The Supervillains Of Free Radicals And Oxidative Stress Can’t Compete!
Antioxidants are the superheroes of health and wellness. Think of them as avengers in white capes swooping in to eradicate one of the supervillains of your body: free radicals! If you don’t already know, “free radicals” cause rust-like damage in the body and are the root of countless diseases.
Free radicals are dangerous and unstable oxygen molecules that get stuck in our tissues, causing the body to perform poorly and lead to chronic inflammation, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, and even strokes.
These unstable oxygen molecules run amok in our bodies by stealing electrons (“oxidizing”) from healthy cells and damaging them. This chain reaction often snowballs into cellular cannibalism with cells attacking each other, destroying healthy tissues, and even damaging our DNA!
All. From. Oxidative. Stress.
What exactly is oxidative stress, you ask? Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in our body. When our bodies experience oxidative stress, it literally can feel like we have rust in our joints, fog in our brains, and sludge in our veins. Obviously, too many free radicals is bad news!
Our body’s response to mitigate the damage wreaked by free radicals is to produce — you guessed it — antioxidants. These valiant molecules act as electron donors to free radicals, thus protecting the body from damaging levels of oxidative stress.
We naturally produce our own antioxidants in the body such as Glutathione, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and CoQ10. These internally generated antioxidants were probably enough back in the days of farm-fresh food and low stress, but oxidative stress from external factors such as toxins, additives in our foods and high levels of emotional stress, causes depletion of our natural antioxidants and so we must turn to other sources to get that protective antioxidant shield.
CBD— A Powerful Antioxidant.
Food is a tremendous source for antioxidants. In particular fruits, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. One leafy green stands out among them: the cannabis plant! As was first documented by Israeli researcher (and Cannabis Godfather) Dr. Raphael Mechoulam in the 1960s, the cannabis plant’s ability to cleanse the human body of free radicals, and replenish the human endocannabinoid system with plant-derived cannabinoids, makes it a stunningly effective treatment for the root causes of “human being syndrome.”
In the study, Cannabidiol and Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants (Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Regulation, National Institutes of Mental Health, 1998 )
“Cannabidiol (CBD) was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate (Vitamin C) or alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), indicating it to be a potent antioxidant. These data also suggest that the naturally occurring, non-psychotropic cannabinoid, cannabidiol, may be a potentially useful therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders such as cerebral ischemia.”
CBD gets a particular mention in the patent saying,
“Non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”
The fact that CBD is such a powerful antioxidant is particularly of interest in the field of research into cannabinoids and oxidative stress-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Cannabinoids protect our brains against age-related toxicity. Brain cells use a huge amount of energy to transmit information throughout the body, with all that activity creating high levels of oxidative damage, loss of functioning, and symptoms of age-related decline.
As our brains age, they accumulate toxic levels of a compound called glutamate. Glutamate causes cellular damage and has been linked to many neurodegenerative diseases.
In one study carried out on rats, the cannabinoid Cannabidiol, “in a head to head trial of the abilities of various antioxidants to prevent glutamate toxicity, CBD was superior to both alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) and ascorbate (Vitamin C) in a protective capacity.” Neuroprotective antioxidants from marijuana (Ann NY Acad of Sci, 2000, NIH).
CBD: The Strong, Silent Type
Amazingly, CBD can donate an electron to a free radical without making itself unstable. This causes the free radical to stabilize and become less reactive.
So never fear! CBD is here and is one of the most efficient antioxidant substances on earth! As you’ve seen, it’s been proven to beat traditional options such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Omega 3 supplements.
Unpublicized research sponsored by our federal government proved this discovery and led to a 1998 patent.
So once again we stare at the hypocrisy of our Government patenting cannabinoids as antioxidants but still denying their medicinal values.
You would imagine that this infamous Patent (US 6630507) would have called for a federal rescheduling of the cannabis plant. But alas not, as it still sits alongside heroin, LSD, and ecstasy as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” That’s called doublespeak folks! On one hand, we want to own a patent on it because we see its high potential…but on the other, we don’t want you to have any access to it. Wrong!
The Science Is Conclusive.
According to a more recent cannabis-related study published by the National Institutes of Health, it is now understood that cannabinoids impact a stunning array of maladies. (Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis, The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, June 2018, NIH).
“Cannabidiol (CBD) may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders now known to involve activation of the immune system and associated oxidative stress. These include rheumatoid arthritis, types 1 and 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, ischemia-reperfusion injury, depression, and neuropathic pain. Growing evidence…offers promise as a prototype for anti-inflammatory drug development.”
Furthermore, cannabinoids help stop inflammation as they contain beta-caryophyllene, a terpene found in a variety of plants that are used for inflammatory diets. Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress. (Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Sep 2011)
In yet another study conducted by Andras Biokei-Gorzo at the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn in Germany, scientists showed how the activation of the brain’s cannabinoid system triggers the release of antioxidants, which act as a cleansing mechanism. This process was known to remove damaged cells and improve the efficiency of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy source that powers cells. The endocannabinoid system in normal and pathological brain aging (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Oct 2012).
These discoveries show how cannabis and CBD may be able to overcome brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. Not to mention premature brain aging by staving off the brain inflammation responsible for cognitive decline, neural failure, and early death.
There’s Nothing Else Like CBD
Gery Wenk, a professor of neuroscience, immunology, and medical genetics at Ohio State University conducted some of the research that came out of the study from Germany’s Bonn University. He stated that this is a positive step and that it is encouraging to see the potential development of cannabinoid solutions without going overboard. Here is what he said:
“I’ve been trying to find a drug that will reduce brain inflammation and restore cognitive function in rats for over 25 years; cannabinoids are the first and only class of drugs that have ever been effective. I think that the perception of this drug is changing and in the future people will be less fearful. “
Biokei-Gorzo and his colleagues said that the greatest hurdle for moving forward with their research is the social and political challenges.
“This isn’t something new, our world seems to be dominated by belief systems instead of obvious fact. It’s discouraging to see beliefs and persuasion overrule truth. At the same time it’s very encouraging to see truth slowly creep its way into the norm. That’s always how it has been done throughout human history. It’s quite evident that the powers that be do not want to legalize marijuana, and we know that they do not have our best interest at hand. If it was legalized, I’m sure it would be distributed and tweaked by big pharmaceutical companies.” (Research credit to Arjun Walia)
So Cannabis, through its unique combination of cannabinoids, and most specifically CBD, is obviously a superhero plant that should be recognized and utilized by everyone with “human being syndrome.”
When we combine that knowledge with the cannabis plant’s anti-inflammatory properties, and its ability to bring homeostasis to the body through the endocannabinoid system, it’s clear that the US Government is exactly right: Cannabis is medicine!
For anyone already taking plant cannabinoids like CBD, it’s reassuring to know that along with helping conditions like anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, insomnia, high blood pressure, and PTSD, even the US federal government suggests you may also be protecting yourself against the onset of age-related disease through the superpowers inherent in a super-antioxidant like CBD. Thank you, Uncle Sam!
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