CBD is a compound produced by the cannabis plant that has gained a considerable amount of recognition in recent years for it’s potential in a number of health conditions, as well as general wellness. The cannabinoid has been found to reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep, and even reduce seizure frequency and severity in cases of treatment-resistant epilepsy. All of these potential benefits pose the question, does CBD work as a Nootropic?
What are Nootropics?
Many studies have now been conducted to assess the medical and health potential of CBD, with a growing body of evidence suggesting that the cannabinoid may have strong nootropic benefits – no wonder it is voted one of the best nootropic supplements in the following review.
Nootropics are defined by NootropicsUK.com as a category of supplements and drugs that can: help your brain in either of the following ways:
- Offer protection from toxins and chemical inadequacies
- Boost your natural cognitive function
- Enhance memory and learning
- Help the brain function under strenuous circumstances
In this post, we zoom in on the issue surrounding CBD Oil as a nootropic, how it works, and safety concerns.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of at least 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. It is often obtained from hemp and sold as a supplement in the form of CBD oil.
Not to be confused with hemp oil, CBD oil is obtained from the leaves, flowers, and stalk while hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. Moreover, CBD does not bear the psychoactive effects of THC. In fact, it may counteract some of them – like anxiety and paranoia.
The compound has been linked to many of the health benefits of cannabis, including neuroprotection, pain relief, reducing anxiety and depression, alleviation of cancer-related symptoms, and heart health, among others.
How Could CBD Affect the Brain?
The endocannabinoid system is part of our brains and is regulated by two naturally occurring cannabinoids in the body; anandamide (AEA), and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). These two compounds are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and have a similar structure to CBD.
The ECS system is known to help regulate:
- Appetite and digestion
- Motor control
- Response to pain and pleasure
- Immune function
Cannabinoid receptors interact with the nervous, immune, and digestive systems to regulate these functions. CBD, too, can affect these physiological activities by binding with cannabinoid receptors.
What’s more, CBD inhibits the breakdown of anandamide, the naturally occurring cannabinoid in the body that is linked to a calming effect. Increasing the availability of anandamide may help prevent anxiety.
Admittedly, the jury is still out on the full extent of CBD’s activities in the body, and scientists even suspect other cannabinoid receptors are yet to be discovered. Nevertheless, its benefits are undeniable.
The Nootropic Benefits of CBD
One of the most overlooked nootropic effects of CBD is the possibility of offering protection to neurons. Compounds that are deemed neuroprotective may prevent or slow down the age-related decline in cognitive function as well as help fight neurodegenerative conditions.
There isn’t much clinical-based evidence to support CBD’s neuroprotective benefit, but animal studies have linked it to antioxidant abilities among other effects. It stimulates BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) production, helping with neurogenesis and repair of damaged neurons.
The most common use of CBD is to relieve anxiety. Besides thousands of feedback reports from regular users, it has been associated with the relief of anxiety through various studies.
CBD has been shown to help with several types of anxiety, including that induced by THC and social anxiety. Experts agree that this effect can be attributed to changes in blood flow to key regions in the brain, increasing activities in the left Para-hippocampal gyrus region while decreasing activities in the left amygdale-hippocampus.
Stress and Depression
Stress may lead to depression and vice versa. The positive impact of CBD on stress and depression is believed to come from its interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain.
Low serotonin levels are associated with depressed mood, aggression, anxiety, irritability, impulsive behaviour, and low self-esteem. All of these factors may also lead to stress and depression. Preliminary evidence suggests that CBD may be able to help reduce these symptoms by increasing serotonin levels in our bodies.
Lack of adequate sleep has a huge impact on cognitive performance throughout the day. Sleep is arguably the most important contributing factors to optimum brainpower.
CBD could help to deal with depression, stress, and anxiety, which are all common causes of insomnia and sleep-related problems.
CBD has also shown great promise in helping deal with addiction to substances. Research has linked it to a decline in addiction to cocaine, cannabis, tobacco, psychostimulants, and alcohol.
Experts think CBD helps with addiction by targeting risk states associated with relapses, such as anxiety, stress, and depression. Moreover, CBD is thought to impact the brain circuitry responsible for drug craving.
Is CBD Safe?
Yes. Or at least, no adverse reactions have been reported so far, even with long term heavy use of up to 1500 mg a day.
What’s more, unlike other nootropics/ smart drugs, CBD does not seem to interfere with the normal processes in the brain to bring about unnatural mental capacity, but rather complements them, offers protection, and tries to restore balance.
All evidence points to CBD having powerful nootropics benefits even though much research is still underway to uncover its full potential. It makes for a safe, natural nootropics option and a great addition to any wellness regime.