Cannabinoids: Powerful Antioxidants Essential for Our Body

Cannabinoids: powerful antioxidants essential for our body | We Are Canna

In 2003 US researchers Aidan J. Hampson, Julius Axelrod (who won a share of the Nobel Prize) and Maurizio Grimaldi published a study (Patent No. 6630507 “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants“), which states that cannabinoids have strong antioxidant and neuroprotective properties.

The study asserts, that cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This newfound property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of a wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.

Aidan J. Hampson, Julius Axelrod, Maurizio Grimaldi

It is stated in the study, that nonpsychoactive 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 study also found that using CBD reduces the risk of heart attack by half and significantly improves neurological function. Phytocannabinoids THC and CBD have been shown to act as protection against glutamate neurotoxicity and free radicals.

These results surprised scientists, especially the principle of operation of CBD. CBD is not a cannabinoid receptor CB1 and a CB2 antagonist. Therefore, cannabinoids have been shown to be beneficial not only through the action of cannabinoid receptors. This means that cannabinoids that do not cause (not all) pleasant psychoactive effects, can be successfully used as treatment.

CBD, such as 5-20 mg per kg, has been shown to have no significant toxicity and no effect on any of the factors that may cause a negative reaction. It is stated that CBD acts as an anti-epileptic and anxiolytic agent, and is therefore particularly useful in the treatment of neurological diseases with neuroanatomic defects that can lead to seizures (source).


The roles of antioxidants are to neutralize the excess of free radicals, to protect the cells against their toxic effects. Antioxidants activate immunity, strengthen cells and maintain their vitality (source). Studies have shown that people with a low amount of antioxidants in their blood are more likely to have inflammatory diseases, myocardial infarction, stroke and cancer. Some antioxidants are produced by the body itself, others need to be obtained through foods, and if the diet is poor – through food supplements.

Antioxidants are able to neutralize harmful reactive oxygen and nitrogen forms through various mechanisms of action. Their use strengthens cellular antioxidant protection systems and helps restore damaged structures (source).  Fruits, vegetables, berries, fish, tea, nuts, black chocolate, various seeds, vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, selenium have strong antioxidant properties.

Cannabinoids: powerful antioxidants essential for our body | We Are Canna | How antioxidants reduce free radicals

Oxidative stress and free radicals

Oxidation is a normal chemical process by which atoms, molecules, or ions release electrons, increase their oxidation rate. In a narrower sense, oxidation is the association of a substance with oxygen or loss of hydrogen atoms. This process takes place in the cell. As it burns, it releases small particles (waste), otherwise known as free radicals.

A free radical is a particle (an atom, a molecule, or an ion) that, for one reason or another, has weakened and lost one electron. This results in one or more non-porous electrons in the valence layer. Such compounds are characterized by particularly high chemical activity. They are unstable and highly reactive.

Free radicals, in order to get the missing electrons, are constantly attacking healthy cells of the body, thus breaking the normal functioning of individual cells and organs and causing various illnesses. Because of that, uncontrolled chemical reactions leading to the development of pathological conditions, oncological and other diseases may occur.

Free radicals attack cells and often cause irreversible changes. They react with a cell membrane that is very sensitive to free radicals. They also cause genetic damage and can cause DNA mutations that can cause serious illnesses in the future. Harmful environmental factors such as nicotine, ultrasound, radiation, heavy metals, pesticides, nitrates, air pollution, poor nutrition, stress, overwork and so on, promotes the formation of free radicals.

Cannabinoids: powerful antioxidants essential for our body | We Are Canna | Formation of Free Radicals

Research shows that free radicals are one of the main causes of the body’s aging. Free radicals attack the part of the genetic material called telomeres, they shorten and the cell gets older. With the aging of the body’s cells, the body is aging.

A certain amount of free radicals is necessary for the body. They protect the body from bacteria, viruses, kill nullified cells, and are important for cell proliferation. The troubles begin when there is an excess of free radicals. Antioxidants interrupt these chain reactions, remove excessive free radicals, and inhibit other oxidation reactions.

Oxidative stress adversely affects human memory, can cause muscle and joint pain, and increases sensitivity to infections. Due to oxidative stress, cells die, the antioxidant system is disrupted and biomolecular lesions occur, and that is called oxidative damage. Many diseases are known to be affected by free radicals and oxidative stress.

Often, because of the damage they cause, diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, increased cancer-induced cancer, arthritis, vascular and heart disease may occur. In the fight against oxidative stress, we need to strengthen our body’s antioxidant barriers. Healthy and balanced diets, active lifestyles, and cannabis products are the major benefits.

Antioxidant properties of cannabinoids

In 1998, the findings of the US National Cancer Institute and the National Mental Health Institute report that cannabinoids have strong neuroprotective properties and act as antioxidants. Cannabinoids significantly reduce glutamate toxicity in the brain and help maintain a good brain condition.

It has also been shown that Cannabinoids CBD and THC better protect against oxidative effects caused by hydroperoxide and chemical Fenton reactions than any other antioxidants. Cannabidiol CBD provides greater protection against glutamate neurotoxicity than vitamin C or E. These studies demonstrate that naturally occurring and non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD can be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders such as cerebral ischemia (source).

Cannabinoids: powerful antioxidants essential for our body | We Are Canna | Antioxidant properties of Cannabis

Neuro-Inflammation can be a consequence or cause of chronic oxidative stress, which usually leads to neurodegenerative diseases.

One of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of amyloid plaques between brain neurons. Amyloids are fragments of proteins produced by the body under physiological conditions. Amyloid beta (β-amyloid) is a protein fragment from the precursor of amyloid protein. In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are disrupted and eliminated. In Alzheimer’s disease, fragments mentioned above form insoluble plaques. Amyloid beta is the most common fragment that is thought to affect cell death in Alzheimer’s patients.

In 2007, The British Pharmacology Journal published a study that states that CBD can reduce nerve inflammation caused by amyloid-beta (amyloid-β) (source). In 2000, in a US study of “Neuroprotective antioxidants from Marijuana (cannabinoids)”, the therapeutic properties of THC related to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, slowing down and stopping progress were further explored. It was found that THC interacts directly with amyloid-beta peptides and reduces their amount and toxicity. In 2014, a study conducted at the University of South Florida has shown that very small amounts of THC reduce the amount of amyloid-beta in the brain.

Cannabinoids THC and CBD is known to be a potent antioxidants with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function.

Chuanhai Cao, PhD (source)

With the help of unique cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis, we can all benefit a lot and prevent certain health problems or the development of ailments. Not to mention, that cannabinoids, in addition to their strong antioxidants properties, also have other properties aimed at homeostasis and proper bodywork.

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