Cognitive dysfunction, the scientific name of brain fog, inhibits the life of 1 in 10 Americans on average. People suffering from brain fog feel spaced out. They lack clarity of thought and feel they can’t focus. However, brain fog is not a condition in itself. It is a symptom of a health or mental issue that becomes evident through brain fog.
In rare cases, brain fog can be a side effect of CBD consumption. At the same time, some take CBD to fend off brain fog, hoping that CBD may support their mental focus and cognitive efficiency thanks to its potential anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antioxidant properties.
So, which is it? Does CBD cause brain fog or prevent it?
What Is Brain Fog?
Have you ever woken up from your sleep feeling all woozy and disoriented? It’s the moment when you feel like a time traveler: you need to think hard about who you are, where you are, and what year it is.
Brain fog is like this. It commonly manifests through difficulty in concentrating, cognitive impairment, and even memory problems. Its main symptoms also include brain fatigue, headaches, anxiety, and a thought process that appears random and unfocused. When you start a task, it takes you longer to complete it and you feel you have used all your brainpower. It’s as if your brain is working very sluggishly and you can’t keep up with everyday life demands such as work, family, or personal time.
What Causes Brain Fog?
Many conditions can cause brain fog. For instance, women in pregnancy feel their brain being more sluggish than usual. This is due to hormone imbalances. Likewise, women in menopause may experience disorganized thoughts and cognitive deterioration. Again, this is due to their hormones switching gears.
Several other conditions can also cause brain fog. Stress and anxiety can be so over-stimulating that they occupy the brain to an extent where the brain literally can’t spare a thought on anything else.
Similarly, depression and poor sleep patterns affect our cognitive capacities and may lead to brain fog.
Some more serious diseases such as lupus, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis have also been linked to brain fog. Interestingly, these conditions are inflammation-related. Since CBD is being studied for its potential anti-inflammatory properties, it may help fend them off.
Finally, diabetes and anemia are associated with brain fog.
Brain Fog as a Side Effect of CBD
While CBD is not normally associated with brain fog, THC is. THC is the main cannabinoid found in marijuana. It is psychotropic and leads to the sense of “high” associated with marijuana. Research suggests a connection between THC consumption and cognitive impairment, particularly in adolescents.
Thankfully, CBD and Hemp Oil products that are legally sold in the United States must contain under 0.3% of THC. Therefore, they only contain minute traces of THC, which cannot cause any cognitive impairment.
However, some CBD consumers have complained that they experienced brain fog after taking CBD. This may be because of a mislabeled product that contains more THC than it claims on the label. In rare cases, it may also show up as a side effect of CBD itself, as it interacts with the brain’s neurotransmitters and the nervous system. For instance, when CBD acts to fend off anxiety and depression, this down-stimulation may cause brain fog as a side effect.
Thankfully, brain fog is a particularly rare side effect of CBD and can be easily managed. If it’s due to a mislabeled product, you can try a different producer. Producers who respect their customers let you view online the Certificate of Analysis for their products so that you can see exactly what’s in your Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil product. Needless to say, you should always shop from a respected Hemp Oil producer.
If it’s CBD that causes brain fog, you can change your CBD dosage: excessive doses of CBD are more likely to cause brain fog. One easy way to handle this while enjoying the desired effect is by microdosing CBD. This involves taking several small doses throughout the day instead of a big dose once or twice a day.
Alternatively, you can change your method of consumption or your CBD brand to find one that better matches your body and metabolism. For example, you could try Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil capsules instead of tinctures, since capsules are metabolized more slowly.
Can CBD Help with Brain Fog?
While CBD may cause brain fog in rare cases, many people take CBD to prevent brain fog and improve their quality of life. The CBD found in Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil may help support mental health in several ways: by fending off inflammation, supporting their mood, and maintaining healthy sleep patterns.
Inflammation and Neuro-Inflammation
Brain fog has been associated with inflammation. Inflammation affects the connections between neurons. When the neurons become sluggish, they communicate more slowly. Hence, your feeling of cognitive impairment and lack of mental clarity.
Several studies suggest that CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming CBD may help your brain sustain its health and elasticity. If CBD does help keep neuron communication more active, it may improve your mental focus.
Studies suggest that CBD may be an anxiolytic—i.e. it may help fend off anxiety. If your brain fog is due to stress and anxiety, CBD may help your brain relax and manage what life throws at you in a more balanced way.
This would give your brain the time and space it may need to work better and more efficiently. When brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, and acetylcholine are in balance, our brain works best. This state of balance, called homeostasis, can help your brain handle demanding tasks without feeling the pressure.
Help with Better Sleep
It’s amazing how much work is done during our sleep. Our brain gets rid of toxins and classifies the information it acquired during the day. When we don’t sleep well, the brain is the first to feel sleep deprivation.
While more research is necessary to examine in-depth if and how CBD may help with sleep, studies suggest that CBD may help with occasional insomnia. A 2017 review of existing literature found that CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.
Insomnia can be caused by a brain neurotransmitter imbalance, stress, and anxiety. By helping with these root causes of problematic sleep patterns, CBD may support a good night’s sleep. When your brain is not burdened by worries, it lets go more easily and shifts into sleep mode. This means you wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested and your brain is ready to tackle a demanding day.
A recent study found benefits for people suffering from anxiety-related insomnia. This supports the hypothesis that CBD intervenes indirectly by lowering the levels of anxiety. As a secondary effect, this may lead to better sleep.