The hippocampus is the area of the brain involved in emotion and memory. New research from University College London (UCL) has found that just one dose of CBD can cause an increase in blood flow to the hippocampus. That means CBD may play an important role in memory-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and memory and emotion-related conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The UCL study(1), which set out to understand how CBD could impact cerebral blood flow in various regions of the brain, was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The study’s lead, Dr. Michael Bloomfield from the Psychiatry department of UCL, noted, “Cannabidiol is one of the main constituents of cannabis and is gaining interest for its therapeutic potential.”
Its effects on the hippocampus “may help reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety,” Bloomfield said(2). “Additionally, CBD changes how the brain processes emotional memories, which could help to explain its reputed therapeutic effects in PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. However, the precise mechanisms underlying the effects of CBD on memory are unclear.”
The UCL study was randomized and controlled. Fifteen young and healthy adults with little to no history of cannabis use participated in the research. The participants were given 600 mg of oral CBD or a placebo, unaware of which they were being given.
Researchers then measured blood flow to the hippocampus. They found that CBD caused clinically significant increases in blood flow to the hippocampus, though not to other areas of the medial temporal lobe (MTL), where the hippocampus is located.
CBD did, however, increase blood flow to some other areas of the brain as well. CBD also caused a significant increase in blood flow to the orbitofrontal cortex within the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with decision-making and planning.
Before this study, scientists were unsure of whether or not CBD caused blood flow increases to specific areas of the brain. Now, that has become a bit clearer.
This was only a small study, so more research is needed to corroborate the evidence collected here. Additionally, the study used a single dose of CBD, and the participants were healthy. Repeated CBD dosing in individuals who suffer from memory-related diseases may lead to different results.
If further, larger studies looking into how CBD changes how the brain processes memories produce similar results, this could be big news for treating Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, and schizophrenia. All of these diseases involve defects in the control of blood flow in the brain, thereby causing issues with memory processing.
FDA Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or prior to using any CBD products.