figuring that out.
“We are still learning how exactly CBD works. It appears CBD interacts with a wide variety of systems in your body, such as your serotonin system,” explains Dr. Jeff Chen, founder of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative and CEO and CoFounder of Radicle Science. “CBD also interacts with your endocannabinoid system, which is spread throughout your entire body. Whereas THC exerts its effects by directly binding to your cannabinoid receptors, CBD doesn’t bind to cannabinoid receptors, but instead appears to slow the breakdown of the endocannabinoids your own body naturally produces.”
Translation? While we don’t know how CBD works with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and cannabinoid receptors, we do know that the ECS plays a role in bodily functions like sleep, memory, and mood — as well as maintaining our bodies’ homeostasis, AKA the balance and stability of our bodies’ systems.
From there, many believe that CBD works by helping your body return to that state of homeostasis — so if your body needs sleep, CBD might help with that. If you need to boost your energy, it might help with that too. And because cannabinoid receptors within the ECS are located throughout your body, although there’s a higher concentration of these receptors in your brain, that’s why CBD offers such a wide range of potential benefits.
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What about essential oils? Do they work?
Essential oils have been used throughout human history, but before we dive into the science, it’s important to highlight that not all essential oils are safe to consume orally and others can cause damage if they’re applied directly to your skin. Unlike CBD oil, different essential oils vary wildly — and some carry severe health risks if used incorrectly — so you’ll want to do extensive research prior to combining these and you’ll want to consult your primary care doctor.
That being said, when it comes to using essential oils (and deciding whether or not they work), the answer is “it depends.” Different oils offer different benefits, and not all essential oils have been extensively studied. You’ll want to speak with a medical expert before using any essential oils to make sure you’re using them safely.
Is it safe to mix CBD and essential oils?
Because CBD and essential oils use in humans haven’t been studied extensively, it’s hard to give a clear answer on whether or not it’s safe to mix the two. Especially when you’re looking at something like essential oils — where some are considered harmless for both oral and topical use while others can be poisonous — it’s important to act with an abundance of caution.
“Most herbalists and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners usually recommend using multiple botanicals to treat a condition. Rarely, do they ever recommend a single herb,” explains Dr. Felecia Dawson, a physician and cannabis advocate.” Thus, adding additional terpenes via essential oils may give better results. I would recommend working with someone knowledgeable about CBD and essential oils to stay safe, save money and time.
So even though CBD itself might be relatively low risk — and there might be some benefits from mixing CBD and essential oils — the safety of essential oils varies wildly on the specific oil you’re using and the method of delivery. If you’re not sure about mixing the two then it might be worth keeping these two habits separate, or speaking with a medical professional, at least until we know more.
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