What Does CBD Do to the Brain? Effects, Benefits, & FAQs

CBD (cannabidiol) interacts with the brain through receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

This can produce many benefits — like improved blood flow to your brain’s hippocampus, reduced effects of mental health issues, and more.

Keep reading to find out what CBD does to the brain. 

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What Does CBD Do to the Brain? 7 Effects & Benefits

CBD interacts with your brain via the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

What’s the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a large network of neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) and receptors throughout the brain and the body’s nervous system.
It consists of two major cannabinoid receptor types: 

  • CB1: The CB1 receptor moderates the psychoactive effect of cannabinoid compounds (such as those from THC). It also regulates memory, appetite, pain, etc.  
  • CB2: The CB2 receptor is responsible for anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive actions. 
Fun fact: Anandamide (AEA) was the first endocannabinoid discovered in 1992. Anandamide was isolated from a pig brain by neuroscience expert William Devane!

Let’s dive deeper into how CBD’s interaction with ECS affects the brain and body.

1. Improves Blood Flow to the Hippocampus

When CBD reacts with the CB1 receptor in the ECS, it increases blood flow to the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. 

The hippocampus controls the brain activity responsible for memory and learning.
The result? 

By increasing cerebral blood flow, CBD may improve general memory function (more research and clinical trials are needed for confirmation). 

Research shows this could also help treat memory-compromised conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Could Reduce Symptoms Related to Some Mental Health Disorders

Scientists believe CBD’s therapeutic effect on the brain could be used to treat other psychiatry focused conditions, like anxiety and PTSD.

In extreme cases, CBD might also help treat psychotic symptoms such as those experienced in psychosis (delusions, disturbing thoughts, and in some cases, even hallucinations) and schizophrenia.
What’s more?

CBD modifies the TRPV1 receptor activation in the brain, reducing oxidative stress. 

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of antioxidant and immune cell defences in the body. 

This could lead to a weakened immune system and health risks like high blood pressure and heart disease.

3. The Effect of CBD on Depression and Anxiety 

Did you know CBD works to regulate serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters?

This allows it to act as a mild antidepressant!

This regulation can improve general mood and mental health and help combat conditions such as depression and anxiety disorder.


Serotonin is the hormone that regulates pleasure, among other things. 

Hemp derived CBD can stabilize serotonin imbalances in the brain, which are known to cause disorders like anxiety. 

But here’s the catch:
CBD does not affect the brain’s ability to produce serotonin. 

Rather, it affects the serotonin receptor network in the brain, affecting how your brain activity responds to serotonin. 

This effect is similar to how SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) regulate serotonin receptor dysfunction in the brain.

Read more: Learn more about how CBD may help with depression.

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4. Relieves Inflammation and Pain

Hemp derived CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor to exert pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects in the brain cells and muscle tissue. 

The cannabinoid has also shown great potential to treat chronic pain caused by arthritis and gout. 


Try this fourfive 300mg topical CBD Muscle Rub to relieve joint inflammation and muscle aches!

How to use CBD Balm

5. Can Treat Epilepsy And Seizures

Cannabidiol could reduce the effects and instances of epileptic seizures. 


Oral CBD use reduces the occurrence of epileptic seizures by decreasing neurons excitability and calcium release into cell receptors.

This has proven most effective in children with Dravet syndrome.

The NHS has already approved Epidiolex as the first hemp derived CBD-based seizure medication for such epileptic conditions. 

6. Combats Substance Addiction

A 2015 clinical trial found cannabidiol can help treat people with substance dependencies — opioid, cocaine, tobacco, and psychostimulant addiction.

How does CBD do that?

When CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptor network, it affects several neurotransmission signals in the brain. This reduces withdrawal side effects like anxiety, stress, depression symptoms, and ‘brain fog’.

CBD can also be used in recovery therapy for those overcoming tobacco and alcohol addiction. 

7. CBD Has Immunosuppressive and Neuroprotective Properties 

Aside from its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD use has immunosuppressive properties as well. 

What does that mean?

CBD could benefit those with auto-immune conditions and neurodegenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease).


Auto-immune and neurodegenerative diseases cause the body to have overactive immune cells, which mistakenly target healthy cells as threats.

CBD supplements can be beneficial for conditions such as Alzheimer’s because they might slow down overactive immune cells in the body. 

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4 FAQs About CBD

We have covered a lot about CBD so far, but there is always more to learn!

Here are the answers to some less-common questions about CBD:

1. Is CBD a Nootropic?

Yes, CBD can be classified as a nootropic.

Nootropics are drugs that improve brain function and brain health, including attention span, memory, and even creativity.

 A recent clinical trial revealed a single dose of CBD oil might have a powerful neuropsychopharmacol potential due to its ability to increase blood flow in the brain. 

The result?

  • Memory boost
  • Improved brain function
  • Increased ability to process emotion

However, we need more research to determine if repeated doses of the cannabinoid will have the same effect.

2. Is CBD Addictive?

No, CBD is not addictive.
Unlike the other main marijuana cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a CBD product does not produce any intoxicating psychoactive effect, which could lead to addiction. 

Cannabis addiction is often associated with THC dominant cannabis plant products, such as THC resin or hash oil.


THC and cannabis plant products are illegal in the UK and most parts of the world. 

Read more: Learn more about the CBD laws and regulations in the UK.

3. Does CBD Change Your Personality?

No, CBD doesn’t change your behaviour or character.

While CBD can make you feel calm and collected, there will be no intoxicating effects or mood swings from its use. 

Bottom line: Topical and oral CBD supplements like CBD gummies, CBD sprays, and CBD oil help improve your general mood and mental health. 

4. Can Medical Cannabis Treat Chronic Pain and Brain Injury Symptoms?

Medical cannabis (also known as medical marijuana) is a prescription drug and controlled substance containing high CBD and THC cannabinoid levels. 

So far, research on medical cannabis treatment for chronic pain shows promising potential. 

Medical marijuana has proven to be an effective treatment for chronic pain induced by: 

  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Spinal cord injury 
  • Traumatic brain injury (by reducing inflammation associated with brain damage)

Boost Your Brain Function and Quality of Life With CBD 

The effects of CBD supplements are primarily beneficial — with improvements to mood, brain health, memory function, and sleep patterns.

Ready to try CBD?

Visit GreenBox to unlock the wellness benefits of CBD! We provide only the highest quality, lab-tested CBD products for your peace of mind.