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CBD increases blood flow in regions of the brain linked to memory

New research has for the first time shown that a single dose of CBD can increase blood flow in the hippocampus, a brain region connected to memory and emotion

New research has for the first time shown that a single dose of CBD can increase blood flow in the hippocampus, a brain region connected to memory and emotion

A new study, led by researchers from University College London, is offering some of the first robust evidence showing how cannabidiol (CBD), a key compound in cannabis, increases cerebral blood flow in memory processing regions of the brain such as the hippocampus.

CBD is just one of more than 100 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the compound most often associated with the plant’s psychoactive euphoric effects. CBD on the other hand is increasingly being found to confer a number of positive health outcomes. It recently became the first cannabis-derived compound ever approved by the FDA, used to reduce seizures in severe forms of epilepsy.

“There is evidence that CBD may help reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety,” says lead author on the new study, Michael Bloomfield. “There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may improve memory function. Additionally, CBD changes how the brain processes emotional memories, which could help to explain its reputed therapeutic effects in PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. However, the precise mechanisms underlying the effects of CBD on memory are unclear.”

Considering the long-standing stereotype of a dopey forgetful cannabis user, it may seem counterintuitive to suggest a compound in cannabis can improve memory function. But recent research has found some of the negative psychiatric conditions linked to cannabis use may be primarily due to THC, and CBD can potentially negate those ill effects.

This new research looked to measure the acute effects of CBD on cerebral blood flow in brain regions associated with memory processing. Baseline blood flow measurements were the key metric studied, based on prior research findings suggesting higher resting hippocampal blood flow can be linked to better memory performance.

Fifteen healthy subjects were recruited and brain scanned after being given either a placebo or a 600 mg capsule of CBD. Cerebral blood flow was measured using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called arterial spin labelling.

The results revealed significant increases in hippocampal blood flow following a single CBD dose. However, the study interestingly noted similar blood flow increases were not seen in other nearby brain regions of the medial temporal lobe. Blood flow increases were also seen in the orbitofrontal cortex, a region known for decision making.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to find that CBD increases blood flow to key regions involved in memory processing, particularly the hippocampus,” says Broomfield. “This supports the view that CBD has region-specific blood flow effects in the human brain, which has previously been disputed.”

Additional tests conducted on the cohort found the single dose of CBD did not confer any improvements to memory task performance. So this research certainly does not conclude CBD is an acute memory-boosting compound. Instead, the study points to compelling new research directions investigating the potential for CBD to help treat neurological conditions known to be related to region-specific blood flow abnormalities.

“If replicated, these results could lead to further research across a range of conditions characterized by changes in how the brain processes memories, including Alzheimer’s disease, where there are defects in the control of blood control flow, along with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder,” says Broomfield.

The new study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

A new study, led by researchers from University College London, is offering some of the first robust evidence showing how CBD, a key compound in cannabis, increases cerebral blood flow in memory processing regions of the brain such as the hippocampus.

Cbd oil brain

CBD is one of over 110 cannabinoids produced by cannabis. It is also abundant in the hemp plant. THC is famed for its ability to cause an intoxicating high. In contrast, CBD is non-intoxicating. Nonetheless, there is evidence that both compounds have possible therapeutic effects. This is part of the reason why CBD for sale is now an exciting proposition.

The possible benefits attributed to both are down to their respective effects on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS contains endocannabinoids, naturally produced cannabinoids, that bind to receptors located throughout the body. The ECS helps regulate various things such as appetite, pain, and memory.

CB1 and CB2 are the main cannabinoid receptors, though scientists are confident that there are more. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the central nervous system (CNS). They help regulate mood, pain, coordination, and other crucial functions. CB2 receptors are primarily in the immune system. They have an impact on inflammation and pain.

The Difference in How THC & CBD Impact Receptors

THC’s effects are akin to those caused by anandamide, nicknamed the ‘bliss’ molecule. It binds to our CB1 receptors, which are responsible for many of the cannabinoid’s intoxicating effects. In fact, THC binds more closely to anandamide’s CB1 receptors than the molecule itself! Anandamide prevents the release of other neurotransmitters, which is part of the reason why we feel a euphoric high after using marijuana.

In contrast, CBD has a significantly less potent effect on the ECS’s receptors. It only binds loosely to CB1 receptors. This action actually blocks the receptors, thus reducing the effects of THC.

Now that you know some basic differences between CBD and THC let’s find out more about CBD and the brain.

How Do CBD Products Affect the Brain?

Relatively few people have heard about the process of excitotoxicity in the brain, yet it plays a huge role in neurodegenerative diseases. It is a term used to describe the damage caused when the brain cells become excessively active due to too much stimulation. Excitotoxicity can happen after a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or even hearing loss.

The Neuropsychopharmacology journal published a relevant study in 2019. It analyzed the impact of CBD on brain excitation and inhibition systems. The researchers recruited 34 male volunteers, half of whom had autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They found that CBD potentially shifted GABA+ and Glx metabolites, which could help with some of the symptoms of ASD. However, the team pointed out that further studies were required.

There is also a possibility that CBD reduces oxidative stress, which occurs at the cellular level. Cells produce free radicals whenever they generate energy. Environmental toxins also produce this waste product. The body utilizes antioxidants to deal with free radical production and ensure the damage they cause is minimized.

Unfortunately, an excessive level of free radicals could result in the loss of DNA particles. This is especially the case if the body doesn’t create enough antioxidants. This process is linked to medical conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

CBD’s impact on CB2 receptors may help reduce oxidative stress. Cannabidiol also appears to have antioxidant properties. According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2014, CBD products’ long-term usage led to antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.

CBD for the Brain – The Future Is Now

It is specifically CBD’s capacity to target the serotonin 1A receptor that offers the greatest range of possibilities. This ability could help CBD deal with disorders such as depression, neuropathic pain, and anxiety disorders. It could even help reduce opioid dependence. Given that opioids kill almost 1,000 people a week in the United States, CBD’s potential to reduce opioid usage makes it worth further examination.

The primary issue regarding CBD products is the relative lack of research. The 2018 Farm Bill helped legalize the growth of industrial hemp. While it didn’t lift the federal ban on CBD, it all but provided the green light for increased usage. The sheer size of the market means that researchers now take CBD’s effects on the brain seriously.

Cbd oil brain CBD is one of over 110 cannabinoids produced by cannabis. It is also abundant in the hemp plant. THC is famed for its ability to cause an intoxicating high. In contrast, CBD is