Of the cannabinoids so far identified, cannabidiol (CBD) is among the most exciting because of its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. A patent by the U.S. National Institutes of Health even acknowledges these therapeutic benefits and potential uses of CBD.
Why is it important that CBD is an antioxidant?
Antioxidants are an important part of any nutritious diet and are essential for maintaining health and proper biological function. An antioxidant is a natural substance that inhibits oxidation, a chemical reaction that produces the free radicals that eventually damage cells and lead to illnesses and chronic diseases.
Antioxidants are able to neutralize these damaging oxidizing agents from the bloodstream to improve the health of cells and reduce the risk of developing a disease. The body naturally produces antioxidants, but the amounts are often insufficient for neutralizing all of the harmful effects of oxidative stress. An overwhelming number of studies have linked antioxidant-rich diets to a reduced risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis. The National Cancer Institute recognizes the therapeutic potential of antioxidants for preventing the types of free radical damage that have been associated with cancer developments. A study published in 1998 was one of the first to document CBD’s antioxidant properties, and CBD was found to be a more powerful antioxidant than both vitamins C and E.
What does it mean that CBD is neuroprotective?
As a neuroprotectant, CBD helps reduce damage to the brain and nervous system and encourages the growth and development of new neurons. Oxidative stress caused by ischemia, traumatic blows, or autoimmune and genetic disorders can cause temporary or permanent neural damage, but studies have shown that CBD is able to protect against this damage and improve recovery.
These findings suggest that CBD could be therapeutically beneficial for traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, spinal cord diseases, and strokes. CBD’s neuroprotective properties are also potentially beneficial in helping prevent and limit the progression of neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson’s disease. More research to investigate CBD’s efficacy for promoting cell and neuron health are needed, but the evidence so far suggests that CBD could be used to minimize neural and cell damage and encourage healing.
You can learn even more about what research has so far discovered about CBD by visiting our article, “A Look at the Major and Minor Cannabinoids.”