In terms of health applications, cannabidiol oil (or CBD oil for short) has been heavily studied and can be considered the most thoroughly vetted cannabis derivative.
Here we’ll focus on the potential antioxidant benefits of one particular cannabinoid known as 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and how a high-quality CBD supplement can facilitate its antioxidant activity in vivo.
Full-spectrum CBD oil exerts a number of potential health benefits that include:
- Reducing systemic inflammation
- Chronic pain relief
- Treating anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
- Improving sleep quality and fighting insomnia
- Protecting the brain from neurodegeneration via action as a powerful antioxidant
This last potential benefit – the now clinically verified antioxidant activity of CBD in vivo – is the focus here. We’ve cited many peer-reviewed scientific and medical research articles that concluded this potential use – or, as the kids say, brought the receipts.
First of All, Why Is Oxidation Dangerous to Humans and How Do Antioxidants Support Optimal Health?
In recent decades, terms like “free radicals” and “oxidative stress” have pierced the mainstream consciousness, particularly among sectors of the population interested in anti-aging health, natural medicine, and the brain-optimizing nootropics community.
But what exactly is “oxidative stress,” why is it dangerous for long-term health, and what role do “free radicals” and “antioxidants” play in the process?
It’s important to understand that oxidative free radicals — when they are kept in check at normal levels — are actually beneficial and necessary for health.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are the natural biproducts of the cellular redox process that cells use to generate energy:
“These species play a dual role as both toxic and beneficial compounds. The delicate balance between their two antagonistic effects is clearly an important aspect of life. At low or moderate levels, ROS and RNS exert beneficial effects on cellular responses and immune function. At high concentrations, they generate oxidative stress, a deleterious process that can damage all cell structures.”
When the ROS-to-antioxidant ratio is harmonized, this is said to be the desirable state of redox homeostasis.
Accordingly, the goal is not to eliminate reactive oxygen species entirely, but rather to limit their concentrations in the blood and tissues to healthy levels.
In an ongoing balancing act, electron-rich antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent them from damaging healthy cells by “donating” electrons to them, as illustrated below.
When the ratio of antioxidants to free radicals falls too low, and these oxidative compounds are allowed free reign in the blood and various organs and tissues, an undesirable state called oxidative stress emerges.
Over time, oxidative stress contributes to the development of numerous chronic illnesses that include:
- Chronic systemic inflammation (as the accumulated evidence shows, the single greatest driver of chronic illness)
- Cardiovascular disease (aka heart disease)
- Atherosclerosis (hardened blood vessels)
- Elevated blood pressure (aka hypertension)
- Certain forms of cancer
- Metabolic disorders such as diabetes
- Neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease)
So, the natural questions arise: how best to prevent oxidative stress and what role does CBD play in an antioxidant strategy to protect long-term health?
CBD and Other Naturally-Occurring Antioxidant Foods and Supplements That Neutralize Free Radicals
Although the very real threat of oxidative stress can seem scary, the good news is that you have the power to increase your antioxidant levels, primarily through diet.
The most powerful natural antioxidants that you can incorporate into your everyday diet and supplement routine include:
- Beta-carotene (found in mangoes, apricots, spinach, pumpkin, carrots, and parsley)
- Catechins (found in green tea and red wine)
- Copper (found in meats, nuts, and most prolifically in various seafoods)
- Allium sulphur compounds (found in garlic, onions, and leeks)
Aside from diet, you can also boost your antioxidant blood supply with several supplements:
- Coenzyme Q10
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Turmeric (curcumin)
- CBD oil (sourced, of course, exclusively from the cannabis plant and concentrated in high-quality CBD extracts like this one from Sympleaf)