May 15, 2020 6 min read
With CBD growing in prominence and becoming more widespread in our day-to-day, you may find yourself wondering the full extent of its capabilities and benefits. Common applications for CBD in the spectrum of “calming” effects include using it for pain relief, as an antidepressant, and/or achieving a more restful sleep. But what about being more alert and focused?
The short answer is: yes. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce distractions and improve your ability to concentrate. Cannabidiol (CBD) should not be confused for its sister chemical, THC, which is the component known for “getting high.” Instead, CBD has a wide range of health benefits because of its capacity to work with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is responsible for keeping your body in a state of balance.
We often associate the ability to focus with our productivity levels. But while it would be easy to oversimplify and say lack of focus means lack of productivity, the ripple effects of an inability to concentrate or stay alert goes much further.
In an academic setting, being unable to pay attention and focus in class can have a student fall behind the rest of his/her classmates. When they attempt to work on class assignments later, the material does not make sense and they may find it difficult to focus on getting the homework done. As a result, they either procrastinate or spend 2-to-3 times the amount of time as their peers completing the same assignment. This then leads to stress and perhaps lack of sleep. Repeat this cycle enough times, and you have a student that is exhausted, mentally burned out, and stressed for feeling continuously behind.
In a work setting, this same problem can surface differently and result in low quality work or self-induced stress. Someone may go into their office every day with the full intent and desire to perform well, but instead find themselves reading the same email a few times, surfing the internet, unable to begin a task, or chatting online with coworkers instead. They look up and it’s already close to lunch time. If this is not a common occurrence, it can be written off as just an “unproductive” day. But what if this were a recurring issue? Can you imagine how that might compound? It impacts motivation and morale levels, and considering the amount of time someone spends at their job, this can subsequently lead to general unhappiness or dissatisfaction.
Over time, perpetual lack of focus can severely affect an individual’s quality of life. As it builds daily and the symptoms stack on top of one another, it can spawn long term effects that range from crankiness, insomnia, constant fatigue, lack of confidence, to depression or something else more serious.
An oversimplified answer to what causes lack of focus is distraction.The source of said distraction, however, can range from one-off external circumstances to ever-present medical conditions. Some of the most frequent causes are broken down below.
Exhaustion / Lack of Sleep
Exhaustion and sleeplessness fuels distraction in our day-to-day. There is a reason why sleep is constantly touted as one of the most important aspects of maintaining a balanced life and lifestyle. Sleep is necessary to recharge ourselves and prevent burn out.
Stress / Anxiety
Whatever the cause e.g. a tight deadline, a big presentation, a huge workload, etc., stress and anxiety can make it difficult to stay focused. When we are stressed, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone that serves as a built in alarm. It enhances fight or flight instincts and impacts the ability to concentrate on tasks.
The environment that we are in can also have a direct impact on our ability to focus if it is littered with distractions. You may be thinking of common external factors such as a noisy atmosphere e.g. dogs barking or construction, or temptations in the area e.g. TV, snacks, games, etc. However, our environment also includes all of the options we have on hand digitally. Studies have shown that multitasking is inefficient and ineffective. However, how many times do we have 5-6 different browser tabs open and keep our phone notifications on. Modern day distractions include social media platforms, text notifications, and other media outlets.
ADD / ADHD
There are some medical reasons that can cause lack of focus. ADD/ADHD are disorders that can impact an individual’s ability to concentrate and are constantly distracted. They may have huge stores of energy, but show signs of being unable to sit still or perform one task at a time. Severity of cases vary, but it can be diagnosed in both adolescents and adults.
There are two ways to think about CBD as a solution to lack of focus. The first is CBD as a means to address the sources of lack of focus. For instance, if the primary reason you cannot stay alert is due to insomnia and the resulting exhaustion, CBD has been shown to improve sleep. Or, if you are suffering from high levels of anxiety and unable to concentrate, CBD has also been used as a mood stabilizer and can reduce levels of anxiety.
The other method of thinking about CBD as a way to focus is to think about the biological function of the CBD chemical. As a summary, CBD works with your body’s natural Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which keeps your body balanced. One of the areas that CBD associates with is your brain’s level of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has a direct impact on cognition functions like focus, memory/retention, and overall mental awareness. When someone’s dopamine levels are low, there are various methods to increase the levels. The tricky part is the risk of irregularly boosting the dopamine levels which can have an adverse effect. CBD does not contain this risk when it is made from the correct strain of cannabis with high CBD content.
It’s important to note that CBD cannot be used as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, and shouldn’t be thought of as a one-stop solution. It can assist in addressing the symptoms that cause lack of focus and concentration. Ideally, as external factors e.g. stress levels or insomnia are addressed, the general quality of life increases and creates a positive spiral that allows higher productivity and focus levels during the day. As you increase focus in your school, work, home, or personal life, it begins to compound as well and can have an overall positive impact on mood, confidence levels, and sleep.
CBD is not the only way to increase focus and attention levels. Caffeine, coffee in particular, is a widely known alternative. In fact, there is a large majority of the population that cannot start their day without a proper cup of joe. Let’s focus on some of the advantages of CBD specifically, as an alternative.
Mood Stabilizer - Studies have shown that CBD has an effect on mood. Being in a positive mood can result in higher confidence levels in your day to day.
Anxiety Reducer - Similar to being a mood stabilizer, CBD is often used as an antidepressant. By reducing anxiety, the constant overthinking that stems from it can also be reduced. Taking CBD allows one to quiet the noise in their mind to focus on the task at hand.
No Jitters - The large advantage of using CBD in place of caffeine is the avoidance of jitters and tremors e.g. twitchy hands, restless knee syndrome, etc. When we consume large amounts of caffeine, we can feel our adrenaline and heart rate increase at times, which can add to this feeling of being ansty/jittery. CBD offers similar levels of alertness without creating these adverse symptoms.
Whether you are struggling to concentrate or simply wanting to enhance your focus levels, CBD can be a great option. Lack of focus can stem from a number of areas ranging from full-on disorders such as ADD/ADHD to external factors such as stress, insomnia, or a distraction-heavy environment. CBD helps tackle the symptoms caused by these factors in order to create better focus and mental awareness.
Unlike caffeine, CBD has several advantages and benefits that make it a wonderful alternative. Because CBD works with your body’s ECS, it has positive healing properties that include pain relief, anxiety reduction, and mood enhancement.
Our ability to focus can have a large impact on quality of life. Leaving the problem for too long can compound into other issues. When looking for the right product, it’s important to weigh your options. EnvyCBD’s products all come with a Certificate of Analysis, so you have a clear breakdown of what goes into each one of our products.
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