Covid Brain Fog and CBD — Can CBD Oil Help Covid-19 Patients Recover Their Wits?
Can CBD help Covid-19 patients reverse, prevent, or halt the progression of so-called “Covid brain fog”?
Covid brain fog is a newly identified side-effect of the coronavirus, and one that tends to continue for some time after a patient has presumably recovered from the condition.
What causes Covid brain fog, and how can CBD be used to help Covid-19 patients deal with brain fog?
Covid "Brain Fog"
Have you heard of “Covid brain fog?” It seems as if some new and frightening symptom arises on an almost weekly basis during this pandemic. However, CBD might be ideally suited to treat this particular newly identified symptom of Covid-19.
So what exactly is Covid brain fog? In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, survivors of the insidious disease are facing symptoms of on-going cognitive impairment including confusion, dizziness, and memory loss. This disease has recently been dubbed “Covid brain fog.”
Symptoms of Covid brain fog include
Everyone past a certain age will experience “senior” moments. It’s common to find oneself mentally grasping for a word or name or forgetting the reason you walked into a room. However, this post-Covid condition has serious implications, far beyond garden-variety memory glitches experienced in later life.
Scientists are, as of yet unsure of the exact cause of this Covid brain fog. Many are puzzled as to why oftentimes even those who experienced mild cases of Covid, with no previous underlying conditions, still suffer from impaired cognition to some extent.
The term for survivors with lingering symptoms is “long-haulers” — an apt name for the phenomenon.
Some medical professionals theorize Covid brain fog is due to inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain. Dr. Serena Spudich, chief of neurological infections and global neurology at Yale School of Medicine believes inflammatory molecules, releasing an invasive immune response, “can also be toxic, particularly to the brain.”
Other researchers conjecture that dexamethasone, a steroid utilized in treatments for some hospitalized Covid-19 patients, is known to cause insomnia, dizziness, and mood changes – and their combined effect could potentially induce “brain fog.”
A state of altered mental function known as encephalopathy was prevalent in hospitalized patients with respiratory complications from Covid-19, along with a high incidence of delirium and confusion.
This phenomenon has also been observed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The report states: “The hallmark of encephalopathy is an altered mental state.” According to the report, Covid-induced encephalopathy can, indeed, create issues such as memory loss, decreased cognition, lethargy, and confusion being seen in Covid-19 patients.
A recent study indicated patients who required extended hospitalizations, exhibited higher mortality rates and, upon release, found many daily activities unmanageable.
Anecdotal evidence and studies out of Europe and Asia also indicate alarmingly high rates of neurologic symptoms. In August a French report centered around a group of previously-hospitalized patients was released. Not surprisingly, out of 120 patients, 34 percent suffered memory loss, and 27 percent found it almost impossible to maintain any semblance of focus, many months after hospitalization.
According to a report published Oct. 5, 2020 in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 82 percent (417 out of 509) Chicago-area Covid patients admitted to hospitals last spring, had on-going neurological issues.
A newly formed group called Survivor Corps will soon publish the results of a survey led by Professor Natalie Lambert at the Indiana University School of Medicine. A total of 3,930 of the group’s members were polled. Over half of the participants indicated a huge decline in their ability to concentrate. Covid-19 brain-fog and the associated cognitive-impairment was the fourth most prevalent, on-going symptom out of 101 neurological, psychological, as well as long and short-term physical conditions suffered by the members of the Survivor Corps.
So much about COVID-19 and its long-term effects is unknown at this time. It’s an arduous challenge to determine if the virus itself, or some standard treatments are causing neurological disruptions.
The symptoms of the virus appear endless and ever-evolving, while varying wildly from patient to patient. These anomalies are keeping the medical community in the dark and on their toes while the exact cause of brain fog remains a mystery.
How CBD might help with Covid-19 brain fog
When the human brain is in top-notch working order, bouts of stress and anxiety are few and far between. However, chronic periods of stress and anxiety are known to negatively impact and even rewire the brain. This rewiring is not necessarily a life sentence. It can, with some effort and the right supplementation, be reversed.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-intoxicating compound derived from hemp. CBD is known to profoundly improve memory functions and to relax the mind and body. Moreover, recent research has indicated CBD’s ability to protect neurons and even to promote the growth of new neurons.
Many standard treatments, although highly effective in providing short-term relief, have a negative impact on the body and brain with extended use. If you watch any commercial about any new drug, the list of alarming side-effects for some seemingly endless.
However, at this point in history, with millions of regular cannabis users, not one fatality can be directly linked to overdosing from CBD.
CBD products may effectively reduce the effects of Covid-19 brain fog, due to their many beneficial properties cited in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Here is an excerpt from one of their reviews:
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid with therapeutic properties for numerous disorders exerted through molecular mechanisms that are yet to be completely identified. CBD acts in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic agent, and is, therefore, a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety, and schizophrenia, respectively. The neuroprotective potential of CBD, based on the combination of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, is of particular interest and is presently under intense preclinical research in numerous neurodegenerative disorders.
The review cites several benefits in the usage of CBD products. CBD, with its efficacy as an anxiolytic compound known for generating neuroprotective benefits, might provide relief from some of these issues thought to exacerbate Covid brain fog.
Studies indicate CBD’s ability to influence neuron activity in the hippocampus (the memory-consolidation region of the brain) by upping the concentrations of calcium ion in the mitochondria.
Covid-19 patients are being pummelled physically, emotionally, and mentally. It’s no wonder their brains are reacting in this manner, after being subjected to such pain and turmoil.
Recovered patients are still dealing with debilitating symptoms, months after receiving the dire diagnosis. Many patients with milder cases recovered at home, in total isolation, with no physical or emotional support. And hospitalized patients lived in terror of being put on ventilators. All of these factors extract a great toll on these individuals.
CBD oil and other CBD-infused products may be a way for Covid-19 patients to mitigate the damage inflicted by this nasty virus, including brain fog.
Sources and additional reading:
- For ‘Long-Haul’ Coronavirus Patients, Symptoms Last Months
- Common Steroid Dexamethasone May Help Severe COVID-19 Cases | Time
- Nearly One-Third of Covid-19 Patients in Study Had Altered Mental State
- Frequent neurologic manifestations and encephalopathy‐associated morbidity in Covid‐19 patients
- Neurologic manifestations in hospitalized patients with COVID-19: The ALBACOVID registry
- Neurologic Manifestations of Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China
- Post-discharge persistent symptoms and health-related quality of life after hospitalization for COVID-19
- As Their Numbers Grow, COVID-19 “Long Haulers” Stump Experts
- What Is Coronavirus?
- Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?