Copaiba vs CBD

The demand for CBD oil and related products is growing at a rapid rate in the U.S. With millions of Americans on prescription medications for long-term, chronic health issues, demand for natural alternatives and effective remedies are increasing.

In some cases, these products are being marketed as “cure-alls” and miracle supplements. While many clinical and subclinical studies have demonstrated their effectiveness for alleviating a range of health issues, the research is still ongoing in this arena. Plus, there aren’t many long-term studies on CBD products, since legality and complex legal issues have stood in the way of science and research. It’s vital to cut through all the marketing hype around supplements like CBD and copaiba before adding either one to a treatment regimen.

What is copaiba?

Copaiba is an essential oil derived from the copaifera tree. It is not the same as CBD oil, which is not an essential oil, despite the word “oil” in its name. Instead, CBD stands for cannabidiol which are chemical compounds present in the cannabis plant. These compounds are extracted from the cannabis plant and then suspended in a carrier oil.

Copaiba essential oil is also sometimes called copaiba balsam essential oil. The oil is made from the resin of the copaifera tree. Resin is a sticky sap that trees secrete through their bark. Both copaiba balsam and copaiba oil are used for medicinal purposes. Copaiba essential oil has a sweet and earthy fragrance, and it is also sometimes used to perfume soaps and cosmetic products. Copaiba is also used in particular pharmaceutical products, such as diuretics and cough medicines.


What is the copaifera tree?

The copaifera tree is part of the legume family, and it grows in South America. These trees are often used for industrial purposes and manufactured into biodiesel fuel and wood. Some subspecies of the plant are threatened with deforestation and extinction. The copaifera tree can grow to 100 feet tall, and for centuries, it’s been cultivated for its anti-inflammatory properties.

The earliest known recordings of humans using copaiba for medicinal purposes dates back to the 1500s when native peoples of Brazil used the copaifera resin in traditional rituals and folk medicines. The copaifera trees of Brazil produce 95% of the world’s copaiba essential oils and topicals.

How is copaiba oil made?

Essential oils like copaiba are extracted from the fragrant parts of the plant, in this case, the resin of the copaifera tree trunks, through a process of steam extraction. Essential oils are incredibly concentrated, and it often takes a large number of a plant’s flowers and leaves to create just one unit of essential oil.

How would someone use copaiba oil?

Essential oils like copaiba are usually diffused and inhaled, or used topically. Users can either mix copaiba oil with a carrier lotion and apply it to the skin, add a few drops of the oil to tea or water and drink the mixture, or place a few drops in a diffuser and inhale the essential oil.

What are the desired effects of copaiba?

Copaiba has many beneficial uses and is often touted as a natural remedy for inflammation. Inhaling copaiba in a diffuser can improve mood and alleviate stress and is often used in aromatherapy practices. As a topical, it has little to no serious or adverse side effects. Copaiba has also been used for centuries as an antiseptic, and for the prevention of oral decay, tooth problems, and gum disease.

Its benefits regarding arthritis are so far unproven — however, case studies on arthritis patients who have used copaiba self-report favorable results. So far, the only published studies on human beings and copaiba include a series of trials on inflammatory conditions, and not arthritis specifically. The lack of sufficient data and research on copaiba at this time suggest that it is impossible to say whether or not the claims on copaiba’s health benefits are valid.

These case studies show promise and for many chronic pain patients, using an alternative, natural methods might be beneficial. Long-term use of NSAIDs and prescription anti-inflammatories can cause a range of adverse side effects. For example, NSAIDs can cause stomach upset, and also increase the risk of stroke or heart attack.

Is copaiba legal?

Yes, copaiba is legal in the U.S. it is considered an essential oil and not an illicit or controlled substance. People who want to try copaiba do not need a prescription for it either. Consumers can purchase copaiba online or from a health food store.

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How does copaiba essential oil differ from CBD oil?

Copaiba is a drug-free essential oil and derives from copaifera tree resin, not the cannabis plant. CBD oil is made up of the extracted cannabinoid chemical compounds from the cannabis plant, and then suspended in a carrier oil such as grapeseed or hemp oil.

The issues surrounding CBD’s legal status are much murkier than the legalities involved in the sale and manufacture of copaiba. For example, CBD is legal in certain states and not others. The federal government allows consumers to ship CBD that contains .3% or less of THC across state lines, while the DEA still classifies the marijuana plant as a schedule one drug.

Which is better for treating ailments?

There are far more studies on the benefits of CBD than the benefits of copaiba oil at this time. While copaiba oil shows promise in fighting inflammation and arthritis, the reviews on CBD oil’s ability to alleviate these conditions is more concrete and robust.

Furthermore, copaiba oil may produce more adverse side effects than CBD oil. Copaiba is more likely to cause skin sensitivities when used topically since essential oils are more concentrated than CBD oil. Diluting copaiba oil generously with a moisturizing carrier oil can counteract these effects. Ingesting copaiba oil may also cause stomach upset.

Although both copaiba oil and CBD oil have minimal side effects and are considered safe for most people to take, it’s crucial that users talk to a doctor first. Adding a supplement to an existing treatment regimen can interfere adversely with certain medications.

Last updated May 16 2019

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