In October 2018, the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal released a report looking at the stress-relieving effects of lavender aromatherapy.

The study specifically examined linalool, one of the terpene alcohols in lavender extracts, which has been reported to have anxiolytic (or anti-anxiety) effects. The study examined the anxiolytic effects of linalool odor in mice and according to the results, linalool was found to have an anxiolytic effect in the test subjects without causing motor impairment.

Essential oils like lavender extract have long been used for their potential health benefits. Known as aromatherapy, the use of plant materials and aromatic plant oils, can have a positive impact on a person’s psychological or physical well-being.

Now, many are using cannabidiol derived from the cannabis plant to amplify the potential of aromatherapy. CBD has been recognized for its positive health effects and together, the two elements can help regulate mood and emotions.

Aromatherapy Basics

Aromatherapy has a long history rooted in holistic healing. The practice has been around since 1500 B.C. when ancient Egyptians used waters and oils scented with botanicals in their religious ceremonies.

Aromatherapy can help stimulate the brain and the lungs. The use of different essential oils can have a positive effect on many parts of the body and can improve metabolism, blood circulation, digestion and hormonal function

Essential oils can be extracted or distilled from flowers, bark, fruits, leaves, stalks, roots, and more. They can be applied topically, used in a diffuser or mixed into bathwater.

These oils work by stimulating your olfactory bulb, the part of your brain responsible for your sense of smell. The olfactory bulb is connected to your limbic system, the nerves and networks in the brain which handle instinct and mood. The limbic system controls basic emotions like fear and anger, and drives like hunger. When your olfactory bulb is stimulated it transmits signals to the brain to release chemicals like serotonin and endorphins. Depending on the scent, this can lead you to feel energized, calm or focused.

Different essential oils create different reactions in your brain. Chamomile and frankincense oils can be effective in addressing anger and mood swings. Lavender and rose oils can help reduce anxiety. Grapefruit and other citrus-based oils can help improve energy. And bergamot and jasmine oils can increase focus.

A Fresh Combination

The cannabis plant has more than 400 organic ingredients. Among them is THC, the ingredient responsible for the plant’s psychoactive properties, and CBD, a cannabinoid that is increasingly being used to treat pain, anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and migraines.

Like other essential oils, CBD can help stabilize emotions by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which is associated with several bodily functions including appetite, sleep, pain and mood.

The system is comprised of receptors and cannabinoids that help the body maintain balance. Naturally produced cannabinoids help the system function properly, but the system can also be impacted by external cannabinoids like CBD. By helping to balance the endocannabinoid system, CBD can in turn help balance emotions and mood.

Additionally, similar to other plants used in aromatherapy, the cannabis plant has a few aromatic properties of its own. Myrcene, which has a musky, clove-like aroma can be helpful in reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation. Limonene, which has a sweet and tangy aroma, can help with anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
And the pine-scented terpenes in the cannabis plant can improve alertness and memory retention.

With this in mind, many are combining CBD with other essential oils to amplify the beneficial properties of both. Beauty product manufacturers are making perfumes made from citrus, bergamot and CBD.

There are lavender and CBD-infused sleep masks that promise a more restful night’s sleep. And body lotions containing CBD, peppermint and juniper promise to relieve muscle tension.

However, buying products on the beauty market isn’t the only way to infuse essential oils and CBD into your life. The two most common aromatherapy techniques are topical application and diffusing oils into the air.

Cannabidiol (a.k.a CBD) can be combined with calming oils and diluted in bath water for a relaxing effect. It can also be combined with citrus oils in a diffuser to create an energizing effect.  They can also be applied directly onto the skin on specific pulse points.

Taking Precautions

Studies shows using essential oils carries minimal risk. In 2006, the International Journal of Aromatherapy, produced a report looking at aromatherapy complications in 3000 patients. According to the report, 1.67 percent of the patients experienced some form of complication when using essential oils.

These complications included skin eruptions, respiratory distress and other symptoms. An additional 0.93 percent of the patients refused aromatherapy because they found the smell unpleasant.

Essential oils should always be diluted before use. Make sure to dilute oils in water or carrier oil before using in a diffuser or applying to the skin. There is no set amount of oil that works for everyone, but a typical concentration for topical application is 1 percent for the body and 0.5 percent for the face or other sensitive areas. Unlike CBD oil, ingesting essential oils is not recommended.

Before trying an aromatherapy/CBD combination, you should always consult your doctor. Additionally, as with any organic element, you may be allergic to a specific kind of essential oil. It’s always best to test an oil on a small patch of skin before using it on a wider scale.