Author: Luke Sholl
About the author
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With over a decade of experience writing about CBD and cannabinoids, Luke is an established journalist working as the lead writer for Cibdol and other cannabinoid publications. Committed to presenting factual, evidence-based content, his fascination with CBD also extends to fitness, nutrition, and disease prevention.
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Can CBD help you focus?

With the ever-increasing demands of daily life, it's not surprising that some of us need a little help when it comes to focusing. Whether you believe you can achieve this with a well-timed coffee, snack, or simply going for a quick jog before giving your undivided attention to a task, everyone seems to have a solution to get their focus back on track.

With the popularity of CBD at an all-time high, many wonder whether consuming this cannabinoid can increase, impact, or generally support focus. To answer that, we first need to understand the factors that affect our capability to concentrate and focus.

Why do we struggle to concentrate or focus on tasks?

We're all guilty of it; putting off a task or going on an internet tangent simply because we're unable to commit ourselves to the level of focus and concentration needed for that work or university project.

However, when you really need to focus, even the slightest noise can be the biggest distraction. In this scenario, the solution is simple—remove the distraction. But, it's not only technology that’s responsible for our distractions. Lack of sleep, stress, and cognitive disorders can all severely impact our ability to focus.

Sleep and energy level

As we know, sleep plays a vital role in our daily lives, and failing to get the right amount can wreak havoc not only on our health, but also our ability to concentrate. Getting a good night's sleep will give your body some much-needed rest, true, but your brain also uses this time to recover.

Think back to those times at school or university when you stayed up late trying to study for an exam, only to not remember a thing in the morning. This is due to the brain not receiving enough rest, causing you to forget all the information you tried to cram in late in the evening.

The result not only hampers your ability to learn and retain details, but will also make you feel foggy and impair your judgement and motor skills as well.

The effect of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance is well-documented in a 2007 review[1] published by Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. It found that lack of sleep caused cognitive function to decrease while increasing levels of the neurochemical cortisol.

Stress and cortisol level

Stress is something we all face in our lives, albeit in varying circumstances and to different degrees. Stress can stem from many places—a deadline, for example—or it can just naturally occur over the smallest inconveniences if you have that kind of disposition.

However it affects your life, there's no denying that stress can impact your concentration and ability to focus on a task. Further studies have also found a potential link between cortisol level and how people deal with stress.

Typically, mild levels of cortisol are useful in facilitating the body's stress response. One study[2] undertaken by the University of Limburg found heightened levels of cortisol to also decrease attention. Combine a lack of sleep with stress, and it appears you have a recipe for disaster when trying to focus.

What does research say about the effects of CBD on our ability to focus?

We now have a basic understanding of different factors that may contribute to a lack of focus, but how does CBD factor into the discussion?

With so many people consuming CBD as part of their daily routine, could it provide a little assistance to increase concentration? While research regarding the full effects of CBD is still in its infancy, many researchers feel as though remedies for improving focus are somewhat limited, and thus have turned their attention to the cannabinoid.

While there are no specific findings concerning CBD's direct impact on focus, there are studies that have investigated the cannabinoid in regard to sleep and stress. Knowing that these two factors significantly affect our ability to concentrate, any discoveries could prove vital to our overall objective of increasing focus.

One study[3] observed the interaction between sleep and CBD over the course of four days. Researchers at the Department of Neuroscience and Behaviour at the University of São Paulo administered 2.5, 10, and 40mg/kg of CBD to adult rats. Compared to a placebo, the researchers claim that the rats given 10 or 40mg/kg displayed markers associated with greater total sleep time and increased sleep latency during the day.

Although this study was carried out on rats, the results set a foundation for more comprehensive studies. However, not everyone finds it easy to fall asleep to begin with. Daily tension, rumination, and worry are well-known causes of disrupted sleeping patterns, so what does the research suggest about CBD in this regard?

A study[4] published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology administered stressed mice with CBD. The researchers suggest that CBD’s tension-reducing potential may be mediated through an indirect relationship with the CB1 cannabinoid receptor. By raising levels of anandamide in the brain (aka the “bliss molecule”), the researchers posit a role of the endocannabinoid system in mediating the stress response. However, replicating the outcome in clinical trials is necessary to make any conclusions on the matter.

Bottom line: CBD and focus

While we can acknowledge potential factors that can impede focus, there is still plenty of research required before we can make any conclusion about CBD as an aid for concentration.

However, as part of a continued effort to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, we can allow CBD to accompany us along the way. By making improvements to your lifestyle, it will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your ability to concentrate and focus.

Always keep in mind that each person's experiences with CBD will differ from the next, so it is important to note how you feel before, during, and after administering the cannabinoid. Forming this baseline will allow you to note any changes you may experience when taking CBD.

If you're interested in trying CBD oil for yourself, head over to the Cibdol store and browse our incredible selection of cannabinoid-infused products. Or, if you're looking to stay up to speed on the latest CBD developments, or want to learn more about the power of cannabidiol, feel free to search our extensive CBD Encyclopedia.


[1] Alhola, P., & Polo-Kantola, P. (2007). Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. NCBI. [Source]

[2] Bohnen, N., Houx, P., & Nicolson, N. (1990). Cortisol reactivity and cognitive performance in a continuous mental task paradigm. ScienceDirect. [Source]

[3] Chagas, M. H. N., Crippa, J. A. S., & Zuardi, A. W. (2013). Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats. PubMed. [Source]

[4] Campos, A. C., Ortega, Z., & Palazuelos, J. (2013). The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system. PubMed. [Source]

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