For users of CBD oil, antioxidant research has some good news: available studies suggest that the antioxidant properties of CBD may be truly impressive indeed.
It’s long been understood that CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to reduce inflammation and benefit a wide variety of biological processes. But is CBD an antioxidant? It’s a question that ongoing research is seeking to answer. But despite mounting evidence for CBD oil’s antioxidant potential, the debate rages in the research community.
Several early studies suggest that CBD may have powerful antioxidant properties, but no consensus has been reached. As more research emerges, however, this potential could make CBD an absolute all-star for personal health and wellness, adding yet another vital benefit to its already long list of impressive functions.
Before diving into the research on CBD oil, antioxidants, and free radicals, it’s important to establish some basic concepts.
What Are Antioxidants, and Why Are They Important?
“Antioxidant” is a broad term for a wide range of compounds that neutralize free radicals and prevent damage to your DNA.
In other words: Antioxidants are some of the most important and beneficial protectors your body has. Their job? To tame the wild, destructive cellular forces known as “free radicals” and, thereby, fight the effects of aging and several very serious disorders.
Free Radicals: the Cellular Destroyers
Let’s recall a bit of high-school biology: electrons operate in pairs. However, various biological and environmental forces (often referred to as “oxidative stress”) can sever the connection between an electron pair. These solo electrons, now “free” from the coupling that kept them tame, now run rampant (or “radical”) through the body, latching on to whatever they can.
“Big deal,” you might think; “what could a little electron do?” Quite a lot, actually. By latching on at near-random to other cells, free radicals can cause a cascading series of cellular failures and mutations. Over time, this can lead to cell death, oxidation, and even the development of life-threatening illness. Several of the best-understood effects of free radicals include:
- Age-related changes to appearance (wrinkles, gray hairs, etc.)
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other central nervous diseases
- Hastening degenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s
- Inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Auto-immune disorders, including cancer
In short? Free radicals are an incredibly destructive force in your body. The good news? There are several things you can do to avoid the creation of free radicals.
Most often, free radicals are created from environmental or dietary factors. The most common are:
- Eating fried foods
- Drinking alcohol
- Smoking tobacco
- Inhaling air pollution or pesticides
Avoiding these environmental factors can reduce the number and impact of free radicals in your body. However, some factors (like air pollution) can never be entirely avoided; moreover, your body will produce some free radicals, regardless of your exposure to environmental factors. Digestion, exercise, fighting disease, and other essential and beneficial biological functions all result in the creation of at least some free radicals.
So what to do about these inevitable free radicals? One word: antioxidants.
How Antioxidants Fight Free Radicals and Protect Health
Put simply: antioxidants fight oxidative damage by neutralizing free radicals. They do this by giving up some of their own electrons, thereby calming the previously unpaired free radical electrons and preventing them from doing any further harm.
Just like the body naturally produces free radicals, it also produces antioxidants to fight and neutralize them.
However, these natural antioxidants aren’t always enough to fully counteract the free radicals in the body! Especially when environmental or dietary factors create free radicals, the body requires a bit of outside help to neutralize all those unpaired electrons.
Luckily, many of the foods we eat or supplements we take are rich in antioxidants. These “external” antioxidants play an absolutely essential role in our bodily health, and each new source can expand our dietary options and improve our health and happiness.
So what about CBD oil antioxidant content? Are the antioxidant properties of CBD sufficient to make a significant impact on your body’s needs?
CBD Oil Antioxidant Research: Powerful Potential, But More Research is Needed
Unfortunately, in-depth clinical research on CBD is still in the early stages. While existing research has conclusively proved that CBD has powerful benefits for pain relief, reducing inflammation, treating epilepsy, and a host of other important functions, the research on CBD oil antioxidant potential is less conclusive.
However, the limited existing research suggests that the antioxidant properties of CBD could be truly powerful, and more and more reputable agencies are wholeheartedly endorsing CBD oil antioxidant therapies as new studies emerge.
A 1998 rat study was the first to identify CBD oil antioxidant treatment as effective. In fact, it found that CBD was a more effective antioxidant and neuroprotectant than Vitamins C and E, which are renowned as some of the most effective common antioxidants!
Further research has found similar results, and the growing body of evidence strongly suggests that CBD oil antioxidant treatments may play an important role in our future health and longevity. In fact, the US Department of Health and Human Services has even filed a patent for CBD-based antioxidant treatments, signaling the ever-growing recognition of CBD’s antioxidant effects.
However, the research community is not in full agreement. Some researchers theorize that, even though CBD has been proved to fight oxidative stress, it may not be the result of traditional antioxidant behavior. Rather, these researchers often propose, CBD’s neuroprotectant and oxidation-fighting potential may be related to its well-established anti-inflammatory properties.
So is CBD oil an antioxidant? The jury’s still out. But even the critics acknowledge: CBD is a powerful neuroprotectant that limits the effects of oxidative stress — that is, CBD accomplishes the same tasks as antioxidants, even if it isn’t a traditional antioxidant.
As more research on this important issue emerges, we look forward to a fuller understanding of this wonderful compound’s many therapeutic purposes. When we have documented all of CBD’s many applications, we’re confident that a bright new age of naturally effective treatments will benefit the health and happiness of millions the world over.
Until then, we can enjoy our favorite CBD products and the many research-backed benefits they provide.