The New Research on CBD and Brain Repair - Neurogenesis for Addiction and Mental Health

CBD and brain repair - neurogenesis for mental health and addiction

 

We just wrapped up massive reviews of CBD and Depression and CBD and Addiction.

 

Deep within both is an effect that's turning out to be key across almost all mental health.

 

It's going to be the star of the next decade.

 

In fact, the most common antidepressants, SSRI's, operate along this same pathway.

 

That's why it takes a few weeks for them to start working.

 

It's also the basis for exercise, mindful meditation, and even psilocybin for protecting the brain.

 

We're talking about how the brain builds new connections, repair old ones, and even gets rid of bad or unused ones.

 

It's called neurogenesis - a fancy word for the process of brain remodeling!

 

We hate to throw technical terms at you but you're going to want to remember this one (wait till you see the research below).

 

Interestingly, CBD is shown to have a powerful effect on this pathway.

 

It may be one of its greatest tricks.

 

In fact, the whole brain repair/destruction system goes right through the endocannabinoid system (where CBD works).  We'll look at that as well!

 

We'll look at all the research below but more importantly...there is research on how much CBD is best for this effect and how long it takes.

 

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These are the areas we'll cover: 

  • An introduction to neurogenesis - the process of landscaping the brain
  • Why neurogenesis is so important in today's world
  • Neurogenesis and mental health
  • Meet BDNF, the brain's fertilizer
  • The endocannabinoid system and neurogenesis
  • CBD's role in neurogenesis
  • How much CBD for neurogenesis
  • How long does CBD take for neurogenesis
  • What's the best CBD for neurogenesis

 

Let's get started before our brain withers away!__

An introduction to neurogenesis - the process of landscaping the brain 

First, let's set the scene.

 

We like to think that our brain today is pretty much the same brain from a year ago or even a decade ago.

 

After all, we feel pretty consistent.

 

Actually, the brain is incredibly dynamic!  Changing all the time.

 

In fact, as you read this article and even sentence, new connections are being made (if we're interesting enough - no pressure!).

 

Let's meet the players! 

  • Neurons - the cells of the brain that communicate with each other
  • Dendrites - the branches that come off of neurons to form actual connections
  • Synapses - where dendrites meet to communicate
  • Astrocytes - powerful immune responders that support brain architecture

 

When we're talking about neurogenesis, we're really talking about the growth and rewiring of these different players.

 

Think of a garden.  Add water, sun, fertilizer and it grows like wild.  

 

The brain's a little different.

 

It grows based on use!

 

If you learn a different language or skill and you're doing it daily...lots of practice...the brain will literally create physical pathways to reflect this.

 

For example, when they looked at taxi drivers in New York, their hippocampus (seat of memory including spatial memory) was much larger than other people.

 

Knowing all the streets and locations in that crazy city had left a mark on their brain.

 

Neurons that fire together - wire together is the old saying.

 

We have an entire system to constantly remodel, redirect, repair, and grow brain connections as needed or prompted by our activities!

 

That's the growth side.  What about the other side...the insults to brain growth.

Why neurogenesis is so important in today's world 

In a perfect world, we have a perfect balance between brain growth and brain pruning.

 

Back to the language we mentioned above, if you stop studying or using it, you'll eventually lose most of it.

 

That's the process of those connections withering away from neglect.

 

This may take years or even decades (judging by my retention of French).

 

Unfortunately, there's a slew of "insults" that damage the brain and put the neurogenesis side at a disadvantage.

 

These can include (among others): 

  • Chronic stress
  • Hormonal imbalances (estrogen is a big supporter of neurogenesis)
  • Hyperactive immune response 
  • Early trauma or infection (even in the womb)
  • Genetics 
  • Drugs (have you seen the meth MRI's??)
  • Gut imbalance - the key to inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Glutamate - the new star of mental health - just watch!

 

Let's look at some of these since they are as important to the equation as the growth side.

 

Chronic stress and neurogenesis

 

There's lots of research on this and it shows right in scans: 

Exposure to chronic stress-induced an overall decrease in the generation of adult-born neural cells and, more specifically, produced a regional-specific decrease in the survival of adult-born neurons at the suprapyramidal blade. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28852856

 

That last piece references a part of the brain in the hippocampus, a master mood controller in our oldest part of the brain...

 

Stress really hits the hippocampus hard: 

Chronic unpredictable restraint stress over 4 weeks decreased total hippocampal volume, reflecting the loss of volume in all hippocampal subfields and in both the dorsal and ventral hippocampus.  

https://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(17)31585-8/pdf

 

This makes sense since the hippocampus may be the most dynamic and changing area of the brain since it's the seat of memory.

 

Change is literally written into its function!

 

This also makes it the most vulnerable to the various insults above.  That's an issue since its side hustle is to manage mood!

 

Acute stress (trauma) also has an effect on neurogenesis.

 

This leads us to our next insult….hormone imbalances!

So, we're not able to rebuild as well but also, the stress hormones release directly destroy neurons if present for too long (i.e. chronic). 

Cortisol is our primary stress hormone.  Too much of it for too long is bad for brains!

 

In fact, it may be the link between long term stress, anxiety, and depression: 

Prolonged secretion of cortisol as a possible mechanism underlying stress and depressive behavior


https://www.nature.com/articles/srep30187

 


Let's look at what they found here and don't worry, we'll translate after: 

  • For example, research in rats and nonhuman primates has found that exposure to excessive glucocorticoids damages the hippocampus16, which leads to negative outcomes such as the regression of dendritic processes, inhibition of neurogenesis, an inability to survive insults such as a stroke or seizure and the promotion of neurotoxicity.
  • Basically, too much stress hormone (glucocorticoids) for too long starts to cause actual damage to the brain (neurotoxicity) and blocks the ability to repair (neurogenesis).
  • Goodness.  Our stress response becomes really important (make a note for the endocannabinoid section below!!).

 


What about the immune system?

Hyperactive immune response 


Most people think... the immune system is just for fighting colds and infections.

 

No way!

 

It's the master of all inflammatory processes and this tent just keeps getting wider in terms of effects.

 

In fact, the immune system is in charge of getting rid of faulty neurons or cells (called apoptosis).

 

You can't have growth without destruction in the brain...there's only so much real estate up there after all.

 

A little side trick of this is to get rid of faulty or pre-cancerous cells!  It's our natural guard against cells that go awry.

 

Here's the problem...our immune system can run too hot.

 

This can actually be primed all way back to when we were in the womb.

 

In fact, new research is pointing to early infection (flu and other viral infections) by the mother and later risk for mental health issues including bipolar and schizophrenia.

 

The microglia are the immune responders in the brain and if they're too active, it's bad news.

 

Accumulating evidence points to activated microglia as a chronic source of multiple neurotoxic factors, including tumor necrosis factor-α, nitric oxide, interleukin-1β, and reactive oxygen species (ROS), driving progressive neuron damage 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951017/

 

Think about gut barrier issues and autoimmune diseases that are rampant today!

 

Oxidative stress and neurogenesis

 

The brain is the biggest user of energy.

 

As a result of this, it makes lots of nasty waste by-products.

 

This is generally some version of oxygen ripping through anything it touches.

 

It's the "oxidation" that antioxidants help within the body.

 

Check out CBD and glutathione, our main antioxidant.

 

It's really important to support the removal of these very toxic molecules from the body.

 

That's why we did a huge review on NAC (N-acetylcysteine) for mental health.

 

Then, we have drugs.

Drugs and neurogenesis 

This gets even more nuanced.

 

Yes, certain drugs will directly attack the brain (especially the stimulants because of glutamate).

 

It goes a step beyond though in terms of unwinding addiction.

 

For example, benzos like Ativan and Xanax will pump up a key neurotransmitter called GABA.

 

The brain will respond in opposing fashion by reducing both the sensitivity and actual numbers of GABA receptors.

 

It literally drills down to the DNA to make less of the protein that these receptors are built out of.

 

Normalizing this pathway also requires neurogenesis.

 


We wrote an entire article on how long it takes for CBD to work along these lines.

 

Now apply this to all the key pathways affected by various drugs: 

  • Antidepressants  - serotonin (our feel-good neurotransmitter).
  • Benzos - GABA (calming neurotransmitters)
  • Alcohol - GABA and serotonin
  • Nicotine - acetylcholine (focus) and glutamate (the "gas pedal" of the brain
  • Stimulants - glutamate 
  • Opioids - opioid system for pain

 

You name it, there's a pathway that gets suppressed or boosted as a result of drug use.

 

Then, there's the shared culprit behind all of them.  Dopamine.

 

Our "do that again" neurotransmitter.

 

Usually designated for food, water, and sex, addictive drugs can pump their levels up to obscene amounts (relative to food, water, and yes...even sex).

 

Where 50 pg/ML of dopamine in the brain is a boost for the above three, addictive drugs can send it up to multiples of that level!

 

The dopamine system gets severely suppressed as a result and it can be hard to get out of bed (except for the drug).

 

Neurogenesis is the key to reversing this as well.

 

Then there's mental health….closely tied to addiction (see Is chronic THC or cannabis use due to glutamate imbalances?).

 

Let's go there now.

Neurogenesis and mental health 

Newer research is really pointing to the repair side of the mental health equation (neurogenesis).

 

What happens if either the insults (stress, trauma, drugs, etc) are too high or the brain's ability to keep up (neurogenesis) and stay engaged is overwhelmed?

 

We'll look at just some highlights and point out to more comprehensive research.

 

Let's focus on some issues that just might be relevant now:

 

  • Depression and neurogenesis

 

This is a little more obvious.  

 

You can think of depression as a brain that's retrenching.  Slowly not communicating with itself.

 

Reduced activity both within neurons and between them.

 

In fact, we finally know how SSRI's (major class of antidepressants - see CBD versus SSRIs or how SSRIs really work) do what they do (temporarily).

 

They boost neurogenesis!  In fact, when this neurogenesis effect was blocked, the antidepressant effects go away.

 

Conversely, chronic SSRI treatment increases the dendritic spine density of neurons in the CA pyramidal cell subfields and stimulates adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432636/

 

To translate, SSRIs cause growth in the branches off of neurons that form connections!

 

This isn't surprising to us since Serotonin directly drives neurogenesis!

 

The downside is that the brain responds to SSRIs in the opposite direction with long term use, hence tolerance.

 

Another study found that neurogenesis for enough for depression!

 

Increasing Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis is Sufficient to Reduce Anxiety and Depression-Like Behaviors


https://www.nature.com/articles/npp201585

 

The hippocampus (our seat of memory and mood control) is front and center here.

 

Remember how vulnerable it is to trauma and stress?

 

It's the most dynamic part of the brain (due to the nature of memory) and moving pieces always break down first!

 

Speaking of stress, there's a curious tie between long term anxiety (see CBD and long term anxiety) and depression.

 

They tend to go hand in hand (see how both were referenced in the study above??).

 

Constant stress of anxiety can overwhelm our repair mechanism and lead to depression.

 

Let's go there now.

Anxiety and neurogenesis 

First, there's the hippocampus effect above for all mood control.

 

Don't forget the stress hormones such as cortisol (see CBD and cortisol):

 

Chronic corticosterone treatment in mice, a model of anxiety and depression, also reduces the proliferation of progenitor cells. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432636/

 

Think of progenitor cells as baby neurons that then move and grow up to be functional new neurons in the brain... the key to neurogenesis.

 

When researchers directly limit neurogenesis pathways in animals (either chemically or via genetics), the effects on anxiety are striking: 

Here, we show that transgenic animals, in which adult hippocampal neurogenesis has been specifically impaired, exhibit a striking increase in anxiety-related behaviors.

https://www.nature.com/articles/mp200915

 

We keep coming back to the hippocampus (see CBD and hippocampus neurogenesis) but that's not the only area.

 

The prefrontal cortex is our seat of rational thought.

 

Think of an arms race between our rational adult brain (prefrontal cortex) and our irrational emotional brain (amygdala).

 

The amygdala will send constant feeds of fear, anxiety, and the like.

 

The prefrontal cortex's role is to look at these signals and determine if they're worth moving on or just irrational.

 

If the prefrontal cortex gets damaged, the tug-of-war can be won by the fear center.

 

Check out CBD and the mechanism of anxiety to learn more.

 

Keeping the prefrontal cortex strong and robust is critical across a range of mental health issues.

 

Our old friend stress comes back.

 

Even quite mild acute uncontrollable stress can cause a rapid and dramatic loss of prefrontal cognitive abilities, and more prolonged stress exposure causes architectural changes in prefrontal dendrites. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907136/

 

Speaking of the prefrontal cortex.

Schizophrenia and neurogenesis 

This may be a case of too much insult, the other side of the equation.

 

  • Hyperactive immune response
  • Too much glutamate
  • Oxidative stress

 

The clues are multiple and fascinating.

 

Why does flu infection during the second-trimester increase risk for schizophrenia and bipolar by 3-5 times?

 

What about early trauma during key periods of time?

 

These factors all point to immune system hyperactivation that prunes back the prefrontal cortex to strongly.

 

This is why these diseases tend to show at the end of puberty when the brain is in a massive pruning process for the adult brain.

 

Autism also shows effects similarly.  

 

Check out CBD and neuroinflammation for a full review.

 

The newest research is really looking at glutamate, our brain's gas pedal.

 

It's incredibly toxic if too high in the brain.  Great...it's also the most prevalent neurotransmitter...by far!

 

It's estimated the glutamate in your body weighs around 4 pounds!

 

In our opinion, glutamate is the star of the next decade (concurrent with psilocybin).

 

Both have an interesting intersection….neurogenesis.

 

It's so intriguing that we did a full review on CBD and glutamate and NAC and mental health.

 

Glutamate is both an instigator of neurogenesis (with adequate levels) and a destroyer of neurons (if too high).

 

It's all about balance and wait till you see CBD's effect there.

 

Let's drill down a bit further before we jump to CBD's world.  There's someone you need to meet (a party in your brain).

Meet BDNF, the brain's fertilizer 

Don't run from the weird letters in a row.  You're going to want to really know BDNF.

 

It's our brain's fertilizer.

 

Let's look at SSRIs, the main class of antidepressants.

 

Remember how their effect was via neurogenesis?

 

What gives there...is it just serotonin?

 

Actually no.  We have to follow the breadcrumbs.

 

  • SSRI's increase in availability for serotonin.
  • Serotonin increases BDNF
  • BDNF creates a whole mess of neurogenesis.

 

We did a whole review on CBD and BDNF since it's so important.

 

There are so many interesting studies on this now.

 

For example, when they block BDNF activity, a common SSRI (fluoxetine or Prozac) loses its effect on anxiety: 

We found that BDNFMet/Met mice showed increased anxiety-related behaviors, which could not be reversed by fluoxetine treatment 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003317/

 

Read that back over...without BDNF, the SSRI was ineffective.

 

This is why SSRIs can take a few weeks to actually work.  Their core pathways is via….drum roll please...neurogenesis!

 

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BDNF is the key player in this effect.

 

Let's finally get to CBD's world in the brain and body.

The endocannabinoid system and neurogenesis 

We share this system with every living animal.  

 

It dates back to about 600 million years ago evolutionarily speaking.

 

Recent research is pointing to a central task of balancing other key systems: 

  • Nervous system - including neurotransmitters like serotonin, glutamate, and the like
  • Endocrine system - including stress hormones and steroidal hormones like estrogen (drives neurogenesis)
  • Immune system - inflammatory processes and the neuron birth/death cycle

 

Goodness.  Neurogenesis is right in its wheelhouse!

 


Simply put: 

The endocannabinoid system is involved in all aspects of the biology of neural stem cells. 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471489219301122

 

Neural stem cells act as the nursery for new neurons in the brain.

 

Really, the immune system governs the birth and death of cells but under control from the endocannabinoid system.

 

All roads are pointing to the endocannabinoid system and balance for neurogenesis: 

Accumulated preclinical evidence has indicated that eCBs play a major role also in regulating adult neurogenesis. 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471489219301122

 

Folks...this is the newest edge of research on brain health and you're right in the middle of it.

 

Guess what happens when researchers block CB1 activity?

 

The antidepressant effects and neurogenesis of SSRIs go away.

 

All the exciting stuff is happening here.

 

Research that people can actually use to feel better with almost every mental health issue including addiction.

 

Then there's the other side...stress response.

 

Remember how chronic stress is the enemy of neurogenesis?  The opposing force?

 

The net takeaway of recent research is this….the endocannabinoid system IS our stress response system.

 

In fact, we just did a big article on why people might chronically use THC.

 

THC acts like anandamide, our main endocannabinoid in the brain.

 

It's called the "bliss" molecule and named after Anand, the goddess of bliss.

 

Essentially, it operates on the CB1 receptors (endocannabinoid receptors) and suppresses activity.  Slows….things….down.

 

The review on the woman who genetically can't break down anandamide and as a result,  can't get anxiety, depression, or feel pain is a good example (of the extreme).

 

Did we just hit on three of the biggest issues plaguing our society right now and they're all DIRECTLY dependent on our endocannabinoid system?

 

See why this is exciting stuff?

 

Before we move on, check out the following for more detail: 

  • Glutamate and mental health
  • Hippocampus neurogenesis and anxiety
  • Exercise and mindful meditation for neurogenesis
  • CBD and schizophrenia
  • CBD and depression
  • CBD and anxiety
  • CBD and BDNF.

 

Did you see a pattern there?

 

Let's get to it

CBD's role in neurogenesis 

We've written over a million words on CBD and research.  100's of NIH studies reviewed.

 

100's of pages by topic.

 

The net net...neurogenesis may be one of the two biggest tricks that CBD has up its sleeve.

 

The other being a feedback system to balance key pathways.

 

Really, the two are intertwined.

 

We're going to look at CBD's effect on neurogenesis along these lines: 

  • CBD and serotonin - the onsite booster of neurogenesis
  • CBD and BDNF - our brain's fertilizer
  • CBD and overactive immune response - inflammation
  • CBD and oxidative stress - the scissors of the brain
  • CBD and neurogenesis research

 

This focuses less on the other side - the insults that slowly eat away at our brain's repair system: 

  • Stress response (see CBD and stress)
  • Hyperactive immune response (see CBD and neuroinflammation)
  • Oxidative stress (see CBD and oxidative stress)
  • Drugs and alcohol (see CBD and alcohol or CBD and addiction) - opiates, alcohol, nicotine, stimulants all hinder hippocampus neurogenesis
  • Hormone imbalance (see CBD and estrogen)

 

Let's focus on the growth side. The neurogenesis.

 

Let's start with serotonin.

 

CBD and serotonin - the onsite booster of neurogenesis

 

As we stated above, serotonin is a master regulator of all behavior.

 

It also directly drives neurogenesis, hence the temporary effect from SSRIs.

 

What does CBD do here?

 

A study looked at serotonin imbalance (reduction) as a result of injury and pain: 

Seven days of treatment with CBD reduced mechanical allodynia, decreased anxiety-like behavior, and normalized 5-HT activity 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/

 

5HT is short for serotonin.  The keyword there is "normalized".  Allodynia is heightened pain sensitivity.  Oh yes...serotonin also governs pain sensitivity.

 

What about the hippocampus...the mood controller at the center which relies on neurogenesis to remain robust and dynamic?

 

THC (the main driver of cannabis) has been shown to negatively affect hippocampus volume over time.

 

CBD appears to protect and even reverse that effect: 

Our findings suggest a restorative effect of CBD on the subicular and CA1 subfields in current cannabis users, especially those with greater lifetime exposure to cannabis.  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908414/

 

Also, remember how the prefrontal cortex (our rational actor) also gets attacked by hyperactive immune system, stress, drugs, etc.

 

Look at this study: 

Cannabidiol Induces Rapid and Sustained Antidepressant-Like Effects Through Increased BDNF Signaling and Synaptogenesis in the Prefrontal Cortex


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12035-018-1143-4

 

That's pretty much a smoking gun for our article (and the mechanism of depression).

 

Synaptogenesis means to make new connections in the brain.

 

As we described in our CBD and depression article, depression can be thought of as a retrenching brain.  A brain pulling away from itself like tree branches slowly withering and disentangling.

 

More importantly, rather than just look at obscure chemical pathways in our brain, we see the net effect.

 

Less depression!

 

It's also a great segue into BDNF...the real star of the neurogenesis show.

CBD and BDNF - our brain's fertilizer 

Behind the curtain for SSRIs, psilocybin, ketamine, or other substances shown to affect neurogenesis lies BDNF.  

 

It's the heavy lifter here.

 

In fact, when researchers block a key BDNF enzyme, their effect goes away: 

Importantly, the antidepressant-like response to conventional antidepressants is attenuated in mice where the BDNF signaling has been disrupted by genetic manipulations.  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26519901

 

Directly injecting BDNF into certain areas of the brain has an immediate antidepressant effect.

 

This is what all these very different substances have in common.

 

What about CBD?

 

We already know from above that CBD normalizes serotonin.


Serotonin regulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in select brain regions during acute psychological stress


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5090852/

 

It goes both ways...BDNF supports the neurons specific to making serotonin.

 

Remember the effect on depression above:


The acute antidepressant effects (30 min) were associated with increased expression of synaptophysin and PSD95 in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and elevated BDNF levels in both mPFC and hippocampus (HPC). 


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29869197

 

Let's translate that because it's too cool.

 

First, PSD95 is a wonderful thing to have...it "thickens" the branching of neurons, and not enough of this is tied to autism and schizophrenia.

 

The two hot spots of the brain are also present for BDNF: 

  • Prefrontal cortex - key to rational thought and pushing back on fear, anxiety, and worry (amygdala)
  • Hippocampus - seat of memory and mood control

 

Goodness.  And BDNF drives yet.  Yes, the net effect is an antidepressant boost but it's nice to know what's happening underneath the surface.

 

Check out CBD and BDNF for more detail.

 

Let's look at the other side of the equation...the insults.

CBD and overactive immune response - inflammation 

We saw how early infection, trauma, and even chronic stress can wear away at the brain.

 

Research is pointing to a priming of the immune system for hyperactivation which is enemy of neurogenesis.

 

This is akin to a slow-rolling autoimmune disease.

 

The immune commanders called microglia are front and center here.

 

Looking at Alzheimer's (which as an autoimmune component), CBD's effect on calming the immune response was shown:

In summary, CBD is able to modulate microglial cell function in vitro and induce beneficial effects in an in vivo model of AD.  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3102548/

 

The immune system quickly gets complicated so we covered this entire realm at CBD and neuroinflammation.

 

What about the other brain killer...oxidation and oxidative stress?

CBD and oxidative stress - the scissors of the brain 

We've all heard of antioxidants.  They have been the rage for a few decades now.

 

Vitamin E and C are both powerful antioxidants.

 

Nothing is more destructive to various forms of oxygen roaming the brain.

 

Oxygen is literally nature's scissors.  Why do you think we wash things in water.  Or use bleach to break down organic things.

 

Unfortunately, it's a byproduct of how our bodies make energy (see CBD and mitochondria).

 

Look at CBD's effect there: 

CBD was shown to be more protective than either α-tocopherol or vitamin C  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085542/

 

Check out CBD and oxidative stress.

 

Finally, let's cut to the chase.

CBD and neurogenesis research 

We'll look at different studies that reflect CBD's effect across different pathways.

 

  • CBD and neurogenesis in the hippocampus (mood control)
  • CBD and neurogenesis in the prefrontal cortex (rational thought and balancing of fight/flight feelings)
  • CBD and white matter protection following THC exposure

 

These are three main areas directly tied mental health and function where neurogenesis is powerful.

 

Let's start the hippocampus.

 

Preclinical studies have shown CBD to induce synaptic plasticity and facilitate hippocampal neurogenesis,29,30 with some evidence suggesting that the proneurogenic action of CBD via the hippocampus may underlie its anxiolytic effects 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908414/

 

Anxiolytic means anti-anxiety by the way.  A little bit relevant these days.

 

Then, the prefrontal cortex.

 

We already looked at how CBD increased BDNF in this area of the brain but it's not just limited to the density of this key area.

 

Look at this result: 

In a subsequent study, it was also demonstrated that CBD produces its anxiolytic effects by altering prefrontal-subcortical connectivity via the amygdala and the anterior cingulate (61). 

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02009/full

 

Now they're talking about the connectivity between our rational brain and other key areas.

 

The connection with the amygdala is critical to anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and many health issues.

 

We've looked at neurogenesis in certain brain areas...what about the wide swaths of connecting tissue, our brain's highway system...the white matter.

 

Heavy cannabis use can impair this superhighway: 

In cannabis, heavy users diminished regional gray and white matter volume was reported. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716143

 

And CBD's effect? 

It is important to note that the two major components of marijuana, Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), have opposite effects behaviorally, symptomatically, and in terms of functional activation of all of the regions-of-interest for the current study 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4925620/

 

That current study was brain area loss including the white matter tracts.

 

This is so important as cannabis becomes legal.

 

We wrote on many pathways in which CBD protects from cannabis use here.

 

Okay..we covered quite a bit.  Let's look at practical questions now.

 

How much.  Long long does it take.  What's the best CBD to use.

How much CBD for neurogenesis 

We actually have some good research here.  

 

Studies have shown that the neurogenesis effect starts to go down after 300 mg dose levels per day.

 

Other effects may increase (anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, etc) but the neurogenesis peaks at around 300 mg.

 

This is due to another pathway being turned on as levels increase.

 

Research like this points to a short term effect for higher doses but long term effect at 300 mg or less.

 

We've covered separate questions such as can you take CBD daily or is CBD safe.

 

Next up...how long does the process of neurogenesis take? 

How long does CBD take for neurogenesis 

This is interesting.

 

We can tease out clues from different studies.

 

First, SSRIs take about 2-3 weeks to kick in and their effect is via neurogenesis (see how do SSRI antidepressants really work).

 

Studies on THC tolerance point to receptors starting to normalize in a few days with pretty regular processing after about 4 weeks.

 

The first week generally marks the end of significant withdrawals.

 

Remember that the function of tolerance is a type of brain rewiring (see CBD and tolerance).

 

Finally, studies on GABA pathway normalization following benzos show full normalization at about 6-8 weeks.

 

Down to the DNA level (genes being turned on to make GABA receptors).

 

So...what does all this mean.

 

The studies on BDNF and antidepressant effects were fast!  Again, BDNF is the end result and serotonin is a middle-man (woman!).

 

This is the short term effect.

 

Expect neurogenesis to start after 2-3 weeks in earnest and reach a steady level at about 6-8 weeks.

 

Keep in mind that neurogenesis is an ongoing process that should occur every second of your life!

 

This is about playing catch up to the various insults of our past and current life.

 

One note..some addictive drugs actually decrease neurogenesis which is why it can be so hard to "un-learn" them.  See CBD and addiction.

 

For other tools, check out the following:

 

Final piece.  

What's the best CBD for neurogenesis 

First, we want the best quality and that includes the following: 

  • Organically grown in the US at an FDA registered farm
  • CO2 processed (cleanest approach)
  • 3rd party tested
  • No THC - THC can actually reduce hippocampus brain volume and white matter
  • No pesticides
  • No solvents
  • No heavy metals
  • No pesticide
  • No mold

 

We actually test IndigoNaturals twice since our whole family takes it daily.

 

Then there's the question of CBD isolate versus full spectrum.

 

All the research we've come across (100's of NIH studies) are based on CBD isolate.  CBD by itself.

 

The full spectrum is just marketing until we see research and hopefully, it's obvious we focus on research.

 

More importantly, 40-60% of people have allergy or histamine issues.

 

All that plant material is going the wrong direction and many people see side effects go away when they change to CBD isolate (our founder's story is here).

 

Finally, there's the cost.

 

300 mg is a lot.

 

There's still quite a bit of bogus product out there with 250mg for the full bottle.  They're clearly not reading the research.

 

In order to afford 300 mg doses, we need the lowest cost per mg of CBD.

 

We explain how to compare this at our CBD price comparison review.

 

Our 6000 mg is priced at about 2-3 cents per mg of CBD...the lowest we can find on the market for high qualify CBD that meets the above requirements.

 

We've been there and our desire is to make this level of CBD as affordable to as many people as possible.

 

One final note...CBD and NAC (n-acetylcysteine) may be powerful allies in supporting neurogenesis (see NAC review).

 

Very exciting times across a range of mental health issues including addiction and recovery.

 

shop cbd isolate oil online

Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!

The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

 

 

 

 

 

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