What Does CBD Gummies Do To Your Brain

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<span><b>Background:</b> Accumulating evidence suggests that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) may have antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, and thus may be a promising new agent in the treatment of psychotic and anxiety disorders. However, the neurobiological substrates unde</span> … How Does CBD Affect the Brain? Impact of Cannabidiol on Brain Function The one-of-a-kind neurological effects of CBD are the main reason why this supplement has grabbed the world of wellness Research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may be helpful as a therapeutic treatment for certain neurological conditions.

The Impact of Cannabidiol on Human Brain Function: A Systematic Review

Background: Accumulating evidence suggests that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) may have antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, and thus may be a promising new agent in the treatment of psychotic and anxiety disorders. However, the neurobiological substrates underlying the potential therapeutic effects of CBD are still unclear. The aim of this systematic review is to provide a detailed and up-to-date systematic literature overview of neuroimaging studies that investigated the acute impact of CBD on human brain function. Methods: Papers published until May 2020 were included from PubMed following a comprehensive search strategy and pre-determined set of criteria for article selection. We included studies that examined the effects of CBD on brain function of healthy volunteers and individuals diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, comprising both the effects of CBD alone as well as in direct comparison to those induced by ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of Cannabis. Results: One-ninety four studies were identified, of which 17 met inclusion criteria. All studies investigated the acute effects of CBD on brain function during resting state or in the context of cognitive tasks. In healthy volunteers, acute CBD enhanced fronto-striatal resting state connectivity, both compared to placebo and THC. Furthermore, CBD modulated brain activity and had opposite effects when compared to THC following task-specific patterns during various cognitive paradigms, such as emotional processing (fronto-temporal), verbal memory (fronto-striatal), response inhibition (fronto-limbic-striatal), and auditory/visual processing (temporo-occipital). In individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis and patients with established psychosis, acute CBD showed intermediate brain activity compared to placebo and healthy controls during cognitive task performance. CBD modulated resting limbic activity in subjects with anxiety and metabolite levels in patients with autism spectrum disorders. Conclusion: Neuroimaging studies have shown that acute CBD induces significant alterations in brain activity and connectivity patterns during resting state and performance of cognitive tasks in both healthy volunteers and patients with a psychiatric disorder. This included modulation of functional networks relevant for psychiatric disorders, possibly reflecting CBD’s therapeutic effects. Future studies should consider replication of findings and enlarge the inclusion of psychiatric patients, combining longer-term CBD treatment with neuroimaging assessments.

Keywords: Cannabis (marijuana); cannabidiol; delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol; functional MRI; neuroimaging.

Copyright © 2021 Batalla, Bos, Postma and Bossong.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

How Does CBD Affect the Brain? Impact of Cannabidiol on Brain Function

The one-of-a-kind neurological effects of CBD are the main reason why this supplement has grabbed the world of wellness products by the throat. Unlike other cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, CBD has its own way of interacting with the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound whose largest concentration can be found in hemp , a close relative of marijuana – the two come from the same mother plant (Cannabis Sativa L.). CBD is non-intoxicating ; in other words, CBD doesn’t make people feel high , but it allows them to draw a myriad of health benefits from this particular cannabinoid.

The list of medical conditions alleviated by CBD includes anxiety, inflammation, pain, lethargy, aging, skin and bones injuries, and other health concerns . When administered, it allows a person to feel relaxed without the mind-altering effects induced by THC.

Why Is CBD Different From THC and Other Cannabinoids?

As we said, there is a notable difference between CBD and other cannabinoids, or chemicals that are found in both hemp and marijuana.

While all other active compounds of the plant interact with two cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, CB1 and CB2, Cannabidiol has very little effect on both. CB1 receptors are found in different regions of the brain, including those responsible for controlling emotion, pain, cognition, and memory . CB2 receptors, on the other hand, regulate inflammatory responses and bolster the immune system . [ 1 ]

Others spread myths about CBD over the internet that it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, but they are completely mistaken. CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system to produce more of its own cannabinoids and slows their breakdown. [ 2 ] Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), on the other hand, binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, activating them and thus changing a person’s thinking, memory, pleasure, and pain perception, and concentration. These effects contribute to what we describe as a marijuana high.

Interestingly, CBD may also alter the effects of THC by blocking the CB1 receptors in places where THC taps. In higher doses, THC can induce anxiety and paranoia in some users, which is why many people are afraid to try weed. But strains that are high in CBD tend to mitigate these effects, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of marijuana without a disturbance.

Potential Neurological Effects of CBD Oil

CBD is known to have a tremendous number of medicinal properties, but because the field of marijuana research is in its infancy, we still need more studies to examine the full potential of the plant’s compounds.

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Below, we list some of the documented neurological effects of CBD oil that may help you put an end to your ailments.

Neuroprotective Effects

CBD could be helpful when it comes to treating neurological diseases due to its neuroprotective properties. In other words, CBD protects neurons from degeneration , which helps a person’s brain remain younger. In a study on Alzheimer’s Disease, CBD was shown to inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms [ 3 ].

Pain-killing Effects

CBD is a natural pain suppressor [ 4 ]. It’s capable of inhibiting neuronal transmission without causing analgesic tolerance and substance dependence. Because of these qualities, researchers came to the conclusion that CBD and other non-intoxicating cannabinoids can be used as an effective alternative to prescription opioid drugs when it comes to treating chronic pain.

On top of that, the topical use of CBD has been shown by numerous studies to improve joint mobility and speed up the healing process after an injury. Many professional athletes use CBD to fight muscle inflammation and other pain-related issues .

Anti-cancer Effects

As research shows, very high doses of CBD can be used to cease the growth of cancer cells due to its antitumor properties. What’s optimistic about the neurological effects of CBD oil is that it has no toxic effects on humans [ 5 ]. This study also shows that CBD could even help treat leukemia and similar illnesses.

Anti-anxiety Effects

CBD has long been praised for its anti-anxiety effects. Actually, this is the number one reason why people use CBD oil. When you scan the Internet for positive voices of Cannabidiol, you will come across a sea of success stories of patients that managed to go cold turkey on their drug cocktails thanks to CBD.

As for the scientific evidence, a 2011 study tested 24 patients with social anxiety disorders. 1.5 hours before the test, the patients were administered CBD oil or a placebo. It was found that the anxiety levels, cognitive impairment, and social discomfort in patients who were given CBD had dropped significantly as compared to the placebo subjects [ 6 ].

How Does CBD Affect The Brain

Cannabidiol acts through various molecular pathways , which explains the neurological effects of CBD oil. Although CBD doesn’t tap into two of the cannabinoid receptors, it stimulates the activity of the endocannabinoid system through several different receptor-independent routes . CBD also strengthens and inhibits the binding action of certain protein-coupled receptors.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the receptor systems that are affected by CBD.

1. CBD And The Serotonin System

Serotonin receptors affect a wide range of bodily and brain functions. For example, they affect a person’s cognition, mood, appetite, and pain perception , but they are also responsible for our reactions to stress – serotonin receptors regulate the release of hormones that control the above functions.

CBD targets the serotonin 1A receptor , which is why scientists believe Cannabidiol can be so useful in treating pain, anxiety, and obesity. Moreover, the increased activity of serotonin 1A receptors has been linked by researchers to CBD’s potential influence on certain issues such as depression, nausea from chemotherapy, neuropathic pain, and schizophrenia .

2. CBD And Vanilloid Receptors

CBD attaches to vanilloid receptors , also known as TRPV1 receptors, to achieve certain therapeutic effects. Because TRPV1 is an ion channel, it helps the body r egulate its temperature, control inflammation, and change the perception of pain .

3. CBD And Orphan Receptors

The orphan receptor has got its name because scientists are still unsure if it belongs to a larger receptor family. Also called GPR55 , the orphan receptor is responsible for regulating blood pressure, bone density, and bone reabsorption .

When the orphan receptor shows signs of constant overactivity, it may eventually cause osteoporosis and contribute to the multiplication and migration of tumor cells. CBD inhibits GPR55 signaling, which is linked to the ability of this cannabinoid to stop the growth of cancer.

4. CBD And Nuclear Receptors

Nuclear receptors are also referred to PPARs, short for proliferator-activated receptors. Their activity is attributed to antitumor effects. CBD activates PPARs, which are found on the surface of the cell’s nucleus. When the PPAR-gamma receptor is stimulated, it triggers an antiproliferative effect that has been shown to cause cancer to regress in lung cancer cell families .

5. CBD As An Anandamide Booster

A 2016 study published in the Frontiers of Pharmacology showed that CBD on the brain inhibits the breakdown of anandamide , which boosts endocannabinoid levels on the brain’s synapses. Anandamide is often called the human version of marijuana because anandamide and THC are much alike in their chemical structure. They also produce similar effects; anandamide controls mood, pain perception, body temperature, appetite, and more.

CBD interacts with the same intracellular molecules that transport THC and anandamide to different parts inside the cell. It also has a strong bond with three kinds of fatty acid-binding protein (FABP). Once endocannabinoids get inside the cell, the process of anandamide’s breakdown begins. Cannabidiol reduces anandamide’s access to transport FABP and thus delays it from entering the cell, slowing its breakdown [ 7 ].

Medical Benefits of CBD For the Brain

Now, let’s sum up some of the most noteworthy therapeutic properties of CBD.

1. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

While THC can increase anxiety in some people , especially if administered in high doses, a study conducted by Neurotherapeutics has found that CBD can help reduce the anxiety experienced by patients with anxiety disorders. The neurological effects of CBD could lead to the emergence of all-natural anti-anxiety therapies in the nearest future [ 8 ].

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2. Seizures

According to a study posted in Epilepsia, CBD may treat seizures, epilepsy, and neuropsychiatric disorders . Not only does CBD have a wide range of antiseizure properties, but it also has a low risk of undesired effects on people who already suffer from epilepsy. This particular quality of Cannabidiol has given rise to more and more studies aimed at determining how exactly CBD and other cannabinoids can potentially treat disorders linked to epilepsy, especially neurodegeneration and neuronal injuries.

3. Insomnia

Since CBD can help reduce stress, anxiety, and pain, it may prove an effective natural sleep aid. CBD also controls the sleep-wake cycle ; in other words, it induces wakefulness and reduces daytime sleepiness in low doses, but large amounts of these cannabinoids administered a few hours before bedtime can have a sedating effect that often results in a good night’s sleep [ 9 ].

Unlocking CBD’s Unequivocal Potential

While most of the research available today has put its focus on understanding the relationship between humans and THC, CBD on the brain has been recently shown to have great potential with regard to its medical versatility. Once we fully understand all the properties of hemp and marijuana, we will be able to unlock its full power and use it in a way that could benefit us even more than it does now.

Let’s hope that scientists will soon find newer ways to improve human health and regeneration with natural resources so that people can have true freedom of choice when it comes to choosing their treatment options.

  1. Battista N., Tomasso D. M., Bari M., Maccarone M. The Endocannabinoid System: An Overview. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2012; 6: 9. Published online in March 2012. Pre-published online in December 2011.
  2. Ahn K., McKinney K. M., and Cravatt B. F. Enzymatic Pathways That Regulate Endocannabinoid Signalling in the Nervous System. Chemical Reviews., 2008, 108 (5), pp 1687 – 1707. Published online in April 2008.
  3. Campbell V. A., Gowran A. Alzheimer’s Disease: Taking the Edge Off With Cannabinoids? Department of Physiology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin.British Journal of Pharmacology (2007) 152, 655-622. Published Online in September 2007.
  4. Russo E. Cannabinoids in the Management of Difficult to Treat Pain. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management (2008); 4(1): 24-259. Published online in February 2008.
  5. Massi P., Solinas M., Cinquina V., and Parolaro D. Cannabidiol as Potential Anticancer Drug. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2013); 75(2): 303-312. Published online in April 2012.
  6. Beramaschi M. M. et al. Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naive Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology (2011); 36(6): 1219-1226. Published online in February 2011.
  7. Deutsch DG. A Personal Retrospective: Elevating Anandamide (AEA) by Targetting Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and the Fatty Acid Binding Proteins (FABPs). Frontier of Pharmacology (2016); 7:370. Published online in 2016.
  8. Blessing E. M., Steenkamp M. M., Manzanares J., and Marmar C. R. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics (2015); 12(4): 825-836. Published online in September 2015.
  9. Devinsky O. et al. Cannabidiol: Pharmacology and Potential Therapeutic Role in Epilepsy and Other Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Epilepsia (2014); 55(6): 791-802. Published online in May 2014.
Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

CBD and the Brain: The Impact of Cannabidiol on Brain Health

Scientists are just beginning to unveil the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). As new discoveries come to the forefront, we are learning that CBD could give your brain health a major boost, due to its ability to protect brain cells from the harms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), stroke and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Learn about how CBD affects the brain, the neurological conditions the cannabinoid may help treat, and how to use it for maximum effect.

How CBD Affects the Brain

Before we can understand CBD’s effects on the brain, we need to understand how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works. Your ECS plays a fundamental role in homeostasis or balance. The ECS is involved in fertility, appetite regulation, pregnancy, pre- and postnatal development, pain sensation, mood, the pleasurable effects of voluntary exercise and the formation of memory.

The ECS plays an important part in the development and plasticity of the human brain throughout a person’s lifetime, with endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) playing a very important role in protecting the brains of newborns and the maturation of the adolescent brain.

When the ECS is disrupted, or if a person’s genetics do not encode cannabinoid receptors or endocannabinoids properly, health problems occur. The ECS can be disrupted by injuries or illnesses, which can form a part of an inflammatory event (e.g. a long-term viral or bacterial infection) that can cause both short- and long- term changes to the functioning of the ECS.

Age also plays a factor in how the ECS functions, just as the brain changes over the course of one’s lifetime. Keeping the ECS “in balance” could therefore help overcome or theoretically even prevent conditions that affect the human brain as it ages.

There are several neurological and mood disorders which are linked to disruption to the ECS, and there is some good evidence suggesting that the ECS is a key modulator of sociability, emotions and cognition. Some of these conditions are genetic and can occur at any age, while others are more likely to occur as we age (although there may still be a genetic component). Some are also autoimmune conditions.

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There are several studies and reports suggesting that CBD and other cannabinoids (including THC in some instances) may be useful for the treatment of neurological and mood disorders such as:

    , particularly childhood forms of epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
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CBD vs. Other Cannabinoids

CBD is not the only cannabinoid that may help people with neurological conditions. Its psychoactive counterpart, THC, has been shown to affect the brain in different ways as well, although not all of these are positive.

As a general rule, CBD works best in combination with THC and other cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). This chemical “team effort” is known as the entourage effect.

Potential Health Benefits

CBD and other cannabinoids including THC may present the following neurological health benefits:

  • Help reduce neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain)
  • Facilitate neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells)
  • Help with excitotoxicity (damage to nerve cells caused by prolonged activation of an excitatory neurotransmitter, commonly glutamate)
  • Decrease hypothermia – CBD and THC may reduce body temperature , potentially lowering blood pressure , potentially easing certain cardiac conditions like arrhythmia
  • Fewer motor and autonomic deficits in those with spinal cord injuries
  • Enhancing anandamide signaling – disruption of which is implicated in autism

Research into these possible health benefits of CBD is ongoing, and more clinical trials are necessary.

Is CBD a Nootropic?

Nootropics are drugs that improve cognitive performance, including attention span, memory and even creativity. Some researchers consider CBD to be a nootropic, but there is currently no consensus in the scientific community.

CBD could be considered a nootropic because of its potential to improve blood flow in the brain, easing anxiety and depression and potentially treating conditions that affect the memory, like Alzheimer’s and PTSD. When people feel less anxious and less depressed, they are more likely to pay attention, remember things and be creative.

Using CBD for Brain Health

Effectively using CBD for brain health means pinpointing the best product, dosage and treatment duration for you.

Products

Many CBD products may offer brain benefits, but we cannot say this for sure as there is little research to evaluate their efficacy. You can choose from CBD topicals, CBD edibles, sublingual CBD tinctures and smokable CBD products. Some CBD products may be better for treating insomnia (especially products containing higher amounts of myrcene and linalool), while others are designed to help people with anxiety and depression (where terpenes like limonene may be more helpful).

Dosages

Dosing CBD is very much a customized process and depends on your personal needs and treatment goals. Beginner CBD consumers may start with as low as 5 milligrams (mg) of CBD per day, while more experienced consumers may take up to 100 mg per day, or potentially even more. Tweaking CBD dosages is common and the amount of CBD that feels good today may change in the near future.

It is also worth remembering that CBD has different effects at different dosages (i.e. it has biphasic effects). Lower doses (under 15 mg) of CBD may have more stimulating effects, whereas higher doses may have more sedative effects. Again, the effect CBD has and at what dose is very much individual, so take this as a rough guide. Check out our guide to dosing for more information.

Duration

One study found extended CBD use (twice daily for 10 weeks) to be beneficial. The researchers determined that, “Prolonged CBD treatment appears to have promising effects for improving psychological symptoms and cognition in regular cannabis users.”

Speak with your doctor about CBD dosing guidelines of how often and for what duration would be best for you personally.

The Bottom Line: CBD’s Impact on Brain Health

CBD appears to have numerous potential benefits for brain health. Improving focus, relieving anxiety, and reducing inflammation are just a few ways that the cannabinoid could strengthen your brain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does CBD oil relieve brain fog?

Some people report feeling more clear-headed when using CBD, while others may feel mellow or even fatigued. Your reaction to CBD depends on many factors, including your experience level with the cannabinoid, your body weight and body chemistry.

Can CBD heal the brain?

Research has shown that CBD may have neuroprotective properties, which means that the cannabinoid could indeed heal the brain. Notably, CBD may encourage the growth of new brain cells and reduce brain inflammation in some people.

What does CBD oil do to the brain?

For many people, CBD oil leads to a feeling of relaxation, while for others the cannabinoid lends an energy burst. CBD oil and other CBD products may also enhance the brain health of people with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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