CBD and Neuroplasticity: How CBD Can Affect Brain Structure and Function
Updated On May 2, 2023 | by Steffi Stark
Neuroplasticity, also referred to as neural plasticity or brain plasticity, is a hot topic in wellness and healthcare research. It is involved in brain development, homeostasis, learning, memory, sensorial training, and even recovery from brain lesions. In other words, healthy or sick, we all need our neuroplasticity to work at a maximum. In this article, we’re spilling the deets on exactly why neuroplasticity matters for your well-being and functioning and whether CBD can improve it.
What is Neuroplasticity?
According to scholars, neuroplasticity is the ability of the nervous system to alter its activity in response to intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli. It is a complex brain remodeling process allowing this vital organ to modify its structure, connections, and functions according to environmental input. It has been found that neuroplasticity depends on the formation of new inter-neuronal connections called synapses or the replacement of useless, non-functional neurons with new ones. This process is needed to facilitate the brain’s rapid adaptation and self-repair, which are essential for memory, learning, and the overall functioning of the nervous system.
Why Does It Matter?
So, what’s the deal with neuroplasticity, and why does it matter so much? For a long time, it was believed that neural plasticity is a process occurring mainly in childhood and adolescence when the human brain is actively developing. However, scholars have a growing understanding that neuroplasticity plays an immense role in human health across the lifespan. For example, research has shown that it significantly affects the neurocognitive functioning of older adults.
So, if you think neuroplasticity doesn’t apply to you, consider this: without the brain’s capacity to change, you would be unable to memorize information and recover from injuries. More importantly, researchers point out that without neural plasticity, there would be no perceptions, thoughts, emotions, memories, or actions.
Moreover, neuroplasticity is something you don’t think about until you have an injury. If you have a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI), you need your brain to recover fast, which is when neural plasticity comes in handy. You may also be increasingly concerned about your brain plasticity when you experience problems with learning and cognitive capabilities.
That said, incorporating products and lifestyle changes that positively affect brain plasticity can greatly reduce the risk of impaired cognitive functions. Ahead, we are discussing why you need to consider consuming CBD to improve your neuroplasticity.
Effects of CBD on the Brain
Cannabidiol (CBD) has a tremendous effect on brain function. This non-intoxicating chemical contained in the cannabis plant is known to affect the brain in the following ways:
- Increases the blood flow to the brain;
- Improves response inhibition, emotional processing, verbal memory, and auditory/visual processing;
- Modulates metabolite levels in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD);
- Modulates resting limbic activity in individuals with anxiety;
- Reduces autonomic arousal during emotional and physical stress.
CBD positively affects brain function in both healthy individuals and people with various mental health problems, such as stress and anxiety.
In addition, CBD has a positive effect on brain function in individuals with the following conditions:
- Multiple sclerosis;
- Alzheimer’s disease;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Ischemic disorders.
Another interesting effect of CBD on the brain concerns negative memories. Research shows that this cannabis compound can interfere with the consolidation and elimination of fearful memories, which are involved in developing anxiety disorders, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Cannabidiol is also widely used in the medication treatment of epilepsy, the disease whose seizure-inducing mechanism is located in the brain. Patients with epilepsy have disrupted electrical patterns, causing sudden bursts of electrical energy that interfere with their sensations, consciousness, and movements. CBD is known to counter seizures by improving brain function. It blocks lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) signals, reducing its ability to amplify nerve signals causing seizures.
In healthy individuals, CBD increases glutamate and serotonin levels, which facilitate the brain’s function, improve mood, and enhance learning and memory. If you want to explore in greater detail the numerous positive CBD effects on the brain, https://askgrowers.com/blog/does-cbd-affect-the-brain is a good place to start.
Can CBD Affect Neuroplasticity?
CBD can also have a positive effect on neuroplasticity. Various studies have shown its involvement in the following:
- Hippocampal neurodegeneration;
- Stimulation of neurogenesis (formation of new neurons);
- Increase in the protein levels of hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is responsible for the survival of existing neurons;
- Promotion of dendritic reorganization, which is vital for protecting the brain from viral infections.
More research is needed to understand the pathways through which CBD affects neural plasticity. However, given already available evidence regarding the positive effects of CBD on the human brain, the future of CBD products seems bright.
If you are confused by the complex medical terms above, let me explain CBD’s effect on the brain. By positively affecting neural plasticity, this cannabis component can achieve the following improvements:
- Better memory;
- More effective learning;
- Improved cognitive abilities in general;
- Improved mood and emotional regulation;
- Reduction of certain disease symptoms.
In other words, by consuming CBD, you can become a more efficient, productive, and healthier self. This chemical can increase stress resilience, which is a precious gift in modern life, where you must juggle numerous commitments.
When to Consider Using CBD for Neuroplasticity Improvement?
Whether you are perfectly healthy or suffer from a physical and/or mental condition, CBD can boost your brain function. Consider adding this cannabis compound to your diet if you have the following:
- Stress and anxiety;
- Impaired memory and concentration problems;
- Impaired cognitive skills due to injury or disease such as stroke;
- Certain diseases (e.g., epilepsy).
CBD can also be a good idea if you feel that a lot is going on in your life and you cannot perform as well as you want at work or study. CBD can improve the blood flow to your brain, helping you eliminate that annoying brain fog.
Taking CBD may also be useful if you are preparing for an exam. Since it enhances memory retention consolidation, it will make it easier for you to memorize a large body of information and retrieve it during the exam. However, don’t treat CBD as a magic pill that will make you smarter. After all, much depends on your effort and determination.
How to Consume CBD to Improve Neuroplasticity?
When it comes to consuming CBD for good health, the best regime is the one you will stick to. Whether it’s CBD gummies, capsules, snacks, beverages, or isolates, find a product that works for you and stick with it. Consistency is key here because neuroplasticity is not improved in a blink of an eye. Don’t expect one CBD pill to magically improve your cognitive skills or cure your disease. However, if you consume CBD regularly and follow the recommended dosages, you will see gradual improvement.
Furthermore, try to control sugar intake and purchase CBD products with minimum or no added sugar. Look for natural sweeteners and sugar substitutes if you like your CBD sweet. Consuming CBD from unreliable manufacturers is another no-no. There are many dishonest cannabis brands that provide false and misleading label claims. As a result, you risk consuming products that contain very little CBD or harmful additives. Stick with manufacturers with an impeccable reputation – these usually provide lab test results and have excellent customer reviews.
Next, you need to find the CBD dose that works for you. Start with a smaller daily dose if you are a newbie, and then gradually increase it as your body gets used to cannabidiol. In this way, you will minimize the risk of side effects, which may include:
- Dry mouth;
- Reduce appetite;
These symptoms are usually mild and easily eliminated by adjusting the CBD dosage.
Finally, you can achieve the best outcomes if you combine CBD with lifestyle changes. Consider the following:
- Get enough sleep every night (at least 7-8 hours);
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet;
- Exercise regularly;
- Avoid drinking and smoking;
- Train your brain by trying new things, reading, solving puzzles, etc;
- Stay socially active.
These golden rules sustain a healthy mind and healthy body and have the added benefit of protecting you from numerous chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The good news is that most of them are completely free!
The bottom line is that CBD can have a positive effect on brain structure and functioning. It facilitates the development of new neurons and protects the existing ones, which is crucial for cognitive functioning and overall health. By boosting neuroplasticity, CBD can help you fight diseases, show resilience to stress, and perform to the best of your abilities at work or study.