So, you've probably heard so much about CBD's healing powers. The jury may still be out on its range of health benefits, but regardless, its use is on the rise.
Barely known a few decades back, CBD supplements are some of the most in-demand health and wellness products in the U.S. So popular are they that a recent survey indicated that nearly 1 in 10 American adults use CBD products.
Mention "CBD," and most people are quick to talk about its pain and inflammation-relieving properties. Or even better, they may tell you how it may help reduce anxiety. Generally, this cannabinoid is renowned for its calming effects.
So, not many would readily associate CBD with the ability to enhance focus and concentration. If anything, how can a substance commonly used to aid relaxation boost your focus levels? Seems counterintuitive.
However, it appears CBD may actually help you focus and concentrate better. But to have an idea of how it could do so, we'll start by fleshing out how CBD works. We'll then explain how its action mechanisms can mitigate the causes of poor focus and concentration.
- CBD may help boost focus and concentration by altering how CB1 agonist molecules like THC bind to these receptors.
- CBD can behave like an inverse agonist at the CB1 receptors.
- Though it does not make the brain sharper, CBD boosts focus and concentration by alleviating symptoms affecting your ability to focus and concentrate.
How CBD Works for Focus
CBD—which stands for cannabidiol—is an ingredient in hemp belonging to the cannabinoid class. It is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not induce a "high." So, no matter how much CBD you take, you cannot become intoxicated.
CBD was discovered in the 1940s, but research on it was eclipsed by ∆9-THC – its more exciting sibling. As a result, researchers only started exploring this compound recently. One of the things we know about CBD regards its interaction with the human body.
Research shows that CBD exerts its effects via multiple molecular receptors in the body. The most well-known and well-studied are G-protein coupled receptors identified as CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are mainly found in the central nervous system, while the CB2 receptors predominate the peripheral nervous system.
CBD is shown to have different relationships with these receptors; for example, at the CB1 receptor, it behaves like an antagonist or inverse agonist. This means it suppresses activity or works with other compounds to produce opposite effects.
It is more at home with the CB2 receptor, partially binding to it to promote immune system functions and anti-inflammatory responses.
As mentioned earlier, the CB1 receptors are mainly found in the CNS, which includes the brain and spinal cord. It turns out that focus and concentration are cognitive functions performed in the brain's prefrontal cortex. As you may have guessed, this area of the brain teems with CB1 receptors. When these receptors are activated, focus and concentration are influenced.
This explains why smoking cannabis can affect your ability to focus and concentrate. ∆9-THC, the dominant cannabinoid in landrace strains (your regular weed), readily activates the CB1 receptors and affects mental functions. This is why ∆9-THC is psychoactive.
Since CBD is also an inverse agonist at the CB1 receptor, it is capable of mitigating the psychoactive effects of ∆9-THC. So, instead of letting ∆9-THC dull your focus and concentration, CBD forces it to produce the opposite effects!
Another organ in the brain that is positively affected by CBD is the hippocampus. It is mainly involved in learning and memory. Obviously, learning, memory, and focus are interrelated. You can learn more effectively if you can focus well on a task and commit it to memory.
So, it is good to know that CBD can counteract the psychotropic effects of ∆9-THC in the hippocampus. In a nutshell, CBD streamlines the physiological processes in the brain that enable you to fully immerse yourself in a task.
Can CBD Improve Your Focus?
If the research findings discussed above are anything to go by, then CBD may help improve focus and concentration. Anyone's ability to focus is determined by how effectively they can shield themselves from distractions.
If you work in a shared workspace, then you understand how sound and commotion can be distracting. Incessant phone calls and movement (by coworkers) around you can make it so difficult to pay attention to your work.
Throw in the stresses of life and poor sleeping habits, and the sheer effort you need to focus through the day is immense. Subsequently, prescription medicines and energy drinks have become popular remedies for people who struggle to focus.
However, fixes like energy drinks sometimes come with strings attached – dehydration, anxiety, insomnia, and heart complications are issues you may have to deal with.
CBD does not have such side effects. In fact, besides sustaining your concentration throughout the day, it may help with other issues like insomnia and anxiety. Indeed, since CBD can also regulate the sleep-wake cycle, it may help you sleep better. When you get enough sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed and energetic.
What Causes Poor Focus
Are you unable to focus on a task long enough to complete it in time? Well, there is a plethora of reasons your ability to focus has taken a hit. Here is the thing, some of these reasons may be out of your control. Fortunately, there are those that you can do something about.
Lack of sleep
An adult is supposed to sleep for 7-9 hours. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done for many people. Nonetheless, getting less sleep means your body does not get enough rest. As a result, you wake up feeling groggy and tired.
Naturally, you'll find that focusing and concentrating do not come easy in this state. Usually, the cognitive faculties are the first to be affected when you do not sleep enough. It is not for nothing we are told, "early to bed and early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy, and wise."
Too much stress
This is one of the you-can-do-nothing-about-it reasons for poor focus. The truth is we live in a world choking with stressors. If it is not work, it is our relationships, the economy, or even the weather!
The thing with stress is that it raises the levels of a hormone called cortisol in the body. At normal levels, cortisol helps us respond better to stressful situations due to its role in mediating "fight or flight." However, an over-accumulation of this hormone in our bodies has its downsides.
For starters, it affects the sleep-wake cycle. Consequently, you may find it difficult to fall asleep or feel sleepy during the day. It can also give you headaches, and make you irritable, tired, and depressed. Simply put, high cortisol levels in the body are bad news!
There are many things you cannot do while in such a state, and focusing is one of them.
Nobody likes pain. So, when you struggle with health conditions like arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, or migraine, pain becomes a feature in your life.
While it can be effectively managed with professional medical care, its effect on your focus and concentration levels is massive. Seriously, how can you immerse yourself in writing that report when your back feels as if it is on fire?
Nutritionists always highlight the importance of eating healthy and drinking plenty of water. A healthy meal is a balanced meal that provides your body with most of the nutrients it needs. Usually, this means carbs, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
But in this fast-paced world, such advice is often taken for granted. We live on the move and take the easiest ways out – eat junk and drink sugary beverages. The repercussions of the 21st-century lifestyle are evident in the rising cases of diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, among others.
The human body is like a machine – it needs to be regularly serviced to function correctly. Filling it with unhealthy foods and beverages does more harm to it than good. Eventually, it reaches a point it stops working as it should. When this happens, it becomes harder to focus and concentrate on tasks because you are essentially sick!
People with chronic health problems sometimes have to be on long-term medication. Drugs, as you know, have side effects. The longer you are on meds, the higher the chances of experiencing some side effects. This is why it is often advisable not to take medication without professional advice.
Drugs are typically designed to have as minimal side effects as possible. But when used long-term, even medicines that are usually safe can be toxic. Some of the common side effects include nausea, drowsiness, rashes, irregular heartbeats, and fatigue. None of these conditions makes it any easier to focus.
However, this does not mean should you quit your medications! Always consult your physician if the side effects of a drug are serious.
What Causes Poor Concentration
Concentration and focus go hand in hand, so what affects your ability to focus is likely to impede your concentration. So, what is the difference between these two?
Simply put, focus is when you direct your attention to something. It is like a laser pointer. It allows you to pick a task and stay locked on until it is finished.
On the other hand, concentration is the ability to keep your head and mind on a task and perform it to fruition. Once you focus on something, the mind usually follows suit by centering its attention on it. This allows you to concentrate and stay on-task.
This essentially means you need to perform tasks both effectively and efficiently. One cannot exist without the other. So, what causes poor concentration?
If you have been to a library, you know how deathly quiet they can be. That's because noise is a significant distractor. Typically, when you hear a sound, you instinctively want to find out what is causing it. For most people, that's enough to affect their concentration.
Look at the world around you. All that technology at our disposal, social media, television, and gossip, means our brains have too much to deal with. If your brain is not trained to lock out unwanted distractions, kiss concentration goodbye.
Older people may not like to hear this, but it is what it is. As you age, your ability to concentrate diminishes. Eventually, you find it hard to focus and stay on-task for longer durations.
The good news is that you can delay the decline of your cognitive faculties by eating healthy and exercising the brain. The brain is like a muscle, and like muscles, it strengthens with work. Read regularly and learn new skills to increase your brain power and longevity.
Lack of exercise
Remember how we talked about "servicing" the body and keeping it in tip-top condition? Well, physical exercises are a great way to ensure the mind and body are in good shape. Just like focus and concentration go hand in hand, the mind and body have a similar relationship.
Your brain cannot function properly when the body is out of shape. Exercises promote blood flow to the brain, muscles, heart, and other vital body parts. This ensures they are supplied with the nutrients and oxygen needed to function well.
A happy body equals a happy brain – treat your body well, and your brain will serve you better. You know what they say about "all work and no play."
Benefits of CBD for Focus and Concentration
So, how can CBD help? There are several ways CBD can enhance focus and concentration. While it won't make your brain sharper, it may come in handy in dealing with the issues outlined above.
Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety reduction are the most commonly cited reasons for CBD use. Multiple studies on CBD's anxiolytic effects support its ability to reduce stress. By alleviating stress, CBD frees more brainpower to boost your ability to focus and concentrate.
CBD's pain relief property is another well-studied area. Current studies indicate that CBD works better with THC in reducing pain. Such findings validate the "entourage effect" – the theory that cannabinoids are more effective together than alone.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects have seen it become a popular commodity among athletes.
Mood and energy
Have you noticed how time flies when you are having fun? It is because when you are completely immersed in the task at hand, you hardly realize time passing. Usually, when you are in a good mood, you enjoy your work more.
So, if you are among people who struggle with mood and lack motivation, CBD may be helpful. This cannabinoid has been shown to regulate serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. These "feel-good" hormones are involved in numerous physiological processes that boost feelings of happiness.
Cerebral blood flow
Research shows that CBD increases blood flow to the brain. In particular, it promotes blood flow to the hippocampus, a region involved in memory and learning. Better blood flow means the brain gets supplied with vital nutrients and oxygen to take its functioning a level higher.
Best Ways to Take CBD for Deep Work and Concentration
CBD comes in many forms (and shapes) that generally fall within three categories - edibles, topicals and inhales. Each of these has its unique merits and demerits, which is often the basis of determining which to use.
At Dragon Hemp, we make an array of CBD products that may help improve focus and concentration. These include:
Our Reach capsules for energy and focus are practitioner-formulated to provide clarity, energy, and focus throughout the day. With 25mg of premium CBD per capsule enriched with herbs such as American ginseng, yerba mate, and other Chinese herbs, these capsules work by promoting blood flow, stimulating the brain, and elevating mood. What more do you need to power through paperwork at the office?
Because we understand how pain affects your ability to focus and concentrate, we've developed these Relief capsules to aid recovery. These contain premium CBD blended with corydalis, frankincense, turmeric, myrrh, and Chinese herbs to promote blood circulation and reduce pain.
the body cannot function well if it is not completely balanced (homeostasis). That's why we've created this Balance Wellness Tincture to help reduce stress and anxiety and promote overall well-being. This product contains full-spectrum CBD to enhance its effectiveness in alleviating stress and allowing you to focus better.
Also, our Relief Recovery Tincture is designed for those who prefer tinctures to capsules. They perform the same role as the capsules, but since these are taken sublingually, they act faster. They also have a similar composition as the capsules, so you miss nothing.
Are you finding it difficult to fall asleep? Worry not; our Rest Sleep Support tincture is made with premium full-spectrum CBD and CBN, as well as herbs like linden flower, Schisandra fruit, lavender, and Chinese herbs to help calm the mind and relax the body. This puts you in a state conducive to sleep.
Learn more about CBD and CBC here.
Best Time of Day to Take CBD for FOCUS
Naturally, you would want to take CBD for focus in the morning, ideally 30 minutes before leaving for work. This gives it enough time to absorb into the bloodstream and activate its focus-enhancing effects.
How to Take CBD for Focus
With capsules, we recommend taking one or two with plenty of water and food. This should be done 30 minutes before activity.
As for the tinctures, place one full dropper under the tongue and hold for 30 seconds, then swallow. For best results, do this 30 minutes before activity.