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How Does CBD Affects Your Brain?

Article at a Glance:

Besides protecting your body, CBD also protects your brain and helps it work at its best. 

CBD helps the Endocannabinoid System:

  • stimulate learning and memory
  • make new neurons (brain cells)
  • protect your brain tissue from damage.
  • promote mental health and a positive mood
  • combat anxiety and stress

What is CBD, and What Does It Do?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural chemical found in the hemp plant. When you consume CBD, it activates your Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to help your body maintain balance and health.

Your ECS is your body’s control center that regulates your systems and functions. It has cannabinoid receptors all over your body that detect when systems fall out of balance, and help bring them back to balance. 

 

Cannabinoid (CB) receptors are like tiny locks 🔒 that are only unlocked by CBD 🔑 and other cannabinoids. 

Meaning, your body is designed to consume cannabinoids. You NEED them!

 

Your body naturally makes cannabinoids - but sometimes our bodies are overworked and don’t make enough. Taking high quality CBD feeds your Endocannabinoid system the exact nutrients it needs to help your body and brain maintain balance so everything functions at its best.

 

Here are a few of the amazing ways CBD promotes brain health.

YOUR BRAIN ON CBD

Just like the rest of your body, your brain is also covered in cannabinoid receptors. This means your ECS helps control your cognitive functions like your memory, coordination, focus, mood, stress, anxiety, sleep, addiction, pain perception, pleasure, and brain energy.

CBD helps the ECS help your brain do its job of protecting and strengthening your brain. It works together with the natural cannabinoids produced by your body to protect your brain cells and grow new ones (neurogenesis). It also helps keep your mood positive by promoting relaxation, warding off anxiety and stress, and restoring balance.

 

FOCUS

The better you focus, the easier it is to learn and get things done. CBD helps calm and clear your mind from the things that are distracting or stressing you so you can focus on the task at hand.

MEMORY

It might sound counterintuitive that CBD helps with memory, because the THC in cannabis is famous for making people forget things. Like where you parked your car, dude.

Many experiments have confirmed THC’s negative effect on short-term memory. But those same experiments done with CBD showed no effect on short-term, spatial, or working memory.

Although researchers believe CBD has no effect on memory in the short-term, experiments on mice with Alzheimer's Disease have indicated a positive long-term effect. Preventative CBD treatment on transgenic mice was shown to be incredibly helpful for warding off the social withdrawal and facial recognition problems that are common side effects of Alzheimer's.

The mechanism for this is still unsure. Buried in all the data, researchers found the CBD had balancing effects on the mice’s cholesterol, neuroinflammation, and dietary phytosterol retention. Any or all of these might have contributed to CBD’s long-term ability to combat Alzheimer's memory problems.

NEURON GROWTH

They say alcohol kills brain cells. Technically, it only damages the dendrite ends of neurons, but the effect is the same.

CBD can actually help you grow new brain cells. Technically, this is called neurogenesis. And it’s exactly what it sounds like.

It does this by increasing the brain’s natural levels of certain cannabinoids and proteins that help encourage neuron growth (new brain cells). 

Here Are Two Ways This Works: 

Anandamide

In studies on mice, CBD increased levels of anandamide in the hippocampus, resulting in neuron growth (new brain cells).

BDNF

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a protein that helps keep existing neurons alive while stimulating the birth of new connections (synapses) and neurons. Low levels of BDNF have been correlated with lower brain performance.

Studies have indicated that CBD helps restore BDNF levels in the hippocampus.

CBD & YOUR STATE OF MIND

Researchers believe CBD’s ability to help activate neuron growth may be behind its proven, therapeutic potential for regulating mood and combating anxiety and depression.

Stress on your brain cells acts like a winter storm on a flower. Too much stressful wear and tear tells your brain that hard times are coming and now is not the time to open up and blossom.

CBD and your ECS can reverse that chain reaction. By promoting the growth of new brain cells, CBD tells your brain that it’s safe and at peace. This process has shown to be effective in combating depressive and anxious behavior.

If stress on your brain is like a winter storm, CBD acts like a perfect spring day.

Stress Dominoes: 

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS: Endocannabinoids modulate stress-induced suppression of hippocampal cell proliferation and activation of defensive behaviours

  • “An emerging paradigm from cannabinoid research is that the ECS constitutes an allostatic signaling system that contributes to cellular plasticity responses in adaptation to stress-induced alterations (Patel and Hillard, 2008).”
  • “Stress induces an inhibitory effect on neurogenesis that can be partially reverted by engaging the ECS. …Expansion of adult neurogenesis can improve depressive or anxiety-related behavioral changes (Santarelli et al., 2003; Sahay et al., 2011).”
  • Chemical intervention aside, it should also be noted that: “Proneurogenic stimuli, such as environmental enrichment and running, (also) improve mood and cognition.”
- European Journal of Neuroscience

CBD also activates a type of serotonin receptor that directly regulates anxiety and mood. This effect is similar to the anti-anxiety drug buspirone.

Studies have shown that CBD is effective in decreasing activity in the amygdala, the fear center of the brain. Even small oral doses of CBD have been shown to fight anxiety in activities like public speaking and meeting scary strangers, as well as the anxiety of getting your brain scanned to see its level of anxiety. 

CBD VS THE LIZARD BRAIN: 

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS: The Neurological Benefits of Phytocannabinoids

  • “CBD reduced the activity of the left amygdala–hippocampal complex, hypothalamus, and posterior cingulated cortex while increasing the activity of the left parahippocampal gyrus compared with placebo.”
  • “In healthy humans, CBD reversed the anxiogenic effects of Δ9-THC and reduced anxiety in a simulated public-speaking task.”
  • “In healthy volunteers treated with CBD and submitted to a presentation of fearful faces, there was a decrease of the amygdala and anterior and posterior cingulate cortex activities and a disruption in the amygdala–anterior cingulated cortex connectivity.”
  • “A study has shown that a single dose of CBD, administered orally in healthy volunteers, alters the resting activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas while decreasing subjective anxiety associated with the scanning procedure.”

 

NEUROPROTECTION

CBD can not only help your brain right now, it can also protect you against future threats to your brain health. Research indicates our favorite cannabinoid can help ward off oxidative stress, amyloid buildup, and even brain tumors.

OXIDATIVE STRESS

CBD is an antioxidant. Its ability to reduce oxidative stress to your brain cells protects against neuronal death.

The nerve cells in your brain are particularly susceptible to oxidative glutamate toxicity, which can cause Huntington’s Disease. CBD has shown to be more effective than other available antioxidants for that particular complication.

 

AMYLOID BUILDUP

Amyloid is a kind of protein that builds up inside the walls of your brain’s arteries, like plaque on your teeth. Amyloid buildup increases your risk of stroke and dementia.

CBD helps prevent this via its regulatory effect on a group of receptors in your brain called PPARγ receptors. Its activation of these receptors has been demonstrated to be effective against neuronal apoptosis by fighting the buildup of amyloid precursors.

BRAIN TUMORS

While CBD seems to have protective properties against oxidative stress in your brain cells, it also seems to be able to induce oxidative stress in brain tumor cells

CBD seems to detect differences in redox state and signal transduction to distinguish between a brain cell and a brain tumor. It also acts like an antioxidant (stress-reliever) toward brain cells and a pro-oxidant (stress-enhancer) toward brain tumors.

Basically, it protects the ‘good guys’ and makes the ‘bad guys’ want to leave.

Conclusion: 

CBD helps your ECS help your brain run at its best.

It works together with the natural cannabinoids produced by your body to protect your brain cells and grow new ones (neurogenesis).

It also helps keep your mood positive by promoting relaxation and warding off anxiety and stress.

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