CBD a potential treatment for memory-related disorders, study suggests
London UK: Cannabidiol (CBD), a key compound in cannabis, increases cerebral blood flow (CBF) in regions of the brain linked to memory processing, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The results suggest the potential use of CBD for disorders associated with altered memory processing including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, and Alzheimer's disease.
CBD is being investigated as a potential treatment for several disorders of which many are characterized by altered memory processing. However, there is no clarity on the mechanisms underlying these effects. Michael A P Bloomfield, University College London, London, UK, and colleagues investigated 1) how CBD influences cerebral blood flow (CBF) in regions involved in memory processing, and 2) if the effects of CBD on CBF were associated with differences in working and episodic memory task performance.
The study involved 15 healthy participants. They were administered with 600 mg oral CBD or placebo on separate days. Regional CBF was measured at rest using arterial spin labeling 3 h after drug ingestion. Working memory was assessed with the digit span (forward, backward) and n-back (0-back, 1-back, 2-back) tasks, and a prose recall task (immediate and delayed) was used to assess episodic memory.
Key findings of the study include:
- CBD increased CBF in the hippocampus (mean (95% confidence intervals) = 15.00 (5.78–24.21) mL/100 g/min, t14 = 3.489, Cohen's d = 0.75, p = 0.004).
- There were no differences in memory task performance, but there was a significant correlation whereby greater CBD-induced increases in orbitofrontal CBF were associated with reduced reaction time on the 2-back working memory task.
"These findings suggest that CBD increases CBF to key regions involved in memory processing, particularly the hippocampus," wrote the authors.
"These results identify potential mechanisms of CBD for a range of conditions associated with altered memory processing, including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cannabis-use disorders," they concluded.
The study, "The effects of acute cannabidiol on cerebral blood flow and its relationship to memory: An arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging study," is published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.