According to the World Health Organization, 3 out of 5 people will die from a chronic inflammatory disease, such as cancer, diabetes, or a stroke. It’s a scary figure, but it also highlights the importance of any natural, anti-inflammatory compounds.
This leads us to the question: What is Copaiba oil, and could it offer a solution?
Our medicine comes from a range of places, and quite often, we discover plants or trees that possess medicinal capabilities. Aspirin, penicillin, and opiates are all vital in modern medicine and yet come from natural sources.
Copaiba oil is often compared to CBD (cannabidiol), another example of a plant compound with medicinal potential. If we compare the two, which one would win? Is one safer or more effective than the other?
The effects of Copaiba oil are believed to include anti-inflammatory properties, the promotion of wound healing, treat a range of infections, pain relief, and it may even work as an aphrodisiac. But are these claims supported by scientific evidence? How do the Copaiba oil uses compare to that of CBD? Read on to find out!
What is Copaiba Oil?
Most people are at least semi-familiar with CBD without having tried it for themselves. They know that CBD comes from the hemp or marijuana plant and can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other ailments.
We cannot say the same for the lesser-known Copaiba oil, as it’s largely a mystery to most people. It comes from the Copaiba tree, of which there are more than 70 species. You find most of these in South America, but they also appear in Central America.
This tree and its oil can be used for soap, perfume, balsam, biodiesel, oil paints, and even insect repellent. But one of its more intriguing functions connects to its history as “folk medicine” throughout Brazil, Panama, and the Peruvian Amazon.
The Endocannabinoid System
Copaiba and CBD both interact with the human body via the endocannabinoid system. Without getting too technical, we can divide this system into two primary groups of receptors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors play a role in appetite, memory, pain perception, and our immune cells. These receptors are typically found throughout the brain and the central nervous system.
CB2 receptors are mainly found within the peripheral organs, such as the stomach, liver, kidneys, and skin. These receptors play a role in the functioning of the immune system, cardiovascular system, central nervous system, and respiratory tract. Scientists have also found that the CB2 receptor regulates inflammation, which of particular importance.
The effects of Copaiba oil are a result of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, but how does this connect to CBD?
Copaiba and CBD
CBD and Copaiba both contain beta-caryophyllene. This is a terpene (a compound commonly found in plants) but is also referred to as a ‘dietary cannabinoid’. It is abundant within a variety of common cooking ingredients, including black pepper and oregano.
Beta-caryophyllenes interact with the endocannabinoid system and bind with the CB2 receptors. This interaction seems to lead to reduced inflammation and enhanced wound healing.
Is this why people use Copaiba oil for pain?
To give a specific example, Copaiba oil has the potential to offer a safer alternative to standard pharmaceuticals when treating inflammatory arthritis. This is because Copaiba oil has few to no side effects, but more research does need to be carried out.
The role of beta-caryophyllenes in reducing inflammation is an important factor when considering the ‘Copaiba vs CBD’ debate. Beta-caryophyllenes can account for as much as 50% of the terpenes in Copaiba oil, although the number is generally somewhere between 5.5% and 44.2%.
In comparison, they will only account for 25% of the terpenes in an average CBD oil. This number can vary drastically, though, as various plant strains can contain a much higher or lower percentage. If you wish to use CBD and benefit from a higher amount of beta-caryophyllenes, you can search for oils that meet these criteria.
CBD for Anxiety
More and more research is being conducted to examine the effectiveness of CBD in treating anxiety. Given that anxiety disorders are said to affect 1 in 5 people, it’s hardly surprising that CBD is being hailed as the Holy Grail of anxiety treatments.
Studies certainly support the potential that CBD offers as an anxiolytic. Can the same be said for Copaiba oil?
Copaiba Oil for Anxiety
Whether or not you can use Copaiba oil for anxiety is still largely up for debate. It certainly seems that its role as an anti-inflammatory could reduce any anxiety or mental health issue that is directly the result of brain inflammation.
Preliminary research using mice suggests that Copaiba oil could serve as a potential treatment for both anxiety and depression due to its interactions with the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
The Limitations of Copaiba
When it comes to the Copaiba vs CBD debate, the big issue is the limited study of Copaiba and its various oils. Most of the research into its potential benefits has been carried out on mice, and while this is a standard form of preliminary testing, it doesn’t offer us any hard evidence for whether these effects also occur within humans.
CBD, on the other hand, has been used within many human studies and continues to be researched. And while CBD is considered extremely safe, the lack of Copaiba testing suggests that its side effects may not be fully understood, and some people do experience digestive issues as a result of this compound.
CBD or Copaiba Oil?
Now that you understand what Copaiba oil is, where it comes from, and how it interacts with the human body, you can decide whether it’s the oil for you. When compared to CBD, we find that both have a lot in common, particularly with how they interact with the endocannabinoid system. Both have the potential to treat inflammation, anxiety, and a range of other health issues.
If you want to play it safe, go for CBD. If you’re open to the possibilities of a compound that has been used by tribes for hundreds, if not thousands of years, then give Copaiba oil a shot!
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