What is Cannabis Essential Oil?

January 03, 2017

A woman suffering from insomnia is told by a friend to inhale marijuana before bed to get a good night's sleep. A man undergoing chemotherapy is advised to get a medical marijuana card by his family to deal with the nausea and sickness.

The problem with this advice is there’s still a lot of unknowns and unclear terms when it comes to medical marijuana (cannabis). Because the plant is still illegal in many states, research is fairly limited. But recent studies are showing promising results for the use of cannabis.

“One misconception about cannabis is that people just want to have an excuse to use cannabis because it gets them high,” said renowned chemist and founder of Essential Oil University, Dr. Robert Pappas. “But there is real therapeutic and medicinal value to these plants.”

It is important to note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis as a treatment for any medical condition so consult your doctor for all health recommendations.

The Plant

Part of understanding the effects of cannabis starts with identifying the natural elements in the plant. There are more than 400 chemical entities in cannabis, making it incredibly complex reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Furthermore, the cannabis plant has two main subspecies, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.

One of the main active compounds in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD) which unlike another active compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), does not produce euphoria or intoxication according to a study at the Institute of Psychiatry in the United Kingdom.

The study also notes that the Sativa-dominant cannabis have a higher THC content, whereas Indica-dominant plants have a higher CBD content. Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, chemical compounds secreted by the cannabis flower.

Hemp is also sometimes confused with marijuana. Comparing the two, Dr. Pappas explained, “The only difference is the level of THC. Marijuana is high THC and hemp is low THC. Cannabis is the genus of both plants. Traditionally, marijuana is the high THC strains, hemp is low THC strains.”

Possible Treatments

According to the National Cancer Institute, cannabinoids activate specific receptors throughout the body to produce a drug-like effect, specifically in the nervous and immune systems. Although more research is needed to conclude the effects of CBD, it may relieve pain, lower inflammation and decrease anxiety without the psychotropic effects of THC, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.

Currently, the institute is studying the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids for the relief of nausea, pain, anxiety and loss of appetite. Studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by blocking cell growth. Other possible effects of cannabinoids include antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity, and relieving muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. But despite promising results, more research is needed to verify the possibilities.

Cautions and considerations

Although Federally illegal, CBD-rich cannabis oil products can be applied topically. It is imperative to remember, however, that no matter how much CBD is isolated from the rest of the plant, there will still be trace amounts of THC in the product, says Dr. Pappas.

Possible side effects when using cannabis include fluctuations in sugar levels, low blood pressure, increased risk of bleeding, dizziness, dry eyes, stomach issues, itchiness and more according to the Mayo Clinic.

Despite the growing research, there is still a deep level of uncertainty and confusion surrounding the use of cannabis. At Edens Garden, we currently carry Cannabis Essential Oil and Hemp Seed Carrier Oil to our line of 100% pure oils. Research and education is key in understanding the effects of Cannabis and more is needed to conclude the effects of the plant.

Identifying the differences

Cannabis Essential Oil: To be diluted into a carrier oil, Cannabis Essential Oil is produced by the steam distillation of the cannabis flower. The active components are myrcene and beta-caryophyllene, which are packed with anti-inflammatory properties. 

CBD: Extracted from the Hemp Plant, Cannabidiol is a potent phyto-cannabinoid that is non-psychoactive.

Cannabis CO2 Total: A concentrate extracted from the flowers of cannabis by the use of carbon dioxide and great amount of pressure. Typically, CO2 Totals have a thicker semi-solid consistency, often referred to as cannabis "mud". The process produces an extract that contains the highest amount the plant’s heavier extractable components which are typically the most medicinally valuable, and a minimal amount of the volatile aromatic essential oil components.  The cannabis CO2 total typically contains 50-60% cannabinoids with the ratio of CBD to THC depending on the genetic strain being extracted. 

Cannabis CO2 Select: Closer to an essential oil than the CO2 total, the select is extracted from the flowers of cannabis using relatively lower pressure. Generally the CO2s select is comprised of the plant’s most volatile essential oil components in addition to a smaller amount of the heavier molecules which cannot be steam distilled.  The cannabinoid content of the cannabis select is typically in the 3-5% range with the CBD/THC ratio being determined by the particular genetic strain used.   As the cannabis essential oil basically has no significant level of cannabinoids, one can think of the CO2 select as sort of a hybrid between the CO2 total and the essential oil.  In general, all CO2 selects are chemically closer to the the essential oil profile but almost always having a richer, fuller, higher quality aromatic profile than the essential oil, due to the inclusion of the heavier components that the standard essential oil production methods cannot access.

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil: Rich with vitamins and antioxidant properties, Hemp Seed Oil is produced through a cold pressed method. The oil is pale to golden yellow. Hemp Seed Carrier Oil can help reduce toxins, clear skin and improve overall health.

Try this recipe

DIY Cannabis Facial Oil

Creamy, supple skin may be just a few drops away with the DIY Cannabis Facial Oil. Don’t get scared away by the aroma because the skin benefits are tremendous. Rich with vitamins and anti-inflammatories properties, Cannabis Facial Oil does not clog pores and leaves your skin feeling hydrated and smooth.

What you’ll need:


  1. Carefully fill ⅔ of the bottle of Hemp Seed Carrier Oil.
  2. Add 2 drops of Cannabis Essential Oil, 3 drops of French Lavender Essential Oil and 1 drop of Frankincense Essential Oil.
  3. Cap your bottle and shake well until blended.
  4. After washing and drying your face, dab a few drops on your face, avoiding the eye area.


  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Sandra! We don’t offer aromatherapy consultations, but here is a link that will point you to an aromatherapist near you: http://naha.org/membership/find-an-aromatherapist/

    On July 17, 2017

  • Shannon says...

    My mother has a bottle of this oil for me and I’d like to know the best way to use it for severe, chronic pain. Should she mix it with another oil and put in a roller bottle or just mail it to me? She has many oils to make something for me if you could please share a recipe. Right now I’m using Peppermint and Helichrysum in addition to my pharmaceutical scripts. Nothing takes my pain away…ever.

    On July 16, 2017

  • sandra says...

    I’m having a challenge finding recipes for cannabis to help my daughter with fibromyalgia, auto-immune deficiency, and lupus. Can you share a blend for me to try? She has severe chronic muscle and joint pain.

    On July 16, 2017

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Erin! We would recommend working with your doctor and an aromatherapist for safe essential oil recommendations that meet you and your baby’s needs while breastfeeding. It is not recommended that you use essential oils on or around infants, and it is also mostly unknown whether using oils while breastfeeding affect a mother’s milk.

    On July 10, 2017

  • Erin says...

    Is the Cannabis Essential Oil safe to use for anxiety and pain while breastfeeding?

    On July 09, 2017

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