Cannabis Essential Oil (Hemp Essential Oil)
Cannabis Essential Oil is also known as Hemp Essential Oil.
This profile page pertains specifically to Cannabis Essential Oil, steam distilled from the leaves and flowering tops of Cannabis sativa. Hemp Seed Oil is a carrier oil (vegetable oil) that is obtained by cold pressing the seeds of Cannabis sativa. The steam distilled essential oil profiled on this page is not the same oil as the cold pressed seed oil. See AromaWeb's Hemp Seed Oil carrier oil profile for more information. CBD Oil is produced using CO2 extraction techniques and is also not the same thing as the essential oil profiled here.
My understanding is that Cannabis Essential Oil does not contain the CBD or THC cannabinoids present in the plant. While technically the essential oil may contain extremely small quantities of THC or CBD, the trace amounts possibly present in the steam distilled oil are negligible and offer no perceivable therapeutic benefit.
"The THC component is non-volatile, therefore does not come over in the distillation process into the essential oil." [V. Mediaville and J. Steinemann, Essential oil of Cannabis sativa L. Strains. (Journal of the International Hemp Association 4,2), 80-82. Source cited in Jennifer Peace Rhind, Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice (London and Philadelphia: Singing Dragon, 2012, 155.]
Cannabis Essential Oil primarily consists of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.
The 10-20% range of Beta-Caryophyllene present within the oil is gaining a lot of interest. Beta-Caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene. Beta-Caryophyllene can apparently interact with cannabinoid receptors, and therefore is classified as a cannabinoids according to 38 research papers that Robert Tisserand has reviewed on PubMed. Sources: [Robert Tisserand, Robert Tisserand Essential Training Facebook Post September 19, 2016. ] [ Dr. Robert Pappas, Essential Oil University Facebook Post September 18, 2017.] [Robert Tisserand Comment Within the Facebook Group Essential Oil Consumer Reports, September 25, 2017.]
Beta-Caryophyllene is also anti-inflammatory. As such, the use of Beta-Caryophyllene shows a lot of promise. It is also present in Copaiba Balsam, Black Pepper, Melissa (Lemon Balm), Catnip, Cananga, Ylang Ylang and several other essential oils. Refer to page 520-521 of Essential Oil Safety for a comprehensive list of the essential oils that contain B-Caryophyllene and their typical percentages.
Because I don't mind the aroma of Cannabis Essential Oil, I am glad to be able to highlight a differing opinion: Elizabeth Ashley finds the aroma vile, and doesn't see it serving as a single note in a blend. I do agree with her remarks that it is versatile and blends well with many other essential oils. This is certainly an essential oil that aromatically, some will love and some will loathe. I'm finding that it adds depth and character to blends and is beautifully complementing essential oils in all the aromatic oil families including citrus, wood, connifer, spice, floral and mint families.
Elizabeth Ashley also mentions that it's considered a middle note but that it can behave like a top note if not blended with oils that are base notes, and I notice the same occurrence. It's no big surprise, however, as Cannabis Oil is typically comprised primarily of monoterpenes which are lightweight and are more fleeting. [Elizabeth Ashley, Cannabis: CBD Rich Hemp Oil, Hemp Essential Oil and Hemp Seed Oil (CreateSpace, 2017.]
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Leaves and Flowering Tops
Strength of Initial Aroma
Sharp, herbaceous, green, slightly spicy.
Cannabis Essential Oil Uses and Benefits
Potential antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory action. [Jennifer Peace Rhind, Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice (London and Philadelphia: Singing Dragon, 2012, 155.]
Major Constituents of Cannabis Essential Oil
B-Pinene See Essential Oil Safety for a more complete constituent list.
[Private Communication: Sonnay, 2011. C. Meier, V. Mediavilla, Factors Influencing the Yield and the Quality of Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Essential Oil. (Journal of the International Hemp Association 5), 16-20. Sources cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 300.]
Cannabis Essential Oil Safety Information
Tisserand and Young do not indicate any special precautions when using Cannabis Essential Oil. However, they precaution to avoid use of the oil if it has oxidized due to a greater risk of skin sensitization. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 300-301.]
General Safety Information
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. Before using this or any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Important Information About the Profiles
The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for educational purposes only. The references to safety information, constituents and percentages is generalized information. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.
Essential Oil Book Suggestions
Click on a book's title to view details and read a full review for the book. Visit AromaWeb's Books area to find details about many other essential oil and aromatherapy books.
Own Safety Profiles for 400 Essential Oils and 206 Constituents:
Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals
Authors: Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
Author: Valerie Ann Worwood
The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness
Author: Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele
The Heart of Aromatherapy
Author: Andrea Butje