<span><b>Background:</b> Accumulating evidence suggests that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) may have antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, and thus may be a promising new agent in the treatment of psychotic and anxiety disorders. However, the neurobiological substrates unde</span> … What Does CBD Do to the Brain?
The Impact of Cannabidiol on Human Brain Function: A Systematic Review
Background: Accumulating evidence suggests that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) may have antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, and thus may be a promising new agent in the treatment of psychotic and anxiety disorders. However, the neurobiological substrates underlying the potential therapeutic effects of CBD are still unclear. The aim of this systematic review is to provide a detailed and up-to-date systematic literature overview of neuroimaging studies that investigated the acute impact of CBD on human brain function. Methods: Papers published until May 2020 were included from PubMed following a comprehensive search strategy and pre-determined set of criteria for article selection. We included studies that examined the effects of CBD on brain function of healthy volunteers and individuals diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, comprising both the effects of CBD alone as well as in direct comparison to those induced by ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of Cannabis. Results: One-ninety four studies were identified, of which 17 met inclusion criteria. All studies investigated the acute effects of CBD on brain function during resting state or in the context of cognitive tasks. In healthy volunteers, acute CBD enhanced fronto-striatal resting state connectivity, both compared to placebo and THC. Furthermore, CBD modulated brain activity and had opposite effects when compared to THC following task-specific patterns during various cognitive paradigms, such as emotional processing (fronto-temporal), verbal memory (fronto-striatal), response inhibition (fronto-limbic-striatal), and auditory/visual processing (temporo-occipital). In individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis and patients with established psychosis, acute CBD showed intermediate brain activity compared to placebo and healthy controls during cognitive task performance. CBD modulated resting limbic activity in subjects with anxiety and metabolite levels in patients with autism spectrum disorders. Conclusion: Neuroimaging studies have shown that acute CBD induces significant alterations in brain activity and connectivity patterns during resting state and performance of cognitive tasks in both healthy volunteers and patients with a psychiatric disorder. This included modulation of functional networks relevant for psychiatric disorders, possibly reflecting CBD’s therapeutic effects. Future studies should consider replication of findings and enlarge the inclusion of psychiatric patients, combining longer-term CBD treatment with neuroimaging assessments.
Keywords: Cannabis (marijuana); cannabidiol; delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol; functional MRI; neuroimaging.
Copyright © 2021 Batalla, Bos, Postma and Bossong.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
What Does CBD Do to the Brain?
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These days, CBD is everywhere. Chances are that you’ve come across ads for CBD gummies or maybe even a lotion that’s infused with CBD and other natural ingredients. Since the compound was legalized in 2018, it’s popped up almost everywhere.
Over the last few years, CBD has continued to grow in popularity. This is because an increasing number of consumers have sought alternative treatments to common, everyday ailments. While there’s still much research to do to understand the true effects of CBD, existing studies show that it may help those with anxiety, chronic pain, poor sleep, depression, and other conditions.
Keep reading to learn more about what CBD is, what it does to the brain, and what you can expect to experience when taking the compound.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a naturally existing compound in hemp. Though it’s widely confused with and compared to THC, its effects are very different. CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. This means that it won’t get you high or cause you to feel altered. Instead, CBD has therapeutic benefits, including the ability to calm the mind and body.
How CBD interacts with the brain
When ingested, CBD reacts with the endocannabinoid system, mainly the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The ECS spans throughout the body and plays a key role in various bodily functions. For example, the ECS impacts inflammation, metabolism, and immune system response, along with appetite stimulation and even how the body responds to pain.
After CBD is introduced into the body, it works with the ECS to promote healthy responses to pain, stress, and inflammation. In turn, this means less pain, less inflammation, lowered stress levels, and other whole-body benefits.
Here are some of the most notable benefits that CBD offers due to how it interacts with the brain and the endocannabinoid system.
Natural pain relief
We’ve all experienced physical pain at some point in our lives. However, for some, pain is a daily, chronic occurrence. One of the main reasons why people use CBD is for its ability to relieve all different types of pain, including acute and chronic pain.
While there are countless over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can be used for pain management, CBD is a safer and non-addictive way to ease pain and discomfort. Research has shown that CBD may help pain caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, and even neuropathic pain.
While more studies are needed, CBD may be the way forward for low-risk, all-natural pain management.
Potential treatment for anxiety and depression
Another top reason why people use CBD is because of its ability to calm the mind and body. More than 300 million people across the globe suffer from depression and anxiety. For decades, treatment for mental health conditions has consisted of therapy, counseling, and prescription medications. However, for some, these options don’t provide the intended results.
Research has found that CBD may reduce many of the symptoms caused by anxiety and depression. This is because CBD positively interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that affects mood and emotional state.
Balanced serotonin levels are key, especially in those with depression and other mental health conditions. Imbalanced serotonin levels increase the risk of anxiety and anxiety disorders, including social and general anxiety.
Stress is another common ailment that we all deal with throughout life. While stress is normal, being in a constant state of stress can have a serious impact on your health. Chronic stress puts your body in a never-ending state of fight or flight. This can impact your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Though there are plenty of ways to minimize the impact of stress, CBD is another promising option. Research has found that CBD changes how the brain reacts to anxiety by affecting blood flow patterns to regions of the brain.
Dealing with less stress and worry makes life much happier and much more enjoyable. You feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and you can finally take on the day with a focused mind.
Getting enough sleep at night goes far beyond waking up feeling well-rested. Many people struggle to get the quality sleep they need. This not only makes for tired mornings, but it also impacts your mental and physical wellbeing.
There are many reasons why people don’t sleep well at night. Some deal with racing thoughts while others can’t get comfortable due to chronic pain. Because CBD helps to ease the mind and body while also minimizing pain, it has a direct impact on sleep quality and quantity.
Not getting quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of various health problems, including heart disease, obesity, and even depression.
It protects the brain
Research has found that CBD has neuroprotective properties as well, which means that it protects the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress and other forms of harm. There is ongoing research to determine CBD’s ability to protect brain cells, especially in people with neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
CBD is thought to have neuroprotective effects due to how it interacts with CB2 receptors in the brain. CBD acts on these receptors by creating an anti-inflammatory response in immune cells in the brain. This reduces the amount of damage caused by inflammation in the brain.
Oxidation is one of the most common causes of brain tissue damage. It’s also partly responsible for brain damage seen in those with most forms of dementia. Current research indicates that CBD interacts with CB2 receptors to minimize oxidative damage in the brain.
Things to know before trying CBD
There’s a lot of buzz around CBD, but there’s still a lot to learn about the compound and its effects. Here are some things you’ll want to know about cannabidiol before deciding that it’s a smart addition to your daily health and wellness routine.
CBD won’t get you high
As discussed earlier, unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties that get you high. Instead, when ingested, the cannabinoid binds to CB1 and CB2 nerve receptors, which can help with pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and overall clarity.
CBD does have side effects
Too much of a good thing can be bad. The good news is that most CBD users rarely experience any type of side effects. However, if you take too much at once, you may experience things like nausea, fatigue, and irritability.
It’s also important to be aware of potential negative drug interactions when using CBD. Research has found that CBD may negatively react with blood thinners, pain medications, antihistamines, and other common medications.
CBD takes time to work
CBD isn’t something that you can take one time and immediately experience the therapeutic benefits. Instead, it can take weeks to find the right dosage that provides the experience that you want.
The type of CBD product you use also impacts how quickly and how strong the side effects are. CBD oil tends to offer quicker results while gummies take more time to feel the effects because they must be digested and broken down first.
As a new CBD user, be patient! Finding your ideal dosage and experiencing the full effects will take some time, but it’s worth the trial and error.
Start with a low dose
One of the first mistakes that people make when trying CBD for the first time is rushing into it and taking too high of a dose. Many people assume that taking a large amount will give them the effects that they want sooner and faster. However, taking too high of a dose can backfire.
The best way to introduce CBD into your daily routine is with low and slow dosing. This means starting with a low dosage and gradually increasing the amount until you find your sweet spot.
Top 10 CBD brands to try
There is no shortage of CBD products on the market today. While there are plenty of high quality options to choose from, there are also fraudulent and potentially dangerous products to be aware of. This is because the industry lacks oversight and regulation, which means that products can be advertised as something that they aren’t.
If you’re interested in trying CBD, you want to have the best experience possible, which is only possible if you buy a quality product. Instead of spending hours researching or leaving it to luck as to whether the product you’ve purchased is worthwhile, we’ve come up with a list of the top 10 CBD products to try.
Each of these brands are not only trusted names in the CBD industry, their products are tested by a third party independent lab for safety, purity, and efficacy. This means that you can buy these products with total confidence.
Here’s what you need to know about each of these top brands.
At the top of our list is Penguin. This CBD company has become a well-known name. Penguin offers a growing inventory of high quality CBD products, including gummies, capsules, and a topical cream.
All Penguin products are made using hemp and CBD oils from naturally grown hemp plants in Oregon. These plants are grown using organic, sensible farming practices. Plants are grown without the use of pesticides or other harmful ingredients.
Penguin CBD products are made with ingredients you can trust, including hemp oil, MCT oil, terpenes, and natural flavors. Whether you’re looking for a topical product to help with knee pain or a CBD oil to ease stress and anxiety, Penguin has just the product for you.
Everest sells full spectrum CBD + THC gummies and oil. These products are made using high-grade and naturally grown hemp. They’re vegan, non-GMO, and are tested by a third-party lab for safety, potency, and purity. Everest products are designed to provide relief and relaxation from everyday life stresses.
Everest gummies offer a delicious blue raspberry flavor while the oil is flavored like blueberry. Both products are designed to please your taste buds along with your mind and body.
Another benefit of buying from Everest is their line of Delta-8 products. Delta-8 THC offers stronger therapeutic side effects and is known to cause euphoric and semi-sedative side effects.
3. Evn CBD
As the name implies, Evn CBD offers products that keep you feeling even and level-headed. The brand offers a wide range of CBD products, including oils, capsules, and gummies. They even offer a sleep powder and topical salve. When stress and anxiety try to take over, Even CBD will help you stay calm and collected.
Evn CBD products are made using premium broad spectrum CBD oil. This type of oil includes all of the other naturally existing plant compounds, such as other cannabinoids and terpenes, but all traces of THC are removed.
Evn CBD products are non-GMO, gluten-free, THC-free, and vegan. All CBD is sourced from hemp grown in the U.S., which means you can buy with total confidence.
4. Joy Organics
Using the finest ingredients, Joy Organics products are crafted to create formulas that your mind and body will love. Finding joy and serenity has never been easier. Joy Organics offers a wide range of high quality CBD products, including gummies, tinctures, softgels, and salves. The brand even offers a full line of USDA organic products.
Joy Organics is all about providing people a natural product that supports mental and physical well-being. Whether you suffer from sleepless nights or chronic pain, you’re sure to find a product to help.
Joy Organics products are made with broad and full spectrum CBD. All CBD is extracted from USA-grown hemp. Products undergo rigorous third party lab testing to ensure safety and potency.
5. Verma Farms
Verma Farms is one of the leading brands for pure and premium CBD. The brand is best known for their chef-inspired products that feature flavors that you won’t find anywhere else. From Maui Melon gummies to pineapple flavored CBD oil, all Verma Farms products are inspired by the beautiful islands of Hawaii.
If you’re looking for a CBD product that is sure to taste amazing, Verma Farms has you covered. They offer both broad and full spectrum products to meet your needs. Aside from oils, gummies, and capsules, the brand also offers yummy CBD-infused dry fruit.
Escape to your own paradise and leave your worries behind with CBD products from Verma Farms.
cbdMD knows the amazing benefits that CBD has to offer, which is why the brand seeks to make these products accessible to everyone. Not only do they offer a full line of CBD items, their mission is to educate the public on everything there is to know about CBD.
cbdMD has an ever-growing inventory of top notch CBD products, including gummies, tinctures, topicals, capsules, and sleep aids. They even offer a line of CBD bath products to help you relax and unwind after a long, stressful day. Or if you prefer to let go of stress and worries with each sip, try their CBD drink mix.
cbdMD products are vegan, gluten-free, and are made using USA-grown hemp. With so many products and strengths to choose from, you’re sure to find one that offers the relief you desire.
7. Charlotte’s Web
For quality CBD products that are designed with delicious flavors and quality ingredients, check out Charlotte’s Web. This brand offers a wide range of CBD goodies, including tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topical products.
They even have products designed for specific functions. For example, if you’re looking for a product for calming properties or something to help you sleep better at night, Charlotte’s Web has just the product for you.
While this brand’s products are mostly made using full spectrum CBD, they do offer THC-free items for consumers who don’t want to be exposed to THC. Items from Charlotte’s Web are made using CBD from USA-grown hemp and are thoroughly tested.
CBDistillery are made from non-GMO, U.S. grown hemp that is grown using natural farming practices. The brand offers a wide range of trusted CBD products, including gummies, tinctures, capsules, powders, and topical options. They even offer delicious CBD chocolate, which is the perfect nightcap after a tiring day!
Whether you want to use CBD to relax, to sleep, for pain relief, or to help treat inflammation after physical activity, CBDistillery is sure to have a product to help. They even offer items that are designed to boost focus and concentration so that you can get more done during the day.
Most importantly, CBDistillery products undergo rigorous testing, which means that you can trust these products are safe and effective.
9. Sunday Scaries
For many people, Sunday is the worst day of the week. It signals the end of the weekend, and come Sunday evening, most people are dreading waking up and heading to work in the morning. But with Sunday Scaries, you can make the most of each day.
These CBD products are infused with premium extract to improve focus while calming your mind and easing pressure and anxiety. Sunday Scaries offers CBD gummies along with CBD oil, candy, and even bath bombs.
These products offer whole-plant benefits, which means you can experience true relaxation and calmness. Sunday Scaries products are made using broad spectrum CBD that’s sourced from high quality hemp plants in the U.S.
CBDfx delivers fine, pure, and effective CBD products for people seeking the therapeutic benefits of CBD.. From seed to sale, this brand prides itself on providing organic and innovative items that offer an exceptional CBD experience.
CBDfx offers an ever-growing inventory of CBD products, including gummies, capsules, tinctures, topicals, and even vape cartridges to help you ease into relaxation and calmness. These products are great after a stressful day or after a strenuous workout in the gym.
What’s great about this brand is that they not only offer a variety of CBD products, but a variety of extracts as well. Whether you want full spectrum or a product made with CBD isolate, CBDfx is sure to have just what you’re looking for.
Types of CBD
Now that you know about our top 10 recommended CBD brands, let’s take a closer look at CBD. It’s important to note that not all CBD products are the same. There are three different types of extracts that can be used, including isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum.
Understanding the difference between the three makes it much easier to figure out which product best meets your needs.
CBD isolate contains 99% CBD, making it the purest form of the extract. CBD isolate doesn’t contain any of the other naturally occurring plant compounds, which means that products made with isolate are powered by CBD and CBD alone.
On the opposite end is full spectrum CBD. This type of CBD extract contains all of the naturally occurring plant compounds, including flavonoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, and THC.
Even though full spectrum extract contains THC, these products won’t cause you to get high. This is because legal CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC. This is a very small amount that won’t have any psychoactive effects. Instead, you’ll feel calm and worry-free.
Broad spectrum is the sweet spot extract. It’s similar to full spectrum extract in that it does contain other plant compounds. However, the most notable difference is that it’s processed and refined to remove all traces of THC.
With broad spectrum extract, you’ll enjoy the benefits of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, without the worry of THC exposure.
Understanding the three types of CBD extract enables you to choose a product that will provide the experience that you want.
Understanding what CBD is, how it works in the brain, and its therapeutic benefits makes it much easier to decide if these products are worth adding to your daily health regimen. Though there’s much more to learn about the compound, CBD shows promising results for people who are looking for a natural way to ease stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and even sleep problems.
Remember, CBD isn’t a miracle drug and it doesn’t work immediately. Be patient when trying CBD for the first time. Work your way up in doses until you find your sweet spot and then you can truly enjoy all of the benefits that the compound has to offer.