In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, they’ve investigated how CBD (Cannabidiol), a cannabis compound, improves cerebral blood flow in several areas of the brain, including the hippocampus.

This study would be an important foundation for future research on several nervous system conditions that affect the memory like Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD (post-traumatic disorder) and so on. It would largely be a great body of knowledge for the future therapies of the mentioned illnesses.

The lead researcher on the study, Dr Michael Bloomfield, in a published article from Technology Network said, “Cannabidiol is one of the main constituents of cannabis and is gaining interest for its therapeutic potential.

“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.

“Additionally, 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.”

What was the method used?

The team selected 15 young adult participants, all healthy and without a history of cannabis use.

The study used a randomised controlled study. The participants were administered with 600mg of oral CBD or placebo, randomly. The participants didn’t know if they were given a placebo pill or not.

For measuring blood flow in the brain, the team used a method called an ‘arterial spin labeling.’ The method was a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scanner that can measure the changes in blood oxygen levels.

What are the results of the study?

The research found that, indeed, CBD increases the blood flow in some areas of the brain like the hippocampus. However, CBD didn’t have any significant effect or didn’t trigger any increase in the blood flow of some regions of the medial temporal lobe or MTL.

CBD also significantly increased blood flow in the orbitofrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is an area of the brain where the planning and decision-making process happens.

Dr. Bloomfield added that “To our knowledge, this is the first study to find that CBD increases blood flow to key regions involved in memory processing, particularly the hippocampus.

“This supports the view that CBD has region-specific blood flow effects in the human brain, which has previously been disputed.

“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.”

What are the limitations of the study?

The study only administered a single dose of CBD on healthy individuals. The study didn’t progress to the effects of the long-term or repeated use of the cannabinoid.