Guide To The Psychological Effects of CBD

CBD 101
Guide To The Psychological Effects of CBD

While CBD won’t cause you to feel stoned, it’s still capable of yielding some potentially beneficial effects on your mental state. Improving your state of mind can be helpful for developing a happier, healthier, and more connected way of life. With that said, here’s an outline of a few of the psychological effects of CBD backed by science.

What are psychological effects? 

Before we talk about the effects, let's talk about psychology. Psychology is the examination of all that cognitively makes up our thinking and feeling selves—including logic, strategy, memory, and behavior. When something amplifies, limits, or prolongs the characteristics of your current mental state, it’s considered an effect.¹

Psychological effects are defined as circumstances that affect the mind—especially in terms of overall mental function, awareness, memory, behavior, motivation, and feelings

Lots of things can affect you psychologically.³ Circumstances and personal experiences affect you in many ways—such as having trust issues after a bad breakup or being afraid of the ocean after losing your bathing suit at the beach. 

However, everything you introduce into your body can also be broken down into chemicals that could cause you to feel high or low, motivated or relaxed, balanced or emotional.⁴ In this guide, we are discussing some of the effects of pure CBD on your psychological state that also speak to how CBD and mental health may be connected. However, do keep in mind, many things affect how we feel, think, and adapt in day-to-day life. 

We’re all a reflection of everything that has ever happened to us. Still, our physiology, genetics, physical health, and mental health conditions all play a role in how things affect us psychologically. That's part of the reason why people react differently to various situations and substances.

What does science say about the psychological effects of CBD? 

CBD may offer a host of potential psychological effects, even though it won't make you feel high or alter your cognitive state. Below we breakdown a few ways CBD may have an effect on your mental state.

1. CBD may affect emotion and feeling centers in the brain

While CBD doesn't impair our thinking, it could actually improve some cognitive processes—like attention, working memory, and episodic memory. CBD works closely with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is responsible for keeping the body regulated and functioning at its best.⁵ It plays a role in mood, appetite, sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, and more. You can think of it as a messaging system that tells the rest of the body how to behave to keep everything working like a well-oiled machine.

When CBD is introduced to the ECS, it may help it work more efficiently. For example, CBD has a calming effect on the hippocampus—the territory of the brain responsible for learning, healthy emotion, and memory.⁶ Studies have shown a direct relationship between the hippocampus and several psychiatric disorders, like anxiety, and depression.⁷⁻⁹

For starters, serotonin is what’s called a neuromodulator—helping to maintain homeostasis in the brain.¹⁰ Deficiencies in serotonin could lead to depression—as well as inflammation, stress, anxiety disorder, and trauma—which can consequently shrink this area of the brain.¹¹⁻¹² The shrinking of the hippocampus may contribute to the onset of anxiety symptoms or may even trigger the onset of a mental disorder such as schizophrenia, and mood disorders. But some studies suggest CBD may have a positive effect on neurogenesis—meaning that it may repair this area of the brain.¹³⁻¹⁴ Repairing the hippocampus may mean a reduction in anxiety/mood disorders or mental illness. 

However, another key player in emotional effects is depression. Studies have shown that CBD products are potentially able to make better use of the serotonin in your system by working with the ECS.¹⁵ As the ECS is responsible for keeping things in balance, CBD might encourage it to trigger the endocrine system to produce more serotonin—or make better use of the serotonin available.

CBD was also found to potentially bind to serotonin receptors themselves, which has an impact on fear and phobias.¹⁶ With that in mind, evidence suggests that CBD may help relieve some of the negative effects of anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

2. CBD may improve memory

The hippocampus is also home to the memory center. This can be a two-edged sword, because if you’re experiencing chronic negative emotions and fears your memory could be more likely to be impaired.¹⁷ Emotions play a pretty significant role in both short-term and long-term memory, and your brain's ability to access that information.¹⁸

One study found that CBD had "memory-rescuing effects" in subjects that experienced cognitive and memory-related difficulties.¹⁹ The study gave subjects 10mg per kg of body weight and the subjects displayed an ability to recover forgotten memories. As we mentioned in the last section, CBD could contribute to neurogenesis and help repair the hippocampus, which potentially could improve memory.

Another study tested CBD against people with memory deficiencies, as well.²⁰ The participants recognized objects, feelings, and situations as familiar, indicating that their working memory was temporarily improved long enough to perform tasks such as following instructions and repeating addresses back after hearing them. Researchers also noticed that the subjects were improving in areas of social interactions.

3. CBD could affect the hormones that influence your mood

Our bodies produce hormones to control practically every process in the body and play a direct role in mood, sleep, sexual function, emotions, metabolism, growth and development.²¹ When there are irregularities in your hormones, you may deal with several adverse effects—including irritability, fatigue, mood swings, blood sugar issues, infertility, and difficulty in concentrating.²²

Although hormones naturally fluctuate throughout the day, they’re often replenished and altered as you sleep and throughout different stages of life. Chronic imbalances could potentially lead to chronic physical and psychological illnesses.²³

Some studies suggest that CBD may play a role in hormonal imbalances by working closely with the endocannabinoid system. The ECS works closely with the endocrine system—which is how we regulate our hormones.²⁴ That same ECS is also responsible for helping keep your body in balance or homeostatic.

Since CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, it may also influence the endocrine system to help maintain optimal hormonal levels—affecting mood, mental state, and physical health.²⁵

Endocannabinoid receptors are found on every major gland in the body and are activated by our natural endocannabinoids.²⁶ A cannabinoid—such as CBD—also has the potential to indirectly activate them. This can alter how and when certain hormones are secreted, as well as how they affect the organs they're targeting.²⁷

Hormones are synthesized and secreted beginning in the hypothalamus area of the brain when every CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system becomes activated.²⁸ CBD may send messages to other glands that secrete their own hormones in response.²⁹

Studies show that CBD may affect hormones in your thyroid, which controls metabolism and plays a role in your physical health.³⁰ They may also affect testosterone and estrogen levels, which influence sexual function and sleep.³¹⁻³² CBD has also demonstrated an ability to help reduce tension due to its potential effect on levels of cortisol—known as the stress hormone.³³

With that evidence, CBD may be able to help regulate the hormonal imbalances that could have a detrimental effect on your psychological state. 

CBD For Wellness 

We know. That was a lot to digest. To sum it all up with a TL;DR version—psychological effects of CBD may include anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and stress-reducing support that could play a role in mood, memory, and emotions.³⁴⁻³⁶ Studies suggest that CBD might have an anti-panic effect due to how it interacts with our serotonin systems. The same effect may also be helpful in managing some of the anxiety that keeps us from the rest we need to replenish our body, mind, and hormones.³⁷

It’s been noted, people who feel well-rested and relaxed seem to have a more positive mood.³⁸ Many CBD users have shared that they feel more positive when they take CBD as a daily supplement. Without the additional weight from negativity, you could catch yourself feeling more present—devoted to your endeavors and the people around you.³⁹ By getting things like anxiety, hormones, and depression under better control we can experience better sleep, a more positive outlook, and potentially a healthier physical body.

Mental health consists of many different factors—but when you're sleeping, eating, and feeling better inside a healthy and happy life feels more within reach. While CBD won't fix anything on its own, pairing it with self-care and balance physiologically is a great first step towards a lifestyle that’s rooted in wellness. At Lazarus Naturals, we have plenty of products you can try to kickstart your selfcare with CBD. If you’re thinking about how to create healthy habits in your day-to-day life, consider incorporating different CBD products like CBD edibles or perhaps a CBD topical into your regular routine.