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Does CBD oil help with brain fog?

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What is Brain Fog?

A particularly distressing symptom, “brain fog”, as the name suggests, is described by patients as an inability to think clearly: “like thinking through cotton wool”; “can’t remember a thing”; or “woolly-headed”. Such feelings of disorientation and confusion can be enormously disabling: sufferers not only find that it affects their ability to complete everyday tasks, but it can also cause enormous mental distress: nobody likes to feel that they are “losing it”! The causes of brain fog are numerous and in some cases complex. This means that there is no “one size fits all” remedy. That said, scientific studies and a wealth of anecdotal evidence supports the view that, for some individuals, CBD oil can provide a degree of relief from brain fog.

Brain fog is a general umbrella term for what is actually a collection of different symptoms. Although brain fog can be a convenient, shorthand term to describe a general feeling of mental unwellness, different people may experience it in a different way. In addition, the symptoms of brain fog can vary over time. For example, one person may feel that their brain fog prompts less anxiety, but that their ability to concentrate has reduced over time. Another may feel that their brain fog is increasing their levels of frustration and irritation, but that their memory is improving. Let’s take a look at the various symptoms that can form part of brain fog and how CBD may be able to affect each one of them.

How does CBD oil work?

CBD oil is a derivative of the cannabis plant that’s rich in chemical compounds called cannabinoids. For clarification, it contains only trace amounts of THC – the chemical compound which causes cannabis users to get high. CBD oil targets the endocannabinoid system in the body, bonding with the chemical receptors which control functions such as: appetite; sensations of pain; concentration; memory; cognition; mood; and awareness of time. Some individuals find that the action of CBD results in an improvement in one or more of the factors that contribute to brain fog.

What is the medical evidence that CBD oil helps brain fog?

There are numerous factors which can contribute to brain fog: anything from fatigue through to pain, depression, anxiety or stress may result in brain fog. CBD may help with some of the factors which contribute to brain fog, thereby reducing its severity. Studies show that CBD oil can relieve anxiety symptoms in some sufferers. There has also been clinical research conducted which suggests that CBD oil may help to relieve pain and reduce insomnia. If anxiety, insomnia or pain are contributing factors to an individual’s brain fog state, CBD oil could provide some relief.

Poor memory

Divided into short term and long term, memory is a vital part of informed consciousness. Many sufferers of brain fog report that it is their short term memory which is affected, rather than more deeply rooted memories. This means that they are usually able to remember things such as the names of their children, childhood memories and how to perform repetitive activities. Short term memory failure involves being unable to recall information from a few minutes to a few hours ago. A trivial, but common, example is when an individual goes upstairs for something, but can’t remember what it is they’ve come up for once they get there. At times, people with brain fog may forget what they were saying mid-sentence, as well as forget important information such as train times, appointments or items of personal clothing. They may also frequently misplace keys, purses, wallets, mobile phones and similar small items.

Can CBD help memory?

Although study sizes are relatively small at this time, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests CBD can help to maintain and even improve memory function. Unlike cannabis (which has been shown to have an adverse effect on the memory), CBD promotes the growth of nervous tissue, potentially helping to repair damaged nerves which lead to memory loss. Some research also suggests that CBD can help to dull painful memories, although the mechanism for this is not fully understood. In general, there is compelling evidence that CBD doesn’t cause harm to memory and may actively promote it.

A key component of brain fog is anxiety. Intrusive thoughts, a sense of being overwhelmed and difficulty working out how to complete a variety of mental tasks are key symptoms of both brain fog and anxiety. Even if the two are caused for separate reasons, the symptoms blend into each other, causing enormous distress to the sufferer. Many individuals end up anxious because of the effects which brain fog is having on their life. Concerned that they are unable to complete the tasks they used to be able to (or even frightened that they are going mad), brain fog sufferers can feel enormous levels of anxiety, which in turn makes the brain fog symptoms worse.

Can CBD oil help anxiety?

Encouragingly, there is a significant amount of research which shows that people with anxiety almost always notice a significant improvement in their symptoms once they start taking CBD. Not only can it reduce the mental distress associated with anxiety, CBD is also found to improve the physical symptoms which the condition can cause. Various studies have noted that CBD appears to aid restful sleep and promote relaxation. This means that it has the potential to really make a difference to brain fog sufferers for whom anxiety is a significant problem.

Lack of concentration

An inability to focus is one of the most irritating brain fog symptoms: many sufferers speak of their frustration in “not being able to get down to things”, putting off tasks, not being able to get started on a task, losing track whilst completing a task, getting diverted from what they were meant to be doing and similar scenarios. This can have a devastating impact on work performance, as well as affect household routine and the completion of basic tasks. The frustration which otherwise able people feel when brain fog prevents them from completing even the simplest tasks is enormous. Some people find that their lack of concentration gets so bad that they have to give up work! In these circumstances, it’s comforting to know that research indicates CBD can have a beneficial effect on the ability to concentrate.

Does CBD Help brain fog – can it improve focus and concentration?

Intriguingly, lack of focus is a key symptom of anxiety. Some professionals suggest that the inability to concentrate which many brain fog sufferers describe could actually be down to high levels of anxiety. CBD has been shown to improve serotonin uptake in the brain, (working in a similar way to SSRI anti-depressants). It is also believed to affect brain physiology in a number of other ways, further reducing anxiety levels. Because CBD has reduced anxiety levels in many people, it’s highly likely that the reduction in anxiety which many users experience will result in improved focus and drive.

It has been shown that CBD and the brain interact together in a complex, multi-faceted manner. Addressing both mental and physical ill-health, CBD can be particularly effective in treating low energy, as it targets both physical and mental causes. As well as targeting the brain, reducing anxiety and making it easier for sufferers to believe they are strong enough to get up and do what they want to do, CBD also reduces pain in sore muscles and joints. It may also relieve nerve pain. Because many people with brain fog also experience listlessness, joint pain and lack of motivation, CBD is a good option because it also works on the physical causes of suffering, helping to reduce pain and provide users with some additional “get up and go.”

Is CBD oil right for you?

Generally, CBD oil is well-tolerated and, even if not beneficial in the relief of brain fog, is unlikely to make the condition worse. Make sure to pick a reputable supplier for your CBD oil and check its provenance: the higher the quality of the oil, the more likely it is to deliver the therapeutic effects you’re looking for. CBD oil isn’t a miracle cure, but there is certainly scientific evidence out there that suggests, for some people, it could provide a measure of relief from the symptoms of brain fog.

If you have any questions about CBD or require any further information about CBD and its benefits, we are always delighted to give you the information you need.

Does CBD help brain fog? Do you struggle with brain fog or lack clarity? Well CBD could help you. Find out how in this blog post.

Got Brain Fog? Here’s How CBD Oil Can Help

The usefulness of cannabidiol (CBD) for brain fog remains to be scientifically proven, but this has not stopped people battling with the condition from experimenting with the cannabinoid. And many have found it useful! After taking CBD oil, brain fog lifted for this Dementia Forum participant with Lewy Body dementia:

“I have found on my own that the right CBD meds (concentrates of 50% or greater with a CBD:THC ratio of 2:1 or better) can lift the fog from my brain, [it] significantly reduces my verbal aphasia and provides a clarity of thought I don’t have when I am in a ‘low’ phase.” [1]

CBD Oil for Brain Fog—How Does It Work?

The bodies of all vertebrates, including the human body, contain a special molecular network—the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a regulatory system modulated by compounds the body makes (endocannabinoids) and those found primarily in the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids and terpenes).

The functions of the ECS in the body are intricate, varied, and the subject of ongoing scientific investigation. Very basically put, this system seems to be responsible for maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the body. It also plays a vital role in other physiological functions, including:

  • memory
  • pain sensation
  • mood regulation
  • immune function
  • energy metabolism
  • appetite

Of the ECS’s best-studied components are two of a number of receptors—CB1 and CB2. CB stands for cannabinoid. These receptors are located mostly in cell membranes of various types of tissues distributed throughout the body, but with concentrations in the brain, the organs, and the central nervous system.

Cannabinoids like CBD show activity at these receptor sites. Via this mediation, preliminary research suggests, CBD may influence the various functions of the endocannabinoid system in positive ways.

It’s through the endocannabinoid system that brain fog may be beaten with CBD.

Unfortunately, just as there is little research into brain fog itself, there is no research on CBD oil for brain fog. The bulk of evidence for its positive action is anecdotal, gleaned mostly from CBD forums.

However, looking at the research into other areas of CBD for human health, we can safely make some assumptions about the efficacy of CBD oil for brain fog.

CBD and Neuroprotection

When considering the symptoms and illnesses associated with brain fog (read on for more on that), it can be argued that the condition is due to the brain suffering minor to severe cellular damage. In this, CBD could well be helpful.

According to a 2012 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, there are many avenues worth further study on CBD and neuroprotection. Referring to Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and neonatal ischemia, the authors observe that “CBD has demonstrated significant effects in preclinical models of these three disorders.”

Also, of particular interest for neuroprotection, the authors point to a study whereby mice that were fed CBD experienced reduced microglial activation. Microglial activation is responsible for triggering an inflammatory response in the brain.

This could indicate CBD’s potential for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. They also note studies that suggest CBD may prevent cerebral ischemia-reperfusion, essentially preventing issues with blood flow to the brain. Perhaps these preliminary results can lay the groundwork for exploring CBD oil for brain fog. [2]

Another fact worth considering is that by now, CBD is considered a well-established, powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It’s perhaps through this action that CBD oil could reduce cerebral inflammation, and therefore, brain fog.

Research indicates, for instance, that CBD may be a powerful agent against neuroinflammation. An animal study found that CBD doses alleviated anxiety, reduced what was labeled as “despair-like behaviors,” and generally prevented cognitive and emotional impairment. These all relate to inflammatory conditions of the brain and central nervous system (CNS). [3]

Another animal study had even more promising neurological results—marijuana (containing CBD) caused hippocampus neurogenesis (neural cell growth) and antidepressant-like effects in the brains of adult rats. [4]

That said—until more robust study gets underway into both the causes of brain fog and CBD oil for its treatment, we can only make inconclusive assumptions from the related research.

Is it Safe to Take CBD Oil for Brain Fog?

Is there reliable evidence that CBD oil is as safe as many say it is? Are there any side effects?

Experts seem to agree that CBD is safe for human consumption. To quote from an Ingenta Connect-published review of both in vivo and in vitro research:

“Based on recent advances in cannabinoid administration in humans, controlled CBD may be safe in humans and animals.” [5]

In another more recent review, the authors determined that “. in general, the often described favorable safety profile of CBD in humans was confirmed and extended by the reviewed research.” [6]

That said, both articles noted the need for more clinical (human-based) research.

Are the Wild Health Claims True?

There are many claims, but currently only limited hard facts about what is otherwise an undoubtedly exciting cannabinoid. The research is progressing rapidly, but as of yet, only one CBD-based medicine is approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA)—for intractable epilepsy.

Though, in the words of Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, during a 2015 presentation:

“. pre-clinical research (including both cell culture and animal models) has shown CBD to have a range of effects that may be therapeutically useful, including antiseizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antitumor, antipsychotic, and anti-anxiety properties.” [7]

Let’s take a closer look at brain fog and what the condition entails.

What is Brain Fog?

Brain fog, also commonly referred to as “brain fatigue,” is a general term used to describe dysfunctions in various mental processes. Writing for MedicalNewsToday, Dr. T. Legg mentions that brain fog can affect different mental processes, including:

When these processes are affected, a person will experience issues such as forgetfulness, understanding, the effort to focus, and mental tiredness.

Legg also states that it can be caused by either an existing medical condition or factors such as a poor diet, physical inactivity, sleep deprivation, and chronic stress.

The medical conditions associated with brain fog include:

Medication such as chemotherapy, sleeping pills, opioids, and antidepressants are also known to cause brain fog-like symptoms. [8]

While it is safe to experiment with CBD oil for brain fog, don’t use high doses concurrently with prescription medication without your doctor’s knowledge and consent.

Considering the effects some users are reporting when using CBD oil for other symptoms, it's worth considering reduced brain fog as yet another positive.