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Why CBD is good for the brain

Cannabis has a profound effect on the brain, and this fact was first realized by humans thousands of years ago. More recently, marijuana has been considered to be a net negative for mental health and the brain. But this was before the properties of cannabidiol (CBD) were extensively explored. The cannabinoid, which can be legally derived from hemp, has become a medicinal wonder over the past few years, and it is showing impressive, wide-ranging potential for brain health.

This article will help to improve your understanding of CBD’s neurological effects. We will cover:

 

  • How CBD differs from regular cannabis
  • How CBD works in the brain
  • The benefits of CBD for various mental conditions
  • Which CBD products may be most helpful for the brain
  • Why CBD is of therapeutic value to chronic cannabis users

We have tons of fascinating information to share with you. But please keep in mind the following is just informational content, and not a substitute for medical advice.

How does CBD work in the brain?

CBD works in the brain by acting on cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) that comprise part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD optimizes the ECS, which promotes homeostasis in the body. A healthy ECS is thought to reduce the likelihood of mood disorders and cognitive problems, and more serious mental illnesses like psychosis and schizophrenia.

CB1 receptors are more dominant than CB2 receptors in the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. These are implicated in regulating mood, appetite, memory and pain sensitivity. The receptor has become a target for various conditions, including depression and anxiety. But a dearth of clinical trials has so far stopped us from knowing the true effectiveness of CBD.

CBD is non-psychoactive

One huge benefit of CBD in comparison to typical cannabis products is its non-psychoactive status. The intoxicating effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), generally the most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana, is thought to aggravate certain mental illnesses.

The psychoactive effects mean that cannabis has been outlawed in many countries, including the United States, for several decades. Marijuana research has been hard to come by for this reason. But as CBD is safe with few side effects, and can be taken in rich quantities from hemp, which is now legal, the compound is being studied and used by the American public at a greater rate than ever before. It’s even popular for several mental disorders that cannabis was thought to be problematic for, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

CBD effects on brain health

CBD has numerous nuanced effects on brain health. Due to the complexity of neuroscience, and the limited cannabinoid research conducted, much of the evidence on CBD’s therapeutic neurological benefits is preliminary. However, some fascinating studies offer an insight into how CBD could be used for the brain. And coupled with our knowledge on what people are taking CBD for, we can join a few dots to get a good idea of what the compound has medical benefits for.

CBD for anxiety

An overactive brain is responsible for the mental disorder anxiety. Treatments for the condition have historically looked at involving the 5-HT1A receptors in the serotonin system, of which CBD is an agonist. CBD also regulates brain levels of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that inhibits electrical impulses in the brain. This is a key effect, as a balance between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate is vital. Otherwise, the brain becomes excessively active, which increases the risks of epileptic seizures as well as anxiety.

Most people using CBD for anxiety prefer the efficient qualities of CBD vape pens, or tincture oils if they want to stay healthy. CBD is likely much better than regular medication for generalized and social anxiety, as the benefits are noticeable in minutes, not weeks.

CBD for brain inflammation

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on the brain are showing the differences in brain structures between healthy people, and those with depression and other mental disorders. MRIs are transforming views on mental illness. Disorders aren’t just due to chemical issues, but physical problems, too. Major depressive disorder may explain brain inflammation. Neuro-inflammation causes structural changes to the brain.

Studies have linked depression to damage in various regions of the brain, notably the hippocampus, where motivation and memory is controlled, and the prefrontal cortex. Research also shows that CBD, cannabichromene (CBC) and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids have neuroprotective qualities, which not only reduce symptoms but have a healing effect on the brain.

The anti-inflammatory influence of CBD on the brain suggests that it may provide more potent and enduring benefits for depressed patients than current drugs. While animal studies are merely a precursor for human, clinical trials, such research has highlighted how an antidepressant effect lasting several days can be obtained from just one dose of CBD.

CBD for neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain occurs when nerves involved with the transferral of information between the brain and spinal cord and other regions of the body. Symptoms of conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to be intensely painful, and hard to manage.  Neuropathic pain severely affects quality of life, due to loss of mobility.

A study in Anesthesia and Analgesia in 2017 showed why CBD may be helpful for chronic nerve pain. Treatment may also help to combat fatigue and enhance sleep quality by easing pain at night. To relieve this type of pain in the daytime, vaping or smoking hemp-derived CBD products may be best. At night, a CBD edible product like CBD gummies will last for longer. Boost CBD’s sedative effects with a product that contains indica terpenes. 

CBD oil for brain injuries

It may be possible to alleviate the damage caused by strokes, traumatic brain injuries and concussions by using CBD, and hemp-derived CBD products. A rat model found that CBD treatment could reduce brain damage from an artificial ischemia stroke. MRI scans showcased the benefits of CBD administration. Researchers found that CBD reduced neuronal loss and helped with long-term recovery, by regulating various factors, including brain inflammation and apoptosis.

A 2018 study looked at the potential of medicinal cannabis to treat concussion syndrome and concussion-related pain in humans. They suggested that medical cannabis could be helpful, and that treatments with 1:1 THC to CBD were better than 20:1 THC to CBD. Therefore, CBD looks to have a medicinal effect that is worth studying in more depth.

CBD for brain fog

Most of us experience a mental slump at some point in life. This brain fog can be due to symptoms of other illnesses, like fibromyalgia. But there are several factors that could lead to a decline in cognition, from brain inflammation to poor gut health. The good news is that the ECS regulates cognitive function and memory, and could help to ease brain fog symptoms, and bring back mental clarity.

Any CBD product where the cannabinoids are taken into the brain can help with mental fogginess. Those wanting a rapid boost and perhaps a creative spark may want to try products with sativa terpenes. Sativas enhance mood, and have pleasant cerebral effects.

CBD for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease

Could CBD really help with Alzheimer’s disease? There is certainly optimism among the CBD community, because of the neurogenesis that CBD provides to the hippocampus. Memory is regulated here, and hippocampal atrophy, or shrinkage, has been linked to Alzheimer’s. A Brazilian patient is now being prescribed CBD for Alzheimer’s after getting special permission, and it will be intriguing to see the long-term effects of treatment for this form of dementia. 

Parkinson’s groups all over the world are expressing their support for the relaxation of laws surrounding medical cannabis. CBD’s potential for this neurodegenerative illness is unclear. But studies have shown that CBD can reduce psychotic symptoms, and relieve depression and anxiety. It may also help with tremors and sleeping problems. CBD is an inverse agonist of CPR6 receptors in the basal ganglia, a potential target for future Parkinson’s medication.

Huntington’s is a brain disorder that adversely affects cognition, emotional processing and motor control, and the illness is inherited.Huntington’s develops in the 30s and 40s, and damages nerve cells in the brain. CBD has actually been researched for Huntington’s for many decades. In 1991, a controlled clinical trial showed that CBD had no effect on the disease. Other studies have found that cannabinoids are neuroprotective and may help. We require more research to be confident of the effects.

Can CBD reverse brain damage?

CBD for brain disorders is an exciting prospect. Initial research for many brain issues looks promising. However, it is also clear that while CBD is good for some conditions, it may not help with all. It’s tempting to talk about CBD as if it were some kind of panacea. But this only discredits the treatment for what it is useful for.

However, as a means of damage limitation, CBD certainly looks like it helps to reduce the impact of strokes and traumatic brain injuries. CBD treatment could be an effective tool for doctors and paramedics to have on hand.

CBD for brain healing following chronic cannabis use

A growing number of people are worried that they have damaged their brains irreversibly by consuming too much super-strength high-THC cannabis for too long. These concerns are legitimate. THC can be neurotoxic in large quantities, and especially so without the balancing effects of CBD.

But it is this moderating influence of CBD which makes it the perfect candidate for brain healing. While the brain’s structure can become damaged, it can just as easily be repaired with a neurogenesis treatment like CBD. Indeed, research has found that the more devastating the effects of chronic cannabis consumption, the more therapeutic that CBD can be.

What is CBD brain disease?

If you have researched CBD and the brain for yourself, you may have come across another type of CBD, which stands for corticobasal degeneration. This describes a condition that can impair memory, while making speech and movement more difficult. CBS is another acronym for this illness. It causes increased damage to brain cells, and eventually brain cell death.

Just to reassure you, this type of CBD has nothing to do with cannabidiol, the cannabinoid! And if you are doing your own research, remember to make this distinction!

Final thoughts

The true benefits of CBD for the brain may take years to fully show. Research is really promising for many areas. But we are a long way off knowing for sure just exactly how valuable CBD can be for various illnesses. However, thanks to the safety of CBD products, you can have the confidence to experiment, and find out whether they work for your health problems. CBD is legal. But CBD hemp oil companies must keep the THC level below 0.3 percent. Already using CBD? Let us know how it helps you! 

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CBD for seniors: understanding the potential

The soaring interest for CBD products among seniors is perhaps the unlikeliest development to have come from cannabidiol’s (CBD) emergence. Granted, cannabis would have been making a breakthrough during the counterculture days of the 1960s. This was a time when many of today’s seniors would have been in their youth. But for most of their lives marijuana has been a demonized substance, in all shapes and forms. However, in 2019, CBD is making a huge splash in the senior demographic.

Americans have been steadily embracing cannabis, with medical and recreational legislation being brought in by various states. But hemp-based CBD products have made much more of a national impact, thanks to being legal at federal level. In the past few years, CBD has gone from being barely known to a wildly popular plant-based supplement and remedy. “The cannabis that doesn’t get you high” is how most of the public know it. The health benefits and wellness potential of CBD and products made from industrial hemp oil extracts have certainly not gone unnoticed. Many even prefer CBD to their prescription medications.

This is a comprehensive guide to the best CBD for the elderly. We will consider a few conditions that are common among pensioners, but may be aided by CBD treatment. These include chronic pain, arthritis and joint pain, and neurodegenerative illnesses. In regard to these disorders, we will also go over the most suitable CBD products for seniors.

Chronic pain

Cannabis use for chronic pain has a history that dates back not hundreds but thousands of years. Ancient Chinese medicine practices recommended the herb. Indian Ayurvedic medicine harnessed cannabis, as did the ancient Greeks. However, there is one big drawback to cannabis being a mainstream medication for pain in today’s world. That’s the fact marijuana is, in its whole form, psychoactive. For many, the thought of having to get high to relieve their pain is too much. Some are averse to psychoactive substances for health reasons, others are against the likes of cannabis due to religious beliefs.

Therefore, researchers have been trying to establish whether the psychoactive THC in cannabis is needed to relieve chronic and neuropathic pain. And if it isn’t, could CBD on its own be an effective painkiller? We have just a few studies that have analyzed the potential of CBD as an analgesic. Yet some key breakthroughs have been made. On top of that, out of all the reasons for taking CBD, chronic pain is top of the pile. This discovery was made via a questionnaire reported in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research last year.

Get natural pain relief with CBD

CBD, as a potent pain-reliever and non-psychoactive drug, promises to change the game. Until now, the best hope that many senior patients have had to genuinely ease their chronic pain symptoms was opioid painkillers. These prescription drugs do admittedly have therapeutic value. But it is the harsh downsides of these treatments which makes them so unappealing. Opioids are – like the natural opium plant – highly addictive, and are notoriously easy to overdose on. For many patients, opening a treatment has been a downward spiral. And it’s one with a vice like grip that is mightily tough to break free from.

CBD takes a much softer and more sustainable approach to pain relief. Firstly, it’s a non-addictive substance that doesn’t affect the natural chemical balance of the body. While opioids act as strong agonists of opioid receptors, CBD helps the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to work normally. The cannabinoid does this by stifling reuptake of anandamide, making more of the endocannabinoid available to bind with CB1 receptors. With CBD increasing levels of anandamide, this also stimulates activity at the vanilloid receptor, another influencer of pain.

Some pain conditions require a stronger dose of CBD. But the body will never become physically or mentally dependent on the compound. The wide range of CBD products on offer also means that pain can be combated in different ways. Acute, neuropathic pain responds well to vape oil and concentrate treatment. Chronic pain is effectively soothed with CBD capsules. And all types of pain can be eased by using CBD creams. In some cases, the effects may be even better when you combine CBD oil or vape juice with a topical product.

Arthritis and joint pain

Arthritis affects many seniors, and the disorder can destroy quality of life. The condition can prevent people from living life to the full. And even from doing simple tasks like driving a car or opening a jar. Arthritis is not a single illness, and comes in multiple forms. This can make finding a treatment tricky, as there are different causes of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the conditions most are familiar with, so will be our focus.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is the most common form of arthritis. It can cause stiff and painful joints throughout the body. In life, general wear and tear causes a small level of damage to the joints. Older people are more prone to this than any other demographic in society. Typically, the body is able to heal itself from minor levels of damage, but OA occurs when this doesn’t happen. Excessive use of a joint or joints can exacerbate symptoms of arthritis, as can family history and previous RA. These symptoms include inflammation, swelling and pain as joint cartilage breaks down.

CBD is effective at easing the pain associated with OA, and can also help to reduce inflammation. This two-pronged effect makes CBD especially good at managing the symptoms of arthritis. The likelihood is that a CBD cream will have greater benefits for arthritis than products taken internally. This is because topicals can directly treat the damaged area.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

RA causes a similar stiffness and swelling of the joints, but appears to have different causes to osteoarthritis. Symptoms of RA can become worse due to flare-ups. This can mean the condition has a harsher effect on quality of life. RA can also contribute to tiredness and weight loss. This suggests much more is going on than simple deterioration of joint cartilage.

There is a growing belief that RA is caused or at least worsened by poor gut health. The concept of ‘leaky gut’ has consistently been ridiculed by medical professionals. However, research emerging in recent years suggests there may be a vein of truth to this ancient view of health.

RA has been confirmed as an autoimmune disease. CBD may be therapeutic for the condition by treating a leaky gut. This stops the body from becoming overwhelmed by inflammation, preventing harmful bacteria from spreading. A study has found that CBD can repair gut lining, in doing so preventing symptoms of leaky gut. Utilizing CBD oil and creams would perhaps tackle the root causes of RA, while providing pain relief.

Neurodegenerative illnesses

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease are all types of neurodegenerative illness that are common among elderly people. Deteriorating brain health is the cause of these conditions. Managing these illnesses can be very difficult, and in many cases, ultimately impossible. That’s why it’s important to take the necessary measures to prevent them. Evidence shows that meditation can be beneficial, and supplementing the brain with antioxidants and omega-3s also helps. Getting plenty of sleep – at least the seven hours minimum as recommended by healthcare experts – is vital. The brain heals most during deep sleep.

But what positive effect can a cannabinoid like CBD have, given that we know cannabinoids influence the brain? Let’s consider Alzheimer’s disease, a disorder which is notorious for adversely affecting memory. The main brain region responsible for memory loss is the hippocampus, which tends to decline with age. However, through CBD consumption, the hippocampus can be maintained and even regrown. The cannabinoid, and others – notably cannabichromene (CBC) – produce a marvellous effect known as neurogenesis. This encourages hippocampal growth by stimulating neuronal stem cells.

A broad-spectrum extract may work better for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative illnesses than CBD-isolate. This is because of the therapeutic value that CBD and other non-intoxicating cannabinoids have. So far, a medical link between CBD and reduced Alzheimer’s symptoms is unproven. However, some researchers have theorized about the possibilities in their studies. Moreover, a Brazilian Alzheimer’s patient was permitted CBD treatment a couple of years ago. Why Brazil? The South American country has a reputation for carrying out neuroscientific experiments related to cannabinoids.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that doesn’t really make much sense. It affects all ages, and causes mental and physical symptoms. These include poor sleep quality, fatigue, reduced cognitive functioning, stiffness, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Those with the illness find it pretty much unbearable to live with. Matters are not made any better by the fact that it does not have an official cause or cure.

But a known cause and remedy for fibromyalgia may not be far away – in fact, it may already be here. Discovering the ECS in the early 1990s has been a major scientific breakthrough. It’s allowed researchers to study the system in its entirety and work out what happens when it becomes dysregulated. Dr Ethan Russo, a neurologist and psychopharmacologist, and his team have diligently been researching this for the past 15 years.

They have found that fibromyalgia – and conditions such as migraines – can potentially be linked back to ECS dysfunction. Given that the symptoms match up to the variables that the ECS regulates, it’s easy to see why. While this sounds – and is – a huge problem for health, the remedy may be pretty simple. CBD has all-round benefits for the ECS. CBD acts indirectly on its two primary receptors (CB1 and CB2) to regulate the ECS.

Many fibromyalgia patients are starting to experiment with CBD products, some of whom are enjoying major relief. As the effects need to be felt all the body, we suggest trying edibles, vape juices, capsules or even hemp flower.

Final thoughts

This article has demonstrated how:

  • CBD oil for elderly people can help with chronic pain
  • CBD products for seniors are great for arthritis and joint pain
  • Neurodegenerative illnesses may be manageable with CBD
  • CBD for seniors may get to the root of fibromyalgia

 

The positive media stories on hemp-based CBD has certainly been a factor in its newfound popularity among the elderly. Well-read seniors have picked up on the benefits that the cannabinoid may have, and are getting in on the action. As with pretty much every area of CBD research, more studies are needed to conclusively confirm the benefits for these conditions. But with CBD products available for all Americans to buy, many are deciding to jump right in. That CBD has few side effects and is non-addictive has no doubt helped. And, of course, the critical fact that it won’t make you high, in any dose.