If you’ve been following this industry for any amount of time now, you already know about CBD. And you probably already know about deeper concepts such as the entourage effect, which is where the other ingredients in cannabis synergize with CBD to help restore and nourish the body.
What you might not know is this: hemp isn’t the only plant that has adaptogen status. In case you haven’t heard that term before, an adaptogen is a natural substance that increases the “state of non-specific resistance” [against] stress.”
In other words, in order for a substance to be an adaptogen, it must increase the amount of stress one can tolerate at any given time. This is done in a “non-specific” way—a way that can act on multiple parts of the body at the same time.
Sounds a lot like what hemp does via the endocannabinoid system, right?
It does … and it is. But hemp isn’t the only adaptogenic plant out there, as was stated previously. And not only that, but it’s possible hemp and other adaptogens actually work best when taken together.
You may not have heard of these other adaptogens. Some of them are a little obscure, after all; they include cordyceps, a type of wild-growing fungus, and ashwagandha.
Curcumin is an adaptogen, too. It’s the primary active ingredient in tumeric, similar to how CBD is the primary active ingredient in hemp. And like CBD, curcumin is a powerful (natural) anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant.
Curcumin is also the cause of the deep yellow color of turmeric, so it’s also responsible for the color of many famous Indian dishes. Biologically speaking, it’s been a constant undertone to the good health that that culture has experienced over the past many centuries. Traditional Indian medicine testifies to this, too—healers use tumeric to bring glowing skin and total revitalization back to the body.
How does curcumin work within the body? Through more than a few interwoven ways.
Affecting the Causes of Aging
Like CBD, curcumin scavenges, or eats up, free radicals. In other words, it’s an antioxidant. This might just be the compound’s single most impressive characteristic. Curcumin is so powerful as an antioxidant that it eats up just about any byproduct created when oxygen produces energy.
Think of oxidation like the rust that eats up an old car. It has a similar effect on our aging processes, too. By taking curcumin, though, free radicals get diffused before doing any real harm—or making a real contribution to aging.
Also like CBD, curcumin reduces the formation of inflammatory enzymes. Lower inflammation leads to less pain and better joint health over time. That’s one more way long-term curcumin use fights inflammation. What’s not to love about that?
Reduced inflammation carries over to many other things. One of them: less microbial growth occurs in a low-inflammation environment. As one study put it, “Curcumin has got antimicrobial action.”
Curcumin even helps with apoptosis (cell death that occurs as a part of or development). This has important implications for those with cancer, where curcumin has been shown to single out harmful cells and help the body break them down.
Curcumin does this by affecting a variety of growth factor receptors, often in ways that are hard to pin down and not fully understood. It may even help protect the body against the radiation that comes with some anti-cancer therapies.
In addition to all this, you can have confidence that both curcumin and the tumeric from which it’s derived can be taken risk-free. After all, the substance has a proven track record spanning nearly 40 centuries. And although curcumin doesn’t have a physical system designed specifically for it—at least not quite like CBD does—that doesn’t stop this adaptogen from broadly affecting health in a positive way.
Interestingly enough, CBD and curcumin don’t just share health benefits. They also share many of the same challenges. Both compounds are fat-soluble, meaning they don’t dissolve well in water. And both can be tough for the human body to fully absorb.
The solution? Take them together.
This is where things go into uncharted territory a little bit. But it’s also where things get more than a little exciting. It’s highly possible that curcumin makes up for things that CBD lacks—and vice versa. Take them together and you might just experience the best of both worlds.
At one point it was theorized that curcumin “activates” the endocannabinoid system’s (ECS) CB1 receptors. That point is still debatable, and the study that suggested it was later retracted. While curcumin does interact with the ECS, these interactions are subtle and indirect.
What we do know is that curcumin boosts endocannabinoid levels. These endocannabinoids can then work via the same non-psychoactive CB2 receptors a CBD.
Curcumin’s potential as a natural antidepressant starts to make more sense thanks to this discovery. With it come even more options for anyone who wants to improve their mood—not just those with depression. So if you want to raise your anandamide levels, you can go for a run, take CBD, or eat some turmeric. Best of all, though, you could just do all three.
If you want to add curcumin to your personal wellness plan, you have several options. One is adding turmeric, the whole spice, into your food. Easy, tasty, and affordable.
Alternatively, you could select one of the many curcumin supplements available on the market. These supplements will be much stronger than turmeric and probably better quality, too. Just like with CBD, ensure the product you choose is lab-tested.
Research supports combining black pepper and curcumin. Why? The piperine in black pepper enhances curcumin absorption up to 2000%. Black pepper also contains beta-caryophyllene, a terpene that works with cannabinoids like CBD to foster healing without any high. These combinations may be winners.
Speaking of CBD, there’s a third option. You could opt for a product that contains both curcumin and CBD. However, these products are pretty rare and sometimes sourced pretty questionably. So we produced a capsule blend that we believe is powerful and will have just the right type of synergistic effect. Look for a Legends CBD + curcumin capsule product soon!
Even though much research is yet to be done, it’s clear that there’s a future for adaptogenic, ECS-modulating plants. And it’s an exciting future at that. Curcumin benefits the endocannabinoid system; who knows how many other plants and plant terpenes do, too?
Scientist are even starting to realize that anandamide-like compounds might be found in dark chocolate, echinacea, and blue-green algae, among other sources. It seems as though our endocannabinoid health might be important to all of nature, not just the hemp plant.