Cannabinoids and Essential Oils


The cannabinoid system within the human body has recently been identified in playing an important role in regulating functions of the brain, endocrine, and immune system. It appears to play a very important role in regulating secretion of sex and stress hormones. There are cannabinoid receptors found almost everywhere in your body. Immune response, inflammatory response, memory, and possibly even your appetite are controlled or influenced by these receptors. As research continues to emerge, it appears that this system is one of the most important systems in related to human health. It is also a body system that can be positively influenced through the use of essential oils. 

CB1 & CB2 Receptors

The effects of this system on the body are mostly controlled through CB1 and CB2 receptors. Abnormalities of these receptors have been associated with schizophrenia and several other mental disorders. Activation of the CB1 or CB2 receptors has a diverse effect on cells, affecting everything from communication between cells, the way that genes are expressed, movement of cells, and more. 

CB1 receptors are mostly found on nerve cells in the central nervous system (CNS) and CB2 receptors are found most predominantly in the vascular portions of the brain, on white blood cells, and the immune system. CB2 receptors appear to increase in their expression/activation up to 100 times following an injury or during inflammation. 

Research shows that activation of CB1 receptors influences the processing of memories and pain regulation, but it also induce psychoactive effects. CB2 receptors support the healthy and normal function of the nervous and immune systems. They also have soothing and relaxing effects on the body (similar to CB1) through their regulation of inflammation, but they do not have the same psychoactive effects as CB1 receptors. 


There is a growing body of research suggesting that the terpene compounds found in many essential oils can influence these receptors. Recent research shows that beta-carophyllene has the ability to bind to CB2 receptors supporting healthy cells and skin as well as nervous and immune system functions. It may also have similar soothing and relaxing properties without the psychoactive effects related to CB1 activation. 

In several studies done on mice, beta-carophyllene was helpful in alleviating neuropathic pain as well as improving behaviors related to anxiety and depression. 

Beta-carophyllene is present in many essential oils such as Black Pepper, Clove, Melissa, and Rosemary. But, the best source is a less well-known oil called Copaiba. Analysis of many sources of Copaiba essential oil have shown that it is composed of about 55% beta-carophyllene.

Use of CBD oil is becoming increasingly popular in many areas, but studies have shown that not only does it not interact directly with the CB receptors, but also depending on how it was made it is composed of a maximum of 35% beta-carophyllene, but in some cases, almost none at all. 

Copaiba Essential Oil Uses

While we are just beginning to research and understand the positive health impact of Copaiba essential oil, there are a few ways that it can be used to support your body.

  • Liver and antioxidant (cellular) support
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Sustain proper immune response 
  • Digestive support
  • Support of proper neurologic function
  • Support proper respiratory function

Here are some specific ways to use Copaiba oil:


  1. Diffuse or breath in periodically throughout the day calm emotions and neurological activity
  2. Diffuse with any citrus oil to elevate the mood
  3. Combine with Siberian Fir or a floral oil to create a sense of relaxation


  1. Dilute with fractionated coconut oil and apply to any areas of concern on the skin
  2. Combine with Blue Tansy or Melaleuca to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes
  3. Combine with your favorite moisturizer and a drop of Cedarwood to support healthy looking skin


  1. Take 1-2 drops in a capsule twice a day
  2. Add a drop or two along with a citrus oil to flavor water
  3. Take a drop under the tongue each morning
  4. Combine with peppermint and take at mealtimes to support digestion

I only use and recommend doTERRA essential oils for internal use. When it comes to using essential oils internally, quality is important. Please be sure to do your research prior to using essential oils internally. Some brands may label their oils as "not for internal use" which usually means that they cannot be guaranteed to be pure oils. 

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Who am I?? I am a Family Nurse practitioner with over eight years of clinical experience helping ordinary women cut through all the hype and figure out what actually works for their bodies. If you've ever been told by your healthcare provider that "it's all in your head" or that what you are going through is "normal," I can help! It's not all in your head and just because something is common doesn't mean it is normal.

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