Brain Health

A Single Dose of Cannabidiol (CBD) Can Improve Blood Flow to Major Areas of Your Brain

Posted on 13 August 2020

  • According to a recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) was able to increase blood flow to the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and emotion.
  • This finding identifies a potential mechanism for the use of CBD to treat disorders associated with altered memory processing, including Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, and schizophrenia.

Cannabidiol (CBD), which can make up around 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract, is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for several medical conditions characterised by altered memory processing.

In this double-blind, randomised controlled trial, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the cerebral blood flow in 15 healthy individuals given a single dose of either oral CBD or a placebo.

They found that CBD significantly increased blood flow to the hippocampus, a region involved in memory processing and emotion, and to the orbitofrontal cortex, which is associated with planning and decision making.

This shows brain scans from the study

CBD did not significantly improve subjects’ memory performance. Greater blood flow to the orbitofrontal cortex did correlate with shorter reaction time in a working memory task. However, as this study was in healthy subjects given a single dose, effects may differ in those with medical conditions receiving repeated doses. Rather, this research is significant because it reveals a mechanism by which CBD may treat multiple conditions.

To our knowledge, this is the first study to find that CBD increases blood flow to key regions involved in memory processing, particularly the hippocampus.

If replicated, these results could lead to further research across a range of conditions characterised by changes in how the brain processes memories, including Alzheimer’s disease, where there are defects in the control of blood flow, along with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr Michael Bloomfield (UCL Psychiatry), lead author
Cannabidiol Improves Blood Flow to Brain’s Hippocampus – Neuroscience News. (2020). Retrieved 13 August 2020, from https://neurosciencenews.com/cbd-hippocampus-16806/

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    References

    The effects of acute cannabidiol on cerebral blood flow and its relationship to memory: An arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging study: https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881120936419

    Cannabidiol Improves Blood Flow to Brain’s Hippocampus: https://neurosciencenews.com/cbd-hippocampus-16806/

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