People love discussing potential harms and benefits of cannabis. It is primarily a recreational drug and there is no other way around – most people use it for pleasure. However, that is not to say that there are no benefits. Non-psychoactive substance cannabidiol (CBD) does help reducing inflammation, but it could also be useful in treating anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD and some other conditions. Why?
A new UCL-led study showed that CBD improves blood flow to the hippocampus.
Reduced blood flow in the brain has been cited as one of the reasons why some people develop some cognitive or memory problems. It is also a factor in anxiety disorder and PTSD. And people have been saying that CBD helped them a lot to cope with these conditions. Cannabidiol is not psychoactive, which makes it an acceptable product even for those who really dislike the whole drug aspect of cannabis.
Scientists selected 15 young adult participants for this study. None of them had any significant cannabis use experience. Each participant was given a 600mg of oral CBD or a placebo at different times.
Obviously, participants didn’t know what they are getting and they had no way of knowing, because CBD doesn’t have that easily describable effect on one’s mood or emotional state. Then scientists measured blood flow to the hippocampus using a technique called ‘arterial spin labelling’. Essentially it is just a specialized MRI method to scan changes in the blood oxygen levels.
And scientists did find that CBD significantly increased blood flow in the hippocampus, even though a similar effect was not observed in the rest of the medial temporal lobe. Particularly, an increased blood flow was noticed in the orbitofrontal cortex, in the prefrontal cortex, which is used for planning and decision making.
Dr Michael Bloomfield, lead author of the study, commented results: “If replicated, these results could lead to further research across a range of conditions characterised by changes in how the brain processes memories, including Alzheimer’s disease, where there are defects in the control of blood control flow, along with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder”.
Scientists believe this to be the first study of its kind to find that CBD increases blood flow to key regions involved in memory processing. Further studies are needed, but this is a great beginning to something highly valuable to the entire human race. In essence, scientists could start developing CBD-based treatments for various mental conditions very soon. Cannabidiol (CBD) could help treating anxiety, PTSD, Alzheimer’s and a bunch of other conditions that involve a reduced blood flow in the brain. Image credit: