December 14, 2021

How CBD Can Boost Your Brain Health

by Psych Times Staff

In this fast-paced modern era, everything seems to chase you on your tails. Heavy panting from factors such as work-from-home, upcoming deadlines, payment due dates, the pandemic, and various illnesses can compromise your cognitive state.

There are many known strategies to boost your brain health, and one of which is through the help of CBD.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most essential and non-psychoactive component of cannabis, explicitly derived from the hemp plant. It positively affects the brain’s role in decision-making, learning, memory, emotions, and attention. 

CBD was unveiled decades ago, but it wasn’t until recently that several countries finally legalized the use of CBD, both for recreational and medical use.  It doesn’t produce any psychoactive effect or high feeling to a user. 

Since then, CBD can be found in many products, such as capsules, vaporizers, edibles, creams, lotions, transdermal patches, sublingual sprays, tinctures, and oils. 

CBD in carrier oil is one of the mainly used products as it’s believed to combat anxiety, depression, and sleeping disorders. CBD may be incorporated into either hemp seed oil or medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. You may check out reliable sources like naturesarcorganics.com/blog/mct-oil-versus-hemp-seed-oil/ to see a comparison of these two oils.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System?

While studying the psychoactive material of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the 1990s, scientists discovered the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s linked to the modulation of human neurobiological processing that commands memory, stress, appetite, mood, and pain perception. 

ECS contains two receptors, the CB1 and CB2, found in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). Anandamide (ANA) is a neurotransmitter of the ECS that plays a role in perceiving pleasure, appetite, energy, mood, and motivation; you naturally produce it through exercising and following your passion.

Like a domino effect, anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health problems may result in brain dysfunction and affect day-to-day life. Here are the ways CBD may help boost your brain health:

  • May Activate Brain Neurons 

CB1 in the CNS is found primarily in the interior and exterior parts of the globus pallidus, basal ganglia, substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), cerebellum, hippocampus, and brainstem. CBD mimics anandamide and binds loosely with the two receptors, resulting in the stimulation of brain neurons. 

The use of CBD may activate and stimulate brain neurons. As they communicate electrochemically, this may increase their conductivity and improve brain functioning, enabling a person to think and feel clearly and efficiently. It may be highly beneficial to people who suffer from brain fog and mental exhaustion. 

Furthermore, studies have found that CBD may increase adult neurogenesis, which is due to natural aging. It’s also believed to increase the synaptic plasticity of the neurons and facilitate electrical impulse conductivity. 

  • May Stimulate Hormones And Neurotransmitters

The hormones melatonin (sleep hormone), endorphins (happy hormone), oxytocin, and cortisol (stress hormone) are derived from various endocrine glands located in the brain. They play as chemical messengers to influence different systemic behaviors.

SNr and the midbrain produce neurotransmitters, namely serotonin, and dopamine. Serotonin is responsible for mood stabilization, sleep, and wellbeing, while dopamine is for the pleasure and reward system. 

Disruption and dysfunction in the hormones and neurotransmitters may result in mental health problems, such as personality and sleeping disorders, anxiety, and depression. With the help of CBD, ECS activates cannabinoid receptors all throughout the body, especially the CB1, which is abundant in the brain. 

This cascade of events may increase the sensitivity, as well as stimulate hormones and neurotransmitters, thus, resulting in cognitive homeostasis and a healthier and more functional brain. 

  • May Help With Pain Management

Nociceptors or pain receptors travel from the peripheral origin of pain to the brain via the nociceptive pathways. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) analyzes the stimulus responsible for personality traits, prospective memory, attention, cognitive control, and flexibility. The pain regulatory system is believed to be located in the reticular formation of the medulla. 

Study shows that pain can alter the brain both chemically and physically. Chronic pain may decrease glutamate production in the PFC, which regulates thoughts and emotions. These affectations may eventually lead to severe stress, anxiety, and even depression, thus, resulting in brain malfunctions. 

CBD binds with nociceptors, which is believed to inhibit and control neuropathic and inflammatory pain without any psychoactive effect. Pain management due to CBD may be beneficial to prevent various brain dysfunctions. 

In addition, CBD may increase the body’s natural way of producing endocannabinoids to combat chronic pain conditions. Controlled pain makes an individual more productive and focused.

  • May Reduce Blood Flow 

Research indicates that mood disorders and anxiety are linked to increased blood flow in the amygdala, fusiform cortex, anterior insula, and several regional areas of the brain.

The amygdala plays a crucial role in emotional processing, such as fear and anxiety. It’s also connected to the PFC. Disruption in its homeostasis, such as blood perfusion, may result in mood alteration, anxiety, or depression. 

CBD is believed to bind with the CB1 receptors abundant in the brain to modulate the blood flow, thus, creating a harmonious balance inside the brain, 

  • May Have Anti-Inflammatory And Antioxidant Properties

The brain also experiences stress and acquires toxins derived from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable compounds that cause neuron destruction and contamination. 

Oxidative stress is the byproduct of the imbalance between antioxidants and oxidants. It results in oxidative modifications of proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, leading to aging and death of neurons. 

Neuronal inflammation, degeneration, and cell death destroy the electrical impulses and signal pathways, thus, compromising brain health. They contribute to conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. 

A study has claimed that CBD may bind and tear down the chain reaction of free radicals to modify them into passive forms or completely destruct them. They may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that could be crucial in brain homeostasis.

  • May Have Antipsychotic And Anxiolytic Properties

Anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions are highly disruptive and affect global brain health.  In addition to the internal damage to the brain structures, some individuals are incapable of caring for themselves. 

Malnutrition and dehydration are harmful to the general health of a person. Glucose is the main source of food for the brain. Due to 100 billion neurons in the brain, it requires an adequate amount of energy every day. Lack of nutrition may lead to poor brain function.

CBD may have a significant impact on the majority of brain receptors that alter mood and personalities, which means it may be beneficial to people with mental health disorders. 

Is CBD Legal?

Several countries around the world have legalized the use of CBD for recreational and medical use. In the U.S., the District of Columbia, four territories, and 36 states have already approved the legality for medical use, however it’s still prohibited at the federal level. There are also varying degrees of regulation on its use. The FDA has permitted researchers and scientists to conduct CBD effectiveness trials in December 2015. Since then, a variation of CBD products has been put on the market. 

How To Choose The Right CBD Product

CBD products have been gaining a lot of attention since it was legalized in some states. If you plan to buy one, you should consider looking at the product’s certificate of analysis (COA). It comes from a third-party source that advertises the product due to its effectiveness. 

You may also ask a trusted doctor or nurse practitioner for recommendations. It’s advised that you check the products that meet the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines. Nowadays, product review videos surge the Internet; thus, it may also be wise to get some insights from trusted public figures or influencers.

Risks And Effects

One must research the accurate dosages to be administered to ensure their effectiveness or prevent overdosing. Adverse effects must be noted, and promptly see a doctor if things get worse.

CBD may not be taken together with other medicines due to increased possibility of fatal side effects. Pregnant women, as well as people with heart, liver, kidney, and other systemic diseases, must take optimal precautions in using CBD products. 

Upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, dry mouth, and reduced appetite are the most common side effects of CBD. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD products, so the responsibility lies solely on the buyer. 

Does CBD Guarantee Improved Brain Health?

There are still existing arguments on the effectiveness of CBD to boost brain and general health. Researchers, experts, and scientists have conducted intensive studies and experiments to prove its potential benefits among people with various conditions and illnesses. 

Evidence-based studies, diagnostic imaging, clinical observations, and successful testimonials of CBD have been published for public knowledge. CBD has helped people deal with chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, depression, brain fog, and other mental health disorders.

For years, varieties of CBD products have been manufactured and sold in the market, from edibles to topical creams, lotions, sprays, patches, and inhalers. Choosing the right product depends on preference and discretion. Most importantly, you must always seek your doctor’s advice before purchasing any CBD product.


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