Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has gained popularity in recent years as a health-boosting relaxation tool. This non-psychoactive component of cannabis has been used for everything from treating sore muscles to preventing seizures and new research shows CBD could even be effective in preventing Alzheimer’s.
Researchers from University College London have found that CBD increases cerebral blood flow in-memory processing regions of the brain such as the hippocampus. Given that it has been used to reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety and treat PTSD, a link to improved memory wouldn’t be too surprising.
Ironically, stereotypes of cannabis users have long associated the drug with forgetfulness or absentmindedness, but isolating the non-psychoactive CBD component may be the key to actually boosting brain function.
In their study, the researchers recruited 15 subjects and gave them either a placebo or 600 mg capsule of CBD. Cerebral blood flow was then measured using an MRI technique called arterial spin labeling. Previous research had already demonstrated the link between higher resting hippocampal blood flow and better memory performance, so when researchers recorded significant increases in hippocampal blood flow following a single CBD dose, they knew they had potentially uncovered something big.
Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and PTSD are all linked to brain blood flow disruptions, so a natural compound that organically boosts blood flow to critical areas of the brain could potentially revolutionize the natural treatment of these conditions. There is much research left to do on the practical applications of this discovery, but we are excited to see where this new path in memory research leads us.