Many government bodies list memory loss as a risk of marijuana use while contesting a ban on the product. The common notion is that cannabis destroys brain cells. However, research shows otherwise.Cannabis, particularly CBD, is thought to help protect brain cells from age-induced damage. The National Institute of Health has even listed the compound as a neuro-protecting agent.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Cognitive decline is in scientific terms what memory loss is in a layman’s terminology. Scientists refer to all types of memory loss as cognitive decline. It’s common in people over 50 but can start earlier too.
Now, you may have forgotten to lock the door or send an email that had to go today. However, cognitive decline is a bit different. It’s more like forgetting to send all the emails you were supposed to send that day. Or leaving the door unlocked behind you every single day.
As it gets severe, it can affect your daily activities and relationships with the people around you. Some common conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
Unfortunately, medical science does not have a cure for any of these diseases. Sure enough, there are therapies and drugs to tone down the effect of cognitive decline. But nothing can completely prevent or treat it.
That’s why there’s sudden attention towards CBD as the prime candidate against cognitive decline. The popularity of CBD online is increasing with every passing day, as scientific research proves more and more claims about this compound.
Does CBD Enhance Memory?
CBD contains around 400 compounds. They all have different functions, most of which aren’t even known yet. However, we know a lot about one of these compounds, namely CBD.
The most beneficial thing about CBD is that it’s non-psychoactive. Unlike THC – another compound present in cannabis – CBD does not make you high. Plus, it doesn’t cause addiction.Till now, we know that CBD has neuroprotective activity. It affects the cannabinoid receptors inside the body, inducing different responses. A 2017 study shows that CBD helps in neurogenesis.
The process refers to the growth of new neurons. Just a reminder: neurons are the messengers that take messages from your body to the brain. In most memory loss issues, the neurons are either depleted or destroyed.
Thus, their development due to CBD intake can be a sign of recovery. The study was conducted in mice, and the results showed a reversal of the cognitive deficits.
Another study from 2011 showed that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it protects the nervous system from inflammatory damage.
Moreover, the study also indicated that CBD could stimulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus – part of the brain that forms new memories and controls learning.
Many people oppose CBD because they believe it to be harmful to memory. However, a 2013 study proved this claim wrong. According to this research, CBD does not impair memory or other brain functions. In fact, it may reverse the cognitive impairment caused due to toxins.
Effect of CBD on Cognitive Decline
It’s not possible to determine the overall effect of CBD on memory without discussing individual diseases. Researchers are trying to see if CBD can help people with Alzheimer’s and other memory-impairing disorders.
A patient with Alzheimer’s Disease is often disoriented. The brain sees this as a blockage and releases inflammatory markers to tackle the issue. As a result, inflammation keeps increasing in the region.
Secondly, the body releases oxygen in areas with high inflammation. With oxygen clogging the pathways, brain functions are hindered.
As discussed earlier, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it’s also an antioxidant. Thus, its presence at the site of inflammation can help solve this problem.
A 2014 study on mice showed that long-term CBD treatment affects neuroinflammation. By lowering the inflammation, CBD can help ‘clear up’ the nervous system.
In dementia, patients have problems with memory and reasoning. In most cases, the lack of blood flow to the brain causes these issues.
A 2020 study shows that CBD improves blood flow in the brain. The findings suggest that CBD can be a key component for improving memory processing. Another research studying the same thing shows CBD to be anxiety-relieving.
A single cause is absent in most memory loss diseases. Often, it’s a combination of different things. These include poor blood flow, anxiety, brain injury, etc. Research shows that CBD might be helpful against more than one cause of brain disorders.
In this disease, the brain cells start drying. Some early symptoms include mood swings and memory loss. Often, patients have trouble walking in a straight line and lack focus.
CBD can be helpful for such patients in two ways. Firstly, it may reduce inflammation, which is often the culprit behind the aggravation of brain disorders.
Secondly, research has shown that CBD stimulates the development of new brain cells. Thus, it’s likely that CBD may play a therapeutic role in managing this disease.
Risks of CBD
The only reported risk of CBD in memory loss patients was seen as an increased tremor in dementia due to a high CBD dose. Other than that, 3% of the patients reported liver problems.
Thus, medical professionals and patients should monitor the effects of this compound while administering it.
Even today, we can’t surely say if CBD is the way to manage memory loss diseases. With more research, the claims about CBD can become solid proof.
As for now, the WHO declares that CBD does not have any abusive potential. That’s good news for people who’re advocating for the compound. Since the WHO has cleared up confusion about CBD addiction, researchers can continue unearthing more of its benefits.