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Can CBD Oil Improve Memory?

CBD oil has been shown to help slow the decline of brain cells and protect neural pathways. Is CBD the memory aid you’ve been forgetting about?

In recent years, CBD oil has been used to treat certain symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss. This welcome news may have you wondering if CBD oil can improve your own memory.

We have all experienced temporary lapses in memory, but if memory loss is starting to impact your life on a daily basis, it may be time to seek treatment options.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil to Improve Memory

When you think of cannabis, you likely don’t picture a helpful memory aid. In fact, marijuana usage often leads to forgetfulness. Scientists believe this is due to the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the intoxicating effects associated with the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD), while also derived from cannabis, does not have this same impact on cognition, and will not make you feel high.

If your memory loss is due to a traumatic brain injury or caused by a disease or condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia, medications traditionally prescribed to treat your symptoms include cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. However, these types of medications can produce unwanted side effects like nausea and headaches.

CBD oil does not produce these side effects. In fact, a comprehensive 2011 review outlined numerous studies in which cannabis and cannabis-derived products were used to successfully reduce nausea and vomiting in animals. Too, cannabidiol oil’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great candidate for treating headaches and other types of chronic pain.

So, if you currently take prescription memory loss medications, coupling them with CBD oil may help mitigate the negative side effects. Or, after speaking with your doctor, you may consider only taking CBD oil to improve your mental faculties, regardless of the source of your memory loss.

Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil to Improve Memory

CBD oil has been established as a potential treatment option for people who have a variety of cognitive impairments. However, because the field of research so new, more studies on how CBD affects memory in a healthy brain are still needed.

For now, here’s a quick breakdown of the information and studies currently available on the science and behind CBD oil’s effect on certain memory-related cognitive functions.

CBD Oil for Memory Loss Due to Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Memory loss produced by degenerative diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, is yet another area that CBD oil has been shown to have a positive impact. CBD oil has the ability to aid in the regeneration of neurons, reduce inflammation, and act as an antioxidant, all of which contribute to improved cognitive function.  

The greatest understanding of how CBD oil repairs and regenerates brain cells comes from research into its use for treating Alzheimer’s disease. When suffering from the condition, patients typically experience a steady decline in brain cells, which leads to decreased cognitive function and destruction of neural pathways. CBD oil has been shown in numerous studies to not only prevent the destruction of brain cells, but promote regrowth, or neurogenesis.

CBD Oil for Memory Loss Due to Brain Trauma

While investigating the impact CBD oil may have in protecting the brain, researchers have found that it can actually reduce brain damage brought on by physical trauma.

Studies have shown that following a brain injury, endocannabinoids (the body’s version of phytocannabinoids) are released as a defense mechanism to protect and repair the brain. When phytocannabinoids like CBD are introduced to the body’s endocannabinoid system, it elicits a similar defensive response, suggesting the use of CBD oil may improve the brain's natural protective functions.

In addition to providing extra brain protection, there is  significant evidence to show CBD oil is useful in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries that result in neuroinflammation. Because CBD oil is so effective at reducing inflammation in the body, it could help you if your memory loss is related to an injury that resulted in inflammation of your brain.

CBD Oil for Memory Loss Due to Lack of Focus

If your memory loss stems from an inability to concentrate or a short attention span, CBD oil has been shown to help mitigate these issues. In fact, CBD oil is being seriously considered as a possible treatment for ADHD, even in children.

A review published in The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics reported instances in which CBD oil had been shown to help people who had a range of medical conditions, including some of ADHD’s behavioral symptoms like lack of focus. It’s also been proven that CBD oil can improve focus in individuals with ADHD through CBD oil’s ability to reduce anxiety and insomnia, which in turn could lead to better memory retention.

However, if your memory loss isn’t tied to a diagnosed disease or condition, the jury is still out on whether CBD oil can improve your cognitive function.

A comprehensive review of 27 previously conducted studies was launched to investigate the effects of CBD oil on cognitive function. While the researchers in this review were predominantly looking for specific links to schizophrenia, they also came to the conclusion that CBD oil did not have significant effects on memory or attention in otherwise healthy brains.

So, the research conducted so far points to CBD oil as a possible treatment for memory loss in patients with conditions that result in relatively poor cognitive function like brain trauma and Alzheimer’s. If you don’t suffer from a disease or condition like this, you’ll have to conduct some testing of your own to determine whether CBD oil is an effective memory booster for you.

How to Use CBD Oil to Improve Your Memory

If you want to use CBD oil to improve your memory, first discuss your plan with your doctor. As CBD oil can interact with some medications, it is best to be given the ‘all clear’ prior to use. You might also want to speak with a naturopathic doctor who specializes in using CBD and other cannabis products in medical treatments. 

When it comes to actually taking CBD oil to improve memory, there are a few different options available. The delivery method you choose will come down to your personal preferences.

Because memory is an ongoing concern, you will probably want to use a CBD oil product that can be used consistently on a daily basis.

Capsules or drops are the easiest ways to work CBD oil into your daily routine. You can add them to your current vitamin or medication regimen, or simply have them with your morning coffee. Typical dosage recommendations for these products suggest administering CBD oil two or three times a day, or morning and night.

Drops are placed under the tongue where the CBD oil is absorbed into the bloodstream. The drops begin to take effect within an hour of ingestion and will last between 4-6 hours. CBD oil capsules can take a little longer to go into effect. The timing will depend on your metabolism and the amount of food present in your stomach but generally speaking, they should go to work within an hour. Like drops, their effects can last a long time, anywhere from  6-12 hours.

Edible CBD oil products, like gummies, will work similarly to capsules but may be less discrete and may be more difficult to consume on a consistent basis. They also contain sugar, which can be a deterrent if you’re looking to cut back on the sweets.

Vaping CBD oil means you’ll see effects within minutes, but they only last about 30 minutes to an hour. For on-the-spot pain relief or anxiety, vaping is wonderful but it may not be the most effective option for improving memory.

Give yourself room to experiment here. What works best for one person may not work for someone else. You may find you need to try more than one product, or use a combination of products, to find the best CBD oil solution for you and your memory needs.

For more information on CBD oil dosage, you can check out our dosage guide.

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