Neuronal Signaling and Copaiba

Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez DHSc, MS

Article at a Glance

Using cutting-edge proteomic technology, doTERRA scientists, along with other research partners, examined the impact of doTERRA Copaiba essential oil on signaling pathways related to the nervous system. While more research is needed, the initial results were encouraging as they shed more light on the use and impact of this essential oil.

Proteomics and doTERRA

Proteomics is the future of essential oil investigation. With modern proteomic techniques, researchers are able to discover how compounds induce changes in the proteins they interact with. This allows us to better understand how essential oils function. Along with its research partners, doTERRA is leading the charge in mapping essential oil activity at the biochemical level by starting with everybody’s favorite endocannabinoid system activator: Copaiba.


Proteomics is a type of in vitro research. In vitro methods are commonly used in scientific research because they are simple, convenient, involve fewer ethical concerns, and may offer the possibility of more detailed analysis than can be conducted on an entire organism. One of the more common cell lines (a series of cells developed from a single cell that have identical genetic composition) used in in vitro research is SH-SY5Y. This cell line is especially beneficial for experimental neurological research1.

The Study

In a recently published proteomic study, doTERRA scientists and research partners evaluated the biological activity of Copaiba essential oil on signaling pathways in a SH-SY5Y cell line. In this study they used nanofluidic protein post-translational modification (PTM) profiling technologies2. The same research team had previously used PTM profiling technologies to assess the purity of essential oils and related isolates3,4.

The Results

The study provided robust evidence that Copaiba essential oil positively regulates several different pathways in central nervous system cells. Positive regulation was especially robust in the pI3k/Akt/mTOR, MAPK, and JAK/STAT pathways, which influence the metabolism, proliferation, and immunity of nervous system cells. Also, the effects of Copaiba on neuronal signaling pathway activity was mediated by cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), providing further validation for the belief that Copaiba is a powerful activator of the endocannabinoid system and may have a spectrum of benefits that have yet to be discovered5. Furthermore, researchers saw the greatest effects on signaling pathways within 30 minutes of exposure to Copaiba. This is important pharmacokinetic information that can be used to develop future usage guidelines. These findings, while encouraging, are experimental and more research will be required to validate them.

The Future

While on the surface this data may not mean much to the everyday essential oil user, it is part of the foundation that will drive the future of oil research, helping us develop new and more effective usage models for these gifts of the Earth. This research team has several other proteomic studies in the works, which will expand our understanding of the pharmacodynamics of Copaiba and other essential oils.


doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary, experimental studies and further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the findings. Essential oils may have drug interactions, patient contraindications, or adverse effects that cannot be evaluated using experimental research results alone. If you are interested in using essential oils for any health concern, consult with your healthcare provider first.

There are no customer reviews yet.

Average Rating Rate / Comment

How would you rate this post?

dōTERRA welcomes your thoughtful comments!

Comments are limited to 200 characters, reviewed for approval, and posted once approved.

200 characters remaining

Select Your Continent

Select Your Region

Select Your Location

Select Your Language