Can CBD Improve Your Focus? (The Truth)

CBD is a natural constituent of cannabis. It’s a safe and legal compound that’s used by athletes and ‘neurohackers’ around the world. Unlike THC, it has no psychoactive effects and it doesn’t make you high, but instead, enhances your focus, mood, and mental clarity.

In this article, I’m digging into scientific data to answer your question, “can CBD improve focus?”

Things have been heating up in recent years in regards to CBD. From improved cognition, faster muscle recovery to better sleep. Evidence has begun to show us a glimpse of what this fascinating compound can do.

But can it really boost your focus? Sit tight, I offer some answers below.

What the Heck is CBD?

For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, I’ll quickly explain what CBD is.

If you already know the answer, feel free to skip this part.

Right, so CBD is also called cannabidiol. Your body naturally produces cannabinoids like CBD.

Our bodies have a natural endocannabinoid system. This system has receptors made for cannabinoids like CBD to bind to them. Imagine that!

This system regulates your mood, digestion, inflammation, pain, stress response, and appetite. But emerging research shows that CBD also helps with your concentration levels. (4)

Types of Endocannabinoid Receptors

To understand how CBD affects your focus, let’s look at how this natural compound works in your body.

As it turns out, two CBD receptors are of particular importance here.

They are CB1 and CB2 receptors. While CB2 receptors are mostly found in your immune system, CB1 receptors are the ones that are concentrated in your nervous system.

CB1 receptors are suggested to have an impact on our brain chemistry, mood, and stress levels. Yes, this includes focus levels too, which CBD seems to positively affect.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that CBD sounds nothing like THC… and that’s because it isn’t.

CBD vs. THC

While CBD and THC come from the same plant, they’re not alike.

The fact of the matter is, they’re different compounds with different effects.

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound in cannabis that most people are familiar with. THC is what makes you high and causes those well-known psychoactive effects. When you’re high, you can’t really concentrate nor focus (although some would beg to differ).

With CBD, you don’t get all high and hazy. On the contrary – your cognitive abilities get sharper.

Can CBD Improve Focus?

The short answer is yes, it can.

To understand it fully, we should look at how CBD works in your brain.

What’s most interesting about CBD is that it’s a promiscuous compound; it doesn’t just bind to your endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. It also interacts with your serotonergic, dopamine, and many other systems.

Because it affects serotonin, CBD can raise your mood, reduce anxiety, and inhibit other factors that are known to disrupt focus.

Additionally, CBD can increase your concentration levels by affecting the following:

ADD & ADHD

In today’s world, many people have ADHD and ADD. These two mental disorders are characterized by the inability to focus and stay still. If you have ADHD, you know how hard it is to focus on one task at the time. Your mind, focus, and thoughts are running all over the place.

Students often rely on prescription medication to relieve their ADD and pass exams. But this doesn’t come without its costs. Stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are well-known to cause side effects in the long run.

CBD, on the other hand, may naturally promote a calm and focused mind, and ease the symptoms of ADHD. According to Healthline, it might offer some benefits, although it’s important to note that the evidence is still not conclusive.

Sleep

One benefit that CBD has been shown to promote is an improvement in sleep quality and duration. (5, 6)

How does this relate to focus, you ask?

Well, when you have insomnia or any other condition that prevents you from getting a good night of sleep, your focus is the first one to ‘take a hit.’

You give your brain many tasks during the day, so it’s only natural to recharge it at night. A lack of sleep can severely affect your concentration levels. Not to mention that it can trigger your stress hormones, which further contribute to your inability to focus.

Luckily, one of CBD’s most significant benefits is that it helps you enter deep sleep – resetting your internal clock back to normal.

Cortisol

Your body secretes a cocktail of chemicals when you’re under stress. These include adrenaline, noradrenaline, and most notably – cortisol. While these are nothing to worry about under normal circumstances, our modern and hectic lives flood our bodies with cortisol 24/7.

This chronic stress wreaks havoc on your health, causing inflammation and other problems that are linked to many modern diseases. Additionally, chronic cortisol secretion will also impair your focus and other cognitive abilities.

CBD is one of those compounds that soothes your mind and body. It inhibits the release of stress chemicals like cortisol, making you more resilient to anxiety, mood swings, and other factors that’d otherwise disrupt your focus. (8, 9)

Hippocampal Blood Flow

Research has shown that cannabinoids such as CBD have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In other words, CBD will protect your neurons from free radicals which disrupt healthy communication between brain cells. (7)

Research has shown that glutamate, our excitatory neurotransmitter, can be toxic to brain cells in high amounts. It can literally over-excite a person’s brain cell to death. However, the same research suggests that CBD protects neurons from these devastating effects of glutamate. It provides your brain with an extra layer of protection with its antioxidants. (3)

Not only that, CBD will increase blood flow to your neuronal tissues. It’s no secret that a healthy brain blood flow is critical for good memory, focus, and overall cognition.

By now, it’s become clear that the answer to the question “can CBD improve focus” is a resounding yes.

How to Take CBD?

You can take CBD in many ways. Some people vape it, others ingest it as an edible, and some use it topically.

Any Side Effects to Worry About?

For most people, CBD is safe and has minimal to no side effects.

That said, some people do experience side effects from taking CBD. These include (2):

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight & appetite changes

CBD oil can also interact with some medications. For this reason, you should consult with your doctor to ensure you’re OK to take it. (1)

If you do decide to take CBD, make sure to start with a low dose to assess your tolerance. Then go from there.

Anything Else to Consider?

One problem with CBD is that, like other supplements, it’s not strictly regulated. As a result, CBD companies have a lot of freedom to do what’s most profitable for them. The truth is, some supplement companies skimp on the quality of their ingredients and only focus on marketing to push you the product that doesn’t work.

What’s more, companies sometimes put inaccurate dosage numbers on the label. The amount of CBD can vary significantly from product to product.

That’s why when looking for CBD products, make sure you’re getting it from a trusted and reputable vendor with lots of positive ratings and user experiences.

You can even e-mail the company and ask them for proof that confirms what the label says is true. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck, and not some heavily-marketed, ineffective supplement.

Wrapping up – Can CBD Improve Focus?

As CBD’s popularity continues to grow, more and more research will start to investigate its benefits.

Based on the current evidence, CBD looks promising for improving:

  • Focus
  • Mood
  • Stress & Anxiety
  • Sleep

If you were wondering can CBD improve focus, this article should’ve cleared some things up.

Additionally, CBD typically doesn’t cause any serious side effects. Because of this, an increasing number of people have begun to take advantage of this exciting natural compound. To increase not only their focus but other aspects of cognitive and physical performance.

References
  1. Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls. (source)
  2. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. (source)
  3. Cannabidiol and (−)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. (source)
  4. Pharmacotherapeutic considerations for the use of cannabinoids to relieve pain in patients with malignant diseases. (source)
  5. Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviors associated with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series. (source)
  6. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. (source)
  7. In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer’s Disease. (source)
  8. A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. (source)
  9. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. (source)

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About Valentino Muza 15 Articles
Valentino is a nutritionist, author, and health coach. He's been researching nutrition and brain health for over 5 years, and has created Valentino's Naturals to help people maximize their mental performance. When he isn't writing, Valentino loves to travel around Europe, spend time in nature, and research topics within his field of expertise. More...

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