Studies show that the cannabis compound has benefits to blood flow in the brain
The exact mechanisms in which cannabis and one of its popular cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), interact with the body are still being understood; however, recent observations are giving the scientists new and more in-depth information. A new study lead by researchers with University College London (UCL) has discovered that CBD – even if just a single dose is taken – can increase the blood flow to the hippocampus, an important area of the brain associated with memory and emotion. This is a major discovery that can have relevance for mental conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as it could promote better-targeted strategies for treatment.
The study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, and researchers were aiming to discover how CBD can influence cerebral blood flow in different regions of the brain that are involved in processing memories. “Cannabidiol is one of the main constituents of cannabis and is gaining interest for its therapeutic potential,” said lead author and UCL Excellence Fellow Dr. Michael Bloomfield. “There is evidence that CBD may help reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may improve memory function.” He added that “CBD changes how the brain processes emotional memories, which could help to explain its reputed therapeutic effects in PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. However, the precise mechanisms underlying the effects of CBD on memory are unclear.”
To conduct this study, the investigators used 15 healthy young adults as participants who had little or no history with cannabis. Then, each participant was given a 600 mg dosage of oral CBD or a placebo, on different occasions and separated by at least a week. After taking the CBD all subjects had their blood flow going to the hippocampus measured through an arterial spin labeling, which is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that uses a brain-scanning technique that can perceive changes in blood oxygen levels.