If you have ever had difficulty concentrating, either as an adult or a child, you are well aware of how frustrating it can be. Lack of concentration can lead to wasting valuable time and poor performance, in spite of extreme motivation and hard work. Poor focus can impact all areas of life, such as relationships, education, career, finances, and poor quality of life in general. Therefore, it is important to treat the issue, rather than ignoring it and forcing yourself to push through it. One method of treatment is the use of cannabidiol.
Research has recently established that many individuals who have trouble focusing are affected by clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). People with this condition experience abnormally low levels of the body’s natural cannabinoids. But, if a person with CECD increased their cannabinoids through CBD consumption, they would have less trouble focusing.
According to Dr. David Bearman, a practicing physician in California, this effect is due to CBD slowing down the speed of neurotransmitters. This, in turn, allows the brain more time to focus. Experts, such as Dr. Bearman, believe this effect of CBD to be the reason why so many ADD/ADHD patients are drawn to cannabis use. But, there is an advantage of using CBD for cannabis. CBD relaxes the mind and improves concentration and focus. It does this without producing the inebriated feeling caused by the THC in cannabis.
Furthermore, THC’s adverse effects of paranoia and anxiousness do not promote concentration. Taking high doses of cannabis can also harm the body, while too much CBD is far less likely to cause any significant side effects.
But, besides CECS or ADD/ADHD, there are many other factors that influence one’s ability to focus. For instance, anxiety, depression, and low energy levels are common causes of concentration deficit.
CBD’s impact on Energy and Mood
Several research studies on CBD show it to increase energy levels by strengthening individual body cells. By ensuring that body’s cells are in good working condition, CBD promotes wakefulness throughout the day. Our metabolism also plays a major role in our energy levels and our ability to concentrate.
In fact, indicators of low metabolism include general feelings of lethargy and loss of concentration. But, CBD has also been shown to increase our metabolism. Besides low metabolism, energy levels can also be caused by mental conditions, like anxiety and depression. Sufferers of anxiety or depression may struggle to concentrate, as their conditions can use up most of their mental energy. This then leads to poor motivation and extreme fatigue. Researchers have found that CBD oil has therapeutic properties that combat the symptoms of these disorders.
An article in the Journal of CNS and Neurological Disorders – Drug Target in 2014 mentions a research study on the impact of CBD oil on energy and mood. The study, which was conducted on animal models, gave credence to CBD containing anti-anxiety and anti-depressant elements. According to the authors, these elements provide a CBD user with a serene effect; a state of mind necessary for concentration.
Research further shows that CBD interacts with dopamine receptors to regulate cognition and behavior, including motivation. In fact, CBD users with higher amounts of dopamine in the brain tend to experience improved mental focus. This is likely due to processes such as focus and motivation being associated with the release of dopamine in the body. Dopamine is responsible for many other mental processes as well, like memory and mental awareness. Thus, decreased focus and attention, may be caused by too little dopamine. Too much dopamine, however, can lead to memory and focus impairment. This is another reason why CBD use is recommended over cannabis use. CBD does not cause an abnormal rise in the brain’s dopamine levels, unlike cannabis.
But, dopamine is not the only hormone that influences our ability to stay awake and concentrate. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that assists in regulating many body functions, but especially in helping you wake up feeling refreshed. Unfortunately, some people may have a serotonin deficiency, in which case they have low serotonin activity or low levels of serotonin. Two symptoms of the deficiency are disturbed sleep and feeling fatigued in spite of adequate sleep. This information led researchers to study patients with fibromyalgia (FMS) to understand whether serotonin deficiency is a root of their condition. A growing pool of findings suggests that individuals with FMS may have a serotonin deficiency. For those not familiar with FMS, it is a condition which causes chronic pain that is unexplained by other conditions or medications. Other common symptoms include difficulty with cognitive functioning and moderate or severe fatigue.
According to 2007 study conducted by the Canadian Medical Association, many patients with FMS symptoms have shown lowered serotonin levels, just like many patients with symptoms of depression. Now, research is leaning towards increased serotonin as a treatment for FMS symptoms, like low energy levels and difficulty focusing. This can be achieved through CBD use, as CBD inhibits 5-HT1a serotonin receptor activity, raising levels of serotonin. Not only would increase serotonin levels promote wakefulness, but they would also improve mood and combat depressive symptoms, like excessive sleep and insomnia. There is speculation among the scientific community that the antidepressant effects of CBD may also be caused by increased levels of the “bliss” molecule, anandamide.
CBD vs. Stimulants
Now that the benefits of CBD on concentration and energy levels have been established, you may be considering ditching your stimulant medications for CBD. The medical community remains split on whether CBD should be used over stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. However, there are a number of doctors who have advised their patients to use CBD products to increase their energy and focus. This is likely due to the numerous side effects that prescription medications are associated with. CBD, on the other hand, has demonstrated far more therapeutic effects and fewer side effects than those of more conventional drugs.