We all forget things at some point in our lives, but when it begins to severely affect our everyday lives, this can be a sign that there is something wrong. There are a number of reasons why people begin to lose their memory, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, trauma and even stress. Dealing with memory loss can be immensely challenging not just for the person who is suffering from it, but also for their loved ones.

With so much hype around CBD and how it might be able to help us with our health – especially in the brain, it is no wonder that researchers are looking at how it can affect our memory. However, due to the very fact that memory is formed over long periods of time, this is a process which cannot happen very quickly. However, we are beginning to see research coming through in dribs and drabs which is helping us to form a clearer picture.

Cannabis and Memory

The idea of CBD having the potential to help people with memory problems might seem to be a strange one to many people, due to the fact that cannabis use has been associated with memory loss for years.

However, there is research that shows that the compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is what can cause impairments to the memory [1] and not CBD.

The cannabis plant naturally contains over 100 compounds, two of which are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC. These are also known as phytocannabinoids, which means that if they are consumed by humans, they can act in a similar way to the endocannabinoids which are made naturally in the body.

This all takes place in the endocannabinoid system, which is a system in the body which is responsible for the regulation of a number of factors, including the central nervous system, inflammation and mood.

The medical profession has a lot of hope pinned on cannabis research, as it is possible that learning more about the endocannabinoid system, and how the different compounds in the cannabis plant affect it, could lead to major advances in the treatment of everything from acne to Alzheimer’s, or migraine to cancer.

Due to the fact that CBD can have a significant effect on certain parts of the brain (without making you high – that’s THC), researchers are very interested in whether it can help with memory loss.

Different types of memory loss and CBD

There are different reasons why people suffer from memory loss, so it is important to look at each reason separately with regards to how CBD could affect it.

Degenerative Diseases and CBD

Some people suffer from memory loss as a result of a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. There is mounting medical evidence that suggests that CBD can be helpful for the reduction of neuroinflammation [2], oxygen build-up [3], and protect from brain cell decline [4] as well as having other positive effects on the brain.

In fact, the research above shows that CBD not only helps to protect brain cells from declining but can also help them to regenerate. This means that CBD has the potential to be very useful for people who are suffering life debilitating degenerative diseases such as these.

Trauma and CBD

Conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) are very common in people. It has been suggested that most people experience at least one traumatic event during their life. These can be wide ranging – from sexual abuse in childhood to living through a single traumatic event to serving in war zones. One of the ways that the brain copes with these traumatic events is through memory loss and problems concentrating.

There are a number of ways that research is showing that CBD could be useful for people who are suffering from PTSD, from helping to reduce anxiety [5] to help with sleep [6].

However, there is research that suggests that CBD can also help people with the processing of their traumatic memories [7], thus helping to reduce memory loss.

Inflammation in the brain is also a major factor when people receive physical brain injuries and as shown above, researchers believe that CBD has strong anti-inflammatory qualities.

Lack of Focus and CBD

Some people who suffer from conditions such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can also experience some memory loss. Many people with ADHD have low levels of dopamine – a chemical in the brain that is associated with reward, motivation and memory, and studies show that CBD can be useful in increasing levels of dopamine in the brain [8], which can be useful to people with ADHD.

Can CBD help with memory enhancement?

We would all love to see a magic pill that can help us to remember things better. However, it doesn’t look like CBD or cannabis is that magic pill. It is important to remember here the distinction between CBD and THC and that they both can have very different effects on the brain.

Although CBD might not be able to help you to remember every detail of everything, it can certainly help to get people into the right frame of mind for learning and memory.

Through its anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties, CBD can help people to stay mentally healthy and in the best position to learn and remember. In helping to regulate levels of dopamine and the levels of other chemicals in the brain, CBD can be useful in keeping the mind working at a high level.

Trying CBD for memory

Although CBD is natural and safe to take, it can still have a big impact on the body. It is therefore important to consider a few factors if you are thinking about trying it.

· CBD can affect how your body metabolises certain medications – including some that are used for people with psychological issues. It is absolutely essential that if you are thinking of trying CBD that you first speak to your doctor, especially if you are taking any sort of medication. It is also important that if you start taking CBD, you make your doctor aware if they are prescribing you medication.

· Everybody is different and reacts in different ways to CBD. The dosage that you might need to get the right effects for you most probably won’t be the same as someone else that you know. This is why, when you start taking CBD, you start off with a very low dose and gradually increase it.

· Although CBD is safe and non-addictive, it can have some side effects such as a dry mouth, fatigue or change in appetite. These side effects aren’t damaging long term, and no-one has ever died from a CBD overdose.

· Although there is a lot of scientific evidence emerging which shows that CBD has the potential to help many people with many health issues, we are still in the early days of substantial research about how it can affect humans (specifically). Although we now have substantial evidence from rats, we still haven’t seen much research on humans. This is part of the normal process for a completely new substance.

When it comes to how CBD affects the memory the research looks promising. It is important to remember that CBD is significantly different from THC in the way that it affects the brain, but it seems that the evidence that is coming out of the research labs is showing that CBD certainly has the potential to begin changing lives when it comes to memory.


1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931635/

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28217094

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085542/

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5289988/

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/

6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/

7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6066583/

8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405830/

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