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CBD for Focus and Concentration: A New Approach

 CBD for focus and concentration

What do you do when you need to improve your concentration? Do you take breaks to practice mindfulness, prioritize nutrition or leverage productivity tools? 

Although each has its merits, there’s a new approach to improving focus and concentration — CBD.

The non-psychoactive cannabinoid provides a natural way to support your overall cognition, offering a unique avenue for those seeking a balanced and holistic approach to mental clarity.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. But is CBD federally legal? 

It is! In 2018, the United States government passed the Farm Bill, which is officially known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The legislation is extensive and authorized various conservation programs to promote sustainable farming, maintained funding for nutrition programs like SNAP and legalized the production and sale of industrial hemp, effectively removing CBD from the list of Schedule I controlled substances.

That said, there are a few caveats. 

Industrial hemp, defined by its low THC content, is crucial to CBD's legal status. Under federal law, industrial hemp is any cannabis plant with a THC content of 0.3% or less. This distinction is key in the CBD laws, as plants with more than 0.3% THC are not federally legal, making the growth and sale of marijuana-based CBD products subject to state legislation rather than federal law.

The evolving landscape of CBD legality has been a topic of public health and legal discussion. Despite its removal from the controlled substance list, the nuances of CBD law continue to vary across state lines. This means that while hemp-derived CBD use, including its medical use, is widely accepted at the federal level, marijuana-derived CBD remains a complex issue.

Fortunately, for those looking for a cognitive boost, hemp CBD products are available across the country, both in-store and online. As long as these products adhere to the THC content guidelines, they can be transported across state lines without legal implications, making CBD use for wellness and health purposes more accessible than ever.

You can also check our article on CBD vs THC to better understand the differences and effects of each compound. 

When ingested or applied topically, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a recently discovered network of complex cell signaling that operates within the central and peripheral nervous systems. It consists of three main components:

  • Endocannabinoids – Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring cannabinoids within the body that bind to cannabinoid receptors to send chemical messages, regulate physiological processes and behavior and maintain homeostasis. The two primary endocannabinoids are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
  • Cannabinoid receptors – These types of receptors are proteins that exist throughout the body. CB1 receptors are predominantly found within the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. CB2, on the other hand, populates the peripheral nervous system, immune cells and immune tissues. For this reason, CB2 receptors are believed to help regulate immune function and inflammatory responses.
  • Enzymes – To prevent excessive cell signaling and overstimulation, enzymes break down the endocannabinoids to ensure the endocannabinoid system functions optimally. 

After entering the body, CBD — a cannabinoid — can mimic the function of endocannabinoids. Although the exact mechanisms are unknown, CBD is believed to influence the cannabinoid receptors to similarly maintain homeostasis throughout the body. 

CBD may also inhibit the enzymes involved in endocannabinoid breakdown to prolong and enhance cell signaling of the enzyme anandamide, which is also known as the “bliss molecule” for its effect on mood and cognition. 

CBD’s Impact on Focus and Concentration

When speaking about CBD and cognition, the primary mechanisms involved are the CB1 receptors, which are abundant in the brain and spinal cord. Namely, they modulate neurotransmissions, which allow neurons in the body to communicate with each other to control such processes as:

  • Movement
  • Blood flow
  • Breathing
  • Hormone regulation
  • Digestion
  • Sleep
  • Memory and learning
  • Thinking and feeling

CB1 receptors have also been observed to influence moods. 

All that said, it’s believed that CBD can support concentration by stimulating the CB1 receptors to:

  • Improve energy and focus
  • Promote wakefulness
  • Reduce stress
  • Support quality sleep
  • Ease physical discomfort

CB1 receptors aren’t the only cannabinoid receptors that may play a role in focus and concentration, however. CB2 receptors are also believed to have an impact on mental health. To understand this concept, let’s explore what’s called the gut-brain axis.

Over 70% of immune cells live in the gut, which consists of the entirety of the gastrointestinal tract. These immune cells can impact the gut’s microbiome, a collection of microbes, fungi and viruses that populate the gut.

These components of the gut, which exist within a subset of the peripheral nervous system — the enteric nervous system — communicate back and forth via neurons with the central nervous system. Thus, there’s believed to be a link between intestinal functions and the brain’s emotional and cognitive centers.

More specifically, the vagus nerve is the predominant connection between the brain and the gut, interlinking the two. This is why stress responses can often trigger gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach discomfort, abdominal discomfort and/or irritation of the esophagus. Conversely, studies have found gastrointestinal issues may inhibit the function of the vagus nerve, which can impact cognitive functions like mood. 

The gut also produces a large portion of serotonin, which helps to stimulate happiness and regulate the body’s internal clock. It also plays a role in reducing inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, which may ease symptoms associated with low moods and memory loss and support cognitive function. 

As such, CBD’s impact on CB2 receptors within immune cells and the gastrointestinal tract can help to:

  • Mitigate neuroinflammation
  • Protect neurons from damage
  • Modulate neurotransmissions
  • Support overall brain health
  • Reduce feelings of stress that may inhibit concentration and focus

For more information on the main CBD oil benefits, explore our other guide where we dive even further into the details.

Additional Natural Ways to Support Focus and Concentration

Pairing CBD with practices to improve cognitive function may be the most effective approach to enhancing mental clarity and overall brain health. For a holistic approach to cognitive support, consider incorporating one or more of the following practices:

Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Regular exercise, a balanced diet and quality sleep can all have a positive impact on cognitive function. 

Studies show that exercising throughout the day can increase blood flow to the brain, stimulating your neurons and cell growth to improve your concentration, focus, mood, energy levels and learning capabilities. If you’re combating sore or achy muscles and joints, the combination of CBD may also help to ease physical discomfort and optimize your workout.

Similarly, adding healthy brain-stimulating foods to your diet, such as green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, tea, coffee and walnuts, may improve your memory, slow cognitive decline and improve concentration. 

Lastly, sleep deprivation may lower your alertness and ability to concentrate. To combat a slow brain, prioritize at least eight hours of sleep a night to improve your concentration and comprehension throughout the day. CBD may also help to support quality sleep by relaxing your body and reducing any stress that might cause tossing and turning. In fact, we even have a guide on the best CBD for sleep if that’s one of your key areas you’re looking to improve in your life.

Stimulate Your Brain

If your mind begins to feel foggy or hazy throughout the day, take a step back from what you’re working on to engage in brain-stimulating activities like:

  • Puzzles
  • Crosswords
  • Chess
  • Card games
  • Sudoku
  • Wordle
  • Reading 
  • Learning a new skill
  • Listening to music

Practice Mindfulness

Feeling constantly stressed or frustrated throughout the day can significantly impact your brain health. Namely, daily stress can lead to:

  • Disorganization
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of focus
  • Neuroinflammation

Why does this happen? During times of high stress, the brain will engage certain parts of itself that play a role in the stress response. Because all of its energy is going toward one part of the brain, the other parts, which may be responsible for memory, learning and focus, become neglected, thus inhibiting cognitive function.

Even if you’re unable to control the stressful environment around you, it is possible to control your internal world. Incorporating mindfulness techniques like meditation, yoga and breathing exercises may help to calm your mind and body, allowing your brain to access a state of tranquility amidst external challenges. 

If you’re finding it difficult to transition into a meditative state, ingesting CBD may help to calm your mind and body as you prepare to wind down. 

Hydrate Consistently

Adequate hydration is essential to overall brain function — 75% of the brain is made up of water. Accordingly, a 2% decline in hydration can lead to short-term memory loss and inhibit your ability to solve complicated problems. Long-term dehydration, on the other hand, can impair cognitive performance and mood and increase feelings of stress and fatigue. 

It’s also important to note that healthcare professionals have increased the recommended daily water intake from eight cups to 15.5 cups daily for men and 11.5 cups daily for women. 

Schedule Visits With Your Healthcare Provider

If you’re experiencing long-term cognitive decline or a prolonged lack of focus, it may be beneficial to speak with a healthcare provider. They can provide insights into your current health status and recommend lifestyle changes to promote cognitive function. 

Before starting CBD, it’s also beneficial to speak to your healthcare provider to discuss potential reactions, best dosages and recommended CBD assortments to meet your health and wellness goals. 

Boost Your Brain With Zebra CBD

For those looking to improve their overall cognitive function, CBD may be the answer. Its interaction with cannabinoid receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system can help to reduce feelings of stress, protect neural pathways and improve focus. 

 When looking to buy CBD online that you can trust, choose Zebra CBD. We provide a variety of CBD products, from CBD topicals to CBD gummies for sale, that are crafted with premium hemp extract from organically grown hemp. Each product is also tested for potency and quality to ensure it doesn’t contain any pesticides, heavy metals or harmful microbes. 

Want to see for yourself? Our product database provides insights into testing and ingredients via an online Certificate of Analysis to ensure the label matches what’s inside the bottle. 

 

Sources:

  1. USDA. Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018: Highlights and Implications. https://www.ers.usda.gov/agriculture-improvement-act-of-2018-highlights-and-implications/
  2. Healthline. Endocannabinoid System. https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system#how-it-works
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569
  4. Cleveland Clinic. Neurotransmitters. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22513-neurotransmitters
  5. Healthline. The Gut-Brain Connection. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-brain-connection
  6. UCL. Study-boosting benefits of exercise. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/news/2020/may/study-boosting-benefits-exercise
  7. Harvard Health Publishing. Foods linked to better brainpower. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/foods-linked-to-better-brainpower
  8. Healthline. Brain Exercises. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/brain-exercises
  9. Harvard Health Publishing. Protect your brain from stress. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/protect-your-brain-from-stress
  10. Mayo Clinic. Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256 

Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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