CBD oil is rapidly becoming one of the most popular supplements in the world. To date, hundreds of scientific studies have looked at the benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) oil. Research has consistently found that CBD oil soothes the effects of temporary inflammation, combats stress, eases joint discomfort, and even promotes a healthy heart.
But the benefits don’t end there. Scientists have recently discovered that CBD can cross the blood-brain barrier(1). What does this mean for your brain?
CBD oil has the ability to directly impact the health of your brain. Most compounds are limited in their benefit because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier. However, CBD has huge potential for enhancing the function of your brain. There are five specific ways CBD can benefit your brain.
For decades, neuroscientists believed that once you reached adulthood, the brain stopped making new brain cells. But new research has proven them wrong (2).
Your brain is capable of producing new cells throughout your life in a process called neurogenesis (3). This process is critical for maintaining a healthy brain, learning, memory, and preventing diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s (4).
The challenge is that neurogenesis slows down as you grow older (5). Eventually this creates a deficit in new brain cells and compromises the function of your mind. In certain cases, this is the reason why some people experience cognitive decline in their old age.
The good news is, animal studies suggests that CBD can stimulate neurogenesis by increasing the levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF (6).
In addition to stimulating the production of new, healthy brain cells, CBD may also prevent the decline of neurogenesis caused by stress (7). Due to these effects, taking CBD oil could help keep your mind young, quick, and healthy.
One of the ways CBD produces its beneficial effects is by delaying the reuptake of the neurotransmitters anandamide and adenosine (8). This, in turn, increases the amount of anandamide and adenosine in the brain.
Scientists believe that the elevation of these neurotransmitters results in a neuroprotective effect (1). In other words, CBD could protect the brain from harm. What kind of harm?
Your body and brain are constantly under attack from environmental toxins, inflammatory foods, and oxidative stress. All of which can result in damaged nerve cells that can compromise the function of your brain. Substances with a neuroprotective effect like CBD can negate this damage to help keep your brain healthy and strong.
Chronic stress is a sworn enemy of a healthy functioning brain. Stress impairs your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and can also increase forgetfulness (9, 10). Studies have also found that chronic stress increases the risk of developing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety (11).
So, if you want your brain to function at an optimal state, managing your stress levels will make all the difference. A growing body of research suggests that CBD is one of the easiest and most effective ways to alleviate stress.
When the endocannabinoid system is underactive, you’re more likely to experience high levels of stress (14). But when it’s stimulated with CBD oil, the opposite effect can occur—you become more resistant to the effects of stress.
This would explain why CBD oil supplementation is shown to decrease the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in people who experience high amounts of stress (15).
By altering the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, CBD can elevate your mood to new heights. One way which CBD can lift your spirits is through its ability to manage your stress levels (as explained above).
Think back on the last time stress got the best of you. How was your mood? When you get stressed to the point of being overwhelmed, it sabotages your happiness and replaces it with anger, frustration, or hopelessness. So, when stress is kept at bay with CBD oil, you can expect to have a more stable mood.
Animal research has also shown that CBD can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain (16). Serotonin is called the “happy chemical” due to the fact that it significantly impacts your mood, overall sense of well-being, learning, and several other feel-good sensations (17).
Neuroinflammation, as the name implies, occurs when your nervous system or brain becomes inflamed. In small doses, neuroinflammation is helpful for encouraging tissue repair and fighting pathogens.
One scientific review of over 110 studies, for example, noted that CBD may help by increasing the amount of anandamide in the brain (20). Another animal-based study found CBD can help to reduce neuroinflammation after a stroke (21).
CBD oil is becoming one of the world’s most popular wellness supplements. Scientific studies have discovered that CBD has a wide variety of beneficial effects. This explains why so many people swear by CBD oil for easing joint discomfort, muscle aches, and temporary inflammation.
But the benefits go well beyond these common uses. Most people don’t realize CBD oil has a powerful effect on your brain as well. It protects your brain cells from damage, it encourages the regeneration of healthy brain tissue and enhances your mood. In doing so, CBD oil can help you become the best version of yourself by unlocking your true biological potential.