But what does that mean and why should you care? To help you understand, you need to know what antioxidants are.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are natural or manmade substances that prevent certain kinds of cell damage caused by oxidative stress. Which leads to the question, what is oxidative stress? It’s an imbalance of free radicals – oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons – and antioxidants in your body. It’s getting complicated but hang with me. Because of the uneven number of electrons, free radicals can interact easily with other molecules and cause large chain reactions with other molecules called oxidation. Oxidation can be good or bad. Antioxidants, on the other hand, can donate an electron to free radicals, stabilizing them.
As I mentioned, oxidation is normal and can actually be helpful by fighting off pathogens that lead to infections. Oxidative stress, on the other hand, means free radicals are running rampant and can damage fatty tissue, DNA and proteins in your body, which can lead to:
- atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the blood vessels
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
As a result, doctors recommend a diet rich in antioxidants, which includes fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, nuts and seeds filled with vitamins C and E. You may be asking yourself, where do antioxidants and CBD topicals come in? This 1998 National Institute of Mental Health study was the first to show the antioxidant properties of CBD. Indicating that CBD is a more powerful source of antioxidants than vitamins C and E.
Antioxidants and CBD
Your body produces oxidants or they’re found in pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol and more. Simply speaking, CBD can help balance the level of oxidants and antioxidants in the body. As you know, cannabidiol, or CBD, is a derivative of hemp that is nonpsychoactive. Full spectrum CBD oil is full of antioxidants and other components that can help balance your bodies system
s, because of everyone’s endocannabinoid system or ECS. Yep, we, meaning all mammals, have one.
Within that ECS are receptors, CB1 and CB2. The ECS, with its squadron of receptors, monitors the balance in our bodies to keep us healthy. CBD is a cannabinoid or chemical messenger that falls into two categories: endogenous, originating in the body; or exogenous, originating outside the body.
The endocannabinoids occur in the body naturally and regulate basic functions including mood, memory, appetite, pain and sleep, among others. The exogenous cannabinoids, such as CBD, are consumed or applied to the body. Both interact indirectly with receptors to produce physical and psychological effects in the body.
CBD topical use
Topical implies applying the CBD cream, lotion, salve or balm directly to the skin. Skin, the largest organ in our bodies, has what seems like its own ECS. Yes, it’s part of the entire ECS, but the skin has CB receptors that respond to topically applied CBD. CBD topicals are often used to relieve pain such as arthritis, joint and muscle pain, injuries, burns, nerve pain, neuropathy and others. You may have also seen me write about CBD as a natural anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants are a body’s primary protection against skin diseases, pain, pathogens and viruses. They team up with the anti-inflammatory component of CBD to work fast.
Let’s say, you have a rash or a cut or some other injury. Inflammation sets in and causes discomfort. Applying CBD topicals directly to the affected area gives faster relief than if you swallowed or smoked CBD. The reason for that is, muscles absorb the CBD and it never reaches the blood stream. As a result, the affected area receives the majority of the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving advantages, reducing swelling and getting you on the road to recovery. An added benefit is that CBD topicals are safer to use than most over-the-counter relief products.
Antioxidants are also a key player in keeping skin supple, smoothing and hydrating it. So, when you use topicals you get the added moisturizing benefit. However, if you want to target that, there are complexion products, lotions and more to combat aging, but that’s for a different blog.
There you have it, the connection between antioxidants and CBD topicals. But, let me remind you that a diet high in antioxidants is key to your body’s performance. CBD topicals can’t overcome what isn’t there if your diet isn’t nutritious.