A new study, led by researchers from University College London, is offering some of the first robust evidence showing how cannabidiol (CBD), a key compound in cannabis, increases cerebral blood flow in memory processing regions of the brain such as the hippocampus.
“There is evidence that CBD may help reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety,” says lead author on the new study, Michael Bloomfield. “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.”
Considering the long-standing stereotype of a dopey forgetful cannabis user, it may seem counterintuitive to suggest a compound in cannabis can improve memory function. But recent research has found some of the negative psychiatric conditions linked to cannabis use may be primarily due to THC, and CBD can potentially negate those ill effects.