CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana with some potential health benefits. CBD can help with anxiety, pain, a muscle disorder called dystonia, and some neurological conditions like Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It is also believed to reduce seizures in people with certain seizure disorders, such as Dravet syndrome. A prescription form of CBD called Epidiolex is FDA-approved to treat epilepsy.
Scientists don’t know can cbd cause memory loss why cannabis can cause memory loss, but they suspect that it interferes with the hippocampus, a part of the brain important for learning and memory. The hippocampus has receptors for both THC and other chemicals, including glutamate, which are crucial to brain function. It’s thought that when THC enters the hippocampus, it interferes with glutamate activity and reduces the connections between neurons. This may impair memory and cause psychosis.
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Some clinical trials indicate that CBD can improve cognitive function, particularly in conditions characterized by acute THC-induced impairment. One study, for example, found that vaporised CBD (CBD dissolved in e-liquid) improved verbal episodic memory performance compared with placebo. Another trial showed that 800 mg CBD a day significantly improved the manipulation of information in working memory indexed by backward digit span, whereas 400 mg CBD had no effect on maintenance indexed by forward digit span.
More research is needed, but this early evidence suggests that CBD can protect against memory impairments induced by THC. This finding suggests that the balance between THC and CBD in a particular strain of marijuana can determine its effects on memory. This could explain why some strains of marijuana appear to have more memory-enhancing properties than others.