Copaiba vs CBD: A complete guide

by Apoorva Shivankar, M.D

copaiba vs cbd

Copaiba vs CBD

As cannabidiol (CBD) is galvanizing the entire world with its powers, a natural essential oil called copaiba is not much behind. With almost similar health benefits these two are often being confused as being one and the same which for sure they aren’t.

Here in this article, we solely intent to put this confusion to rest and provide a clear demarcation between the two so as to make it easier to choose the one you actually need.

1.) Let’s begin with their basics

Yes, they differ right at their origin.

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from the hemp variety of cannabis plant. Hemp cannabis plants are grown organically as per USDA norms with good quality seeds, in routinely inspected soils.

Copaiba is an essential oil produced by steam distillation of a resin extracted by punching a hole into the trunk of a copaiba tree belonging to the genus Copaifera. These are 100-feet tall trees abundantly found in the tropical forests of South America.

 

2.) Composition

The main ingredient of any CBD product is CBD itself.

Apart from pure CBD, all other CBD compounds are accompanied by almost 100 other natural cannabinoids, several flavonoids and multiple terpenes including beta-caryophyllene (BCP), the chief component of copaiba. All of these have their own medicinal effect and also promote the entourage effect adding to the final health-promoting profile of CBD.

The aromatic organic compounds called beta-caryophyllene are the predominant shareholder for all the actions exerted by copaiba and are present in much higher concentrations as compared to CBD. It also contains a variety of other terpenes and beneficial compounds such as copaene, humulene and bergamotene to accentuate the results.

Copaiba has higher concentration of BCP, CBD oil has more CBD and comparatively lower beta-caryophyllene ~35% whereas Copaiba has higher Beta-caryophyllene ~55% but no CBD

3.) Mode of action

Both CBD and copaiba act through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which consists of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 spread throughout the body. CB1 predominate in the nervous system whereas CB2 predominate in the gastrointestinal and immune system.

Our body has its own physiological cannabinoids called anandamides which bind to CB2 receptors to promote the overall balance of the body by regulating anxiety, mood memory, inflammation, sleep, appetite, etc. In times of need, using CBD activates ECS indirectly by slimming down the degradation of this anandamide and making more of it available to activate ECS.

On the other hand, BCP in copaiba directly binds to the CB2 receptors as a lock and key model to activate ECS and reduce anxiety, pain, inflammation and even autoimmune disorders. 

CBD indirectly influences ECS whereas copaiba directly binds to CB2 receptors to activate ECS

4.) Action outside the endocannabinoid system

The anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, anticonvulsive and anti-nauseating benefits of CBD are further potentiated by its positive effect on serotonin 5HT1A receptors outside ECS whereas copaiba strengthens its anti-inflammatory and cognition-boosting properties by possibly acting on CD14 receptors, the μ-Opioid receptors, and the α7-nACHRs receptors outside ECS.

Both CBD and Copaiba can act through unique targets outside the endocannabinoid system.

5.) Legal status

Coming to the legal status, copaiba being 100% legal in the USA and the UK gets an upper hand over CBD.

CBD being a cannabis product remained a controversial schedule 1 drug for a longer duration. It was only recently legalized with restrictions (hemp plant derived with THC< 0.3% and for research and medical purposes only) after the farm bill was signed in 2018 and that too in not all 50 states of the USA.

It is subjected to individual state rules in the US and legalized in UK with a limitation of THC content to < 0.2%. Marijuana CBD is still forbidden in both countries.

In addition, none of the CBD compounds other than Epidiolex, used for a rare form of childhood epilepsy, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The THC content may even give a positive drug test.

Copaiba is 100% legal in the US and UK whereas the legal status of CBD is complicated.

6.) Available forms

CBD gears back here by being available in almost every imaginable form for the convenience of its users. You can ingest these cannabinoids as pills, oils, tinctures, delicious gummies, apply them as topicals or even smoke or vape them. It can be a part of your bath soap, cosmetics, tampons or even condoms. You name it and you get it.

For the moment, copaiba is a bit behind on this front being limited to tinctures, oils and supplements only. Aromatherapy is the best and cost-effective way to use copaiba with the help of diffusers.

To use CBD, you get multiple forms to seiect from but for copaiba choices are limited with aromatherapy as the safest option.

7.) Safety concerns

Essential oils are highly concentrated and thus can be hazardous in excess. It’s advisable not to ingest essential oils as such without the consultation of a physician fearing the risk of gastric upset leading to nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and even liver damage. There are studies3,4 indicating liver damage in rodents on ingesting copaiba. Even for topical use, one should prefer dilution to prevent any rash or burns.

On the other hand, research has shown that CBD oil is safe both taken internally as well as externally even in doses as high as 1000mg/day.

CBD unlike copaiba is safer even at higher doses.

8.) Purity

Due to lack of strict regulations in CBD product formulation, manufacturing, labelling and marketing, a lot of inconsistencies regarding the content, THC or CBD concentration, additives, and even the plant source of cannabinoids have been observed in the CBD products available in the market questioning its purity. Thus, it is advisable to buy only a quality product, tested by the third party, from a reputed shop and of a reputed brand only.

According to a study published in 2017, 69% of CBD products were mislabelled and found to have higher levels of THC than are currently permitted by the rules.

This is not the case with copaiba. Being under government control, we can rely on the purity of these oils.

Copaiba is more consistent in purity as compared to CBD.

9.) Potency

Studies claim that copaiba has better potency which maybe due to its

  • Targeted approach towards CB2 receptor.
  • Its highly concentrated nature.
  • Bioavailability.
  • Quality issues.

But there is no solid proof to suggest higher potency of either of them if high-grade products are used.

10.) Action profile

The direct action of BCP makes copaiba rapidly acting and its longer half-life attributes a long-lasting effect in contrast to the delay in onset of action with CBD due to an indirect effect and a comparatively shorter shelf life. 

Copaiba may be faster and longer acting than CBD

11.) Price

Copaiba oil is much more affordable as compared to CBD oil owing to the following reasons:

  • Essential oils are highly concentrated, hence even 1 drop is sufficient to produce benefits at par with higher amounts of CBD.
  • Legality issues may also raise the price of CBD oils.

Copaiba is more pocket-friendly.

12.) Health benefits differ too. Let’s check the health benefits of copaiba:

How does copaiba make you feel? What is Copaiba essential oil used for?

  • The use of copaiba creates a sense of overall well-being, relaxes your mind and body, improves your mood and refocuses the brain by its CB2 action.
  • Since ancient times, it is being used to treat a wide variety of infections such as bladder infections, gonorrhoea, strep throat, parasitic leishmaniasis.7 Copaiba is a selective antimicrobial against gram-positive bacteria as demonstrated in cell studies (9, 13) and can benefit fungal infections too.
  • Also known as a great remedy for respiratory ailments like bronchitis, asthma, and sinus congestion since ages 
  • Like CBD, copaiba is also a potent analgesic (treats arthritis) 16, 17 and a strong anti-inflammatory agent 10,11 too.
  • Suppresses growth and spread of cancer cells.13,18
  • Studies suggest a strong neuroprotective role14,15 of copaiba on account of its anti-inflammatory actions.
  • Reduces the risk of chronic illnesses like atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, diabetes and even autoimmune disorders.
  • It helps in reversing and rejuvenating ageing skin and also aids wound healing.12
  • Like CBD oil, copaiba oil has the potential to help people with seizures.

 

CBD shows almost the same health benefits like copaiba except that

  • It doesn’t exhibit a similar antibacterial and antifungal profile.
  • Unlike copaiba, CBD is not involved in the management of paralysis, sexually transmitted infections, bronchitis, and coughs.
  • But using CBD oil has an upper hand in improving gut health, reducing seizures, maintaining sleep, treating conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, restless leg syndrome, and even suppressing the growth of cancer cells. 
  • In addition, CBD is a blissful drug for people suffering from addictions or psychosis.

 

So, what’s your answer now: Is Copaiba the same as CBD?

No, absolutely not.

 

But then what led to the confusion?

The striking similarities between the two. Let’s take a glance at these commonalities.

  • Both make you feel better, look better, perform better and achieve better.
  • Both are natural products derived from plants.
  • Both contain beta-caryophyllene.
  • Both lack psychoactive effects (as they do not interact with CB1 receptors).
  • Both act by altering the common endocannabinoid system.
  • Both share common benefits which include

Anti-inflammatory effects.

Anxiolytic effects.

Neuroprotective effects.

Anti-ageing effects.

 

How do I use Copaiba essential oil for pain?

The best way to use copaiba here is the topical application over the affected areas. Dilution of copaiba oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil/ almond oil/ jojoba oil/ olive oil/ avocado oil is recommended to avoid any rash or itching.

Other ways to enjoy the copaiba benefits include,

  1. Aromatherapy
    Place a few drops of oil in a diffuser which will release the aroma can calm you down, relax you, elate your mood and relieve you from all emotional breakdowns.

  2. Ingestion
    Take a couple of drops directly under your tongue (really bad in taste) or add them to your favourite juice or beverages to feel the effects. But this mode of consumption is debatable due to anticipated gastric effects.

To conclude:

Yes, copaiba and CBD really share many aspects in common but then there are a noteworthy amount of dissimilarities too. They differ in their origin, mode of action, presentation and sometimes even the conditions they treat. Hence, it won’t be appropriate to make a comparison and none of them can replace the other.

FAQs

Q. Is It Safe to try CBD and Copaiba together?

It is difficult to comment as there are very few studies conducted in this direction. Though it appears that combining them together may amplify the effects of each of them similar to the entourage effects but it’s better to wait for further research before implementing this CBD and Copaiba combination.

Q. Is Copaiba safe during pregnancy?

The Natural Medicine Database categorizes Copaiba as “possibly unsafe" during pregnancy and lactation due to the lack of research work and knowledge of any interaction with the common medications or supplements taken during pregnancy or nursing.

References:

  1. Gertsch J, Leonti M, Raduner S, Racz I, Chen JZ, Xie XQ, Altmann KH, Karsak M, Zimmer A. Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 1;105(26):9099-104. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803601105. Epub 2008 Jun 23. PMID: 18574142; PMCID: PMC2449371.
  2. Bahi A, Al Mansouri S, Al Memari E, Al Ameri M, Nurulain SM, Ojha S. β-Caryophyllene, a CB2 receptor agonist produces multiple behavioral changes relevant to anxiety and depression in mice. Physiol Behav. 2014 Aug;135:119-24. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.06.003. Epub 2014 Jun 13. PMID: 24930711.
  3. Barbosa MMC, Vicentini FA, Castro-Ghizoni CV, Lameira OA, Sa-Nakanishi AB, Bracht L, Peralta RM, Natali MRM, Bracht A, Comar JF. Copaiba Oil Decreases Oxidative Stress and Inflammation But not Colon Damage in Rats with TNBS-Induced Colitis. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(3):268-280. doi: 10.2174/1871530318666180215102029. PMID: 29446750.
  4. da Trindade R, da Silva JK, Setzer WN. Copaifera of the Neotropics: A Review of the Phytochemistry and Pharmacology. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 May 18;19(5):1511. doi: 10.3390/ijms19051511. PMID: 29783680; PMCID: PMC5983702.
  5. Paiva LA, de Alencar Cunha KM, Santos FA, Gramosa NV, Silveira ER, Rao VS. Investigation on the wound healing activity of oleo-resin from Copaifera langsdorffi in rats. Phytother Res. 2002 Dec;16(8):737-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1049. PMID: 12458476.
  6. Bahr T, Allred K, Martinez D, Rodriguez D, Winterton P. Effects of a massage-like essential oil application procedure using Copaiba and Deep Blue oils in individuals with hand arthritis. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 Nov;33:170-176. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.10.004. Epub 2018 Oct 10. PMID: 30396617.
  7. Santos AO, Ueda-Nakamura T, Dias Filho BP, Veiga Junior VF, Pinto AC, Nakamura CV. Effect of Brazilian copaiba oils on Leishmania amazonensis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Nov 20;120(2):204-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.08.007. Epub 2008 Aug 15. PMID: 18775772.
  8. da Trindade R, da Silva JK, Setzer WN. Copaifera of the Neotropics: A Review of the Phytochemistry and Pharmacology. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 May 18;19(5):1511. doi: 10.3390/ijms19051511. PMID: 29783680; PMCID: PMC5983702.
  9. Santos AO, Ueda-Nakamura T, Dias Filho BP, Veiga Junior VF, Pinto AC, Nakamura CV. Antimicrobial activity of Brazilian copaiba oils obtained from different species of the Copaifera genus. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2008 May;103(3):277-81. doi: 10.1590/s0074-02762008005000015. Epub 2008 Apr 30. PMID: 18545856.
  10. Teixeira FB, de Brito Silva R, Lameira OA, Webber LP, D'Almeida Couto RS, Martins MD, Lima RR. Copaiba oil-resin (Copaifera reticulata Ducke) modulates the inflammation in a model of injury to rats' tongues. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Jun 14;17(1):313. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-1820-2. PMID: 28615025; PMCID: PMC5471965.
  11. Barbosa MMC, Vicentini FA, Castro-Ghizoni CV, Lameira OA, Sa-Nakanishi AB, Bracht L, Peralta RM, Natali MRM, Bracht A, Comar JF. Copaiba Oil Decreases Oxidative Stress and Inflammation But not Colon Damage in Rats with TNBS-Induced Colitis. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(3):268-280. doi: 10.2174/1871530318666180215102029. PMID: 29446750.
  12. Guimarães AL, Cunha EA, Matias FO, Garcia PG, Danopoulos P, Swikidisa R, Pinheiro VA, Nogueira RJ. Antimicrobial Activity of Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis) and Pracaxi (Pentaclethra macroloba) Oils against Staphylococcus Aureus: Importance in Compounding for Wound Care. Int J Pharm Compd. 2016 Jan-Feb;20(1):58-62. PMID: 27125055.
  13. Dahham SS, Tabana YM, Iqbal MA, Ahamed MB, Ezzat MO, Majid AS, Majid AM. The Anticancer, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of the Sesquiterpene β-Caryophyllene from the Essential Oil of Aquilaria crassna. Molecules. 2015 Jun 26;20(7):11808-29. doi: 10.3390/molecules200711808. PMID: 26132906; PMCID: PMC6331975.
  14. Dahham SS, Tabana YM, Iqbal MA, Ahamed MB, Ezzat MO, Majid AS, Majid AM. The Anticancer, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of the Sesquiterpene β-Caryophyllene from the Essential Oil of Aquilaria crassna. Molecules. 2015 Jun 26;20(7):11808-29. doi: 10.3390/molecules200711808. PMID: 26132906; PMCID: PMC6331975.
  15. Fagan SC, Waller JL, Nichols FT, Edwards DJ, Pettigrew LC, Clark WM, Hall CE, Switzer JA, Ergul A, Hess DC. Minocycline to improve neurologic outcome in stroke (MINOS): a dose-finding study. Stroke. 2010 Oct;41(10):2283-7. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.582601. Epub 2010 Aug 12. PMID: 20705929; PMCID: PMC3916214.
  16. Castro Ghizoni CV, Arssufi Ames AP, Lameira OA, Bersani Amado CA, Sá Nakanishi AB, Bracht L, Marçal Natali MR, Peralta RM, Bracht A, Comar JF. Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Actions of Copaiba Oil Are Related to Liver Cell Modifications in Arthritic Rats. J Cell Biochem. 2017 Oct;118(10):3409-3423. doi: 10.1002/jcb.25998. Epub 2017 May 25. PMID: 28322470.
  17. Dias DS, Fontes LB, Crotti AE, Aarestrup BJ, Aarestrup FM, da Silva Filho AA, Corrêa JO. Copaiba oil suppresses inflammatory cytokines in splenocytes of C57Bl/6 mice induced with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Molecules. 2014 Aug 21;19(8):12814-26. doi: 10.3390/molecules190812814. PMID: 25153880; PMCID: PMC6271072.
  18. Lima SR, Junior VF, Christo HB, Pinto AC, Fernandes PD. In vivo and in vitro studies on the anticancer activity of Copaifera multijuga have and its fractions. Phytother Res. 2003 Nov;17(9):1048-53. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1295. PMID: 14595585.

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