Antioxidant Qualities of CBD, CBG, THC, and Other Cannabinoids

Updated: Nov 22

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A July 2021 study entitled "CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA, CBDA, and Δ9-THCA as Antioxidant Agents and Their Intervention Abilities in Antioxidant Action" that was published in the journal Fitoterapia explored the potential antioxidant characteristics of common phytocannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, and delta-9 THC, as well as the common acidic precursors CBDA and THCA.


The research noted that, "according to the literature, CBD and Δ9-THC exhibit strong antioxidant activity, stronger than vitamins C, A, and E."

The study's authors reported that the goal of their scientific investigation was to explore "the antioxidant activity of cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabinolic acid (CBDA) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA) estimated by spectrophotometric methods."


The research noted that, "according to the literature, CBD and Δ9-THC exhibit strong antioxidant activity, stronger than vitamins C, A, and E."


Study Conclusions

"The growing popularity of supplements containing cannabinoids, mainly cannabinoid oils (e.g. CBD oil and CBG oil), in the self-medication of humans and the increased interest in these compounds in different preclinical and clinical trials stimulates researcher to investigating of the bioactive properties of individual cannabinoids, including their antioxidant activities.

CBG molecular structure


"The presented data prove that all the examined cannabinoids—CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA CBDA and Δ9-THCA—exhibit antioxidant activity manifesting itself in their ability to scavenge free radicals, to protect oxidation process and to reduce metal ions. Although, the intensity of these activities for individual cannabinoids is not the same, it is generally comparable to that of E vitamin.


"The presented data prove that all the examined cannabinoids—CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA CBDA and Δ9-THCA—exhibit antioxidant activity."

"It should be noticed, however, that the magnitude of the deviation from this approximate and simplified observation depends on the method applied in estimating the antioxidant properties of cannabinoids. Careful consideration of the obtained results leads to the following conclusions:

  1. "Two types of electron sources (i.e. antioxidant centers) transferring electrons to the reduced radical/metal ion can be distinguished in CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA CBDA, and Δ9-THCA: phenolic groups and double bonds. Their significance depends on the type of electron-accepting species.

  2. "The antioxidant activity of the examined neutral cannabinoids (CBG,CBD, Δ9-THC and CBN) is higher than that of Trolox when radicals/metal ions are reduced by electron transfer from phenolic groups following the SET mechanism. It is evident from the results obtained by ABTS, CUPRAC and FRAP and slightly less so by DPPH.

  3. "The antioxidant activity of neutral cannabinoids is lower than that of Trolox when the adduct formation mechanism dominates in the radical scavenging process (see the results from beta-carotene assays).

  4. "Although the hydrogen bond between the phenolic OH group and the carboxyl group in cannabinoid acids may account for their lower antioxidant activity, it is not necessarily the case. At the presence of basic radicals (see ORAC) or in an environment with pH greater than the pKa of cannabinoid acids (see CUPRAC), their antioxidant activity is equal to or even greater than that of their neutral counterparts.

  5. "The analysis of the obtained results shows that in the case of cannabinoids with two hydroxyl groups, only one of them exhibits antioxidant activity when the SET and/or HAT mechanism dominates in the electron transfer process.

  6. "The importance of the cannabinoids' double bond in the radical scavenging process– is revealed in the adduct formation mechanism (see beta-carotene, DPPH and ORAC results)."

View the original study.


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