With the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in humans in 1992, we have seen the development of cannabis derived medicines and treatments for a multitude of conditions. It is the active compounds in cannabis - known as cannabinoids - that interact with our endocannabinoid system, stimulating it to action.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD oil is a carrier oil - often derived from coconut - with the cannabinoids added. There are a few different types of CBD oil; these are CBD isolate products, broad spectrum CBD products, and full spectrum CBD products.
Each one has a it’s own twist:
- CBD isolate contains just one cannabinoid: cannabidiol or ‘CBD’. BROAD SPECTRUM
- Broad spectrum CBD products contain all of the other compounds in the cannabis plant but with the psychoactive ingredient ‘THC’ removed.FULL SPECTRUM
- Full spectrum CBD contains all the compounds in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC.
CBD is made from cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC - at THC levels below 0.3% the plant is classified as a hemp plant.
WHAT EFFECT DOES CBD OIL HAVE ON BRAIN FUNCTION?
The effects of CBD on the body are numerous, because of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. The role of the endocannabinoid system is often simplified into ‘eat, sleep, relax, forget and protect’ and one of the ways it does this is to regulate neurotransmitters - the body’s chemical messengers.
Dopamine is one of these chemical messengers and plays a role in motivation, perception, attention, movement and regulating hormone release. CBD can help regulate dopamine levels and its release, helping the body’s systems communicate efficiently.
DOES CBD OIL HELP BRAIN FUNCTIONS?
A dose of CBD is not going to directly improve concentration and focus, however its action on the systems that help us maintain concentration and focus is how it can help indirectly.
CBD HELPS WITH STRESS
CBD inhibits the breakdown of Anandamide - the bliss chemical - which means it stays in your system longer. Anandamide is involved in pathways that impact our mood, appetite, pain, cognition and emotions - all of which contribute to our state of mind, and therefore our ability to tackle stressful situations.
CBD AS AN EFFECTIVE MOOD REGULATOR
Another of the benefits of CBD is as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and an antidepressant - neuroimaging studies have shown that CBD changes brain activity and connection patterns during resting state and during a cognitive task, including networks pertaining to psychiatric disorders.
CBD PROMOTES BETTER SLEEP AND RELAXATION
A lack of sleep massively impacts our body’s ability to function well, and CBD works to improve sleep in a majority of people. Good sleep helps to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, lowers risk of heart disease and diabetes, and helps to maintain body weight.
One of the ways CBD helps to improve sleep is by encouraging muscles to relax. It’s our body’s neurotransmitters that signal our muscles to contract, and an overabundance of these messengers can lead to synapses firing constantly - in restless leg syndrome, for example, it is suspected that a dopamine imbalance causes the overwhelming urge to move the legs. CBD helps to regulate those neurotransmitters, reducing spasticity and promoting relaxation.
CBD CAN ENHANCE MOOD AND ENERGY
Cognitive deficits can come from the aspects of our health mentioned above - stress, low mood or depression, lack of sleep, among others, and addressing those issues should lead to an improvement in mood and energy levels. CBD can potentially aid in these areas, but if these areas aren’t suffering and you still lack focus, can CBD help?
We know that CBD may help to improve sleep by its interaction with CB1 receptors, but oddly enough there is evidence that CBD may help with wakefulness too! One study shows that CBD administered to young adults increased wakefulness during sleeping time - CBD was administered alongside THC and counteracted the sedative effects of the THC at 15mg.
It has been demonstrated in rats that the administration of CBD to the hypothalamus increases the expression of a proto-oncogene called ‘C-fos’ - these regulate the cell cycle - which means that CBD positively contributes to the normal function of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus plays a key role in many processes, one of which is attention and alertness.
CBD also increases C-fos expression in another part of the brain, the dorsal raphe nuclei, an area that has higher activity in a waking state that reduces during sleep, to almost none during REM sleep. This evidence suggests CBD products can help promote alertness by maintaining proper function in these parts of the brain.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CBD
The different types of CBD available are CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD and full spectrum CBD. CBD isolate contains just one cannabinoid, cannabidiol. Broad spectrum CBD uses all of the other compounds found in the hemp plant, with the THC removed. Full spectrum CBD keeps everything in, including the trace amounts of THC.
The benefits of broad or full spectrum CBD, as opposed to CBD isolate, are that it appears to increase the absorption of CBD and contains terpenes and flavonoids that help support cognitive function. This demonstrates the ‘entourage effect’ - the effect of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids all working together to improve their overall effectiveness.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN USING CBD OIL
If you think using CBD could help to improve your focus, it is worth having a conversation with your doctor. CBD is well tolerated in most individuals, but reported side effects include changes in appetite, diarrhoea, anxiety, drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth and vomiting. CBD can also interact with other medications, reduce sperm production and cause the death of an embryo or foetus in pregnant women, so while it is largely safe, CBD should still be treated as seriously as other medications - and that includes storing your CBD oil correctly!
Dosage is important to consider when using CBD for focus, as CBD has been shown to exhibit sleep inducing properties, as well as improve wakefulness, and this may be related to the size of the dose. At this stage, it has been suggested that the method of delivery, as well as the strength of the CBD oil, could be the determining factor. We recommend starting out with small doses and then increase as necessary - many studies have been conducted with low dosages up to 50mg; so using 500mg strength oral drops, 3 drops would equate to 7.5mg of CBD for a single dose, this is then done 2 - 3 times per day.
In order to dose correctly, the amount of CBD in the product must be accurate - one investigation into CBD products bought online and found that over a quarter of them had less CBD than stated on the label. To ensure the best consumer CBD experience, at SMOKO our CBD products are made in the UK from broad spectrum CBD oil, using CBD extracted cryogenically from hemp plants responsibly grown in Oregon, USA.
CBD OIL FOR FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION: CAN IT HELP? CONCLUSION
More studies and clinical trials exploring the value of CBD are being conducted, so it won’t be long before the numerous roles that CBD plays are more understood. At this moment in time, all the evidence points to CBD helping to improve the quality of life for many individuals suffering from a plethora of ailments.
If you are looking for a low risk product to try to improve your ability to stay focused, CBD might be for you. Here at SMOKO we offer a range of CBD products, including CBD gummies and CBD oral tinctures,
So if you are interested in trying CBD, here is a great offer for a free pack of CBD Gummies when you purchase any bottle of CBD Oral Drops!