What is Brain Fog?
A particularly distressing symptom, “brain fog”, as the name suggests, is described by patients as an inability to think clearly: “like thinking through cotton wool”; “can’t remember a thing”; or “woolly-headed”. Such feelings of disorientation and confusion can be enormously disabling: sufferers not only find that it affects their ability to complete everyday tasks, but it can also cause enormous mental distress: nobody likes to feel that they are “losing it”! The causes of brain fog are numerous and in some cases complex. This means that there is no “one size fits all” remedy. That said, scientific studies and a wealth of anecdotal evidence supports the view that, for some individuals, CBD oil can provide a degree of relief from brain fog.
Brain fog is a general umbrella term for what is actually a collection of different symptoms. Although brain fog can be a convenient, shorthand term to describe a general feeling of mental unwellness, different people may experience it in a different way. In addition, the symptoms of brain fog can vary over time. For example, one person may feel that their brain fog prompts less anxiety, but that their ability to concentrate has reduced over time. Another may feel that their brain fog is increasing their levels of frustration and irritation, but that their memory is improving. Let’s take a look at the various symptoms that can form part of brain fog and how CBD may be able to affect each one of them.
How does CBD oil work?
CBD oil is a derivative of the cannabis plant that’s rich in chemical compounds called cannabinoids. For clarification, it contains only trace amounts of THC – the chemical compound which causes cannabis users to get high. CBD oil targets the endocannabinoid system in the body, bonding with the chemical receptors which control functions such as: appetite; sensations of pain; concentration; memory; cognition; mood; and awareness of time. Some individuals find that the action of CBD results in an improvement in one or more of the factors that contribute to brain fog.
What is the medical evidence that CBD oil could help with brain fog?
There are numerous factors which can contribute to brain fog: anything from fatigue through to pain, depression, anxiety or stress may result in brain fog. CBD may help with some of the factors which contribute to brain fog, thereby reducing its severity. Studies show that CBD oil can relieve anxiety symptoms in some sufferers. There has also been clinical research conducted which suggests that CBD oil may help to relieve pain and reduce insomnia. If anxiety, insomnia or pain are contributing factors to an individual’s brain fog state, CBD oil could provide some relief.
Divided into short term and long term, memory is a vital part of informed consciousness. Many sufferers of brain fog report that it is their short term memory which is affected, rather than more deeply rooted memories. This means that they are usually able to remember things such as the names of their children, childhood memories and how to perform repetitive activities. Short term memory failure involves being unable to recall information from a few minutes to a few hours ago. A trivial, but common, example is when an individual goes upstairs for something, but can’t remember what it is they’ve come up for once they get there. At times, people with brain fog may forget what they were saying mid-sentence, as well as forget important information such as train times, appointments or items of personal clothing. They may also frequently misplace keys, purses, wallets, mobile phones and similar small items.
Can CBD help memory?
Although study sizes are relatively small at this time, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests CBD can help to maintain and even improve memory function. Unlike cannabis (which has been shown to have an adverse effect on the memory), CBD promotes the growth of nervous tissue, potentially helping to repair damaged nerves which lead to memory loss. Some research also suggests that CBD can help to dull painful memories, although the mechanism for this is not fully understood. In general, there is compelling evidence that CBD doesn’t cause harm to memory and may actively promote it.
CBD and anxiety
A key component of brain fog is anxiety. Intrusive thoughts, a sense of being overwhelmed and difficulty working out how to complete a variety of mental tasks are key symptoms of both brain fog and anxiety. Even if the two are caused for separate reasons, the symptoms blend into each other, causing enormous distress to the sufferer. Many individuals end up anxious because of the effects which brain fog is having on their life. Concerned that they are unable to complete the tasks they used to be able to (or even frightened that they are going mad), brain fog sufferers can feel enormous levels of anxiety, which in turn makes the brain fog symptoms worse.
Can CBD oil help anxiety?
Encouragingly, there is a significant amount of research which shows that people with anxiety almost always notice a significant improvement in their symptoms once they start taking CBD. Not only can it reduce the mental distress associated with anxiety, CBD is also found to improve the physical symptoms which the condition can cause. Various studies have noted that CBD appears to aid restful sleep and promote relaxation. This means that it has the potential to really make a difference to brain fog sufferers for whom anxiety is a significant problem.
Lack of concentration
An inability to focus is one of the most irritating brain fog symptoms: many sufferers speak of their frustration in “not being able to get down to things”, putting off tasks, not being able to get started on a task, losing track whilst completing a task, getting diverted from what they were meant to be doing and similar scenarios. This can have a devastating impact on work performance, as well as affect household routine and the completion of basic tasks. The frustration which otherwise able people feel when brain fog prevents them from completing even the simplest tasks is enormous. Some people find that their lack of concentration gets so bad that they have to give up work! In these circumstances, it’s comforting to know that research indicates CBD can have a beneficial effect on the ability to concentrate.
CBD and brain fog – can it improve focus and concentration?
Intriguingly, lack of focus is a key symptom of anxiety. Some professionals suggest that the inability to concentrate which many brain fog sufferers describe could actually be down to high levels of anxiety. CBD has been shown to improve serotonin uptake in the brain, (working in a similar way to SSRI anti-depressants). It is also believed to affect brain physiology in a number of other ways, further reducing anxiety levels. Because CBD has reduced anxiety levels in many people, it’s highly likely that the reduction in anxiety which many users experience will result in improved focus and drive.
It has been shown that CBD and the brain interact together in a complex, multi-faceted manner. Addressing both mental and physical ill-health, CBD can be particularly effective in treating low energy, as it targets both physical and mental causes. As well as targeting the brain, reducing anxiety and making it easier for sufferers to believe they are strong enough to get up and do what they want to do, CBD also reduces pain in sore muscles and joints. It may also relieve nerve pain. Because many people with brain fog also experience listlessness, joint pain and lack of motivation, CBD is a good option because it also works on the physical causes of suffering, helping to reduce pain and provide users with some additional “get up and go.”
Is CBD oil right for you?
Generally, CBD oil is well-tolerated and, even if not beneficial in the relief of brain fog, is unlikely to make the condition worse. Make sure to pick a reputable supplier for your CBD oil and check its provenance: the higher the quality of the oil, the more likely it is to deliver the therapeutic effects you’re looking for. CBD oil isn’t a miracle cure, but there is certainly scientific evidence out there that suggests, for some people, it could provide a measure of relief from the symptoms of brain fog.
If you have any questions about CBD or require any further information about CBD and its benefits, we are always delighted to give you the information you need.