If you use marijuana on a regular (even semi-regular) basis, you may notice that sometimes your memories are, well, a little fuzzy. This short-term memory loss is a well-studied phenomenon when it comes to cannabis use.
While cannabis affects everyone a little differently, that memory impairment is a side effect that seems to be fairly common.
Is is the same with CBD? Does CBD affect your memory? And if so, in what way?
THC and Your Memory
As mentioned, it’s pretty much common knowledge that THC can affect cognitive function and short-term memory. This is why you may sometimes have a few holes in your memory once you come down from a high. It’s not usually anything major – not like blacking out – but you may feel a little spacey. This is because of how THC temporarily attaches itself to receptors in your brain. These receptors are vital for memory formation, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex.
In fact, there’s been extensive research that shows us there can be acute impairments caused by a single dose of THC on verbal and working memory.
That said, there are several factors that can influence the impact of cannabis on memory. Things like the amount used, the frequency of use, even the strain play a role. And, research also suggests that chronic use may result in the development of a tolerance to the adverse effects of THC on memory and executive functioning.
But that’s just THC – so what about CBD?
Does CBD Affect Memory?
Compared to THC, CBD has received less attention when it comes to its impacts on memory function. This is probably because of, as one study notes, “its known nonharmful effects on cognition.”
That makes sense. We’ve found no reports of it causing memory loss, which is good. None of the research suggests that CBD impairs cognitive function, or causes a loss of memories, even with extended use.
Instead, that research is far more positive.
Can CBD Improve Memory?
There’s a big difference between forgetting things every so often and developing a serious disease that impacts your memory, such as Cognitive Decline (CD), dementia, or Alzheimer’s. These are a concern for many as they age.
Can CBD help? We know that there’s a fair bit of research on how CBD protects the brain, but can it help you remember?
The most promising study done so far was based out of Australia. Researchers looking at the impacts of CBD on Alzheimer’s found evidence that suggests CBD may actually improve memory. The study tested mice for eight months to study the long-term results and effects of CBD.
Researchers found that, rather than impairing memory, CBD actually reversed some of the mice’s cognitive deficits, specifically with regard to their social recognition memory. CBD promoted neurogenesis in the mice, encouraging the growth and development of their neurons.
Does CBD Affect Memory Loss Caused by THC?
Now, there’s been some discussion on whether or not CBD can reduce or counteract the impact of THC on memory. After all, we do know that a THC-CBD combo is a powerful thing in many situations, but what about memory?
While research is still in the early stages, it does suggest that, in some cases CBD can reduce the memory-impairing effects of THC. Some research notes that a higher level CBD to THC ratio may prevent any potential episodic memory impairment brought on by THC. This is thought to be caused by the fact that, CBD, as an antagonist agonist, blocks spatial memory deficits caused by THC use. So, using a strain of THC with higher levels of CBD may reduce the impacts on memory and cognitive function (although it’s still too early to say that with certainty).
So, does CBD affect memory? It’s clear that not enough research has been done to definitely state the impacts of CBD on memory. That said, what we’ve seen so far is promising as far as it being an important tool in preventing memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Only time (and more research) will tell.