CBD Benefits: The Antioxidant Potential of Cannabidiol
By Emily Ledger
Research around CBD – the second-most prevalent cannabinoid produced by Cannabis Sativa. L – has yielded a number of impressive discoveries, including many potential health and wellness benefits associated with the compound. While the anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are likely the most well-known, a number of studies have also revealed the significant antioxidative potential of the cannabinoid.
What are antioxidants and free radicals?
Antioxidants are a class of compounds that expel free radicals from our bodies. Free radicals are compounds that are capable of causing significant harm to our bodies if levels grow too high. In rare cases, these compounds have been implicated in the development of multiple illnesses and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Low levels of free radicals are a necessity for our bodies to carry our important functions that are essential to maintaining health. For example, free radicals can be used by our immune cells to help fight infections. However, levels of free radicals need to remain balanced, along with antioxidants.
When levels of these molecules are not balanced and free radicals outnumber antioxidants, this can lead to a state called oxidative stress. If prolonged, oxidative stress can lead to cell and DNA damage and even cell death. It is this state that can cause the development of some serious illnesses.
Many plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and wholegrains can be a rich source of antioxidants, and it appears that the cannabis plant is no exception.
The antioxidant potential of CBD
A number of animal and clinical studies have demonstrated the antioxidant potential of CBD. Researchers have implicated “the therapeutic potential of CBD for many diseases, including diseases associated with oxidative stress.”
Similar to other antioxidants, CBD has been seen to interrupt free radical chain reactions, capturing or transforming the molecules into less active forms. CBD can reduce oxidative conditions by preventing the formation of superoxide radicals.
In addition to reducing levels of oxidants in the body, some studies have shown that CBD may also modify the level and activity of antioxidants.
The antioxidant properties of CBD could make the cannabinoid useful in a number of ways. Our bodies need antioxidants to prevent and reverse cell and DNA damage. The right balance of antioxidants can help to fight chronic illness and disease, as well as being useful in preventing the signs of ageing.
CBD is now being utilised in a huge array of health and wellness products, from supplements to CBD skincare. The CBD market has already been reported to be bigger than the Vitamin C and Vitamin D markets combined here in the UK – the antioxidant potential of the compound is just one of the reasons for this.
Research around CBD – the second-most prevalent cannabinoid produced by Cannabis Sativa. L – has yielded a number of impressive discoveries, including
The Antioxidant Properties Of CBD: What Do We Know?
Could CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids be our future allies in the lifetime war between antioxidants and free radicals? Early research suggests that cannabinoids have antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. Now it’s time for clinical trials.
Every living creature hosts a lifetime war between the “good” antioxidants and the “bad” free radicals. Over the last 20 years, this war was often under the media spotlight. Consequently, the general public became concerned and tried to increase our collective fruit and veggie intake. Free radicals are bad for our health—that’s what we all understood—and unfortunately, they are going to win the war, sooner or later. In this article, we take a look at the battle between free radicals and antioxidants that constantly dwell inside our body, examining if, according to research, CBD and other cannabinoids might be our allies.
FREE RADICALS ARE PART OF OUR METABOLISM
Humans need to convert food into energy to survive. When our metabolic processes create energy, they also generate waste products. Some of them are molecules of some biochemical compound containing an unpaired electron, namely, free radicals. Free radicals in our body are also generated from external factors, such as stress and toxins, be they inhaled, ingested, injected, or absorbed by the skin.
The unpaired electron in the free radical corrupted molecule attracts another electron from a healthy molecule, triggering a chain reaction that leaves us with a bunch of deteriorated molecules. Since these molecules are part of our cellular tissue, in all its differentiations, the result of this process is having one or more organs or body parts slowly “ageing” or even quickly getting sick.
Too many free radicals in the body, for any reason, can trigger minor diseases and severe conditions as well, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke. On the other hand, we all know through advertising that our natural and “harmless” skin ageing is mainly caused by free radicals. Brain cells use a significant amount of energy to do their job. That creates free radicals and oxidative damage at a neuronal level, leading to age-related decline.
THE NEED FOR ANTIOXIDANTS
An antioxidant is a natural substance that inhibits oxidation, the chemical reaction that produces the free radicals damaging the cells. We are able to produce our own antioxidants up to a certain level, yet not enough to neutralise all of the harmful effects of external factors like pollution, junk food, smoke, and many more. That’s why it’s important to harness a lot of antioxidants from food, even if it is hard to tell how much we actually need during every stage of life. Antioxidants are an important part of any diet for maintaining good health and proper function since it’s proven that the damage to “oxidised” cells leads to illness and chronic disease.
Antioxidants give out electrons to lonely electrons in free radicals, thus creating a pair that stabilises the molecule and prevents the chain reaction effect made by stolen electrons from other molecules that degrade cellular functionality. Antioxidants are substances like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin E, glutathione, lipoic acid, uric acid, carotenes, and coenzyme Q10.
Our diet should always be based on antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that help reduce inflammation and cellular damage. Whole plants and fruits are much more effective than extracts or synthesised molecules, in the same way whole-plant derivatives from cannabis seem to work better than isolated cannabinoids.
Are CBD's antioxidant properties the answer to slowing down oxidation in the human body? Find out more about CBD-as-antioxidant.