Wondering how CBD affects memory? Our experts are here to help. Read on to find out everything you need to know. <span><b>Background:</b> Accumulating evidence suggests that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) may have antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, and thus may be a promising new agent in the treatment of psychotic and anxiety disorders. However, the neurobiological substrates unde</span> … Learn about CBD oil, vapor and pills as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Does CBD Effect Memory?
Cannabis consumption, more specifically CBD consumption, exploded onto the scene a few years ago and has only grown in popularity since. If you’re considering joining the ever-growing group of cannabis users and jumping on the CBD bandwagon (or CBanDwagon-too much?), you might first have questions about how exactly you’ll feel and what risks there might be that could be to suffering from cognitive impairment or brain damage.
Does CBD affect memory processing? Nope! CBD has not been found to promote memory loss or memory impairment.
But if you’re concerned over the specifics, we’ll dive deep into the details so you can rest assured your CBD wellness routine isn’t promoting cognitive decline and hindering your memory processing capabilities-in fact, it just might be helping them.
- CBD treatment products aren’t known to impact short-term memory negatively.
- CBD may even improve cognitive functioning and prevent memory deficits
- Many people use CBD regularly for enhanced concentration, focus and overall brain function.
What is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviated title for cannabidiol , which is a natural component of Cannabis sativa, the hemp and marijuana plant. Unlike THC (the other notable element of Cannabis), CBD does not produce the same “high” feeling, but is instead used for its physical and mental benefits.
It’s impossible to understand how CBD works without explaining the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system within the human brain is made up of receptors-type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2)-that play a role in several important psychophysiological functions:
- And most importantly (for this discussion, anyway), memory performance
Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids, or endogenous cannabinoids (that fancy word simply means they’re made within the body). Endocannabinoids bind to your CB1 and CB2 receptors to maintain internal functioning. They might send signals to help mitigate discomfort, or alleviate swelling, for example.
Exogenous cannabinoids -you guessed it!-are made outside of the body, like CBD and THC. These compounds don’t bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in the same way but can similarly impact the same important bodily functions and processes-including memory!
The Endocannabinoid System and Memory
While scientists are still understanding exactly how the ECS affects memory, it’s become increasingly clear that it does to some extent.
For starters, CB1 receptors are abundant in the hippocampus, the part of the human brain responsible for memory function, formation and processing.
But beyond that, both endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids seem to have varied effects on the different phases of memory, which are:
- Acquisition – Perceiving and encoding an event, person, fact, or sensation
- Retention or consolidation – Storing the memory somewhere in our brain vault
- Retrieval – Recalling the details of the initial memory later on
When we struggle to recall short-term memories, this is usually a glitch in the consolidation phase. We perceive the event, but our brain neglects to turn this experience into a solidified memory. It never gets filed away under Things I Did Last Night or What Aunt Betty Got Me For Christmas This Year .
Long-term memory loss, on the other hand, usually happens in the retrieval phase. We were once able to recall the event-it must have been transcoded from short-term into long-term memory at some point-but there was some sort of mix-up in the filing cabinet. Either the memory is gone, the details are fuzzy, or this file folder has been tossed together with another, meaning we think we remember what happened, but the specifics are all wrong.
But it’s not just about the phase of memory involved. The effect of cannabinoids depends on the type of chemical involved and how it interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors. For example:
- CB1 receptor agonist – An agonist is a chemical that binds to the cannabinoid receptors, initiating some kind of response. According to one study, the CB1 receptor agonist impaired acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval in both long and short-term memory processes. In another study, the agonist simply did not affect memory retrieval.
- CB1 receptor antagonist – On the flip side, an antagonist is a chemical that inhibits a physiological response, the way the villain of a novel or movie stops the protagonist from reaching their goal. In the same two studies as mentioned above, the CB1 receptor antagonist improved the memory processes. In fact, in the first study mentioned, a tiny, otherwise negligible dose of the antagonist reversed the cognitive impairment results caused by a much more substantial dose of the agonist.
How CBD Impacts Memory Systems
Although CBD has been around for quite some time, it started gaining momentum in 2018 when hemp-derived products were legalized through the Hemp Farming Act. Despite its mainstream popularity and growing user base, there’s only so much research that can happen in the span of three years. Researchers are putting increased efforts into studying CBD and its benefits, but they don’t have all the answers just yet.
However, they’ve been studying the ECS and its interactions with memory and learning for quite some time. The picture isn’t entirely in focus yet, but the developing relationship between CBD and memory function is rather compelling.
Regardless, there’s enough research on CBD and memory out there to put your mind at ease:
- A study in Neuropharmacology studied the effects of both THC and CBD on working memory. Researchers found that CBD-rich extracts did not impair either spatial working memory or short-term memory, even at relatively high doses (50 mg of CBD per kg of body weight).
- A study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that CBD, when administered in conjunction with THC, protected against the adverse effects of THC alone, including difficulty with object recognition and behavioral abnormalities.
These two studies show support for both CBD isolates and broad-spectrum products, as well as full-spectrum CBD, which includes small amounts of THC. As long as CBD is present in the compound, it seems you have nothing to worry about-CBD will act as your protectorate for cognitive function.
And if it’s not going to harm you, is there a chance CBD can actively help you?
- A study in Psychopharmacology found that CBD had “memory-rescuing effects” in subjects with cognitive and memory difficulties. Just one dose of CBD at 10 mg/kg was able to recover previously forgotten memories, giving credence to the use of CBD as a neurological enhancement, rather than a hindrance.
- A similar study in Neuropsychopharmacology also measured the effects of CBD on memory-deficit subjects. This one showed improvements in recognition memory-identifying an object, feeling, or situation as familiar-and in working memory-holding information temporarily to perform daily tasks, like repeating back an address or following instructions someone just gave you. They also noted improved social interaction.
Findings like this have prompted further investigation into the potential benefits of CBD, specifically for people with memory, attention, and cognitive issues. Hopefully, new findings will uncover promising uses for CBD, but for now, the worst-case scenario seems to be no change at all-and no news is good news, as they say!
Cognitive Benefits of Regular CBD Use
Clinical studies help determine efficacy and safety, but a laboratory environment can’t exactly simulate the real world. It’s important to note all the ways that people, just like you, benefit from a daily dose of CBD-here and now.
Many habitual users experience mental clarity, heightened focus, and improved concentration.
Now, how exactly does that work? Well, think of the most significant factors impeding your ability to concentrate. Poor sleep, maybe? Restlessness, jitters, and swirling thoughts? Feeling down, and therefore distracted?
CBD may be able to assist with all of the above and more:
- For those feeling a bit stressed out and uneasy, CBD can mellow some of those negative feelings. One study shows that CBD has an anti-panic effect , which may be related to the neurotransmitter serotonin, also known as the “happy hormone.”
- Restless sleep is often a result of nighttime preoccupations and jitters, not unlike the nervous energy some people feel throughout the day (the same nervousness that CBD’s anti-panic effect has been shown to mitigate). By bringing you peace of mind before bed, you’ll likely be able to sleep longer, deeper, and better . And a well-rested mind is better able to focus on the day ahead.
- Finally, people who are well-rested and genuinely relaxed tend to have a more uplifted mood . Plenty of CBD enthusiasts cite feelings of general happiness and positivity with chronic use. When nothing’s weighing you down, you can devote your full attention to the people and projects around you.
With all that negative stuff out of the way, plus the compelling improvements in learning and memory, you’ll likely be better able to focus on whatever’s ahead.
Incorporating CBD Into Your Daily Routine
As you can see, the beneficial CBD effects are deeply intertwined. That’s because our mood, stress levels, sleep quality, cognitive function, general health, and more are similarly entangled in ways we might not even fully recognize. When one area suffers, the rest might suffer, too.
But when we thrive in one aspect of life, the others are bound to follow suit!
By incorporating CBD into your daily life, you’ll likely notice benefits across the board. That’s why CBD supplements can work so well as daily boosters, whether in energy, concentration, mood, relaxation, or all of the above.
This works best if you commit to consistent CBD use, rather than a one-off here or there. Like any cannabinoid, CBD takes time to build up in the body to affect the ECS. If you don’t notice CBD effects right away, that could be why. Give yourself a real shot at enjoying the benefits before moving onto something else.
There are a few CBD products to choose from based on your preference and needs. Whether in the form of CBD oil, CBD gummies, or topicals, finding the best CBD product for you helps you reap all the benefits associated with the hemp plant extract.
Like anything worth doing, persistence is key.
Resilience CBD: A Name You’ll Remember
Hopefully, we’ve dispelled any negative rumors you may have heard about CBD’s effect on memory, but that doesn’t mean you should pick up and use the next CBD oil you see.
Good CBD has to meet your high standards. Resilience CBD checks all the right boxes:
- Clearly labeled formulas, whether they’re isolates, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum
- Rigorous third-party lab testing to ensure safety, quality, and consistency
- All the memory benefits of pure CBD compounds or an effective CBD-THC blend
- A range of products to choose from, from gummies to oils to topicals and bath bombs
Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. Persistence isn’t the only important virtue in finding your perfect CBD product-Resilience matters just as much.
Written by: Michael Tatz | Linkedin
Michael Tatz is the Co-Founder of Resilience CBD, and a passionate leader in the health & fitness world helping others rise to and crush their wildest goals. A former Division 1 college wrestler, Army Officer, and investment manager at Goldman Sachs, he has pushed his body and mind to the limits on the mats, dressed in camo, and in the boardroom.
Today, he spends his time leading Resilience CBD to develop the absolute best recovery products for athletes everywhere. Resilience was founded after CBD personally impacted Michael’s life, and the brand was built to partner with everyday athletes in pursuit of conquering their most difficult challenges, rebounding after their toughest performances, and rising to their goals that once seemed impossible.
The Impact of Cannabidiol on Human Brain Function: A Systematic Review
Background: Accumulating evidence suggests that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) may have antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, and thus may be a promising new agent in the treatment of psychotic and anxiety disorders. However, the neurobiological substrates underlying the potential therapeutic effects of CBD are still unclear. The aim of this systematic review is to provide a detailed and up-to-date systematic literature overview of neuroimaging studies that investigated the acute impact of CBD on human brain function. Methods: Papers published until May 2020 were included from PubMed following a comprehensive search strategy and pre-determined set of criteria for article selection. We included studies that examined the effects of CBD on brain function of healthy volunteers and individuals diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, comprising both the effects of CBD alone as well as in direct comparison to those induced by ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of Cannabis. Results: One-ninety four studies were identified, of which 17 met inclusion criteria. All studies investigated the acute effects of CBD on brain function during resting state or in the context of cognitive tasks. In healthy volunteers, acute CBD enhanced fronto-striatal resting state connectivity, both compared to placebo and THC. Furthermore, CBD modulated brain activity and had opposite effects when compared to THC following task-specific patterns during various cognitive paradigms, such as emotional processing (fronto-temporal), verbal memory (fronto-striatal), response inhibition (fronto-limbic-striatal), and auditory/visual processing (temporo-occipital). In individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis and patients with established psychosis, acute CBD showed intermediate brain activity compared to placebo and healthy controls during cognitive task performance. CBD modulated resting limbic activity in subjects with anxiety and metabolite levels in patients with autism spectrum disorders. Conclusion: Neuroimaging studies have shown that acute CBD induces significant alterations in brain activity and connectivity patterns during resting state and performance of cognitive tasks in both healthy volunteers and patients with a psychiatric disorder. This included modulation of functional networks relevant for psychiatric disorders, possibly reflecting CBD’s therapeutic effects. Future studies should consider replication of findings and enlarge the inclusion of psychiatric patients, combining longer-term CBD treatment with neuroimaging assessments.
Keywords: Cannabis (marijuana); cannabidiol; delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol; functional MRI; neuroimaging.
Copyright © 2021 Batalla, Bos, Postma and Bossong.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Using CBD (Cannabidiol) to Treat the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias
CBD (aka Cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the Cannabis plant that has positive medicinal effects but does not make people feel “high” or anxious. CBD, in various forms, is legal in 48 US States. The states where it remains illegal are Idaho, and South Dakota, though in SD it will be legal beginning in July 2021. For much more on legality, see below.
CBD should not be confused with Marijuana or the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) compound which is known for generating a “high” with users. CBD is derived from Cannabis plants, similar to how caffeine is derived from the coffee bean, or aspirin from the bark of a Willow tree. CBD oil is the most common form of administration of the compound, with the oil contained in a gel cap or dropper bottle.
Another chemical in cannabis plants that shows medical benefits similar to CBD is called cannabigerol, or CBG. CBG comes from young marijuana plants and, like CBD, does not get users high. CBG may be useful for treating a specific type of dementia called Huntington’s disease. For more, see below.
CBD Health Benefits for Dementia
The dementia-related conditions that can be helped by CBD include: Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia and Huntington’s disease.
According to researchers at California’s Salk Institute, their 2016 study found evidence that cannabinoids such as CBD could help remove dementia from, and increase connections between, brain cells. Those results were validated by other laboratories. While the US Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a CBD drug for the purposes of treating dementia, it has approved a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex for treating epilepsy.
There are several ways CBD can work to improve health outcomes for persons with dementia: by reducing inflammation, by reducing oxygen buildup, by working as a brain stimulant and neuroprotectant, and by eliminating dead brain cells and the protein tangles that are believed to cause brain ailments including dementia. From a user’s perspective, CBD may improve movement while reducing stress and anxiety in the individual with dementia, as well as reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions.
It should be noted that controversy surrounds CBD and the claims companies have made as to its positive effects. The FDA warns that CBD can cause liver injury (as shown in some animal experiments with super high doses) and affect metabolism of other drugs. The agency also says that long-term side effects remain unknown because it has not been studied for a long enough period of time. In actions that are politically based instead of scientifically, the FDA has not approved the use of CBD.
The topic of CBD health benefits continues to grow with new CBD and Alzheimer’s research. In recent studies, CBD has been shown to reduce or remove the impact of inflammation, oxygen buildup and brain cell decline. CBD also increases levels of proteins that eliminate dead cells and plaques in brains with Alzheimer’s, improving both memory and motor function.
When the brain’s immune cells fail to clear blockages associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the result is an inflammatory response. When inflammation happens in the brain, oxygen is released as a result. The greater the inflammation, the greater the negative impact. Important brain functions such as memory are decreased as more oxygen is released in the brain’s cells. Memory loss and other brain deterioration indirectly leads to increased oxygen in the brain. CBD is an antioxidant, which helps reduce the problems associated with oxygen stress. Brain functions negatively impacted by oxygen stress can be improved by using CBD.
Alzheimer’s patients’ brain cells often show a path of rapid decline and destruction. The potential of stimulating brain tissue was recently discovered as a potential benefit of CBD. In clinical trials, CBD has shown the ability to reverse and even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s negative impact. A 2011 study by Australian researchers Tim Karl and Carl Group found that CBD promotes the growth and development of brain cells, reducing the decline of memory and other brain functions.
More recently, in a study researchers were able to increase levels of proteins in the brain (called IL-33 and TREM2) that maintain cognitive functions by eliminating dead cells and helping clear beta-amyloid plaque tangles associated with the disease. After CBD was regularly injected into mice afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, scientists noticed major improvements in their ability to think. Specifically, the mice could better tell the difference between old objects and new ones. The mice’s movement improved, as well. People with Alzheimer’s often develop stiffness that affects their ability to walk, and mice with these same symptoms will continuously walk in a tight circle. After CBD treatments, that behavior stopped.
Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to one’s brain. To effectively treat vascular dementia, a 2016 study by the US National Institute of Health (NIH) found that activating CB2 (cannabinoid) receptors in the brain helped recover better blood flow to the brain. Activating the CB2 receptors with CBD has increased brain cell activity and helped reduce brain cell damage commonly associated with vascular dementia.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, sleeping, movement, behavior, and mood. Unlike most pain, anxiety or behavior management drugs, CBD does not block acetylcholine, the main chemical that LBD attacks. Research has shown that CBD can be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, reduce motor symptoms (tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia) and maintain circadian (sleep) rhythms.
Parkinson’s is a chronic progressive disease of the nervous system chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. Parkinson’s is linked to decreased dopamine production and marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement. Digestive imbalance may also play a role in the progression of Parkinson’s and the severity of symptoms. Cannabinoids such as CBD have been shown to contain effective brain protectors, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial for managing Parkinson’s disease. Read more about Parkinson’s and CBD.
Frontotemporal Dementia / Pick’s Disease
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or frontotemporal degenerations refers to a group of disorders caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes (the areas behind one’s forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind one’s ears) that leads to symptoms of depression and psychosis. Unlike most antipsychotic drugs, CBD does not lead to an increased risk of death. Research has shown that CBD can be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, reduce anxiety, reduce motor symptoms (tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia) and maintain circadian (sleep) rhythms.
Huntington’s disease (HD), also known as Huntington’s chorea, is an inherited disorder that results in death of brain cells. The earliest symptoms are often subtle problems with mood or mental abilities. A general lack of coordination and an unsteady gait often follow. According to 2016 research from the University of Madrid, due to CBD’s effectiveness as antioxidants and its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can be beneficial for managing Huntington’s disease. Experiments with mice have shown that another chemical called cannabigerol, or CBG, in marijuana plants can help maintain brain health for people with Huntington’s (see next section).
What is CBG? (CBG vs. CBD)
Another cannabinoid (compound in cannabis) that has shown health benefits is cannabigerol, also known as CBG. Often taken as an oil, like CBD, CBG is rarer than CBD and THC because there is much less of it in a plant. Whereas cannabis strains usually contain about 25% THC and 20% CBD, the compound CBG makes up only about 1% of most plants. CBG can, however, be extracted at higher volumes if the plants are harvested at the right age, meaning younger. CBG turns into CBD and THC as the plant gets older.
CBG binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body, strengthening neurotransmitters (brain cells) that specifically function to do things like motivate us and regulate our appetites and sleeping patterns. Studies have even shown that CBG protects nerve cells in the brain.
Unfortunately, those studies were done on the brains of mice, not humans (specifically, mice with an experimental model of Huntington’s disease). There are actually fewer studies on CGB in humans than the other cannabinoids, so while there is a strong case to be made that CGB works as a neuroprotectant that preserves nerve cells in the brain, the evidence is slimmer.
Like CBD, CGB is non-psychotropic and won’t get you high. A key difference between CBD and CBG is that CBG is harder to extract and therefore more expensive.
Risks & Side Effects
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that “no public health problems… have been associated with the use of pure CBD,” and there has been no known association with potential for dependence or abuse, unlike most pharma alternatives. The most commonly reported potential side effects of CBD usage were diarrhea and bloating, with some also reporting nausea. About 3% of patients in studies reported liver problems and had to discontinue CBD use. Specifically, in dementia, some patients reported increased tremor with high doses of CBD. As with any new treatment, patients and caregivers should monitor effects and outcomes closely.
Full-Spectrum vs. Isolated CBD
CBD comes in either “full-spectrum” or “isolated” form. The difference is that full-spectrum includes other compounds besides just CBD: cannabinoids (THC and others), terpenes (plant chemicals), and flavonoids (natural plant antioxidants). CBD isolate has been processed into a powder without those natural chemicals. Full-spectrum has more health benefits than isolate.
Misperceptions & Myths
1) CBD is non-psychoactive and medicinal while THC is recreational, not medicinal
CBD (cannabidiol) has been shown to have antipsychotic and anti-anxiety effects in humans. This does not mean it is non-psychoactive, but rather that the psychoactive effects are often beneficial and non-intoxicating vs. the “high” feelings of the THC (aka Tetrahydrocannabinol) compound. THC has also shown medicinal benefits for patients, particularly those suffering from pain or inflammation, especially when combined with CBD for consumption by patients.
2) CBD is a sedative and reduces awareness or alertness
Even in high doses (600mg), CBD has not produced sedating effects in healthy humans. CBD usually makes humans feel more awake and alert without negative impact on sleeping patterns. What is more likely happening is that cannabis strains being used by a patient that have high levels of CBD also contain a potentially sedating natural oil (terpene) such as myrcene.
3) All CBD sources are the same
There are multiple sources of CBD such as hemp, medical cannabis and isolate. Hemp-based CBD is plagued by mislabeling and recent studies have found that only 31% of 84 tested hemp-based CBD products were accurately labeled. Medical, locally sourced cannabis has consistently produced the best CBD source as it is held to stricter laboratory testing for potency and contaminants. If you’re ordering CBD online, know that mislabeling is common, and look for products that have been third-party tested, meaning independent testing has shown the stated percentages are correct.
4) CBD is legal in all 50 States
Despite CBD being sold in health food stores, tobacco shops, on Amazon, etc., and legalization by many US States, the Federal government has not legalized CBD-rich medical cannabis. Hemp-based CBD (with less than 0.3% THC) would not technically have this restriction because it is legal at the state and federal level everywhere except for South Dakota and Idaho. In these two states, CBD is only legal with zero THC. Medical-based CBD has been legalized in more than 30 states and is recreationally legal in a growing number of US locations.
Avoid CBD Scams! Legitimate CBD products will be precisely labeled with information including:
– Amount of active CBD per serving
– Other ingredients
– Manufacturer name
– Suggested use
– Lab testing results
Every batch of CBD should be tested before it’s put into stores to sell.
Forms of CBD Administration
CBD comes in many forms. They range in variety from being consumed orally, inhaled or absorbed into the skin. The most popular are:
-Oil (either to go on the skin or under the tongue)
-Patches (like Band-Aids)
Vape Pen Danger – CBD oil in vape pens sometimes contains a solvent called “propylene glycol,” which degrades when burned at high temperatures and can have serious side effects. Look for “solvent free” CBD vape pens.
|Forms of CBD Administration|
|Form||Time Until Effects Are Felt||Duration of Effects|
|Oral: via Pill or Liquid Drops||15-90 minutes||4 hours|
|Skin: via Oil or Patches (like Band-Aids)||15-120 minutes||5 hours|
|Inhaled: via Vaporizer||2-3 minutes||1 to 2 hours|
Legal Status of CBD in the U.S. (as of May 2022)
CBD is widely available and can be found anywhere from local health food stores and tobacco shops to online retailers like Amazon; making it unclear as to its legality. In 2018, the U.S. legalized CBD through the Farm Bill. That gave a national legal standard with guidelines dictating it contains less than 0.3% THC and made from hemp (not marijuana). Because of differences between state and federal laws, each state can have their own requirements on its legality.
In spite of the diverse legal status in different states, CBD can be purchased online and delivered legally to all 50 states.
A table below breaks down the different requirements by state (as of May 2022) to CDB’s legality.
|Legality of CBD by State (Updated May 2022)|
|Conditions of Legality||States in which these Conditions Apply|
|CBD and medical cannabis is legally available to all adult users (21+)||Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.|
|CBD and medical cannabis is legally available by prescription only||Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.|
|CBD with limited THC content (less than 0.3%) and made from hemp is legally available||Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.|
|CBD with zero THC and made from hemp is legally available||South Dakota and Idaho.|
CBD can also be used legally in most states by residents of assisted living and memory care communities. Read more.
FDA Approval Under Consideration
Not giving CBD federal approval made lawmakers write a bill that would force the FDA to do so. Introduced in early 2021, H.R.841 would make hemp and its byproducts legal and labeled as a dietary supplement under the FDA’s protection and jurisdiction.
This potential law is important for two major reasons. First, FDA approval is the key to making it more accessible to patients in all states and all care facilities. In addition, this leads to potentially being covered by insurance as Medicare and Medicaid have set precedence that they normally approve coverage for all FDA approved medicines.
At this point, it is unknown if this Bill will make a difference. H.R.841 has a long time before it will be signed into law; it is estimated at two years before the FDA is forced to decide on CBD’s legality.
The most common means to obtain CBD rich medical marijuana is from a state licensed dispensary. These dispensaries can be found by searching on any number of dispensary directories (Leafly, Yelp, etc.) or Google Maps.
For those that have trouble with transportation, another increasingly available option would include delivery-based options. However, while convenient for senior patients, these options are not available in every city or town.
Finally, CBD can be legally purchased over the Internet and delivered to all 50 states. One reputable seller is CBDPure. One can visit their website here.
Given the lack of regulation in the CBD marketplace and given the challenges of self-reporting of the benefits with persons with dementia, getting the CBD dosage correct is especially challenging. Even though no prescription is required to purchase CBD, many doctors are still knowledgeable about the product and can provide dosage recommendations. Furthermore, given many persons with dementia take multiple medications, it is worth researching drug-drug interactions when considering CBD. CBD dosage consultations can be arranged online with a doctor for about $60. This is a preferable approach to proceeding without professional medical input. However, it is unlikely one’s insurance would pay for these online dosage consultations.
Should one proceed in testing CBD’s impact on a loved one’s dementia, it’s best to start with the gel cap form of administration as the levels of CBD are consistent (when compared to a dropper) and the act of swallowing a pill is familiar. A further benefit is the once-daily scheduling. While many of CBD’s hypothetical benefits cannot be easily observed, loved ones should pay careful attention to behavior changes. People with dementia who appear calmer or experience less severe sundowning symptoms may be benefitting from CBD. Another area in which CBD’s impact may be observed is in reducing sleeplessness.
Finding the Right Dose
It’s a good idea to start small and slowly increase the dosage. Begin with between 1 and 2 milligrams per day for one week, and increase by 2 to 3 milligrams weekly until you notice improvements in symptoms. Base the dosage on body weight: go smaller if your loved one is particularly light, and give a slightly larger dose for a heavier person. A normal dose for an average adult is around 5 milligrams. You may not want to exceed that number. Again, consult a doctor as you would with any other new supplement or medication.
Insurance Coverage of CBD
At this early stage of development, there are few options covered by insurance. The Food and Drug Administration would need to sign off, and as of now there is only one CBD drug (Epidiolex, for epilepsy) with FDA approval. New legislation is in congress that would force the FDA’s approval. However, currently, when compared to the prices of alternative pharmaceuticals, patients and caregivers may still find that CBD-based medical marijuana is a more cost effective and safer option.
Does Medicare cover CBD? Because of the federal prohibitions on prescribing Schedule 1 substances, there is no Medicare coverage for the purchase of medical marijuana or CBD derivatives. Any out-of-pocket costs one would incur purchasing marijuana for medical use will not count toward any deductibles under Part B or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. If congress will pass H.R.841 that will force the FDA to decide on CBD. In that case, coverage could potentially change to include it.
Medicinal cannabis is not covered by Medicaid, private plans, group plans, the Veterans Administration (VA) or Obamacare plans. Again, when FDA approval happens there could be coverage of CDB.