Can CBD Improve Cognitive Function?

CBD shows potential for improving cognitive function, according to a new study that tested the impact of CBD on mice with traumatic brain injury. The study found that CBD helped with lowering the impact of brain injury while also supporting faster recovery of cognitive skills.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a condition that results from severe head trauma. It often occurs in professional football players, soldiers, people in car accidents or those who take a bad fall. Currently, no universal treatment exists for TBI. But a new study indicates CBD could prove effective.

Researchers at the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at New York Medical College found CBD helped improve memory and other cognitive functions in mice with TBI. It adds to the growing list of studies that have shown CBD can lead to improvements for patients in areas ranging from managing stress and anxiety to achieving better weight loss and an improved sex life.

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

TBI impacts a person’s brain function and also has an effect on physical health. It occurs when a person receives a severe blow to the head. Sports fans know about TBI from football, where players sometimes suffer concussions, considered a milder form of TBI.

Even mild TBI can lead to temporary blackouts, nausea, headaches and dizziness. More severe cases can cause an inability to speak, amnesia, confusion, difficulties concentrating, and difficulty in creating and retaining new memories. The most severe cases can lead to death.

TBI is one of the major causes of death and disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports about 166 TBI-related deaths in the U.S. every day. The organization includes self-inflicted gunshot wounds in this category, as well as car crashes, falls and physical assaults.

Cannabis Improves Cognitive Function in TBI Patients

The New York Medical College researchers published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Experimental Neurology. They wanted to test their hypothesis that administering CBD directly to the site of a brain contusion would reduce inflammation and “local neural excitation,” resulting in improved neurological outcomes after TBI.

They applied CBD to the injured areas through a gel foam matrix implant as well as by systematic injection. Mice who received these treatments showed improvements in the following areas.

  • Staying balanced, stabilizing their head and body, and maintaining posture.
  • Cognitive performance in both learning and memory
  • Lower volume of TBI-caused lesions
  • Reduced impact of injuries to the hippocampus

The new findings back up research from previous years. A 2020 study associated CBD use with increased blood flow to areas of the brain involved with memory processing. Israeli researchers also found in a previous study that mice with TBI had better recovery when treated with CBD.

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