Daily Dose of CBD: Effects on Brain Health, Function and Performance
Medical marijuana is firmly in the media spotlight, and more and more doctors and patients are attracted to the healing powers of the plant, especially cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is one of more than a hundred compounds extracted from marijuana and its cousin, industrial hemp. Many researchers from different parts of the world have proven the potency of this substance in treating various kinds of diseases, especially on the brain and the nervous system.
Numerous studies have shown that CBD provides a wide range of benefits to the brain’s health, function, and performance. Aside from protecting the brain from degeneration and advanced aging, CBD also has properties that can prevent the growth of brain tumors. Moreover, it can reduce stress and mood issues that are harmful to mental function, and contribute to lowering the incidence of epileptic seizures. Furthermore, CBD also acts as a natural analgesic that suppresses chronic pain and swelling and can aid better sleep quality.
How CBD Affects the Brain
- Protects and Rejuvenates Nerves
The discovery of cannabis’ power to prevent brain degeneration is perhaps one of the most important breakthroughs in modern medicine. At a time when Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological diseases affect millions of people, the discovery of cannabis as an effective medicine is a watershed moment in brain research and treatment. This substance is one of the few that has the power to reduce brain damage caused by many factors. It protects the brain from stress caused by traumatic blows, lack of oxygen supply, as well as autoimmune and genetic disorders.
Aside from protecting the nerves, CBD also promotes the growth of new neurons. Neuroscientists have observed this phenomenon, also known as neurogenesis, not only in the brains of children but also of adults and seniors. Neurogenesis takes place during healthy activities like physical exercise, and it can also occur when taking anti-depressant medications. Since physical activity is nearly impossible for patients who suffer trauma and aging, anti-depressants are the only possible option. However, frequent and continued use of this medication can cause side-effects. With the discovery of CBD’s neurogenesis property in the mid-90s, doctors now have a natural and safer alternative that can reduce, and possibly even treat, neurological diseases. The good thing about CBD is that it has no toxic effect on the body, even in very high doses.
- Reduces Seizures
While CBD is often linked to a wide range of health problems, its efficacy in treating some of the most severe epilepsy syndromes, like Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, is recognized and acknowledged by the scientific community. These types of epilepsy usually do not respond to medication but, in many studies, CBD has been proven to reduce the number of seizures and, in a few cases, were even able to stop them. Videos showing the effects of CBD on afflicted children and their seizures are available for viewing on the Internet. The positive impact of CBD has prompted the FDA to approve the first cannabis-derived medicine for these types of epilepsy.
- Relieves Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health problems that affect a considerable portion of the American population. People are spending millions of dollars on medications to relieve the symptoms and effects of these disorders. While in the past, hormonal and chemical imbalances are said to have caused these disorders, scientists have now found a new source — structural problems in the brain.
Modern brain-scanning machines, such as fMRI, have found that people with chronic anxiety and depression have a smaller hippocampus, the part of the brain linked to long-term memory, spatial navigation and spatial memory, and behavioral inhibition. Because of CBD’s ability to regenerate neurons in this area, the behavior and moods of the anxious and depressed can be modified. With a larger hippocampus, they can now better manage their behavior in the face of stress and other emotional trauma.
- Relieves Chronic Pain
Since ancient times, cannabis has been used to suppress chronic and acute pain. There are even ancient Chinese texts documenting the use of marijuana during surgery. Millennia later and researchers have found that weed, specifically CBD, can relieve chronic pain originating from the nerves, and associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, neurofibromatosis, and even cancer, and since CBD has anti-inflammatory properties too, it can also reduce the frequency and intensity of pain in different areas of the body.
- Improves Sleep
Regular quality sleep is crucial for a healthy brain. A sleep-deprived person may often experience mental lapses including memory loss, lack of focus and fatigue. CBD relieves anxiety and chronic pain closely associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders. Once a person experiences relief from an anxious and agitated state, aided by a dose of CBD, sleep will come naturally.
- Has an Antioxidant Property
CBD is also a potent antioxidant. This natural substance hinders oxidation, a chemical reaction that generates free radicals. Once free radicals multiply, they may lead to the development of any number of chronic diseases including cancer, stroke and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The National Cancer Institute acknowledges the beneficial role of antioxidants in preventing the damage caused by free radicals to the body, especially in the growth and development of tumors that can lead to cancer in the brain and other parts of the body.
CBD, together with THC, another substance extracted from cannabis, is a potent antioxidant, more so than vitamins C and E. In fact, the US Government grants a patent to CBD specifically for its neuroprotectant and antioxidant properties. Even the World Health Organization recognizes CBD as a potential treatment for cancer and other diseases caused by free radicals.
Future Breakthroughs in Cannabidiol Research
Research on CBD, and other compounds derived from weed, is only in its infancy. As medical science begins to focus on the astonishing healing powers of marijuana, we can expect more scientific breakthroughs to be made, especially in the treatment of brain diseases and improvement to mental function. Now that doctors and patients are living witnesses to the wonders brought about by using cannabis for medicinal purposes, we can look forward to a better society where people experience less anxiety, pain, and disease.