As you have probably heard, antioxidants are one of our most powerful allies in the battle against aging and bad health. What you may not know, however, is how exactly they work—especially in relation to skin health and appearance—and that CBD is actually a powerful antioxidant.
How Antioxidants Work
Oxidation is a chemical reaction, detrimental to our health. It is exacerbated by things like alcohol, smoking, air pollution, UV rays, junk food and stress; but even without such external factors, it’s still a natural process that comes with aging that can never be completely nullified.
Oxidation generates waste products, some of which contain unpaired electrons. Molecules with unpaired electrons are called free radicals, and are basically contaminated. Even worse, those free radicals draw out electrons from other, full molecules, making them incomplete and turning them into free radicals as well. This chain reaction is sometimes so rampant, it can snowball into serious diseases of various types, including cancer.
Free radicals are the scientific culprits of the breakdown of collagen, which results in wrinkles, fine lines, and loose skin.
Antioxidants, as their name implies, combat oxidation. The outcome of this battle is predetermined, oxidation will always come out on top, sooner or later. But if it does so later rather than sooner, then antioxidants have done their job, giving us a longer, healthier life.
In the context of skin, antioxidation relates to fresher, tighter, cleaner, more radiant, younger-looking skin.
CBD’s Antioxidizing Properties
A body of research has proven CBD has strong antioxidizing properties.
A pivotal study from 1998 by the National Institute of Mental Health was the first to provide a glimpse into CBD’s immense potential to battle oxidation. 
“Cannabidiol and THC also were shown to prevent hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage as well as or better than other antioxidants in a chemical (Fenton reaction) system and neuronal cultures. Cannabidiol was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or α-tocopherol, indicating it to be a potent antioxidant,” the study states.
Other research has since built on these findings, like the National Institute of Mental Health’s 2000 follow-up study, titled Neuroprotective Antioxidants from Marijuana, and a patent by the US Government, titled Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants, which explored how cannabinoids can treat a wide range of oxidation-related conditions, including age-related diseases. 
Besides the antioxidizing effects, what makes CBD topicals effective is their ingestion method. The skin happens to be the area of the body that’s the most abundant in endocannabinoid receptors, meaning the absorption rate of CBD is higher, which can directly affect the specific area it is applied to.
CBD has shown a lot of promise as an antioxidant, be it in topical form or otherwise. You could easily mix it in with other powerful antioxidants into smoothies, for example. The best part is that it has a diverse range of other benefits, for both your skin and your body overall, that don’t really come with any real costs like dangerous side-effects.
- Hampson et al, Cannabidiol and (−)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jul 7; 95(14): 8268–8273; Journal Impact Factor = 9.58 ; Times Cited = 781
- Hampson et al, Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants
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