It’s no secret that with age comes unwanted ailments, such as chronic pain, sleeping problems, and aging skin. Older adults may also face an increased risk of several diseases, including dementia, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
CBD contains many therapeutic properties that can help the aging adult. It has been shown to improve sleep, reduce pain and anxiety, and even give you better looking skin. But you’ll want to be careful not to use CBD if you take certain medications. Here’s how to use CBD if you’re an older adult.
Is CBD Good For The Elderly?
CBD use is growing among the elderly population, and for good reason. Research shows that cannabidiol, or CBD, which is one of over 100 bioactive compounds found in the marijuana plant, can help with chronic pain, anxiety, and sleeping problems – all of which become more common as we age.
Unlike THC, the component in the marijuana plant responsible for getting you “high,” CBD has calm and sedative properties. Plus, it’s non-habit forming and contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve your overall quality of life.
Researchers from one study set out to determine the effects of medical marijuana on older adults. They followed patients over the age of 65 who were treated with cannabis from April 2017 through October 2018, and then they recorded their findings.
After six months of treatment, approximately 58% were still using cannabis. Of these patients, approximately 84% reported improvements in their respected conditions, while 33% reported having some sort of side effect, such as dizziness, sleepiness, or fatigue. Overall, the majority of patients believed that CBD improved their general health.
CBD Provides Relief and Boosts Quality of Life
One of the primary goals of geriatric medicine is to provide relief from suffering and promotion of quality of life and functional status. Debilitating conditions, such as chronic pain, sleeping problems, malnutrition, depression, and dementia, are common among older adults.
Many medications that are prescribed to older adults have serious adverse effects that may even endanger a patient’s health. For example:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been linked to renal impairment, cardiovascular problems, and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Sedative hypnotic medications may cause dizziness, confusion, psychomotor impairment, an increased risk of falls, impaired driving skills, electrolyte problems, orthostatic hypotension, and concentration problems the next day.
- Opioids may cause nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, constipation, delirium, sedation, falls, respiratory depression, anticholinergic effects, and even death. It’s also highly addictive and may lead to dependence, causing patients to try stronger drugs, like heroin.
CBD treatment may be useful in palliative care among older adults. It has been shown to improve symptoms of chronic pain, depression and anxiety, and sleeping disorders. CBD has also been linked to an improved quality of life in patients with chronic conditions.
Research shows that approximately half of people over 65 have sleep problems, and there is an increase in sleep disturbances as we age. Many of these complaints are due to medical, health-related, or psychiatric problems. CBD may help aid in sleep disorders due to its anxiolytic effect and alleviate arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD has also been shown to improve the quality of life in patients in Parkinson’s disease and provide relief for other non-motor symptoms. Additionally, CBD may be effective at reducing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which may cause nightmares and anxiety.
CBD Safety For Seniors
Elderly patients who are considering CBD for their conditions should only do so under the care of a physician. Research shows that special attention must be paid to older adults due to potential pharmacokinetic changes, nervous system impairment, and cardiovascular risks.
However, CBD is generally considered safe for many people. It can be taken in a wide variety of forms, including capsule, oil, tincture, creams and lotions, and edibles.
Here are some tips for taking CBD products for older adults:
- Make sure your products are quality tested and come from authorized sources
- It’s inevitable that your products will contain a small amount of THC. However, this shouldn’t affect you. Look for a product that contains no more than 0.3% of THC.
- Does not contain pesticides, molds, or other toxins
- Comes in a form that is easy to take. Many elderly patients have trouble swallowing. Therefore, a tincture or oil may be best. CBD can also be applied topically to painful areas.
Talk to your doctor before starting CBD if you are currently taking any medications as there may be negative interactions between the two. Your doctor should also be able to help you determine the correct dosing for your health needs.