Scientific understanding of the potential health benefits of CBD — particularly CBD from hemp — is still in its early stages and studies have mainly focused on this compound’s calming and relaxing properties.
It has been shown to support many aspects of health and wellness, largely due to its impact on the Endocannabinoid System. Recent research, however, has explored how CBD's pharmacological properties can be used as a wake-inducing and energy-boosting compound.
Read on to see how CBD can play a significant role in improving energy levels and increasing focus.
In This Article
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
It is important to understand that CBD interacts with the body on a cellular level. Our bodies have what is called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is a complex nerve cell signaling system that is thought to help support our body's normal functioning, central nervous system, modulate our sleep cycle, and much more.
It is thought to be a key player in our body’s ability to restore a dynamic equilibrium when faced with external stressors. This means it can affect changes within your body chemistry, explaining its potential to maintain balance across a number of our bodily systems, as well as alter your energy levels and impact focus.
Understanding how our ECS can maintain this balance - or “homeostasis” - is connected closely to our understanding of how CBD and other cannabinoids interact with our ECS to help support our well-being.
Our ECS has receptors located almost all throughout our bodies. There are two types of receptors (CB1 and CB2), found within different areas of both our brains and bodies which have different functions.
When you take CBD, it works to regulate the ECS system and stimulate these widespread receptors as your body sees fit based on your current state of being (mental, emotional, physical). In other words, your body knows where to use the compound, just how it can distinguish between using ibuprofen for inflammation versus a headache.
We produce our own naturally occurring cannabinoids when our receptors are stimulated, known as anandamide and 2-ag. Anandamide is known as the “bliss” molecule and plays a role in motivation, appetite, and our sleep cycle, which can greatly affect our energy and focus levels.
Because it is rapidly absorbed by the body, not much is known about 2-ag. It exists in higher levels than anandamide and binds readily to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, whereas anandamide only attaches to CB1 receptors.
How Does CBD Increase Energy Levels?
A 2014 study supported the hypothesis that CBD (cannabidiol) worked as a wake-promoting agent.
Given that a lack of quality sleep naturally leads to low energy levels, the findings showed that administration of CBD positively influenced sleep modulation and mental alertness. It does this due to its ability to increase dopamine levels in the brain’s hypothalamus and dorsal raphe nucleus.
Dopamine (also called the motivation molecule), is one of the four primary chemical neurotransmitters (along with serotonin, gaba & norepinephrine) that promotes wakefulness and is heavily involved in other processes such as learning, heart rate, motor system function and mood.
It is also known as a “feel-good” hormone, as dopamine gives us the pleasurable sensation when we accomplish something.
That is not to say CBD will make you hyper. Supplementation of CBD will help to support your energy levels and work to balance and maintain them.
How Does CBD Help You Focus?
Often when we feel considerable stress, our bodies produce cortisol. This is also known as the “stress hormone”, which plays a crucial role in our body’s response to stressful or threatening situations and can make concentration difficult.
Cortisol is heavily involved in our stress responses, but also helps to; regulate our sleep-wake cycle, and regulate blood sugar levels.
Read more on the four functions of cortisol in our article here.
Experiencing some amount of stress is normal and healthy, but a number of factors can throw cortisol out of balance if you’re under constant stress, and your body might release too much cortisol. This imbalance can interfere with sleep cycles.
CBD may help to maintain focus, manage stress and give mental clarity by interacting with the excretion of excess cortisol. This, in turn, allows the brain to release more dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin is a key hormone that impacts your entire body and helps to stabilize; mood, cognition, memory, feelings of well-being, and overall happiness. It can also help with sleep, appetite and digestion.
Since CBD can have a calming effect on the central nervous system, our bodies have a better chance of getting high-quality rest. This can provide the added benefit of increasing our ability to concentrate on important tasks throughout the day. It can make you more productive by supporting wakefulness and quieting any chaotic and unproductive thoughts.
CBD is Not THC
Most people are not aware that CBD (or cannabidiol) can be used for energy and focus, as they tend to associate the compound relaxation (although many people do take CBD to help with relaxation or sleep support for occasional sleeplessness).
These beliefs usually stem from the confusion between CBD and THC.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid compound in marijuana, which is responsible for psychoactive effects, or the feeling of being “stoned”.
Users who have experience with THC will naturally assume CBD products will produce a similar reaction. In fact, the hemp plant (from which CBD is extracted) and the marijuana plant are two different varieties of cannabis. The hemp plant contains far lower levels of THC (which are removed during processing), meaning you can reap the health benefits and value that CBD has to offer without the psychoactive effects.
CBD energy doesn't come in an instant burst (like what you might experience when you have a Red Bull energy drink or cup of coffee). The effects it has on your body create a sustained boost of energy that lasts longer and is healthier for you.
How to Take CBD for Energy & FocusDepending on the method of consumption and amount of CBD administered, it is hypothesized that cannabinoids can either increase or decrease our dopamine levels in different parts of the brain.
When regularly consumed over the long term, CBD’s aligning properties can bring about a sense of calmness and relaxation that could promote sleep; even small doses of CBD can have an energizing effect in the short term.
There are several things you can do to determine your desired effect:
- Keep Track & Adjust Dosage - general recommendation is to start with the lowest dosage (around 10mg is ideal) and slowly increase it until you experience the result you are seeking. Ideally, give your body at least a week or longer to respond to the supplement before making any adjustments. Make sure to take it alongside other healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet and regular exercise.
- Time of Day - you can experiment taking CBD before going to bed, or earlier in the day to take advantage of the energizing effects and long-term benefits.
- Combination of the Two - you may find taking smaller doses of CBD throughout the day will help to regulate your energy levels, but can also put you in a better position to sleep when it is bedtime, as opposed to finding yourself battling a racing brain once you head to bed.
It is always a good idea to consult a medical professional before taking CBD.
CBD can interact differently with the human body based on various factors and your medical professional should be able to provide you with the health information you are seeking.
Read our guide on what to expect when taking CBD products here.
Choosing the Best CBD Product for Energy & Focus
The plethora of CBD products available online makes it too easy to choose the wrong one. CBD companies may make certain statements and marketing claims, and it can be difficult to prove these assertions.
Choosing a CBD product backed by scientific research or tested by an independent third party is one way to mitigate this risk, which will help you experience the best possible results.
In addition to using high-quality CBD and the best extraction processes, the manufacturer should also understand CBD bioavailability - meaning the extent to which the cannabidiol becomes completely available to its intended biological purpose, or in simple terms, how quickly and much of it can reach your bloodstream.
Unfortunately, many CBD manufacturers do not account for the bioavailability of cannabidiol contained in their products and formulations. Always read the product description and supplementary content explaining the science behind its manufacturing process. Although product reviews will not give you scientifically-backed information, they are also a good indicator of effectiveness from those who have already tried the product.
To maximize bioavailability, NextEvo’s SmartSorb™ formulation takes into account CBD’s lipophilic properties to ensure that the CBD is more available to the body.
CBD products come in many forms, and even the same forms may have substantial differences in formulation depending on the manufacturing process, CBD source and extraction process.
Read more on CBD product quality here.
Other Ways to Boost Energy & FocusCBD’s potential as a wake-inducing and energy-boosting chemical is wide and varied. The experimental evidence still requires further research, as the exact mechanism of CBD’s sleep-wake modulation is yet to be clearly understood.
Our energy and focus levels can be affected by a variety of factors, and it is important to understand that addressing the issue may require some self-evaluation, rather than falling back on alternative remedies.
Here are some natural ways to increase both energy and focus:
- Get the right amount of quality sleep
- Eat a well-balanced diet with dense nutritional content
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking and heavy alcohol use
- Drink plenty of water
- Take up meditation to help manage stress
- Only take supplements as directed by your medical professional
SourcesCurrent Neuropharmacology - “Potential Effects of Cannabidiol as a Wake-Promoting Agent”
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience - “Cannabinoid Receptors in the Central Nervous System: Their Signaling and Roles in Disease”
Frontiers in Pharmacology - “A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain”
National Library of Medicine - “Cannabidiol, a constituent of Cannabis sativa, modulates sleep in rats”
National Library of Medicine - “Role of endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol in the physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system”
Neurotherapeutics - “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders”
The Permanente Journal - “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series”
StatPearls - Drug Bioavailability
Stress Management - Chronic stress puts your health at risk
Today’s Dietician - “Cortisol — Its Role in Stress, Inflammation, and Indications for Diet Therapy”