CBD’s effects are so impressive and far-reaching, it seems you could throw just about any symptom at it and see if it sticks. So, maybe you’re wondering if CBD has an affect on memory.
While on one hand it seems like an insane approach to treatment or health prevention, there’s a reason why we’re inclined to think of CBD as an umbrella remedy — and that reason is because of its effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
CBD, the ECS, and Brain Health
The ECS is charged with keeping your body in balance through a great network of receptors, endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by your body), and enzymes. These components are in a constant flux with the goal of keeping you in a state of well-being.
CBD has a lot of therapeutic benefits because it interacts with many parts of the ECS. And while there is currently not a lot of research for the practical application of CBD on memory and focus, there is a heap of promising research about its neuroprotective role for brain cells. Also, there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence that CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes help with mental clarity and to improve concentration.
The other thing about CBD — it can treat a lot of the symptoms that contribute to morning brain fog and the midday slump that might have you feeling forgetful.
In this article, we’ll whip up a quick discussion on how CBD has been shown to improve brain health and it’s potential to help you with memory issues.
What Causes Forgetfulness
Memory loss can be caused by neurological cognitive disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease, brain injury, and more. CBD has certainly flexed its neuroprotective muscle in many studies — its effect on epilepsy alone is inspiring.
But what about those of us who just feel like our memories aren’t as sharp as they used to be? Lacking an actual neurological medical condition, the causes for this waning memory syndrome are most likely due to:
Stress is disorienting, and we all know the havoc it can wreak on memory. Not only does it have this negative forgetfulness impact, stress can also trigger anxiety responses that can hi-jack your mood. And as if that weren’t enough, it blocks incoming memories and boggles your brain’s ability to get into your old memory files.
That means chronic stress can have detrimental effects on both your mind and body. Studies prove that stress leads to inflammation, the consequences of which can manifest in many areas of the body. There’s actually research outlining how chronic stress can destroy brain cells, shrinking the prefrontal cortex. Because this area is the part of the brain that regulates behavior, memory, and learning, you can imagine the damage done to it by stress.
Mood disorders like depression can certainly have an effect on memory. In the case of depression and forgetfulness, the two symptoms can negatively impact one another, keeping you in a vicious cycle. Studies have also revealed a link between depression and short-term memory loss, cascading into frustration and out-of-control feelings, negatively impacting work and relationships.
We all know how frustrating not getting enough sleep can be. There are 50-70 million adults who suffer from sleep disorders and symptoms which include fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased daily production.
A study from 2016 shed some light on how sleep deprivation affects memory. According to researchers, our brain waves play an essential role in memory storage. These brain waves regulate the shuffling of memories to different parts of the brain where long-term memories are kept. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep nocks our brains out of long-term memory-storing mode.
How CBD Can Improve Memory
Along with its famous capacity for relieving pain and anxiety, CBD is a neurological protector too. It’s been used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including memory loss. CBD oil has been shown to help improve cognition in patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s by assisting with the regeneration of neurons, reducing inflammation, and acting as an antioxidant.
We know from studies that after injury to the brain, endocannabinoids are released to protect and repair the brain. CBD has a similar effect on the ECS, helping to defend and support brain health.
In addition to protective duty, evidence shows that CBD oil can be used to treat traumatic brain injuries that result in neuroinflammation. We know CBD effectively reduces inflammation in the body. It can potentially help recover memory that is related to inflammation in the brain.
CBD has also been used as a treatment for ADD and ADHD, in children as well.
Research on CBD in a healthy brain is understandably not as abundant. But many of the causes of memory loss (as discussed above) for people without a medical condition can be treated by CBD, which in turn, could potentially sharpen memory function.
CBD for Stress
It is believed that our natural endocannabinoids, 2-AG and anandamide, are the gatekeepers for maintaining stress response and keeping high emotional loads at bay. Not only that, they improve recovery to pre-stress levels. Furthermore, preliminary human studies show that interruption to ECS regulation greatly impacts the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, by elevating feelings of anxiety and depression.
As we’ve already discovered, CBD and other cannabinoids mimic our natural endocannabinoids, and if the ECS is somehow unbalanced, CBD can help re-regulate stress responses.
Stress and inflammation also go hand in hand. And we already know that CBD can do a number on inflammation.
CBD on Depression
Researchers believe an imbalance of endocannabinoids can cause depression, which we’ve seen can contribute to short-term memory loss. Evidence has demonstrated that CBD activates serotonin receptors, and at low doses can have an antidepressant effect.
Check out this article about a one of The Hemp Haus owners was able to help his grandmother when he found out she had been suffering from depression.
CBD for Poor Sleep
CBD can help people who suffer from insomnia or poor sleep quality in three major ways: by reducing anxiety, by reducing pain, and by re-regulating sleep/wake cycles.
Many of us know how anxiety can affect sleep. In a study published in 2019, 57 out of 72 patients suffering from anxiety-related insomnia reported better sleep after taking CBD. (Go to this Nature’s Breakthrough article to learn more about how we recommend CBD for different kinds of anxiety.)
When you’re in pain, it’s pretty much impossible to get quality shuteye. In one 2018 scientific review, the authors listed many existing studies that suggest that CBD can be used to treat pain. It also mentions that treating pain can help with insomnia. (Check out our Nature’s Breakthrough article where we tell you what CBD to use for your pain.)
The ECS oversees sleep/wake cycles. If your inner balance is off—that is, if your natural endocannabinoids are off—your sleep could get thrown off. A review of studies in 2017 showed the promise of using CBD to treat sleep/wake cycle disorders such as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and excessive daytime sleepiness. (Find out what CBD form to use in our Nature’s Breakthrough article about sleep.)
What Is the Best CBD for Memory?
Because everyone is different, and we all experience symptoms differently, the CBD that works best for you will depend on your needs, your preference, and your lifestyle. We invite you to check out the articles above where we specifically recommend certain CBD brands and forms that we trust for the different experiences people have with anxiety, pain, and sleep. We’d also encourage you to read our article on forms, which can help you get an understanding of which form may be ideal for your lifestyle and your specific condition or symptoms. That’s the great thing about CBD—it can be tailored to you!
CBD Dosage for Memory Issues
As is true with forms, CBD dosing is not one size fits all either. It depends on many factors, including your ECS tone, the form you choose to use, and the reason you are taking CBD. Some people will simply have a higher tolerance. But you won’t know until you try it. And while CBD is safe with minimal-to-no side adverse effects in most people—and no one has ever overdosed on it—it’s best to start low and go slow. Read our article on how to dose CBD to help you get started on your CBD regiment.
As always, The Hemp Haus team invites you to reach out with any questions, concerns, or comments. We love to talk CBD and all things hemp, and it’s our mission to help people find the CBD that is right for their needs, in a comfortable and no-pressure way.