Cannabidiol (CBD) is one the most popular cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, derived from the cannabis plant. CBD is known to possess a wide range of health benefits, and is available in many forms. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, relieve physical pain, combat anxiety, treat sleep disorders, and even prevent cancer. That said, research surrounding CBD is still burgeoning, and it is likely that even more benefits and uses of CBD Pain Relief will be discovered.
One use of CBD that is somewhat less discussed in comparison to others is its ability to reduce oxidative stress. That is, CBD has antioxidative properties and can be taken as an antioxidant. To better understand how CBD functions as an antioxidant, one must first understand oxidative stress. Simply put, oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. When our bodies convert food into energy, waste is also created. Free radicals are waste molecules with one or more unpaired electrons, which make them highly reactive with other molecules. Free radicals can also result from stress and/or exposure to environmental toxins such as smog or cigarette smoke. The unpaired electron(s) in free radicals attracts other electrons from a healthy molecule, which causes large chemical chain reactions in the body that can either be good or bad. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent this reaction by donating electrons to free radicals without becoming destabilized themselves. Though our bodies naturally produce antioxidants, it is important to consume foods and nutrients that are high in antioxidants to prevent oxidative stress.
The effects of oxidative stress on the body are numerous, and range from mild to severe.An excess of free radicals can damage proteins, lipids, fatty tissue, and even DNA, which can then lead to infections, diseases, and other health issues. These include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. The best way to prevent oxidative stress is to make sure that there are enough antioxidants in one’s diet, which is where CBD comes in to play. In addition to high antioxidant foods such as blueberries, prunes, and red kidney beans, CBD is a powerful source of antioxidants. In fact, a 1998 study found that CBD is an even more powerful antioxidant than vitamins E and C.
CBD functions as an antioxidant based on how it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Our bodies are equipped with a network of receptors, known as the endocannabinoid system. These receptors (CB1 and CB2) are activated by cannabinoids like CBD, and help the body maintain homeostasis and combat disease. CBD binds particularly with CB2 receptors, which help protect neurological cells and prevent oxidation. By preventing cellular degradation, CBD in turn prevents a great number of serious diseases caused by oxidative stress. Additionally, CBD is known to act as a neuroprotectant. Research shows that CBD encourages the growth of new neurons and helps reduce damage to the brain. CBD could therefore be beneficial to those who have suffered severe head trauma, as well as those with neurological disorders. Thus, between its neuroprotective and antioxidative properties, CBD is a viable source for nutritional health.