top of page

What Are The Differences Between CBD Oil and Essential Oils?

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Reading Time: 3 min 50 sec.

What is Essential Oil?

For 3000 years, people have been using essential oils for their antiseptic properties and aroma benefits. Like my grandmother, she had an essential oil for every occasion: Stress, sleep, sore muscles, back pain, nasal congestion, or even an effective mosquito repellent. For her, each essential oil has unique properties to heal, protect, purify, or even recharge the body and the mind.

someone is dropping essential oil in a diffuser
What Are The Differences Between CBD Oil and Essential Oils?

How do Essential Oils Work?

The essence of a plant: Essential oils are very complex liquid extracts obtained by steam distillation of aromatic plants like Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and many more. Steam distillation is an ancient process, like moonshine, that uses water vapor to extract aromatic molecules from a plant in a gaseous state before making them liquid again. Essential oil or "aromatic essence" used for well-being and health is called Aromatherapy: the study of smells and their impact on people and their environment. Essential Oils are used for Aromatherapy with diffusers, humidifiers, or inhalers, and topically by body creams or carrier oils for massage. Bath salts, bath bombs, hot or cold compresses, and facial steamers are popular ways to use essential oils.

What is CBD?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Cannabidiol, also known in the popular mind as CBD, are naturally occurring compounds (Cannabinoids) found in the hemp plant with potent neuroprotection and antioxidant functions. CBD is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid under scientific research for various wellness and health reasons." CBD, and all the other cannabinoids in the hemp plant, were patented by the United States Government in 2003 as neuron protectants and antioxidants.

What is the difference between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?

Standard hemp oil, which is found very cheaply at your grocery store, is a much different product than CBD oil. Hemp oil is manufactured by cold pressing the hemp seeds only, whereas hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant flowers, not the seeds. Regular hemp oil is an excellent nutritious food but does not have the potent health benefits of CBD oil.

CBD vs. EO

CBD is not an essential oil. CBD oil is extracted and formulated from the hemp plant with a carrier oil and has similar benefits to essential oil. Both have plant extract; you can use CBD oil in addition to your essential oil regimen. The main difference is that you should never ingest essential oils. Essential oils and CBD oil work very differently. CBD oil benefits are within the body to help regulate and support the body's health, while essential oils work primarily through smell to help improve functions in the brain. Some people use CBD in a diffuser to offer an aromatic atmosphere to a room, but the scent is very weedy, and many people do not find it relaxing. The reason for that, CBD oil is not meant for Aromatherapy and will not offer significant health benefits one might get from consuming CBD oil or using a CBD cream for back pain.

Can I use CBD the same way I use essential oils as a topical?

Yes, you can! Prehemptive already offers products for topical use, like Prehemptive Sports CBD creams. Our CBD Cream is a treasured family recipe for body & skin trauma, pain, arthritis, muscle spasms, and inflammation. The cream's superior effectiveness results from its unique blend of Raw Hemp Cannabinoids (CBD) Extract, Arnica, Calendula, Ginger, and Lavender Essential Oils infused in an organic Shea butter. They are always crafted fresh in small batches, made from ingredients that are 100% active, with no fillers and no preservatives, and free of parabens, petroleum, or irritating chemicals. A CBD cream provides much more therapeutic benefits than essential oils as it can stop muscle spasms and back pain and help improve muscle, joint, and skin relaxation.

Santa Monica Mirror article on Prehemptive CBD
What Are The Differences Between CBD Oil and Essential Oils?

Can I use Essential Oils On My Skin?

Massaging with concentrated essential oils can irritate, burn, itch, and cause redness. It is crucial to dilute essential oils with carrier oil, creams, or lotions meant for skin use to avoid irritations.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD primarily interacts with the body's Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a grouping of millions of cannabinoid receptors found throughout your body. Most organs, including the skin and digestive tract, contain cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has four primary purposes: neuron protection, stress relief, immune response, and regulating the body's general state of balance, impacting functions such as appetite, sleep, memory, movement, mood, and pain. When introduced into the body, plant cannabinoids such as hemp CBD stimulate the receptors in your body to boost the immune system response.


As an avid Essential oils user, you have to admit EOs have a strong placebo effect with little therapeutic value. After saying that, I will not trash my essential oils home kit anytime soon. I will still use my organic Eucalyptus oil for the family's congested noses and my lavender for lazy Sundays. Although I love my essential oils, CBD has recently become the subject of much scientific research because of its positive impact on the body and the potential for using the system's stimulation to treat disease. A basic understanding of how the Endocannabinoid system functions allow scientists to discover its many medicinal uses constantly. The medical research on the endocannabinoid system and CBD is still limited and more studies on how CBD works are needed. Because CBD is non-psychoactive, there is genuine interest in whether it has any therapeutic use.

If considering using CBD, here is a link to our CBD Beginner Guide

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are for educational purposes only. These are not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. Seek the counsel of a qualified medical physician before changing or adding anything to your health care regimen. Keep out of reach of children.

bottom of page