By Max Sargent

Scientists and consumers are becoming increasingly intrigued by CBD as more research emerges. Unfortunately, the grey area surrounding its legal status has constrained large-scale clinical research from occurring, which is definitely needed in order to uncover the full potential of the cannabinoid.

A recent study conducted by the World Health Organisation found that CBD has almost zero health risks[1]. There is no abuse potential or negative physiological responses with CBD, and it has no negative effects on our memory. That’s good news, considering that its sister THC has a reputation for spoiling frequent users’ short-term memory and cognitive functions. With its promising career in future medicine, one may wonder if CBD could perhaps exert positive effects on our memory. This is not an easy question.

Trauma, Addiction, and Cognitive Decline

A study on cannabis’ effects on memory confirmed that long-term THC use could actually impact memories, but what about CBD? Well, studies are currently testing[2] it in models of memory impairment and memory function.

These efforts include investigations into the effects of CBD on memory in rodents. A study on rats conducted by the Society for the Study of Addiction set out to ascertain if CBD managed to curb fearful memories[3] and associated anxiety and stress.

With humans, it’s a bit more complicated. A study titled “The effects of cannabidiol on impulsivity and memory during abstinence in cigarette dependent smokers” found that CBD doesn’t seem to be able to reverse the cognitive impairments associated with nicotine abstinence[4] in heavy cigarette smokers. Further studies are exploring if CBD can lend a hand when it comes to ditching addictive substances such as opioids, cocaine, tobacco, and even THC-rich cannabis. Addiction is something intrinsically related to memories; namely pleasant memories.

But CBD is able to affect unpleasant memories as well. Several clinical and preclinical reports have widely confirmed that CBD can reduce anxiety[5] and symptoms associated with emotional stress and memory disorders[6], such as PTSD, also facilitating the removal of traumatic or fearful memories.

Now what about cognitive decline, which is basically memory loss? This is one of the major mental threats for people getting older. Well, there is a small but growing amount of scientific evidence proving that CBD can help the brain and improve memory. CBD was found to promote neurogenesis, thus reducing the damage to cognitive functions caused by age, disease, and trauma. This effect might help people who suffer from degenerative memory disorders; thus, the potential therapeutic properties of CBD for Alzheimer's disease[7] are currently under intense analysis.

Types of Memory

Does cbd enhance memory?

Current research has made it clear that investigating the effects of CBD on memory is no easy task. And once again, we are in an early stage of both research and personal experimentation. While some studies and many users have suggested that CBD may even improve overall cognition, there is very little evidence for CBD as a memory-enhancer in a healthy brain (assuming a “healthy brain” actually does exist).

That notwithstanding, it is still important that we begin to recognise that cannabis is not simply the memory-impairing drug it’s been labelled as in the past. Conversely, the plant contains compounds that display significant medical potential for brain-related conditions.

Since THC and CBD are being increasingly paired together in different formulations, a greater understanding of their interactions will eventually come to light. At present, it is unclear whether at specific concentrations CBD might counteract the effects of THC on memory and cognition.

Unfortunately, the acute impairments induced by THC on verbal and working memory are proven (or fortunately, because these “impairments” are actually a secondary ingredient in the mix that makes up the recreational user’s desired effect), yet it is unclear whether the impairment persists in the long-term. Regular and heavy use of THC can possibly affect memory somehow, but recent advanced neuroimaging techniques have started to show that heavy cannabis use actually “reconfigures” neural connections, instead of just disrupting them. Is this good? Is it an effect of CBD, or the combination of diverse cannabinoids? One day, science will tell.

External Resources:
  1. CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report
  2. Individual and combined effects of acute delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on psychotomimetic symptoms and memory function
  3. Facilitation of contextual fear memory extinction and anti-anxiogenic effects of AM404 and cannabidiol in conditioned rats. - PubMed - NCBI
  4. The effects of cannabidiol on impulsivity and memory during abstinence in cigarette dependent smokers
  5. Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans. - PubMed - NCBI
  6. Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. - PubMed - NCBI
  7. In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer's Disease
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

Are you aged 18 or over?

The content on is only suitable for adults and is reserved for those of legal age.

Ensure you are aware of the laws of your country.

By clicking ENTER, you confirm
you are
18 years or older