CBD Increases Blood Flow to the Brain After One Dose

Sep 27, 2020 at 03:53 pm by pj


By Michael C. Patterson

A new study in the August 2020 Journal of Psychopharmacology reports an increase in blood flow to the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex after one 600mg dose of Cannabidiol (CBD). A link to the study is attached.


CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both derived from the cannabis plant. Together, they are part of the cannabinoid group of compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants.  However, the USA definition of hemp is containing less than 0.3 percent THC.

THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the euphoric, 'high' feeling often associated with cannabis. The compound interacts with CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and brain and creates the sensations of euphoria in higher doses. However, CBD is non-psychoactive and does not fit the CB1 receptors well.   CBD is also believed to be responsible for some of the therapeutic effects of cannabis such as pain relief. 

The study was performed by a team at the University College of London (UCL).  The goal of the study was to understand the relationship of CBD with the human brain.  The research team studied 15 participants, with no history of cannabis use, ingest a capsule of 600mg of CBD on different occasions for one week, then 600mg of a placebo. 

Seven days later, participants were given the capsule they did not take. Participants didn't know which capsule they were taking on each occasion. Next, researchers used an MRI brain scanning technique, arterial spin labeling, which measures blood oxygen level changes. The results showed that CBD significantly increased blood flow in the hippocampus and the orbitofrontal cortex.  The orbitofrontal cortex area within the brain plays a role in decision-making, and the hippocampus is involved in memory.  

“Cannabidiol is one of the main constituents of cannabis and is gaining interest for its therapeutic potential” said lead author Dr. Michael Bloomfield, professor of Psychiatry at UCL. “There is evidence that CBD may help reduce symptoms of psychosis and anxiety. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may improve memory function. To our knowledge, this is the first study to find that CBD increases blood flow to key regions involved in memory processing, particularly the hippocampus.  This supports the view that CBD has region-specific blood flow effects in the human brain, which has previously been disputed.”


This study is a positive start to provide definitive proof that CBD can benefit blood flow to the areas of the brain which control decision making, memory, and potentially pain.  This new insight can give physicians and researchers evidence to facilitate larger studies of the use of CBD on patients suffering from memory disorders (Alzheimer’s Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinsonian dementia, Alcohol related Dementia) as well as potential other ailments.  The more research that is performed on the cannabis plant that can demonstrate the use of cannabis is safe and effective as a medicine, the more widely prescribed/recommended it will be in domestically and globally.

Michael C. Patterson, founder and CEO of U.S. Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research & Development of Melbourne, is a consultant for the development of the medical marijuana industry nationwide and in Florida. He serves as a consultant to Gerson Lehrman Group, New York and helps educate GLG partners on specific investment strategies and public policy regarding Medical Marijuana in the U.S. and Internationally. He can be reached at mpatterson@uscprd.com