More evidence on the role of cannabidiol’s (CBD)  in brain development seems to be revealed every month.  CBD has already been linked  to promoting neurogenesis, and the prevention of schizophrenia and neurodegenerative diseases.  To further add to this, a recent research suggested that CBD may prevent the damage associated with cerebral oxygen deficits.

 This research was conducted by a team of researchers from University Hospital Puerta de Hierro Majadahondain Madrid about CBD’s neuroprotective effects and published a study  in the August issue of Neuropharmocology. The researchers used piglets as test subjects and investigated the mechanism responsible for the ability of CBD to protect against deficits from cerebral hypoxia, or reduced oxygen in the brain.

Reduced Oxygen Causes Excitotoxicity, Neuron Death

The researchers had to induce hypoxia in the newborn pigs in order to test the role of CBD in protecting the brain from damage caused by lack of oxygen. Blood flow to the brain was restricted and he amount of oxygen reduced by 10% for 30 minutes, and then the researchers investigated the functionality of each affected neuron.

schemic Hypoxia is defined as a reduction of cerebral oxygen that results from poor blood flow. The researchers reported that reduced oxygen in the brain “decreased the number of viable neurons,” and affected the measured level of brain activity and that the lack of oxygen was associated with increases in inflammation, excitotoxicity, and oxidative stress.

Excitotoxicity refers to a process in which nerve cells are damaged or even killed and results from over-stimulation from neurotransmitters, like glutamate. Research shows that it may be related to spinal cord injuries, alcohol withdrawal, stroke, traumatic brain injury not leaving out  neurodegenerative diseases, such as: Multiple SclerosisParkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

 It should be noted that Oxidative stress results from poor oxygen metabolization. The breaking down of oxygen naturally forms chemically reactive molecules called “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) which have important roles in cell signaling. But it should be noted that abnormal ROS levels can occur in cases of environmental stress and may damage cells. It’s safe to say that restricted blood flow to the brain causes “stress.”

CBD May Counter Effects of Reduced Oxygen

The researchers recorded the effect of limited oxygen on the piglets’ brains and investigated cannabidiol’s effects. Ischemic hypoxia was induced for thirty minutes and later, the newborn pigs were treated with a vehicle (placebo) or 1 mg/kg of CBD.


The researchers observed that the administration of CBD prevented the issues associated with reduced oxygen in the brain. They also found that the effect of CBD effect on the cannabinoid and serotonin receptors may influence the neuroprotective ability of the phytocannabinoid. They also found that CBD failed to have the same effect when they administered drugs that block CB2 and 5HT1A (serotonin) receptors.

The researchers then concluded that this research offers insight into cannabidiol and its effect on the brain, that the findings demonstrate that CBD exerts robust neuroprotective effects. The research also suggest that due to the influence of CBD on  cannabinoid and serotonin receptors, CBD may help  in modulating  issues associated with limited oxygen in the brain, such as  inflammation and neuronal cell death. However, more research is still necessary; results show that cannabidiol treatment could be used to minimize the resulting damage in the future supporting other studies which found that tetrahydocannabinol (THC) treatment could minimize damage from heart attacks.

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