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CBD Oil vs Turmeric for Targeted Relief

Written By Ellese Symons Aug 21st 2023
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Some of today's most sought-after botanicals and functional supplements have been used for centuries. As consumer interest in complementary therapies and natural wellness continues to rise (GRV, 2023), adults of all ages are embracing their therapeutic potential, many for the first time. But they're not simply following the crowd. Most people using herbal teas, natural supplements, and plant extracts for various aspects of overall health and well-being spend a considerable amount of time comparing their options.   

If you've been searching for a natural way to ease discomfort after physical activity, you've likely discovered numerous possibilities. But they may not specifically align with your need for targeted relief. When you're ready to narrow your options and refine your search, consider comparing two of the most in-demand plant-derived products you'll find, CBD oil and turmeric. Once you have the facts, you'll be that much closer to finding the best fit for your needs. 

Exploring CBD Oil: Mechanisms of Action in the Body  

CBD (cannabidiol) is a plant element found in cannabis, just one of more than 113 cannabinoids. It's produced in varying amounts in marijuana, depending on the strain, and much higher concentrations in hemp. The 15-20:1 CBD to THC ratio in hemp extract ensures there's a lower risk of intoxication. CBD users who prefer avoiding the less than 0.3% THC in full spectrum hemp extract have the option of using products made with broad-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate powder. 

CBD works by interacting with multiple molecular targets throughout the body and brain, including the serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors (Elsaid & Foll, 2020). Since ECS signaling helps regulate nearly every crucial function in the body, cannabis researchers believe supporting ECS function with CBD helps promote homeostasis (Sallaberry & Astern, 2018). When essential balance is threatened by internal or external forces, the processes of homeostasis restore equilibrium (Bergland, 2023). 

Exploring Turmeric: Mechanisms of Action in the Body  

Turmeric is a tall, aromatic plant, part of the ginger family. Its brightly colored roots are dried, ground, and primarily used as a spice. Although the plant's roots contain more than 100 potentially beneficial compounds, most turmeric research focuses on its curcumin, a polyphenol. Some people take advantage of turmeric's health and wellness potential by using the spice to flavor foods and beverages; others prefer the effects of using a supplement made with enhanced concentrations of curcumin and other curcuminoids (Russell, 2023).   

Like CBD, curcumin works by interacting with multiple molecular targets. Researchers specifically note the plant element's considerable antioxidant potential. In the lab, curcumin inhibits prostaglandin biosynthesis and cyclooxygenase (COX-2) activity, hormone-like substances linked to inflammation (Gupta et al., 2011). When ingested, however, curcumin is poorly absorbed and undergoes an "intensive" second metabolization by the liver. Piperine, a substance in black pepper, improves curcumin's bioavailability (DrugBank, 2023). 

CBD vs Turmeric: Reviewing the Risks & Potential Side Effects  

Hemp-derived CBD is generally well-tolerated and safe for most people. Although the risk is impressively low, side effects are possible. Some people experience fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, or changes in appetite (Bergamaschi et al., 2011). The World Health Organization found "no evidence of public health-related problems" with daily use (WHO, 2020). However, anyone with health concerns should consult their healthcare provider before using CBD oil. The cannabinoid is not appropriate for people with certain medical conditions and can interact with over-the-counter and prescription medications.   

When used in small amounts (the amounts typically added to foods), turmeric is also well-tolerated and safe for most people. According to the World Health Organization, you can consume up to 1.4mg of turmeric per day for each pound of body weight. Larger amounts can be harmful. Its list of most common side effects includes upset stomach, acid reflux, dizziness, or headaches. Like CBD, turmeric is not advisable for people with certain medical conditions and can interact with multiple medications (Radhakrishnan & Allarakha, 2023). Again, if you have a medical condition or take medication, consult your healthcare provider before using turmeric supplements. 

Research Results: Comparing Their Potential to Provide Relief After Physical Activity 

Joints and muscles can withstand a considerable amount of stress and strain, but when you push them too far, you'll know. Pain, stiffness, and inflammation after physical activity are clear signs of a body that needs time to recover. Damage to your muscle fibers triggers a response from your immune system that sends specialized white blood cells to initiate repairs, the main cause of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and stiff, aching joints (Ames, 2023). 

If you engage in similarly strenuous activity before your injuries heal and the inflammation subsides, you could get caught in a repetitive cycle of trauma and inflammation that can eventually cause permanent damage. CBD oil and turmeric (curcumin) are used by people of all fitness levels to help support recovery and ease activity-induced discomfort. here are numerous reports of positive outcomes associated with CBD and turmeric use in animal trials, lab studies and human clinical investigations A quick search will lead you to numerous reports like the following examples. 

Evidence Supporting the Use of CBD  

In a report published in 2020Sports Medicine – Open, the use of CBD is credited with multiple biochemical and physiological effects that researchers identified as potentially beneficial for athletic recovery (McCartney et al., 2020). In a similar review of the available data published in 2021, the study author details CBD's influence on several homeostatic regulators, including "promising "evidence supporting its use for "sport-related fatigue," recovery efficiency, and other factors relevant to repetitive motion (Rojas-Valverde, 2021). 

 Evidence Supporting the Use of Turmeric   

In a report published in 2023, the authors highlight similarly positive effects in a review of studies involving curcumin supplements. In a double-blind study, research participants given curcumin had less physical discomfort after physical activity and lower inflammation markers than subjects receiving a placebo (Koliechkov et al., 2022). In animal studies, researchers also reported a positive impact for signs of physical discomfort and accelerated muscle recovery (Tsai et al., 2020). 

Targeted Relief: Why CBD Oil Could Be the Better Option  

CBD oil and turmeric both get high marks for their potential to ease activity-induced discomfort. But CBD oil has a distinct advantage over turmeric for truly targeted relief.When you add turmeric or CBD oil to foods and beverages or swallow a softgel or capsule, their active plant elements have an impact on multiple receptors throughout your body, a system-wide effect. 

While that in no way means you won't get positive results in time, topical application is the best way to target specific muscles and joints. While you can apply either option topically, turmeric's vibrant orange color can stain your skin, damage your clothing, or leave a yellow residue behind. The effect is not harmful, but does give CBD a distinct advantage. Not only won't you have to worry about yellowing or stains, most CBD users report positive results within minutes of topical application. 

 Why So Many CBD Users Choose CBDistillery® Topicals for Targeted Relief  

The best hemp-derived CBD topicals are made with oil extracted from non-GMO, naturally farmed crops and 100% clean ingredients. When you choose one of the many CBD topicals made by CBDistillery®, you'll get that and more. We rely on the cleanest extraction methods available, and every product we offer is rigorously tested, quality assured, and backed by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. 

Out of 1,900 respondents in a 2019 survey of CBDistillery® customers, 9 out of 10 prefer our hemp-derived CBD products over turmeric for relief after physical activity. Now that you know how CBD oil and turmeric compare, consider browsing the following product descriptions to determine which of our high-quality topicals could be best suited to your needs, preferences, and lifestyle. 

CBDistillery® Full Spectrum CBDol® Topical Salve 

When a productive workout, a busy day on the job, or any other strenuous activity leaves you feeling stiff or sore, consider applying CBDistillery® CBDol® Topical CBD Salve. Each jar gives you 500mg of full-spectrum CBD and a proprietary blend of ingredients selected by our expert botanists. As the CBD, wintergreen, and eucalyptus soothe your body, the coconut oil and shea butter seal in moisture. 

CBDistillery® THC-Free Relief Sticks & Lotions  

If you're concerned about smelling like hemp, try a mentholated CBDistillery® 1000mg Isolate CBD Relief Stick. They're ideal for on-the-go relief. Our non-greasy 500mg Isolate CBD Cooling Cream is also infused with cooling menthol. You can use our 500mg Isolate Warming Cream (or any other CBD topical) to ease muscle tension before, during, or after your workout. 

Could You Benefit from the Targeted Relief of a CBDistillery® CBD Topical? 

CBD topicals can be used on their own or in combination with any CBD oil (or turmeric) tincture, capsules, softgels, or gummies in your health and wellness routine. Based on the feedback of our survey respondents, most CBD users report positive results using our hemp-derived products for relaxation, better sleep, mild or temporary anxiety, and pain, stiffness, and inflammation after physical activity. If you could benefit from some of the many potential benefits of CBD but still aren't quite sure where to start, visit CBDistillery® to take our 3-minute CBD Product Quiz or schedule a personal consultation


Ames H. (2023) What Is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)? 

Bergamaschi M, Mateus R, et al. (2011) Safety and Side Effect of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent. 6(4) Curr Drug Saf 237-49. https://doi.org/10.2174/157488611798280924 

Bergland C. (2023) What Is Homeostasis? VeryWell Health. 

Drug Bank. Curcumin. Drug Bank Online. 

Elsaid S, Foll B. (2020) The Complexity of Pharmacology of Cannabidiol (CBD) and Its Implications in the Treatment of Brain Disorders. 45 Neuropsychopharmacol 229-30 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-019-0518-1 

Gupta S, Prasad S, et al. (2011) Multitargeting by Curcumin as Revealed by Molecular Interaction Studies. 28(12) Nat Prod Rep 1937- 55. https://doi.org/10.1039/c1np00051a 

GVR. (2022) Complementary and Alternative Market Size, Share & Trend Analysis Report By Intervention (Botanicals, Mind Healing, Body Healing, External Energy, Sensory Healing), By Distribution Method, By Region, and Segment forecasts (2023-2030). Grand View Research. 

Kolimechkov S, Douglas D, et al. The Effects of Turmeric and Its Compound Curcumin on Muscle Recovery In Athletes: Mini Review. 28(1) ISSN 1318-2269 PDF. 

McCartney D, Benson M, et al. Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: A Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research. 6(1) Sports Med Open 27. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-020-00251-0 

Radhakrishnan R, Allarakha S. (2023) What Are the Negative Effects of Turmeric? MedicineNet. 

Rojas-Valverde. (2021) Potential Role of Cannabidiol on Sports Recovery. 12 Front Physio 722550. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.722550 

Russell M. (2023) 5 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Turmeric. Forbes. 

Sallaberry C, Astern L. (2018) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. 34(6) JYI 48-55. https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator 

Tsai S, Huang C, et al. (2020) Accelerated Muscle Recovery After In Vivo Curcumin Supplementation. 15(1) Nat Prod Comm. https://doi.org/10.1177/1934578X20901898 

World Health Organization. (2020) Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. PDF https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/controlled-substances/whocbdreportmay2018-2.pdf?sfvrsn=f78db177_2