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Can CBD help with memory loss, and if so, how?

  • CBD’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities, as shown in a study published in PLoS One, make it an excellent potential alternative for improving brain function(1)
  • Authors of a 2013 study examined the effects of cannabis use on memory function and found that CBD did not impair cognition(2). Their data also showed that CBD might even have the therapeutic potential in reversing specific cognitive impairments induced by cannabis(3).
  • In a 2017 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, CBD oil was demonstrated to not only exhibit neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties but also promote neurogenesis, a process by which new neurons are formed in the brain(4).
  • Newborn neurons at different maturation stages might make distinct contributions to learning and memory, according to a study published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience(5).
  • Further longitudinal and robust studies are still required to derive high-quality evidence. Thus, consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use before including CBD in a treatment regimen.

Best CBD Oils for Memory Loss

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Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil

Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil Bottle

Each bottle of the 750mg CBD oil tincture contains 25mg of CBD per dropper full. The oil is peppermint flavor to mask any unpleasant tastes related to CBD.

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cbdMD CBD Oil Tinctures

cbdMD CBD Oil Tinctures Products

cbdMD’s CBD oil tinctures are made using only CBD sourced from medical hemp and MCT oil as a carrier oil. Tinctures are offered in orange, mint, natural, and berry flavors. Safe for daily use, the oil tinctures are packaged with a built-in rubber dropper to adjust CBD dosage easily. The packaging is made to be easy to transport and discreet to use.

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Why Some People Are Taking CBD for Memory Loss

CBD’s unique neurological health benefits could be the reason why some people see it as an appealing alternative remedy to help with memory loss. Results from previous scientific research and recent studies seem promising.

Several conditions can cause memory loss, especially in the elderly. Some conditions are treatable, while others, like Alzheimer’s, are not. Getting an immediate diagnosis and appropriate care is essential(6). 

For memory loss due to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or caused by a condition, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, the medications traditionally prescribed to treat symptoms include cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. However, these medications can induce unwanted side effects, including nausea and headaches(7)

CBD oil, meanwhile, does not produce those side effects. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology also demonstrated the anti-emetic (anti-nausea) effects of CBD, which is useful as a nausea and vomiting suppressant(8).

Moreover, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities, as shown in a study published in PLoS One, make it an excellent potential alternative for improving brain function(9).  

Further longitudinal and robust studies are still required to derive high-quality evidence. However, results of scientific research conducted so far, suggesting CBD’s efficacy in improving cognition and helping with memory loss, are favorable. 

Authors of a 2013 study examined the effects of cannabis use on memory function and found that cannabidiol (CBD) might possess anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antipsychotic effects(10). Their data also showed that CBD did not impair cognition(11)

The same authors reported that CBD might be protective of some aspects of memory function and might even reverse the deficits induced by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another primary cannabinoid(12). THC is responsible for the intoxicating effects associated with the cannabis plant.  

A 2017 study at the Australia’s University of Wollongong examined the effects of CBD on cognitive function in relevance to schizophrenia(13).  

The researchers of the said study found that CBD was effective in improving cognition for people with neurological disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and neuro-inflammatory diseases, such as cerebral malaria and meningitis. 

In another recent study, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, researchers concluded that CBD might be a promising future avenue of research on neuroinflammation in response to traumatic brain injury (TBI)(14). Learning and memory problems are among the most frequently reported symptoms following TBI(15).  

Memory loss caused by degenerative diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, is an area that CBD oil has been shown to have a potential positive impact.

In a 2017 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, CBD oil was shown to not only prevent the destruction of brain cells, but promote regrowth, or neurogenesis(16).

The research mentioned above demonstrated CBD’s potential benefit for memory loss caused by conditions, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and traumatic brain injury, which may result in reduced cognitive function.

 Other clinical trials have found that exposure to CBD for a prolonged period of eight months improves memory deficits related to social recognition(17).

However, there may be individuals who may want to try CBD as a memory booster to help with forgetfulness.

Whether one is considering using CBD oil as a supplement to other medications for memory loss, or only as a memory aid, a consultation with a doctor before using CBD is essential. 

CBD oil can interact with some medications, so caution is advised. Speak with a doctor who specializes in using CBD and other cannabis products in medical treatments.

How CBD Oil Works to Help with Memory Loss 

Memory loss is often an initial sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Primarily, memory lapses may be mistaken for the typical forgetfulness that worsens as people grow old, or when they get stressed(18).

CBD oil has been found to improve the health of those with dementia by lessening inflammation, reducing oxygenation, and stimulating and protecting the brain(19).

The brain’s immune system has long been involved as a significant factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly a specialized type of immune cell called microglia. The microglia cells help clear debris and toxic materials from the brain. 

However, it appears that in Alzheimer’s, the immune cells do not function correctly or may even contribute directly to the disease process(20).  

The brain’s immune cells are also incapable of clearing blockages in dementia, and when situations like this occur, an inflammatory reaction is triggered. This inflammation has been shown to worsen symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease(21).

CBD oil has been shown to reduce inflammation, with a 2017 study initially published in the Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica Journal, noting that “CBD may be a promising candidate for Alzheimer’s disease therapy by inhibiting oxidative stress and neuroinflammation”(22).

The inflammation that occurs in the brain due to Alzheimer’s disease is also called oxidation.As the oxidation process in the  brain cells increase, functions such as memory decrease(23).  

However, CBD oil as antioxidant has been demonstrated to reduce this inflammatory effect, as indicated in a 2010 study on CBD oil and its effects on oxidative stress(24).

The brain cell count in Alzheimer’s patients often undergoes a steady decline, reducing cognitive function and leaving destroyed pathways behind(25).

CBD oil has been demonstrated in numerous studies to not only exhibit neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties but also promote neurogenesis, a process by which new neurons are formed in the brain(26).

Newborn neurons at different maturation stages might make distinct contributions to learning and memory, according to a study published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience(27)

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Memory Loss

The Pros

  • CBD “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” as the World Health Organization (WHO) states in a critical review(28)
  • CBD’s efficacy as a potential to help with memory loss has been shown in the numerous studies stated above.

The Cons

  • Studies are too limited to determine whether or not CBD is an effective treatment for conditions other than the ones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
  • As with the use of any natural chemical compound, there are risks involved in using CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite(29). 
  • CBD has been shown to alter how the body metabolizes certain medications, as a 2017 research published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal reveals(30).  

Thus, consult with a doctor before taking CBD, especially when combining it with other prescription pharmaceuticals for memory loss. 

  • The lack of regulation makes it difficult to determine whether the CBD gummies, tinctures, patches, balms, and gelcaps contain what the product label claims.

A 2107 review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed labeling inaccuracies among CBD products. Some products had less CBD than stated, while others had more(31).  

Speak with a physician experienced with cannabis use before starting a CBD regimen. 

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments that Help with Memory Loss

Some plant extracts, like Ginkgo biloba, lemon balm, and lavender, are often used as alternative treatments to help with symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease(32). 

Ginkgo biloba extract, derived from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, is often hailed as a memory aid. 

However, according to a Mayo Clinic article, some studies have shown that the use of the extract provided little improvements in cognitive function for people. 

Thus, most experts feel that the extract has not lived up to its early promise and do not recommend its use as a memory aid(33). 

Published in Nutrients, a 2014 study on lemon balm’s anti-anxiety effects showed that it might also help improve cognition and mood(34). 

Likewise, CBD might also help reduce anxiety, as results of a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggested(35). 

In a study published in the Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing in 2017, lavender oil was shown to reduce occurrences of aggressive behavior in dementia(36).

Results of the study also demonstrated that a lavender aromatherapy hand massage program is effective on emotions and aggressive behavior of elderly with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.

However, further research is required. Although massage therapies show promise, studies have not been longitudinal and rigorous enough to provide high-quality evidence.

Meanwhile, like the plant extracts mentioned above, CBD oil is a natural cannabis extract that has been shown in studies to help with memory loss. CBD in the form of tincture can also be used in aromatherapy and massage.

Using CBD oil may be an excellent alternative remedy to symptoms of disorders that affect memory, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As indicated in studies previously discussed, CBD’s neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties may help protect the brain and improve cognition.

How to Choose the Right CBD for Memory Loss

Finding the CBD product that suits one’s needs and preference may require a little experimentation and some time. What works best for an individual may not work for someone else. 

Still, regardless of the form of CBD product one chooses, he or she must employ careful consideration in choosing the best CBD oil that is right for him or her.

The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:

  1. Research on the exact legal status and stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
  2. Purchase only from legitimate and reliable big brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers.
  3. When buying from an online store, do some research on product reviews first. When buying from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
  4. One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests. 
  5. Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports. 

Because of the unclear regulations in the United States and some problems with online product labeling, the authors of a Mayo Clinic article recommended the use of imported products from Europe(37).  

The same authors explained that Europe, aside from having a more established regulatory system for hemp, has more stringent requirements for low THC levels at less than 0.2% dry weight compared with the US requirement of less than 0.3% dry weight.

Still, consulting with a trusted medical professional experienced in CBD use is ideal before purchasing any CBD product. 

Best CBD Oils for Memory Loss

Healthy Option

Nuleaf Naturals 725mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Nuleaf Naturals 725mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Natural remedy for various illnesses. There are approximately 300 drops in this 0.5 FL OZ bottle, where 1 drop = 2.4 mg of CBD.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

Users' Top Choice

Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil

Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil Bottle

Each bottle of the 750mg CBD oil tincture contains 25mg of CBD per dropper full. The oil is peppermint flavor to mask any unpleasant tastes related to CBD.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

Perfect Natural Alternative

cbdMD CBD Oil Tinctures

cbdMD CBD Oil Tinctures Products

cbdMD’s CBD oil tinctures are made using only CBD sourced from medical hemp and MCT oil as a carrier oil. Tinctures are offered in orange, mint, natural, and berry flavors. Safe for daily use, the oil tinctures are packaged with a built-in rubber dropper to adjust CBD dosage easily. The packaging is made to be easy to transport and discreet to use.

Check Latest Price
Read our review

CBD Dosage for Memory Loss

There is no standard for CBD oil when it comes to dosage. Because all people are different, there can be variations in the amount needed to find relief or improve memory.

CBD is mostly marketed as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. 

Thus, CBD consumers cannot know for sure that the product they buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. The CBD product may also contain other unknown elements. 

Peter Grinspoon, MD, said in an article posted in Harvard Health, that they also do not know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition(38). 

How to Take CBD Oil for Memory Loss (and Why)

The delivery method an individual chooses for taking CBD depends on one’s preference and lifestyle.

CBD Oil Capsules and Edibles

CBD oil capsules and edibles, such as brownies, gummies, and lozenges, are a convenient and straightforward way to take CBD oil, especially for beginners. They may be added to a current medication or vitamin regimen, or they may be taken with food and beverages.

This format is easy to include in one’s routine, and the dose is consistent. These advantages are helpful especially when memory is an ongoing concern.

Depending on one’s metabolism, the effects can last between 6 and 12 hours. However, the effects of the CBD oil could take at least 20 minutes to an hour to appear. Thus, CBD oil capsules and edibles do not provide immediate relief.

CBD Oil Tinctures or Drops

CBD oil tinctures or drops are a practical option for those who seek fast results and maximum dosage control.

Tinctures and drops are administered sublingually (under the tongue), through which the CBD oil is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. 

Sublingual application allows for results to be experienced within 30 to 60 minutes after its use, and the effects can be felt for 4 to 6 hours.

Since tinctures and drops are convenient and easy to store and travel with, they can be effortlessly administered when needed.

However, one significant drawback to CBD oil tinctures and drops is the taste as not everyone appreciates the natural, earthy, and sometimes bitter flavor of hemp.

CBD Oil Vapes

CBD oil vapes are one of the accelerated ways to get CBD into the body since it enters the bloodstream through the lungs, without going through the digestive system. 

When vaping CBD oil, effects can be felt in minutes. However, the effects last only for 30 minutes to an hour or two. Thus, it may not be the most effective option for improving memory.

Also, with vaping, it is difficult to determine precisely how much CBD is in each draw. Although labels for CBD oil vape products usually indicate the amount per inhale, everyone’s inhale is unique. Thus, getting the dose right requires a bit of experimentation at first. 

A Closer Look at CBD 

Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) is a type of cannabis that is one of the most recognized ancient plants. Sativa is Latin for “useful”, and it is a term that is commonly used in plant names. 

Cannabis oil products include hemp oil and marijuana concentrates.

A hemp plant and a marijuana plant both belong to the plant genus cannabis. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States but is legally accepted in 16 states and the District of Columbia for therapeutic purposes. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in cannabis derived from the hemp plant and is commonly used to produce CBD hemp oil supplements. 

CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive. CBD  extracted from hemp is legal under U.S. federal law(39).

One of the primary differences between CBD and THC lies in how they affect an individual who consumes them.

Although CBD and THC are similar in chemical structure, they do not share the same psychoactive effects. THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 or CB1 receptors in the brain and produces a sense of euphoria. THC is the cannabinoid that is mostly associated with marijuana or weed

CBD, however, binds inadequately to CB1 receptors. CBD can even disrupt the binding of THC and suppress its psychoactive effect, as researchers of a 2018 study published in the Neuropsychopharmacology Journal suggest. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, does not induce the “high” associated with THC(40).

THC and CBD are both found in the flowers, seeds, and stalks of both hemp and marijuana. Both cannabinoids naturally exist in cannabis plants in a broad range of proportions. 

THC is most abundant in marijuana, while CBD is found in substantial quantities in hemp. The CBD oil ingredient that is found in most CBD oil products is extracted from the hemp plant.

CBD and the Immune System

The endocannabinoid system is interrelated with the immune system. To comprehend how CBD affects the body’s immune system, one must understand how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works. 

A 2008 study published in the Pharmacological Reviews Journal explored the endocannabinoid system and its regulatory functions in health and disease(41).

The ECS is found in the central and peripheral nervous systems. It is a network of cannabinoids and CB1 and CB2 receptors, and it regulates most functions in the human body. 

The ECS also acts as an immuno-cannabinoid modulator as it gathers and interprets signals from cannabinoids. 

The body is capable of producing some cannabinoids on its own, which are called endocannabinoids. The ECS helps to manage functions such as immune-system responses, sleep, and pain, influencing a person’s physiology, mood and everyday experience. 

Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to develop a cannabis strain’s distinctive flavor, resulting in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.

Some neurotransmitters in the brain provide instructions for the body’s immune system and signal it when to activate its line of defense, where to engage it, and how strongly to involve it. Others are responsible for mood, emotions, and cognition.

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and MIC

Disorders categorized under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases(42)

Mild cognitive impairment leads to changes in cognition serious enough to be observed by other people but do not impact the individual’s ability to carry out everyday activities.

People living with MCI, especially MCI involving memory problems, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias than people without MCI.

A medical workup for MCI includes an assessment of one’s mental health using tests designed to evaluate memory, planning, judgment, and other critical thinking skills(43).

Conclusion

For those suffering from memory loss, CBD oil may be an all-natural alternative to traditional medications or increasing concerns about impaired functioning. 

Research into this all-natural compound from cannabis is still in the early stages. Even so, studies suggest that CBD has antioxidant, anti-inflammation, and analgesic properties, with the first two being crucial for memory preservation. 

Still, before taking CBD, people are advised to consult with their doctor to avoid any adverse interactions that CBD may have with their current medications. 

For more information on memory loss and forgetfulness, visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website(44).


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  2. Schoeler T, Bhattacharyya S. The effect of cannabis use on memory function: an update. Subst Abuse Rehabil. 2013;4:11–27. Published 2013 Jan 23. doi:10.2147/SAR.S25869; Bhattacharyya S, Fusar-Poli P, Borgwardt S, et al. Modulation of mediotemporal and ventrostriatal function in humans by Delta9- tetrahydrocannabinol: a neural basis for the effects of Cannabis sativa on learning and psychosis. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(4):442–451.
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  4. Watt G, Karl T. In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s Disease. Front. Pharmacol., 03 February 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00020.
  5. Deng, W., Aimone, J. & Gage, F. New neurons and new memories: how does adult hippocampal neurogenesis affect learning and memory? Nat Rev Neurosci 11, 339–350 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2822.
  6. Mayo Clinic. (2019, April19). Memory loss: When to seek help. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046326.
  7. CBDOilReview.org. Can CBD Oil Improve Memory? Retrieved from https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-oil-for-memory-improvement/.
  8. Parker LA, Rock EM, Limebeer CL. Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. Br J Pharmacol. 2011;163(7):1411–1422. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01176.x.
  9. Esposito G, Scuderi C, Valenza M, et al. op. cit.
  10. Crippa JA et al. op. cit.; Fusar-Poli P et al. op. cit; Bhattacharyya S et al. op. cit.; Morgan CJ et al. op. cit.
  11. Schoeler T et al. op. cit.; Bhattacharyya S et al. op. cit.
  12. Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, Moreira FA, Guimarães FS. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2006 Apr; 39(4):421-9.
  13. Osborne, A. L., Solowij, N. & Weston-Green, K. (2017). A systematic review of the effect of cannabidiol on cognitive function: relevance to schizophrenia. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 72 310-324. Retrived from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2037&context=ihmri.
  14. Schurman LD, Lichtman AH. Endocannabinoids: A Promising Impact for Traumatic Brain Injury. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:69. Published 2017 Feb 17. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00069.
  15. Zec R. F., Zellers D., Belman J., Miller J., Matthews J., Femeau-Belman D., et al. (2001). Long-term consequences of severe closed head injury on episodic memory. J. Clin. Exp. Neuropsychol. 23 671–691. 10.1076/jcen.23.5.671.1247.
  16. Watt G, Karl T. op. cit.
  17. Iffland K.op.cit.
  18. Alzheimer’s Society. Memory loss and dementia. Retrieved from https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/symptoms/memory-loss-dementia.
  19. CBDOilReview.org. Alzheimer’s Disease and CBD Oil: Can It Help Dementia? Retrieved from https://cbdoilreview.org/diseases-conditions/cbd-oil-alzheimers-disease-dementia/.
  20. Alzheimer’s Society.  Understanding how the immune system contributes to Alzheimer’s disease development. Retrieved from https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/research/our-research/research-projects/understanding-how-immune-system-contributes-alzheimers-disease-development.
  21. CBDOilReview.org. op. cit.
  22. Alexandre Vallée, Yves Lecarpentier, Rémy Guillevin, Jean-Noël Vallée. Effects of cannabidiol interactions with Wnt/β-catenin pathway and PPARγ on oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica, Volume 49, Issue 10, October 2017, Pages 853–866, https://doi.org/10.1093/abbs/gmx073.
  23. CBDOilReview.org. op. cit.
  24. Rajesh M, Mukhopadhyay P, Bátkai S, et al. Cannabidiol attenuates cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, and inflammatory and cell death signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010;56(25):2115–2125. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2010.07.033.
  25. CBDOilReview.org. op. cit.
  26. Watt G, Karl T. op. cit.
  27. Deng W et al. op. cit.
  28. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Fortieth Meeting. Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. June 2018. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/WHOCBDReportMay2018-2.pdf.
  29. Bauer, B. (2018, Dec 20). What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is-cbd-safe-and-effective/faq-20446700.
  30. Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139–154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034.
  31. Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708–1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909.
  32. Alzheimer’s Society. Aromatherapy, massage and dementia. Retrieved from https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/treatments/alternative-therapies/aromatherapy-massage.
  33. Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D. (2019, Apr 20). Ginkgo biloba: Can it prevent memory loss? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/ginkgo-biloba-memory-loss/faq-20058119.
  34. Scholey A, Gibbs A, Neale C, et al. Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods. Nutrients. 2014;6(11):4805–4821. Published 2014 Oct 30. doi:10.3390/nu6114805.
  35. Crippa JA, Derenusson GN, […], and Hallak JE. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. J Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jan;25(1):121-30. doi: 10.1177/0269881110379283. Epub 2010 Sep 9.
  36. Lee SY. The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on Cognitive Function, Emotion, and Aggressive Behavior of Elderly with Dementia. J Korean Acad Nurs. 2005 Apr;35(2):303-312.   https://doi.org/10.4040/jkan.2005.35.2.303.
  37. VanDolah H.J., Bauer B.A., Mauck K.F. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. (2019)  Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 94 (9) , pp. 1840-1851. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003.
  38. Grinspoon P. (2019, Aug 27). Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
  39. US FDA. (2020, Feb 13). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd.
  40. Boggs DL, Nguyen JD, Morgenson D, Taffe MA, Ranganathan M. Clinical and Preclinical Evidence for Functional Interactions of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018;43(1):142–154. doi:10.1038/npp.2017.209.
  41. Pacher P, Bátkai S, Kunos G. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006;58(3):389–462. doi:10.1124/pr.58.3.2.
  42. Alzheimer’s Association. What Is Dementia? Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia.
  43. Alzheimer’s Association. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/related_conditions/mild-cognitive-impairment.
  44. NIH. Memory loss and forgetfulness. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/topics/memory-loss-and-forgetfulness.

More Info

Less Info

Dealing with memory problems can be a stressful situation for anyone, whether the loss is the natural result of aging, because of another condition, or due to an injury. Most people suffering from memory issues are constantly searching for a way to reverse the effects or at least minimize them. Recently, CBD has gained attention for its potential to assist with memory problems.

So far, there is no proven evidence that it can assist with this goal, but anecdotal evidence and early research shows promise. Those concerned about memory will want to learn more about this natural compound and how it can help.

Understanding Loss of Memory

Many people share the fear of gradually experiencing a decline in sensation and memory, along with the delay in locomotion that occurs after age 50. This is called cognitive impairment. The existence of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s further increased concerns about the potential loss of memory. Unfortunately, memory issues are somewhat a natural part of the aging process, although not everyone experiences it, and there are various methods believed to delay its effects. The methods of reversing or minimizing memory issues, however, work to varying degrees and frequently come with side effects.

Understanding CBD

Before anyone can begin to understand how it can help with memory issues, there should first be a deeper understanding of what CBD is. This is the common abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the many naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant. It is also the plant’s second most prevalent active ingredient.

From Marijuana or Hemp

CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp, its closely related cousin, both of which are Cannabis sativa. Users may find CBD oil derived from either plant. This will not affect its ability to produce results, but it may impact the chemical composition and legality of the oil.

It Will Not Get the User High

Using CBD oil or other CBD products containing this compound will not get a person high, so there are no concerns about it interrupting daily functioning with psychoactive effects of CBD. Additionally, it will not appear on drug tests, assuming the users choose the correct product. That latter point is particularly helpful for those who suffer from memory problems but are subject to regular or occasional drug tests at work or in school. That high comes from tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Cannabis and Memory

It used to be that people associate cannabis use with loss of memory or other cognitive function. There were numerous warnings that when people smoke marijuana, they will fry their brain cells and hurt their memory in the process. While it is true that people are unlikely to remember much at the moment if they smoke too much and get incredibly high, there is growing support for the idea that cannabis can promote better memory. Much of this comes down to the presence of CBD.

In fact, some research has shown that the effects of THC may include the short-term loss in memory associated with cannabis, while CBD can improve memory.

How It Helps Memory

Experts believe that the ability of CBD to assist with memory functioning comes from its promotion of healthier brain cells. This comes via the compound’s ability to encourage neuron growth as well as its links to the endocannabinoid system.

There are three main ways in which the compound assists with memory functionality. One of these is to reduce the buildup of oxygen as oxygenation is associated with memory issues. Additionally, it can reduce inflammation, which also causes loss of memory. Finally, the natural compound can serve as a brain neuroprotectant and stimulant.

As a bonus, the lack of memory decline can reduce anxiety and stress for the individual in question.

Specific Research Related to Memory 

The biggest benefit of CBD concerning memory is its promotion of neurogenesis. This is the scientific term for the development and growth of neurons. As expected, neuron growth reduces deterioration in function and cognition.

Tim Carl and his colleagues published preclinical studies in Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2011. In these studies, they found that mice injected with induced Alzheimer’s experienced reversal of deficits that were mostly caused by cognition.

Other clinical trials have found that exposure to CBD for a prolonged period of about eight months improves memory deficits related to social recognition.

Additionally, scientists indicate that this cannabis compound could reduce the brain damage that occurred as a result of trauma. Researchers found that the substance decreased injured brain cell counts by over 50 percent while also increasing viable brain cells.

An Australian study involving rats with schizophrenia found that CBD improved recognition and memory.

For Treating Alzheimer’s-related Memory Issues

Experts have already shown that inflammation increases the extent to which Alzheimer’s disease has a negative impact on people’s lives. The immune cells in the brain fail to clear out blockages that are disorienting, leading to an inflammatory response. Using CBD oil can help reduce this inflammation due to the substance’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease is associated with the release of oxygen via a stress-induced and reactive nature. The oxygen is released in the brain when combined with inflammation there. The increase in oxygen release worsens the impact on memory. Additionally, brain deterioration, including memory, will indirectly increase the oxygen content in the brain. Studies show that CBD is an antioxidant, which researchers believe can help reduce the issues from Alzheimer’s due to oxygen stress.

Finally, it is common for those with Alzheimer’s to experience rapid destruction and decline of brain cells. Experts recently discovered that CBD has the potential to stimulate brain tissue. Clinical trials indicated that this substance could reverse and prevent the negative impact of Alzheimer’s on these tissues.

For Treating Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia refers to issues related to memory, judgment, planning, reasoning, and additional thought processes. It specifically refers to those issues due to brain damage that results from decreased blood flow to the brain.

A 2016 study from the US National Institute of Health found that the activation of CB2 cannabinoid receptors can improve blood flow in the brain. This increases brain cell activity, thereby reducing brain cell damage typically associated with vascular dementia.

For Treating Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) occurs when abnormal quantities of alpha-synuclein, a protein, are deposited in the brain. These deposits are known as Lewy bodies, and they affect various brain chemicals. Those brain chemical changes then cause issues affecting mood, thinking, behavior, movement, and sleeping.

One stand-out feature of CBD is that it does not block the functioning of acetylcholine, which is the main chemical attacked by LBD. This is important since most drugs designed to manage behavior, anxiety, and pain block this. About LBD, research indicates that this natural healing compound can assist by serving as an anti-inflammatory agent, maintaining circadian sleep rhythms, and reducing motor symptoms such as bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremors.

For Treating Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s refers to the progressive and chronic disease affecting the nervous system, and it mainly affects those who are middle-aged or elderly. The memory issues due to Parkinson’s are complemented by slow, imprecise movements, muscle rigidity, and tremors. Imbalance in the digestive system may also worsen the symptoms, both in terms of severity and progression.

Research shows that CBD can protect the brain and this, combined with its anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties, can help manage Parkinson’s.

For Treating Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease or Huntington’s chorea is inherited and leads to brain cell death. The earliest symptoms include mental health and mood declines. Unsteady gaits and lack of coordination typically follow.

2016 research at the University of Madrid showed that CBD could help with this disease linked to memory problems thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

For Treating Pick’s Disease

Pick’s Disease or frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a disorder group that occurs from the progressive loss of nerve cells in the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain. It leads to symptoms that include psychosis and depression, in addition to dementia-related memory problems.

While antipsychotic drugs are an option, they increase the risk of death and tend to include a long list of side effects. In contrast, CBD can reduce anxiety, reduce the motor symptoms, maintain the circadian sleep rhythms, and serve as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Salk Institute in 2017

In one of the recent studies, researchers from the Salk Institute in California in 2017 found support that certain cannabinoids, including CBD, could potentially assist with the removal of dementia from a person’s brain cells.

CB2 Receptor Interactions

This natural compound from cannabis binds with the brain’s CB2 receptors, producing anti-inflammatory effects. These effects impact the brain’s immune cells and help reduce damage from inflammation in the brain.

Additionally, the interactions with CB2 receptors help reduce the damage done due to oxidation. This is crucial as that damage is responsible for brain damage, including in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Green’s Review

Katrina Green at Australia’s University of Wollongong looked at over 20 peer-reviewed journals on the matter. She found studies indicating that the use of CBD can greatly improve cognition related to deficits due to meningitis, sepsis, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. Research even shows that CBD can assist with deficits from recreational marijuana use. The caveat here is that the research Green reviewed all looks at the compound’s impact on brains in a diseased state. It would be interesting to see the results in brains that are healthy.

Fighting Drugs and Related Memory Problems

Another interesting set of research came from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina’s Project CBD. This study looked into how the compound can fight drug addiction and related conditions and assist with the recovery process, partly thanks to the ability to enhance memory.

This research and other studies show that drug addiction turns into a habit due to the associations of the drug with a positive experience. Users opt to use the drug again to get the same feeling, which is reconsolidation. The repeated use of the drug to achieve that feeling turns into a habit, leading to dependence.

A 2017 research published in the Journal of Addiction Biology found that CBD can interfere with the reconsolidation, while also helping to reduce the drug’s cravings. This study looked at mice conditioned to stay in a room that was associated with a morphine reward, compared with a room without any such association. Right after the exposure, some mice in the study received CBD. The results indicated that it interrupted the cue reconsolidation, reducing the future cravings for morphine.

The study continued for two weeks. During that time, the researchers found that the mice treated with the natural cannabis compound had a significantly lower preference for the room with the morphine than their untreated counterparts. Additionally, mice retained the compound’s protective effects of cannabis, even with later doses of morphine.

Overall, this study indicated that CBD could interrupt the memories and recognition associated with drug abuse and dependence. This not only shows promise for treating addiction, but it also shows the ability of the compound to interact with memories. The caveat is that this type of memory-related interaction is not necessarily the type that most people strive for, but it still shows that interactions occur, which is promising.

Research Into Its General Health Benefits  

Unfortunately, because it is part of cannabis, which sits in a legal gray area, there is minimal research into CBD so far. The FDA did relax the regulatory requirements in December 2015, allowing researchers to conduct trials on the substance. Even so, most research is still in its early stages, and the majority focuses on the entire plant instead of CBD in particular.

Epidiolex and Seizures

To show the extent of strides in CBD research, consider the FDA approval of Epidiolex, the first cannabis-derived medicine. It treats childhood seizure disorders, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, with great results.

Reducing Pain

A study published in the European Journal of Pain used animals to show the potential of applying CBD topically to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. A different study showed its ability to inhibit neuropathic and inflammatory pain, which are among the most challenging chronic pain varieties to treat.

Treating Insomnia

Some studies suggest that this natural substance can assist with insomnia. It can help patients fall asleep and remain asleep, providing a peaceful night’s rest.

Treating Anxiety

There is also a reasonable amount of research indicating that CBD can help treat anxiety, especially social anxiety and in public speaking situations.

It Is Safe

 Individuals should not have any serious health concerns about using CBD oil for their memory. The World Health Organization indicates that using a pure product is not associated with any public health problems. Additionally, it shows no signs of a potential for dependence or abuse.

Minimal Side Effects

Many people who use CBD experience no side effects, and nearly everyone experiences minimal effects. The most common negative effects include irritability, fatigue, and nausea. Diarrhea and bloating may also occur. In just 3 percent of use cases, patients may have liver problems that require them to stop taking the natural remedy.

It is sometimes possible for those with dementia to experience increases in tremors when they take high doses. This is not typically an issue at low or medium doses and comes with improvements in memory.

Keep in mind that taking CBD will not get the person high, and it will also not reduce alertness or awareness. There are some misconceptions about it being a sedative, but this is not the case. Instead, those who experience this type of reaction are typically using the entire plant and opting for strains with terpenes that are sedative.

Potential Drug Interactions

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that as a natural compound, it may interact with other medications that a person takes. If someone takes Coumadin, a blood thinner, it may increase the levels of this drug in the blood.

Additionally, if a person takes a medication that has a contraindication for grapefruit due to the fruit’s ability to raise the level of medicine in the blood, CBD can produce the same result.

Safety Depends on Smart Purchases

The key to CBD safety is choosing the right product to buy. There is no regulation on the purity or safety of CBD from the Food and Drug Administration since the agency treats it like a supplement. As such, there is no guarantee that the product an individual buys will contain the ingredients or doses that it claims.

Always Consult a Doctor

Individuals should treat CBD like any other supplement or medication that they would take and always consult with a doctor before they begin taking it. They should be aware of any interactions with other medical conditions the patient has or medications that they take.

Legal Status

Patients should not have any problems finding CBD, no matter where in the United States they live. As of the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp plant is legal at the federal level, including CBD oil. To qualify as hemp, it must have less than 0.3 percent THC.

If the chosen tincture comes from the marijuana plant, then its legality depends on the state. It will be legal in areas with legal medical or recreational marijuana but will require the appropriate ID if only medical marijuana is legal.

How Much to Take

If an individual chooses to take CBD for memory, they will have to do some trial and error to discover the ideal dose for their particular needs. The lack of federal regulation and research means that experts have still not determined the ideal dose of the substance for memory, or for any other use.

The ideal dosage will depend on many factors, including age, body chemistry, and the severity of memory issues.

Forms of CBD Oil

 There are several main methods of ingesting CBD, including via an oil or tincture. Individuals can take these orally, typically by placing a few drops underneath the tongue. Alternatively, they can mix them into food or drink. There is also the option of an oil designed for vaping.

Those who prefer pre-dosed products can also opt for softgels, capsules, or gummies. These forms offer the convenience of portability. They will, however, contain additional ingredients compared with oils since they need to get their shape.

There are also topical products infused with CBD. Those are best suited to treat inflammation and pain, however, not memory. Essentially, topical products are best at targeting specific areas of the body, but they want full-body benefits for memory.

Isolates Vs. Full Spectrum

Individuals will notice that their chosen oils may be either isolates or full-spectrum products. Isolates only have CBD and a carrier oil. Full-spectrum products have other elements of the plant, as well, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids. They frequently include THC, so individuals should take care if they need to pass drug tests.

Choosing a Safe, Quality Product

As mentioned, there is no official regulation for CBD products. As such, consumers are left to complete their own research. To remain competitive and show their value and quality, the best manufacturers have certificates of analysis from independent lab testing. These certificates should confirm the concentrations of active ingredients and confirm that no harmful ingredients are present.

To stay safe, never buy a product without viewing its certificate of analysis. Most companies have them readily available on their website, but shoppers may need to contact them for the information.

Shoppers should also pay attention to the source of the hemp and how it is grown. Opt for hemp grown organically without chemicals as those may make their way into the final product.

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