CBD for Memory Enhancement
Our memory is something we often take for granted, but as we get older, the importance of precious memories and prized moments becomes increasingly more important. Even though we forget our car keys now and then, the likelihood is you can still remember who you went to school with over thirty years ago. The issue is, things don’t always stay that way.
The mind is an intriguing entity with the ability to encode, store and retrieve endless amounts of data. However, when this ability decreases, it can have devastating consequences―memory loss is a condition that affects people indiscriminately, and often without warning.
Understanding memory loss
Some issues with memory are more straightforward to diagnose and treat than others. Emotional and physical trauma, substance abuse, even lack of sleep―these are relatively simple to pinpoint and try to resolve. However, diseases like Alzheimer's and the symptoms of dementia take a significantly greater toll on both the person diagnosed and those around them.
In all cases, a person’s ability to remember or recall events, items, and details is compromised. Unfortunately, as we get older cells lose their ability to function as efficiently, with a much slower rate of regeneration. The impact can be felt throughout our entire body, but the effects are most notable when the way we think and feel begins to change. Changes will not happen suddenly, but over time you may find yourself forgetting little things, like where you left the car keys, or items on the shopping list more easily. Under severe circumstances, repeated or prolonged memory loss can be diagnosed as dementia, a general term given to a decline in mental ability.
Alzheimer's, an irreversible brain disorder, is the most commmon type of dementia. The condition causes a loss of connections between neurons in our brain. Without neurons to transmit signals to parts of our brain that help us move, or store information―mental and physical functionality begins to deteriorate. Sadly, cases of Alzheimer's are on the rise, and this has led researchers to look at all possible avenues when slowing the progression of symptoms.
CBD’s effect on memory loss
Forgetting where you put your wallet, although not life-threatening, can ruin an entire day. In this scenario, the impact of forgetting is marginal, but not all memory problems are as easy to overcome. Thankfully CBD is one compound being actively explored for its ability to potentially 'undo' the breakdown in neurons that contributes to memory loss.
In an 'in vivo' (inside a living organism) review, researchers found 'proof of principle' when it comes to CBD and Alzheimer's disease (AD) treatment. Using a collection of animal models for AD, they observed the effects of CBD and combination therapies using THC, to see what effect both compounds had on neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is a biological process responsible for producing new neurons. Knowing that the promotion of neurogenesis is essential for improving the function of our brain, the results of their review could be beneficial for anyone with a cognitive disorder, no matter how mild.
The review concluded that 'CBD also reverses and prevents the development of cognitive deficits', going on to add that CBD also demonstrated the ability to 'reduce gliosis and the neuroinflammatory response'.
While results were favourable, the authors were quick to acknowledge the need for more in-depth testing. They recommended that more studies be done to identify the correct dosage of CBD and the difference in results between males and females.
The future of memory-related conditions and CBD
Collectively, the studies that supported the mini-review linked above are welcome news, not just for those with AD or dementia, but anyone who is suffering from issues with memory loss. Encouragingly, there have been additional studies that identify CBD’s efficacy as a neuroprotective agent. According to the results, CBD can not only encourage the growth of new neurons, but it can protect the ones we already have from substances that cause damage, like alcohol.
No matter the circumstances, memory loss is an incredibly frustrating symptom to deal with. Whether it is the result of a broader condition, or because of recent physical or emotional trauma, CBD could be a treatment option for patients in the future. With studies showing that it has the capability to repair and protect vital pathways in our brain, the impact on an individual’s quality of life could be groundbreaking.