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Cannabis / CBD / THC / cannabidiol / tetrahydrocannabinol

It seems that certain components of the Cannabis plant family have protective properties against Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity.  Yes, there is the endocannabinoid system and all that...and what if many of the benefits of these cannabinoids may come from a protective effect against Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity?

Cannabinoids Protect Cells from Oxidative Cell Death: A Receptor-Independent Mechanism

The antioxidative property of cannabinoids was confirmed by their ability to antagonize oxidative stress and consequent cell death induced by the retinoid anhydroretinol [a form of Poison/"Vitamin A"]. Therefore, cannabinoids act as antioxidants to modulate cell survival and growth of B lymphocytes and fibroblasts.

Read the above again.  Cannabinoids prevented cell death induced by Poison/"Vitamin A".

Cannabis smoke directly breaks down beta-carotene:

Chemical and biological studies of β-carotene after exposure to Cannabis sativa smoke

Our results showed that the BC [beta-carotene, the main plant form of Poison/"Vitamin A] exposed to CSS [Cannabis sativa smoke] underwent 98.8% degradation and suffered loss of its antiradical activity.

The following paper is referencing the first study I linked above, and added some important information about Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol).  I have a whole article discussing the protective effects of Vitamin E against Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity, and the quote below suggests that both THC and Vitamin E are protective against the oxidative stress and cell death caused by Poison/"Vitamin A" in a similar way.  See below.

Cannabinoid-induced apoptosis in immune cells as a pathway to immunosuppression

They also performed experiments with α-tocopherol, the most potent isomer of the antioxidant vitamin E and with retinod anhydroretinol, which induces oxidative cell death [form of Poison/"Vitamin A"], either in the presence or absence of THC. Their results demonstrated that similar to the effect of α-tocopherol, and unlike retinoid anhydroretinol , THC was able to protect 5/2 cells [cultured human beta lymphoblastoid cells] from oxidative stress and cell death.

In summary:

  • Cannabinoids are protective to the cells against Poison/"Vitamin A", in a similar way to Vitamin E.
  • Cannabis sativa smoke directly breaks down beta-carotene (this is a good thing).

It is quite possible, in my opinion, that many of the benefits of medical cannabis may be directly related to these effects on Poison/"Vitamin A".

Dr. Garrett Smith, the "Nutrition Detective"
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (NMD) in Arizona
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