Oxidative stress and the metabolism of oxygen are major weapons our immune system uses to fight harmful pathogens and stimulate tissue repair. However, too much oxidative stress can cause organ damage and dysfunction. There is hope. Recently scientists have discovered that CBD hemp oil and our natural endocannabinoid system can help reverse oxidative stress. If an individual with this problem doesn’t get help, an imbalance with oxidative stress can cause or accelerate rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and even neuropathic pain.
New studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system can be the key to relieving the diseases caused by oxidative stress, so let’s first look at exactly what it is and then how CBD hemp oil can help.
What is Oxidative Stress?
To get to the heart of why too much oxidation can harm the human body, we need to go back to chemistry. Oxidation is the technical term for the process of removing electrons from something. This can happen by exposing the item to an oxidizing agent such as oxygen or chlorine. Just like anything, high amounts of oxygen can be toxic. Some examples of oxidative stress are rust on iron left in the elements for too long, the browning of exposed avocado meat, and the browning of apple slices.
Our bodies get energy by combining food and oxygen, which creates byproducts known as free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms. Atoms have layers known as shells and each shell has to be filled with a certain number of electrons for the shell to be stable. An example of a stable molecule would be H2O. Separately both hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) are free radicals. Hydrogen has one electron, needing one more to balance its shell. Oxygen has six and needs two more to achieve balance. When two hydrogen atoms bond with one oxygen, everyone is balanced and we have water. This can’t happen with free radicals.
Free radicals desperately seek balance and they don’t stop until they find it, which could be a problem in the body if they take electrons from other atoms in their search and create more free radicals. To settle these free radicals, our body needs atoms ready to bond. Doctors and nutritionists call these antioxidants.
Antioxidants help the body’s free radical problem by donating electrons to them and making them stable. Antioxidants have the ability to remain stable even after this electron donation, so they don’t also turn into free radicals! With these molecules and healthy systems, our bodies can effectively neutralize free radicals before they get out of hand.
When free radicals get out of control, they can cause damage to proteins, DNA, and other parts of the cells and studies indicate that this can cause damage to nerve cells. The oxidative stress can take a major toll on our bodies, similar to if you make guacamole and you don’t add lemon or lime juice. The avocado meat gets brown faster because of the free radicals creating the endless cycle of electron-stealing. The same thing happens in our bodies — if we don’t take care of the free radicals, we’re going to go bad. They’re also a waste product of our energy making process, and if they build up in our bodies, things go very wrong. However, our bodies aren’t without defenses of their own.
Endocannabinoid System and Oxidative Stress
The Endocannabinoid System is a relatively newly discovered system of receptors and glands located mostly in the immune system, but also the brain. Discovered in the early 1990s, this system helps keep our body in optimal condition by stepping in and helping other systems when they’re having trouble.
The three main parts of the endocannabinoid system are the cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes. Endocannabinoids are released, connect with the cannabinoid receptors, and then metabolic enzymes break down these endocannabinoids after they’re used. The receptors are on the surface of cells whether in the body or the brain, and they listen to the conditions in the body. Between the CB1 receptors mostly found in the brain and the CB2 receptors found around the body, they send signals about condition changes to start the appropriate cellular responses, releasing hormones, neurotransmitters, and other signal proteins.
It’s this process that oxidative stress can disrupt, as these atomic level waste products bounce around, causing havoc all over the body. The process of taming free radicals to reduce oxidative stress is part of keeping the body healthy. Researchers are just learning that cannabinoids like CBD can help boost the endocannabinoid system, letting it work harder at reducing free radicals, oxidative stress, and the inflammation these things cause. But how?
Minimizing Oxidative Stress with CBD
While there’s no way to prevent oxidative stress and free radicals, we can do our best to minimize the harmful effects by not only consuming antioxidants in food, but also boosting the body systems that clear free radicals, such as the eCB System and the immune system. The harmful effects of oxidative stress can be very detrimental to the body. These ailments can be neurodegenerative diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even heart failure and forms of cancer. The main way we can reduce the effects of oxidative stress is through antioxidants.
While antioxidants come from plenty of fruits such as cranberries, blackberries, and wild blueberries, cannabinoid hemp oil can also act as an antioxidant in our bodies. CBD oil’s neuroprotective qualities and its ability to help stabilize free radical molecules make it an ideal supplement for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
Scientists have even applied for a U.S. Patent listing CBD oil extracted from hemp as an antioxidant. In the patent application, this group of researchers states simply that “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties.” These researchers also concluded that “…cannabinoids [are] useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” When even scientists are saying that CBD hemp oil can help treat inflammatory and immune diseases, you can feel safe talking to your doctor about adding it to your regimen. There are many different delivery methods, and you can discuss which one is right for you.