Among all of CBD’s many potentially health-boosting benefits, its neuroprotective properties perhaps stand out most. In this science-based review, we’ll explore the particular potential benefits of CBD for protecting memory and how to choose the right CBD product to maximize the benefit for your brain health.
After learning about the neuroprotective properties of CBD for memory, head to Sympleaf’s products page to find the right CBD product for you. Sympleaf offers customers concerned about protecting their brain health an array of products ranging from pure hemp extract oils (containing 500mg of CBD combined with MCT Oil) to CBD Coffee Creamer.
What are the Different Types of Memory
Before we discuss the impact of CBD on memory, for clarity’s sake, let’s take a brief overview of “memory” by distinguishing between the two main types: short vs. long-term.
Short vs. Long-Term Memory and the Role of CBD in Each
Overall, memory can be broadly divided into two categories:
- Short-term memory. Lasts 20-30 seconds. Humans are able to hold about 7 pieces of information at once in short-term memory. For example, a 7-digit phone number (without area code) is the maximum capacity for the average person. With repetition, though, that number is transferred to long-term memory.
- Long-term memory. Lasts indefinitely, with theoretically unlimited capacity. When most people conceptualize “memory,” they are referencing this form. However, both forms of memory are critical to maintain for optimal cognitive health and quality of life.
Cannabis use is often associated with short-term memory loss (i.e., “where did I put my keys”), but this phenomenon is associated with THC and not CBD.
In fact, as we will explore in a later section, CBD may prevent THC-induced memory loss. From the Journal of Cannabis Research:
“CBD has opposite effects to THC on a variety of cognitive functions, including acute THC-induced memory impairments… When controlling for post-use THC blood levels as a covariate, participants using primarily THC-based strains showed significantly worse memory accuracy post-use, whereas subjects using strains containing both THC and CBD showed no differences between pre- and post-use memory performance.”
This balancing act between CBD and THC is often referred to as the “entourage effect,” a synergistic interaction between the various compounds in the cannabis plant.
What Causes Memory Loss?
- Memory loss can be caused by:
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Lack of adequate sleep
- Emotional trauma
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety disorders and depression
- Thyroid dysfunction
*Age is undeniably the single biggest factor implicated in progressive memory loss.
As you can see, memory loss is a concern even in the healthy aging brain – but accelerates exponentially with the onset of neurogenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other forms of dementia:
“Memory loss can be due to a wide variety of causes. We provide new information about the biology of common genetic and acquired causes of memory loss in older adults… Recent large neuropathologic studies have shown that Alzheimer disease (AD) is still the most common of the chronic neurodegenerative memory disorders.” -University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
- The causal factors associated with age-related cognitive decline – the symptoms of which include memory loss — are multiple:
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- cardiovascular (heart) disease
- chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)
- kidney disease
- high cholesterol
Modern medicine has come a long way in its understanding of memory loss, its root causes, and, most importantly, how to prevent it for a lifetime of optimal cognitive function.
CBD and Other Supplements Proven to Slow or Prevent Memory Loss (Based on the Latest Research)
Here are a handful of supplements with clinical backing to support claims of memory-protective properties:
- Gingko Biloba
- Panax ginseng (also known as “Asian ginseng”)
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin E
Promising and exciting new research within the last decade shows the powerful memory-protecting properties of CBD. Much of the research focuses on combating age-related neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s discussed above. However, the benefits likely extend, as we will now discuss, across all age groups, regardless of underlying health conditions or age.
CBD as Powerful Memory-Enhancing Neuroprotective Agent
CBD owes its clinical application for protecting brain health spans to an array of physiological mechanisms. From the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology:
“CBD acts in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-oxidant, anti-emetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent.”
CBD exerts its powerful medicinal effects in vivo via interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the brain.
CBD Counters THC-Induced Memory Loss
Due to the various cannabinoids’ influence on the ECS, research supports the popular belief that cannabis – specifically, as we now understand, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (stylized below as Δ9-THC) – may impair memory acquisition:
“numerous studies have demonstrated that systemic administration of direct (i.e. the CB1 agonists Δ9-THC or WIN55,212-2) and indirect (i.e. the FAAH inhibitor, URB597) cannabinoid receptor agonists before or after learning impairs subsequent cognitive performance in a variety of memory assays.”
However, on the heels of accumulating research, we now know that CBD may prevent memory loss associated with THC:
“The antagonistic effects of cannabidiol at the CB1 receptor are probably responsible for its profile in smoked cannabis, attenuating the memory-impairing effects of THC”
This is why patients concerned about potential memory loss resulting from cannabis use often choose products with a balance of CBD and THC (or so-called “isolates” containing pure CBD only) to avoid any potentially negative side effects. From the Journal of Neuroscience:
“Remarkably, whereas intra-vHipp THC also potentiates salience attribution in morphine place-preference and fear conditioning assays, CBD co-administration reverses these changes by down-regulating pERK1-2 signaling, as pharmacological re-activation of pERK1-2 blocked the inhibitory properties of CBD. These results identify vHipp pERK1-2 signaling as a critical neural nexus point mediating THC-induced affective disturbances and suggest a potential mechanism by which CBD may counteract the psychotomimetic and psychotropic side-effects of THC.”
Sympleaf: Get the Highest-Quality Georgia-Produced CBD Products on the Market
If you are concerned about protecting your brain health, talk to your doctor about CBD’s potential health benefits and browse one or more of the numerous CBD products available from Sympleaf. The company produces all of its 100%-organic products right here in Georgia using US-grown hemp. With such a wide selection of products – including gummies, tinctures, delicious beverages, capsules, and more – you are sure to find one that fits your lifestyle and preferences.