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WHAT IS AROMA THERAPY & HOW ARE ESSENTIAL OILS USED?
In the practice of aromatherapy, essential oils are inhaled, diffused into the air or used topically. The essential oils used in aromatherapy are extracted from a wide variety of plants such as lily of the valley, violet or patchouli. The oils are primarily made up of terpenes, oily compounds responsible for the distinctive flavors and scents of many plants and flowers.
Most plants have a terpene profile that consists of only one or two primary terpenes, which create their distinctive scents. But the cannabis plant has at least 100 terpenes, which accounts for the great variety in the aroma of different strains.
How Does Aroma therapy Work?
When you smell something, such as a fruit or a flower, the molecules trigger a response in the olfactory receptors in the nose. Then, olfactory neurons carry signals from those receptors to the olfactory bulb, which begins to process the information about the smell. Special types of cell, called mitral cells, carry signals from the olfactory bulb to an area of the brain called the olfactory cortex. It’s the olfactory cortex that allows you to perceive and recognize that particular smell and distinguish it from all others.
But the olfactory response doesn’t stop there. Those mitral cells that take signals from the nose to the olfactory cortex also carry those signals to other parts of the brain. In particular, they carry the signals to the limbic system, an area of the brain associated with functions like heart rate, breathing, stress responses and memory. Some of those mitral cells also connect directly to the amygdala, an area of the brain that’s strongly related to learning and memory. This can explain why certain smells may trigger overwhelmingly strong memories and associations in just about everyone.
CBD & THE SENSE OF SMELL
Essential oils of all kinds trigger responses in the olfactory system, which in turn activate the limbic system and the amygdala in the brain. But essential oils containing cannabis compounds are capable of much more, thanks to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a wide network of receptors found throughout the body and brain. These receptors respond to cannabis compounds in the same way as they do to natural cannabinoids produced by the body itself. This explains why cannabis can have so many different benefits.
From the nose to the brain, the olfactory system is rich in cannabinoid receptors, especially the receptor CB1. CBD triggers a number of processes that keep the body in balance and support the immune & nervous system. When an essential oil containing cannabis or cannabis terpenes is inhaled, its molecules bind to those receptors. Because the limbic system and the amygdala also contain CB1 receptors, a cannabis-infused essential oil can be beneficial to everyday wellness.
HOW DOES CBD MASSAGE THERAPY WORK?
The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving agents of CBD reduces inflammation within muscles and joints, allowing the massage oils to work more effectively. The CBD receptors (known as CB2) are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is the physiological system that helps the homeostatic functions within the central nervous system. This includes maintenance of bodily functions, pain, inflammation, and the immune system.
CB2 receptors are found in nerve and immune cells in just about every organ. CBD binds to CB2 receptors as well as TRPV1 receptors. Damaged tissues sensitize TRPV1 to its chemical and physical stimuli. Adding massage further benefits the stimulation of TRPV1 activity and has a positive influence on the CB2 receptors, which may help alleviate pain & inflammation.
Ancient CBD Secrets
Inhaling cannabidiol oils, with their distinctive aromas, can trigger a chain of events. By smelling the oils, the scent of the terpenes travel to the highly sensitive areas of the brain responsible for relaxation, mood and even pain. That’s how CBD aroma therapy can:
- Ease stress
- Uplift mood
- Promote calm
- Renew energy
CBD is the non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant.
History of Cannabis Use in Greece
Cannabis has a long history of use, both medicinal and recreational, in Greece. Circa 450-420 BCE, Herodotus – a historian and contemporary of Socrates – wrote of the use of hemp, stating that the ancient Scythians added the seeds to red-hot rocks to smoke in their bathhouses, which made them “shout for joy.” There is evidence that these same people used the seeds (referring to the flowering tops) as offerings to the tombs of royalty.