We all know about CBD and its impact on pain and anxiety (among other things), but what do you know about its effects on cognitive function? Most of the research around cannabidiol focuses on the physical effects it generates, but there’s a lot to be said about this cannabis extract and how it may be used to enhance brain performance. CBD Central looks at some of the bold claims made by researchers, about CBD and its impact on the brain.
Heavy use of cannabis has long been associated with neuroanatomical changes in the hippocampus, and while these changes are usually linked to THC, researchers now believe that CBD has neuroprotective properties that may help ameliorate damage to the brain. Long term use of THC leads to cognitive impairment, increased risk of psychotic symptoms – and many of these effects are caused by a shrinking hippocampus.
The hippocampus is involved in memory and learning, which makes it a very essential part of the brain. CBD reverses some of that damage by enlarging the hippocampus and interacting with a host of type 1 receptors located in this area. This leads to higher cognitive function and prevents some of the symptoms of massive THC exposure such as paranoia, delusions, and conceptual disorganization.
Increases Endocannabinoid Level
One of the reasons CBD is so effective at treating common disorders is how it increases endocannabinoid function. The brain is naturally wired for cannabinoids, so when CBD is ingested or applied topically, it works with natural cannabinoids to generate many therapeutic effects. This is part of the reason it helps to treat such a wide range of conditions including:
• Mood disorders
• Spinal cord injuries
• Myocardial infarction
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is connected with the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain, and these are the same areas that control the sleep/wake cycle, mood, pain, and the immune system. By working through the relevant brain receptors, CBD can heal, strengthen, and create a balance that’s needed for optimal function.
Enhances Activation of Serotonin
The fact that CBD can target specific brain receptors (such as serotonin 1A) means that it can ameliorate disorders such as neuropathic pain, anxiety, and opioid dependency. Although much of this area is still under research, the effects the activation and release of serotonin in the body is well-documented and is vital in treating mood disorders and chronic pain. Given the potential therapeutic effects this generates, CBD can potentially be used to treat a broad range of ailments.
Stimulate Growth of Neurons
Brain cells continue to dwindle as we age, and when this happens, we start to lose memories and capabilities that are fairly essential to our human experience. As a matter of fact, the loss of brain cells can even to lead to the loss of our personalities. And since we’re only as robust as our brains, it makes sense that scientists are looking into ways to stimulate cell regeneration and fire up the neurons by using natural compounds such as CBD. Bear in mind that the main area where neurogenesis occurs is in the hippocampus – and CBD has healing properties that keep it functioning optimally for longer.
When combined with other conditions that spur brain growth, such as exercise and nutrition, CBD can keep the brain working perfectly well into your senior years. This happens because CBD promotes embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis, and also, it generates an anxiolytic, antidepressant effect.
Improves Memory & Anxiety Management
The anti-anxiety effects of CBD are well documented. Memory function is greatly enhanced by neurogenesis, and CBD plays a significant role in renewing brain cells and firing up neurons linked to memory. Cannabidiol also reduces social anxiety, general anxiety disorder, and it also lowers cortisol, the stress hormone, making blood pressure normal again. All this makes it perfect for managing anxiety, especially when other medications have failed.