CBD Safety & Alternatives

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Being an active advocate within the essential oil world, I’ve had numerous questions recently from my readers and friends asking for my thoughts on CBD, whether or not it is an essential oil, what my thoughts are about how it is made, what my thoughts are over the legal controversy polarizing the US, and if there are any essential oils that contain similar qualities.

To be fully transparent with you… while I applaud and cheer on everyone who seeks natural solutions as much as possible to help them on their health and wellness journey, I do not recommend CBD oil to anyone. I cannot ethically recommend CBD oil with the way the law is written today. I know many people who have had some amazing results using it, and I celebrate with them for finding success in their health story… but for me and my family… we choose not to use it for 4 reasons:

  1. I don’t agree with how it is made, and truly feel it is over-hyped after essential oil enthusiasts were largely silenced into compliance by the FDA for making medical claims.
  2. The legal “loopholes” are misleading when you break down and understand the law as it is written
  3. There are a few alternatives that we have had a lot of success with, proving CBD oil is not some exclusive miracle oil, as many advocates have been pushing.
  4. While CBD may be legal in most states, it is certainly NOT legal for military members to have on their person or in their homes.

There is a lot of controversy regarding the legality behind CBD, especially when many tests show some brands of CBD oil contain alarming amounts of THC, which is blatantly illegal in the eyes of the DEA and in states where it is not declared legal. On the other hand, several tests have found numerous brands to be selling entirely synthetic CBD oil as “natural” or “pure.”

You would think with sourcing regulated so thoroughly that there would be more oversight into what is required, but it turns out there are no government regulations for marketing and labeling CBD oil, as of 2020.

As for military families (which we are), here is a screenshot of the email I received from Tricare (our health insurance company):

cbd military, cbd military family, cbd for military spouse, cbd for military member

This stance on CBD being illegal for military members to use or have does not differentiate between CBD, hemp oil, or whether or not it has THC. If a military member has CBD oil in their possession, even if it is 100% free from THC, they may still be prosecuted and lose their careers with a dishonorable discharge.

For our family, it just isn’t worth the risk.

Is CBD an Essential Oil?

No. CBD and Hemp oil are both extracts and absolutes.

They are not created through a distillation process. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy explains the process to creating extracts and absolutes as:

“Some plant material is too fragile to be distilled and an alternative method must be employed. Solvent extraction is the use of solvents, such as petroleum ether, methanol, ethanol, or hexane, to extract the odoriferous lipophilic material from the plant. The solvent will also pull out the chlorophyll and other plant tissue, resulting in a highly colored or thick/viscous extract. The first product made via solvent extraction is known as a concrete. A concrete is the concentrated extract that contains the waxes and/or fats as well as the odoriferous material from the plant. The concrete is then mixed with alcohol, which serves to extract the aromatic principle of the material. The final product is known as an absolute.”

There is a side note when it comes to the solvents used to create extracts and absolutes…

All the solvent components should be considered harmful and flammable, and some of them, such as hexane and benzene, may be neurotoxic. Both naphtha and petroleum ether are considered potential cancer hazards according to their respective Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by manufacturers. Moreover, products sold as naphtha may contain added impurities (e.g. to increase stability) which may have harmful properties of their own.”

“Although Cannabis oils are usually concentrated by evaporating the solvents that were used for extraction, this does not completely eliminate residual solvents. As a result of sample viscosity, the more concentrated an extract becomes, the more difficult it will be to remove the residual solvent from it. In such a case, applying more heat will increase solvent evaporation, but simultaneously more beneficial components (such as cannabinoids or terpenes) may be lost as well.”

On a personal note, I do not use CBD because it is still considered illegal for military members to have it in their homes and to use it. Being a military family, we choose to not use it at all because of that, even if it is legal in most states.

I do have several member leaders in our membership program who do use and love CBD, and coach about how to use CBD.

How it is created and how high “quality” of a CBD oil is primarily depends on the efficiency of the company’s marketing team. Hemp grown legally in the US must be done through the university system, and from what I’ve seen through marketing claims, it is very difficult to find a reliable source that discusses farming methods to know whether harmful chemicals are used through the farming process. Because of that, there is only one brand of CBD oil that I would personally trust because of their full transparency and high standards, and proprietary CO2 extracting process.

Young Living CBD Starter Kit

I am honestly disgusted by all the disregard for consumer and merchant safety when it comes to how CBD oil is marketed.

I am concerned about the solvents used… knowing they can’t separate the solvents from the CBD without removing beneficial properties of the CBD. Using olive oil is a good nontoxic way to create CBD instead of using solvents, however it takes much more of the CBD to be effective when created this way.

What I do appreciate about the Nature’s Ultra CBD brand is that the farm growing the hemp in Colorado uses organic farming practices, are USD organic, ISO, and GMP certified, and they’re tested multiple times to ensure no heavy metals or THC contaminate the oil. Plus, harsh chemicals are never used in their processes thanks to a proprietary extraction methods.

Is CBD oil safe? Is CBD an essential oil? Are there legal alternatives to CBD?

Are there alternatives to CBD?

Yes!! There are several essential oil alternatives to CBD oil…

Each and every one of the below listed constituents are found in more places than just CBD. I did link each of the constituents for you to click on to see exactly what they are because I cannot legally discuss the medicinal wonders they’re able to accomplish to keep within FDA compliance.To briefly break down the science… the major components in cannabis material used to create CBD are:

  • monoterpenes: beta-pinene,
    • Also found in Angelica, anise, basil, bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, celery seed, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, clove, coriander, elemi, eucalyptus (camaldulensis, citriodora, globulous), fennel, fir, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, hinoki, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mandarin, Manuka, marjoram, myrtle, neroli, nutmeg, orange, oregano, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, ravintsara, rosemary, sage, spearmint, spruce, tansy, tarragon, thyme, valerian, and ylang ylang essential oils
  • myrcene
    • Also found in Angelica, basil, bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, carrot seed, celery seed, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, coriander, dill seed, elemi, eucalyptus (camaldulensis, citrodora, globulous, intense, saligna), fennel, fir, frankincense, galbanum, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, hyssop, juniper, laurel, lavender, lemon, lemon balm, lemongrass, mandarin, marjoram, neroli, nutmeg, orange, oregano, palmarosa, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, ravintsara, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tangerine, tansy, thyme, valerian, and ylang ylang essential oils
  • terpinolene 
    • Also found in: allspice, anise, Angelica, basil, bergamot, black pepper, carrot seed oil, celery seed oil, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, coriander, cypress, elemi, eucalyptus (camaldulensis, citriodora, globulous), fennel, fir, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, hinoki, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mandarin, marjoram, myrtle, neroli, nutmeg, orange, oregano, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tansy, tea tree, thyme, and turmeric essential oils.
  • terpineol,
    • Also found in Angelica, basil, bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, carrot seed, celery seed, cinnamon, cistus, citronella, clary sage, clove, coriander, eucalyptus (globulous), fennel, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, hinoki, hyssop, juniper, laurel, lavender, lemon balm, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mandarin, marjoram, Melissa, myrtle, neroli, nutmeg, orange, oregano, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, ravintsara, rose, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tangerine, tea tree, thyme, turmeric, valerian, and ylang ylang essential oils
  • sesquiterpenes: beta-caryophyllene,
    • Also found in: allspice, Angelica, basil, black pepper, carrot seed, celery seed, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, clove, coriander, copaiba, cypress, eucalyptus (globulous), fennel, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, hinoki, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mandarin, marjoram, Melissa, myrtle, neroli, nutmeg, orange,oregano, patchouli, petitgrain, pine, rose, rosemary, sage, tansy, thyme, and valerian essential oils.
  • humulene,
    • Also found in Angelica,copaiba, basil, black pepper, cardamom, carrot seed, cinnamon, citronella, clove, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus (globulous), fennel, fir needle, geranium, ginger, ginseng, grapefruit, helichrysum, hinoki, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, Manuka, marjoram, melissa, myrtle, nutmeg, orange, oregano, palmarosa, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, rosemary, rose, sage, spearmint, thyme, valerian, and ylang ylang essential oils
  • delta-guaiene,
    • Also found in Angelica, balsam fir, basil, black pepper, cardamom, carrot seed, clove, cypress, eucalyptus (globulous), fennel, fir needle, geranium, ginger, ginseng, grapefruit, helichrysum, hinoki, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, mellissa, nutmeg, orange, oregano, petitgrain, ravintsara, rosemary, rose, sage, and ylang ylang essential oils
  • gamma-cadinene,
    • Also found in allspice, Angelica, basil, black pepper, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, clove, davana, eucalyptus (globulous), geranium, ginger, helichrysum, hinoki, lemon balm, Manuka, marjoram, Melissa, ocotea, orange, ravintsara, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tansy, tea tree, and ylang ylang essential oils
  • elemene (this article is particularly interesting too)
    • Also found in allspice, Angelica, anise, basil, bergamot, black pepper, celery seed, cinnamon, citronella, dill seed, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, hyssop, lemon balm, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, oregano, palmarosa, petitgrain, ravintsara, rose, rosemary, spearmint, tansy, valerian essential oils

As you can see… there are several essential oils available with similar constituents that could easily step in as a CBD replacement, specifically Angelica, basil, black pepper, ginger, orange, oregano, and rosemary.

What about Cannabinoids?

A cannabinoid is defined as any ligand, molecule, or class of molecules that acts on either or both of the currently identified cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. These two receptors produce significantly different physiological responses when activated. CB1 activation, caused by THC and other similar cannabinoids, results in a psychoactive drug high. CB2 activation by beta-caryophyllene (BCP) supports a healthy inflammatory response, soothes discomfort, and positively affects mood, without the psychoactive side effects. 

There are three distinct classes of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are produced naturally by the body: amines and amides. Their primary function is to modulate normal physiological functions. This gives different endocannabinoids the ability to produce different neurological responses. Endocannabinoids are similar to some phytocannabinoids, but vary greatly in their chemical structure.

Phytocannabinoids are molecules that are produced by plants, such as Cannabis and Copaifera (copaiba). The Cannabis species produces the commonly known molecules THC and CBD, while the Copaiba  produces only BCP. Although BCP differs significantly from other cannabinoids in its structure, it reacts only with the CB2 receptor, which defines it as a cannabinoid. Because it is chemically distinct from other cannabinoids, it cannot cause a positive result on a drug test.

Beta-caryophyllene (a cannabinoid) is found in Copaiba, Black Pepper, and Helichrysum essential oils.

Copaiba and Black Pepper essential oils contain cannabinoids that won't risk popping positive on drug testsClick to Tweet

My personal thoughts about CBD

CBD manufacturing and marketing is out of control, just how essential oils were pre-FDA health claim compliance crackdown in 2015.

I personally foresee the future of marketing CBD to be very similar to the way essential oils are now marketed, which means anyone who could stand to make a profit off the sale of the product needs to refrain from making any medical-related claims, or the marketer (including bloggers and social media influencers) could potentially be punished financially and legally, and censored.

The quality control for CBD is seriously lacking. Just like the essential oil industry, the only pieces of information that needs to be on the label is the amount, the company’s distribution office location, and a general description of what is in the bottle. 100% of everything else is solely 100% pure marketing.

Knowing your source is crucial. If the source is within the US, it must be done through the state-run university system or in states that have specifically legalized it. And then you need to jump through hoops and be “qualified” to purchase or possess CBD unless you’re in a state that has it legal for recreational use.

The constituents in CBD oil are found throughout nature, and are not necessarily exclusive to the cannabis plant. Looking through the chemistry, and the science that shows how these various oils interact in our bodies, there are a few essential oil alternatives to CBD that should provide the same benefits… specifically copaiba and black pepper.

With those options available, I don’t personally see a reason for my family to use CBD at all, and I continue to choose not to for our family. There are too many variables that don’t make sense to me, and I feel that all the benefits of CBD oil are largely touted as a “miracle” oil is mainly because of the censorship that has already been in place throughout the essential oil community.

The constituents in CBD oil are found throughout nature, and are not exclusive to the cannabis plant. Copaiba and Black Pepper EO are great alternatives!Click to Tweet

That being said, I have many members and friends who do use CBD very successfully and absolutely love the results they experience with sore muscles, stiff joints, and stress.

CBD WARNING FOR MILITARY MEMBERS

CBD is not allowed for military members to use.

Here is a screenshot of the email I received from Humana Military (the military’s Tricare health insurance):

This only applies to military service members, both active and active reservists. Military families do not fall within this legal requirement, but please be warned that military service members should not have CBD or CBD deprived products in their homes… especially when residing on military installations and in military housing.

My family is a military family, so we do not use, purchase, or keep CBDs in our home. Because of my dramatic health transformation known to many of our readers where I was able to put several chronic autoimmune disorders into remission 100% naturally, and my experience as a information research analyst for the military during my Navy days, we do receive MANY information requests from our readers, customers, and team members about CBD and its health benefits.

I will never recommend whether or not to take CBD for medicinal purposes because I am not a health professional, but I do what I can to find relevant TRUE information for each and every one of our information requests. And I am a huge advocate for uncensored and true information.

While I don’t personally use CBD, I know many people who do and swear by it. I’m always in awe of their testimonials, and enjoy watching their own health transformations with incorporating CBD into their daily routine. I highly respect all natural wellness routines, and thoroughly enjoy learning more outside of what works for our family.

Where To Find CBD Truths

One thing that drives me nuts is marketing. You’d think I’d have a poetic appreciation for it, considering my degree in business and the amount of investments I’ve made into business/marketing courses outside of college.

Just like essential oils, the CBD industry is filled with fakes (thanks to the low regulation), and wild marketing claims that is inherently illegal when promoting products. Know your source. Know how your products are farmed and created. Be ware of marketing terms that aren’t backed up with specific processes and transparency.

Marketing drives me nuts because it is tricky to regulate and a pain to research through. As per the FDA/FTC, there is no definition or regulatory body for essential oils – the industry as whole that includes manufacturing AND education/certifications! So when a bottle says 100% Pure ___ Oil… its 100% marketing!

The only things that need to be labeled is a general description, the address of the distributing company, and the amount that is in the bottle. Nothing more. With there being no legal definition of “essential oil” the label itself can be insanely deceiving.

With there being no legal definition of 'essential oil' the label itself can be insanely deceiving. Click to Tweet

I highly recommend checking out the CBD Health Revolution online event. They have provided so much beneficial information about using CBD that if you choose to use it I truly believe the information in that summit will be well worth your time.


Nicole Graber, team leader, author, and editor to EssentialOils.Life and nikkygraber.com blog websites.

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Nicole

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