Feeling out of focus? Try CBD

Are you finding it hard to focus on your work or a task at hand?  Are you easily distracted and can’t concentrate? We all have days when it’s harder to focus than others because something is on your mind. But when losing focus and being unable to concentrate starts to affect your work or other responsibilities, you want to do something about it. The first thing to consider is what may be affecting your concentration.

Lack of sleep may be the cause of your inability to focus. Not getting enough sleep lowers your cognitive functions and at the same time raises your level cortisol, which is a hormone that helps the body respond to stress by giving it an energy boost.  High cortisol levels can shorten your sleep time and fragment your sleep, causing short sleep interruptions.[1]  A lack of sleep or lack of quality sleep affects brain function. With poor cognitive function, you are slower, and it is harder to process things.

Anxiety or stress may be another reason behind your inability to focus. Here’s another area where a boost in cortisol, which happens when your body reacts to a stressful situation, can interfere with concentration. A high level of cortisol can make it harder to concentrate.[2]


CBD Offers Natural Way to Improve Focus

 CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. The ECS has CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain; CB2 receptors are mostly found in immune cells and in a few neurons.[3]

 The ECS acts to restore balance whenever something happens with one of the body functions, such as appetite, sleep, immune response, and more.  When CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor, it inhibits pain and inflammation. It also releases tension that causes anxiety.


CBD Helps Boost Sleep

CBD has been shown to aide insomnia and improve sleep quality. Some research on CBD and sleep indicates that CBD may interact with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system to potentially affect the sleep/wake cycle.  Furthermore, by reducing the symptoms of pain and anxiety, CBD may also contribute to a more restful sleep.


CBD Reduces Anxiety and Stress

 While more research is needed on CBD and anxiety, a 2011 study found that CBD was able to reduce Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). This preliminary study aimed to compare the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on healthy control patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients who received a single dose of CBD or placebo. Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in the speech performance of control patients, and significantly decreased alert levels in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.[4]

Furthermore, animal studies have found that CBD can reduce the effects of depression and anxiety. A 2014 review of animal studies found CBD exhibited anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.[5]

CBD Increases Energy to Improve Focus

Besides helping to promote quality sleep and alleviating and anxiety, research indicates other ways that CBD may be able to help increase energy and in turn focus. One study found that CBD modulates waking via activation of waking-related brain areas such as the hypothalamus and dorsal raphe nucleus (DRD). Both regions are involved in the generation of alertness. Also, CBD increases dopamine (reward stimulus) levels.[6]  Effects of high dopamine levels include improved ability to focus and learn. [7]

If you are feeling you can’t focus or concentrate, you might want to give CBD a try.



[1] Pagano, Robert, “Why the Stress Hormone Cortisol is Keeping You Up at Night,” Sleepline, December 5, 2019. https://www.sleepline.com/cortisol-and-sleep/
[2] CBD for Focus and Concentration,” CBDInstead.com, Accessed August 10, 2021. https://cbdinstead.com/pages/cbd-for-focus-and-concentration
[3] Mackie K. Cannabinoid receptors: where they are and what they do. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 May;20 Suppl 1:10-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01671.x. PMID: 18426493. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18426493/
[4] Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219‐1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21307846/
[5] de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, Machado S, Arias-Carrión O, Crippa JA, Zuardi AW, Nardi AE, Silva AC. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953-60. doi: 10.2174/1871527313666140612114838. PMID: 24923339. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24923339/
[6] Murillo-Rodríguez E, Millán-Aldaco D, Palomero-Rivero M, Mechoulam R, Drucker-Colín R. Cannabidiol, a constituent of Cannabis sativa, modulates sleep in rats. FEBS Lett. 2006 Aug 7;580(18):4337-45. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2006.04.102. Epub 2006 Jul 10. PMID: 16844117.
[7] “Dopamine,” GoodTherapy, accessed December 19, 2020.  https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/dopamine