CBD, along with THC and other cannabinoids, could potentially help turn the tide in humanity’s fight against free radicals. The science behind this notion still has a long way to go, but preliminary research studies show that antioxidative properties of CBD could be considerably more potent than it was previously thought. Add to that CBD’s other health benefits and built-in neuroprotective properties, it’s obvious that the time for the first clinical trials looking into this is long overdue.
We’re often asked about the benefits of using CBD by people who don’t suffer from any obvious illnesses it treats, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, insomnia, anxiety, or others. Considering the many health benefits this cannabinoid is imbued with, this is not a very difficult question to answer. Still, what we like to focus on here is CBD’s antioxidative potential.
The word “antioxidant” has been a buzzword for the last two decades. Much like different hairstyles, it comes and goes, depending on what other health scares are gripping the collective mind of our planet at any given moment. Most people don’t even know what antioxidants are, but they have a vague idea that they are good for our overall health. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry – we’ll explain everything quickly and succinctly. But first, we need to clear up what free radicals and oxidative stress are.
Free Radicals & Oxidative Stress
The reason why we need antioxidants in the first place is a little something called a free radical. Obviously, not one, but many of them. Free radicals are toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolization. In essence, they are created naturally as we breathe, but certain environmental and behavioral risks increase their presence in our body dramatically.
Here’s an illustration of how free radicals look – not exactly, mind you, this is more an artistic representation, but it captures the essence quite nicely.
Basically, as we breathe, eat, smoke, and even walk around in the sun, free radicals are created. They are atoms that contain an unpaired electron. Because they (as we all) gravitate toward homeostasis (balance), they will snatch electrons from other atoms surrounding them. These, otherwise healthy (actually, properly functioning) atoms that are the building blocks of our tissues, organs, and vessels, then become unstable themselves, and a chain reaction is triggered. This process is also known as oxidative stress – a process in which living cells are damaged beyond repair.
Free radicals and oxidative stress are a natural part of the aging process and are generally not to be feared. Sure, it would be great to slow them down, but as far as winning the war on them, no living organism has a chance.
The problems occur when an organism is attacked by too many free radicals consistently. This happens frequently, and some of the causes are:
- Exposure to ozone
- Cigarette smoke
- Certain foods (fried, broiled)
- Pesticides & Insecticides
- Certain cleaning products
- Environmental pollution
Health conditions linked to oxidative stress include cancer, atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and others. That’s where antioxidants come in – and that’s why CBD and other cannabinoids could be even more important than we think right now!
Antioxidants – Our Natural Defense Against Oxidative Stress
A ying to the oxidative stress yang, antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, the chemical reaction that happens when free radicals hijack electrons from other atoms. Although our bodies are capable of producing a certain amount of antioxidants, it’s often not enough to combat the increasing influx of free radicals to our body.
They work by “gifting” electrons to free radicals that are hunting for one. This means that the free electron becomes paired, and this neutralizes its ability to disrupt the atoms that are part of the living tissues.
We get antioxidants mostly through food – things like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin E, lipoic acid, uric acid, carotenes, coenzyme Q10 are all great sources of it. That’s why it’s important to balance your diet and include as many antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits in it. They will spread through the body, neutrali<ing those roaming free radicals. Similar to whole-plant derivatives of cannabis, whole fruits and vegetables are much more effective at delivering antioxidants than synthesized molecules or extracts.
How Good Of An Antioxidant CBD Really Is?
Although more studies are needed, we already have access to some results that support CBD as an antioxidant. Like with everything else concerning cannabinoids, the effect is triggered through the receptors in our cannabinoid receptors. A study conducted in 1990 by the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, USA, concluded that CBD could potentially prevent oxidative damage even better than some more established antioxidants.
In the study, cortical neuron cultures of rats were exposed to toxic levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Previous studies had shown that glutamate toxicity may be prevented by antioxidants. This lead the scientists to conclude that CBD could be a potential treatment for oxidative neurological disorders, such as cerebral ischaemia.
In 2000, the National Institute of Mental Health conducted a follow-up study named “Neuroprotective antioxidants from marijuana”. The research concluded that THC and CBD, along with other cannabinoids can act as antioxidants in neuronal cultures by reducing hydroperoxide toxicity in neurons.
In 2007, a study by the Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Rome, confirmed these findings with a living model, pointing at CBD as a promising pharmacological tool capable of keeping at bay neural inflammatory responses.
Perhaps the most indicative clue that CBD is a powerful antioxidant comes from the US government, which registered a patent in 2003 titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”. This patent claims that CBD can be useful in treating a wide variety of oxidative diseases, and that cannabinoids were found to limit neurological damage following ischaemic episodes.
Is CBD The Coveted Elixir Of Youth?
Unfortunately, it’s not. No one would be happier than us if it was since we’ve been using it for years – it should add at least that much to our life expectancy! However, it does mean that there’s potential here for it to become one of the key ingredients of medicines that effectively treat oxidative stress diseases.
Nevertheless, it is widely believed by the scientific community that CBD, together with all the hemp and cannabis derivatives, represents an effective broad-spectrum nutritional supplement. Many claim CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than the vitamins C and E. Based on what science has taught us so far, we can assume it actually has the potential to fight free radicals throughout our whole lifetime, and that most methods of taking cannabis derivatives might provide some antioxidant and protective effect. So, in essence, you probably won’t live forever by using CBD, but you definitely will live a healthier (and maybe even a slightly longer) life.
The most effective way of taking CBD is vaping it – it’s easy and has the highest bioavailability, which means that most of it ends up in your bloodstream and in your endocannabinoid system. We recommend our Calm Vape Starter Kit for beginners. Even if you’ve never used a vape in your life, this pod system will be a breeze to figure out – just pop in the pod and puff away! If you have any questions about CBD or any of our products, make sure to leave a comment or send us an email – we will be happy to help!