Ashwagandha and CBD are both popular health supplements that may have a range of uses.
When you’re trying to decide between supplements like ashwagandha and CBD, it can be challenging to know where to start. These substances are both hailed for their health benefits, but what are the key differences and similarities between them?
Both CBD and ashwagandha are extracted from plants, and therefore they may be considered “natural supplements.” Research suggests both may have mental and physical health benefits.
It’s also possible to use both CBD and ashwagandha together — but it’s wise to speak with a healthcare professional before taking either or both substances.
Ashwagandha is a celebrated herb that is often used in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional medicine system that originated in India. It’s considered an adaptogen, meaning it’s a substance that helps the body cope with stress.
Also called “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry,” ashwagandha has been used for
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is one of the many chemicals found in cannabis plants. While cannabis has been used for health purposes for thousands of years, CBD extracts have only been in the spotlight for the past decade or so. The benefits of CBD products may possibly include pain relief, anxiety relief, and improved sleep.
CBD and ashwagandha are often both seen skeptically, but both have a few proven benefits. With that said, it’s important to be aware that both substances have potential side effects.
A quick comparison of ashwagandha and CBD
|legality in the U.S.||legal||legal (but CBD with more than 0.3% THC is restricted in some states)|
|possible uses||• relieving stress|
• improving athletic performance
• supporting mental health
• improving sleep
• increasing fertility in males
• reducing blood sugar levels
• improving brain function
|• relieving pain|
• supporting mental health
• soothing cancer-related symptoms
• reducing seizures
• relieving sleeplessness
|possible side effects||Mild, including: |
drowsiness or upset stomach
|minimal, can include: |
dry mouth or decreased appetite
|active chemicals||Withanolides||cannabidiol (CBD) itself|
Both ashwagandha and CBD have a wide range of applications.
Ashwagandha is often used for:
- Relieving stress: A
2021 reviewconcluded that there’s a fair amount of evidence that ashwagandha reduces stress and cortisol levels — but it noted that there’s not enough evidence to advise how much ashwagandha should be taken.
- Improving athletic performance: One
analysis of 12 studiesconcluded that the herb may improve strength and oxygen use during exercise.
- Supporting mental health: A
2021 reviewfound that ashwagandha may help with conditions like depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
- Improving sleep: The above-mentioned 2021 review also found that ashwagandha may help ease insomnia.
- Increasing fertility in males: A
review of four studiesconcluded that ashwagandha significantly increased sperm motility, concentration, and volume in males with low sperm count.
- Reducing blood sugar levels: A
review of 24 studiesfound that treatment with ashwagandha significantly reduced blood sugar, insulin levels, blood lipids, and oxidative stress markers.
- Improving brain function: One
reviewfound that ashwagandha could improve cognitive functions — like executive functioning, attention, and reaction times. Another studyfound that ashwagandha improved memory, attention, and information-processing speed.
CBD is often used for:
- Relieving pain:
Studiessuggest CBD could relieve chronic pain and reduce inflammation. Some research from 2021suggests it could help with fibromyalgia-related pain.
- Supporting mental health issues: A
2020 literature reviewfound that CBD may help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even psychosis.
- Soothing cancer-related symptoms:
2022 researchfound that CBD could reduce some cancer-related nausea, vomiting, and pain.
- Reducing seizures: The
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)has approved one CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, to treat several seizure disorders.
- Relieving sleeplessness: CBD
might improvesleep in people with sleep disorders like insomnia.
Both CBD and ashwagandha have other reported uses — but further research is needed before these benefits are proven.
Yes. There’s no research to suggest CBD and ashwagandha should not be combined.
However, it’s always a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional before using any health product, including CBD and ashwagandha. If you plan to use both at the same time, first discuss it with an expert.
Both CBD and ashwagandha may cause side effects. They may also interact with certain medications, meaning that combining them with specific drugs could cause adverse effects.
- anticonvulsants (a kind of seizure medication)
- thyroid hormone medications
- diabetes medications
- high blood pressure medications
Some evidence suggests CBD interacts with medications that carry a “grapefruit warning” on the label. This can include more than 85 drugs, from antibiotics and blood pressure medications to antihistamines.
Further research is needed before we understand which medications can be safely taken with CBD — but for now, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before taking them. A healthcare professional can also help you decide what dose is right for you.
In the world of wellness, both ashwagandha and CBD are well-known and used for a variety of health purposes. Research suggests that both have a number of benefits.
However, they do have potential side effects, and they may interact with medications. Always consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new supplement. Remember, everybody’s body is different, and not every supplement or health product will work for you.