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By now, a lot of us know of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and its benefits. Quite a few among us have even taken advantage of its therapeutic attributes too! Recently, however, the name copaiba has found its way into the world of alternative and herbal medicine.
So, what is Copaiba, and what’s all this hype about anyway?
Copaiba essential oils are fast becoming popular among aromatherapy practitioners and enthusiasts all over the world. But, the knowledge about its existence and benefits isn’t really all that new.
Copaiba oil has been part of South American folk medicine since ages. Extracted from the thick dark brown resin of the Amazonian Copaifera tree and steam-distilled, this essential oil has quite a few benefits, some of which are pretty similar to CBD oil – the reason why a lot of people are now wondering ‘Which is Better?
First off, let us make it VERY CLEAR that CBD and Copaiba oils are not the same, even though they may seem to have a similar reaction on human physiology. The keyword here is Similar, NOT Same. We can’t call it the “new CBD oil” either.
Secondly, very little scientific research has been done on Caopaiba Officinalis extract. The little that has been done has only been able to establish its compositions and how people generally respond to its use.
So, before we go into the differences between the two, we must first understand the similarities and some of the key benefits of Copaiba oil – an essential oil that has piqued the interest of so many people worldwide.
Why are we comparing Copaiba Oil with CBD oil?
Copaiba oil, used by many aromatherapists these days, has been found to alleviate inflammation and numb the pain caused by a trauma or exposure to wear and tear.
So which chemical component in Copaiba is responsible for this effect that makes it so similar to CBD’s effects?
It is Beta-caryophyllene or BCP in short.
Beta-caryophyllene is not a cannabinoid, as many websites would have you believe. It is, in fact, a terpene that interacts with our endocannabinoid system to influence our immune system. It is found in abundance in both CBD oils and Copaiba oils.
BCP is one of over 30,000 terpenes that exist in nature. Terpenes act quite similarly to cannabinoids, have similar benefits and also enhance their effects when combined with them.
But that doesn’t mean BCP is useless without cannabinoids. In fact, it independently acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent in the case of copaiba oil. Besides, BCP also lends copaiba oil its specific taste and aroma. In the case of CBD oil, it adds to the flavor.
Benefits of Copaiba oil
The active components of copaiba essential oil, which contains mostly terpenes, have been found to be having some very powerful therapeutic benefits to humans. However, if consumed in large quantity, Copaiba oil can cause stomach aches and dysentery, quite as severe as food poisoning.
However, no allergic reaction to this essential oil has been reported so far.
This oil can be used in topical applications as well as in a diffused state in aromatherapy. Some of its benefits are:
#1 Anti-inflammatory & pain reliever
Owing to these specific properties, Copaiba extracts have been in use by South American medicine men for centuries. In fact, it has been included in Brazilian traditional medicine. Besides, this essential oil also has some antiseptic properties. That is why it is often used in cuts and wounds. The reason for this property is the presence of the terpene BCP that we have mentioned earlier. A few studies [1, 2, 3, 4 & 5] have revealed these properties.
#2 Reduces liver tissue damage
When consumed orally in the right dose, mixed with coconut oil or honey, it can help protect the liver from damage  done by pharmaceutical medications for pain and fever, like paracetamol.
#3 Improves lung health
Copaiba oil, if inhaled, helps clear the sinuses and cleanse lungs of infections. It has been used by medicine men of the region since ages.  It can also help in the treatment of patients with lung cancer. 
#4 Skin health
Copaiba essential oil is also beneficial for the treatment of acne and skin irritations.  This is mostly due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities.
Apart from these, Copaiba essential oil is also beneficial for improving sleep and oral health, acts as a muscle relaxant, and keeps autoimmune diseases at bay.
Naturally, given the number of similarities, a lot of people may wonder how these two oils are different from each other.
Now, let’s delve into those differences:
Copaiba vs. CBD: The Differences
From their source and the way they are extracted to the mechanism in which they act on our body to their composition, there are a lot of differences.
CBD oil is extracted from either hemp or marijuana. Full-spectrum CBD oil from either strain contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other chemical components. As long as the levels of THC (an intoxicating cannabinoid) in the oil is below 0.3 (by weight), it will not give you a “high”. Another type of CBD extract available in the market is CBD isolate that contains only CBD oil extract. Its extraction and segregation process is quite a lengthy one and needs a lot of care.
Copaiba oil, however, is extracted directly from the thick resin that flows under the bark of the Copaifera tree. It is simply steam-distilled like any other essential oil and it is ready for use.
Unlike Copaiba oil, cannabis oil or CBD oil is not an essential oil.
#2 Therapeutic Molecules:
Quite a few of the components of both oils have beneficial properties. Apart from BCP, which is present more in Copaiba oil than CBD oil, both have bergamotene, and humulene – which also have some health benefits. However, CBD oil has many more terpenes and other cannabinoids (apart from CBD and THC), which have a lot more health benefits than all of the components of Copaiba combined. This is because all the components of a full-spectrum variant of CBD oil, working synergistically, create an “entourage effect”, in which each component enhances the effects of the others. Besides, this kind of CBD oil is higher bioavailability (beneficial effectiveness) than copaiba essential oil. While BCP interacts directly with CB2 receptors (that controls the immune system), CBD does that indirectly.
#3 Safety & Risks:
While there is the risk of testing positive on a drug test after consuming CBD oil recently, there is no such risk with copaiba oil. Besides, CBD tends to interact with other pharmaceutical drugs as they both require the same set of liver enzymes to metabolize. However, no such information regarding Copaiba oil is available at the moment. However, a tad bit higher doses of copaiba oil can have adverse reactions, like vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, other food poisoning-like symptoms, skin rashes, groin pain, tremors, and sleeplessness. Copaiba must be taken in very low doses, while there isn’t such a limit for CBD oil, which is quite well-tolerated by humans. CBD’s side effects aren’t as severe or common as those of copaiba either.
#4 Scientific Research:
There are more advanced studies and clinical trials available on the effects and benefits of CBD oil than Copaiba oil. A lot of research still needs to be done on copaiba oil to get a better understanding of the workings of this substance in our system.
CBD oil has been found to have far more beneficial attributes compared to Copaiba oil. While CBD oil’s benefits have been well-researched and established by scientists all over the world, studies on Copaiba’s benefits are only beginning to surface.
Copaiba essential oils are cheaper than CBD oil, mostly owing to the legal factors and production costs surrounding cannabis products.
#7 Legal Issues:
THC is considered a prohibited substance. Any amount higher than 0.3% (by weight) present in any CBD product can render it illegal. Whereas, there is no such risk in copaiba oil, as it is not extracted from cannabis (a highly controversial plant) and has no substances like THC or any other scheduled substance. Hence, Copaiba oil is completely legal, while there are certain regulations in place for CBD oils sold in this country. Learn more about the legalities of CBD oil in the US.
Conclusion: CBD Vs Copaiba
Both CBD and Copaiba oils have their own set of health benefits. They indeed have some similar effects on our body, but there aren’t entirely similar.
They act on our body differently; they are extracted from different sources and produced differently; they also have an entirely different set of benefits too!
So, in a way, they should not be compared. We also can’t say for certain that one is better than the other. They both have their own special place in alternative medicines.
However, what’s unique about CBD oil is that it is increasingly being accepted in the mainstream medicine as well, something we can’t expect to see in case of Copaiba oil, as it is essentially an essential oil.
For instance, Epidiolex, a medication whose main component is CBD oil, is now an acceptable means of treating seizures associated with some rare forms of epilepsy in children – a feat that can’t be accomplished by any essential oil.
- Chemical composition and anti-inflammatory activity of copaiba oils from Copaifera cearensis Huber ex Ducke, Copaifera reticulata Ducke and Copaifera multijuga Hayne–a comparative study; Journal of Ethnopharmacology; March 7, 2007; Veiga Junior VF, Rosas EC, Carvalho MV, Henriques MG, Pinto AC; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17446019
- β-Caryophyllene, the major constituent of copaiba oil, reduces systemic inflammation and oxidative stress in arthritic rats; Journal of Cell Biochemistry; August 21, 2018; Ames-Sibin AP1, Barizão CL1, Castro-Ghizoni CV1, Silva FMS2, Sá-Nakanishi AB1, Bracht L, Bersani-Amado CA, Marçal-Natali MR, Bracht A, Comar JF; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30132972
- Copaiba Oil-Resin Treatment Is Neuroprotective and Reduces Neutrophil Recruitment and Microglia Activation after Motor Cortex Excitotoxic Injury; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; February 19, 2012; Adriano Guimarães-Santos, Diego Siqueira Santos, Ijair Rogério Santos, Rafael Rodrigues Lima, Antonio Pereira, Lucinewton Silva de Moura, Raul Nunes Carvalho, Jr., Osmar Lameira, and Walace Gomes-Leal; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291111/
- Copaiba Oil Suppresses Inflammatory Cytokines in Splenocytes of C57Bl/6 Mice Induced with Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE); Molecules; August 21, 2014; Débora S Dias, Lívia BA Fontes, Antônio EM Crotti, Beatriz JV Aarestrup, Fernando M Aarestrup, Ademar A. da Silva Filho, and José O. A. Corrê; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6271072/
- Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Actions of Copaiba Oil Are Related to Liver Cell Modifications in Arthritic Rats; Journal of Cell Biochemistry; 2017 May 25; Castro Ghizoni CV1, Arssufi Ames AP, Lameira OA, Bersani Amado CA, Sá Nakanishi AB, Bracht L, Marçal Natali MR, Peralta RM1, Bracht A1, Comar JF; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28322470
- Effect of copaiba oil in hepatic damage induced by acetaminophen in rats; Acta Cirurgica Brasileira; July 28, 2013; Teixeira RK1, Yamaki VN, Yasojima EY, Brito MV; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23842934
- Copaifera of the Neotropics: A Review of the Phytochemistry and Pharmacology; International Journal of Molecular Sciences; May 18, 2018; Rafaela da Trindade, Joyce Kelly da Silva, and William N. Setzer; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5983702/
- Pleurodesis Induction in Rats by Copaiba (Copaifera multijuga Hayne) Oil; BioMed Research International; June 9, 2014; Fernando Luiz Westphal, Mauro Canzian, Fabio Alessandro Pieri, Alfredo Coimbra Reichl, Paulo Manuel Pêgo-Fernandes, Luis Carlos Lima, and Valdir F. Veiga-Junior; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066724/
- Application of the essential oil from copaiba (Copaifera langsdori Desf.) for acne vulgaris: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial; Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutics; March 17, 2012; da Silva AG, Puziol Pde F, Leitao RN, Gomes TR, Scherer R, Martins ML, Cavalcanti AS, Cavalcanti LC; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22502624