How Can CBD Help Seniors?
CBD has shown some similar promising results when it comes to helping seniors cope with common ailments such as anxiety, pain, and depression. However, the FDA has not cleared CBD as a dietary supplement or medical drug, with the exception of one prescription drug currently being used to treat two forms of epilepsy. Keep this in mind as you search for CBD options. While several studies show promise, your experience with CBD may not always be the same as someone else’s experience.
When it comes to anxiety, a 2015 study showed that oral doses of CBD helped lower anxiety in patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder. The same study showed that CBD could also be potentially affective for patients with PTSD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Aside from anxiety, depression among seniors is unfortunately very common. Ailing health, loss of friends and family, and isolation can all cause stress and depression. A 2014 study with CBD and rats showed that the substance demonstrated some anti-depressant like actions, including increased movement and sleep regulation.
So far, there aren’t many studies that show CBD carries properties that can help alleviate cancer symptoms. Instead, cannabinoids overall show promising therapeutic effects to help modulate tumor growth and relieve symptoms such as appetite, weight loss, and pain. It’s unclear if these possible benefits are the cause of a variety of cannabinoids or only certain molecules, such as THC.
Seniors often have to deal with chronic joint pain and pain from arthritis. CBD has shown promise in temporarily alleviating this pain through both user testimony and clinical studies. According to a recent study, 42% of Baby Boomers use CBD to help alleviate their joint pain. Current research with animals shows that CBD has both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate the symptoms associated with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation has even made a statement that it supports expedited studies and regulation from the FDA to develop more guidelines for adults who would like to use CBD.
Like medical marijuana, seniors should start slow and possibly even consult with a doctor before developing a dosage that fits their needs and lifestyle. One important thing to keep in mind about CBD is that it has been found to increase the natural blood thinner coumadin. If you’re currently taking blood thinner medication, you should consult a doctor before any CBD use or consider using medical marijuana instead.
Why Seniors Are Turning To Medical Marijuana
The trend among seniors using medical marijuana is on the up-and-up. From 2007 to 2017, adults over the age of 65 experienced a tenfold increase in cannabis use.
We’ve discussed the many reasons why medical marijuana can be beneficial to seniors because of their health. But let’s take a look at a several more reasons why seniors are turning toward medical marijuana:
- It’s safer and more cost efficient: As we’ve discussed in previous sections, medical marijuana is often a safer alternative to many prescription drugs like opioids and antipsychotics, and has with far fewer severe side effects. It can also be more cost efficient, too. A senior spends on average close to $3,000 per year on prescription drugs alone. Contrast that with the national average of how much a person spends on medical marijuana per year—about $650—and you have a more cost-effective option, too.
- Why not try it?: Some seniors have pain so severe that over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications can’t always cure their maladies. So sometimes they turn to medical marijuana out of desperation and find positive results. A woman named Reba Goodman reached this point of pain that was so severe, she stopped resisting marijuana. “It was just heaven,” she said of her pain relief, noting that she stopped using marijuana once the pain went away for good but that she could easily pick it up again if need be.
- Helps with sleep: Some seniors have found medical marijuana to be a viable alternative for sleeping pills, which sometimes don’t work at all. Kerry Stiles, a 78-year-old nursing home resident who wears a pacemaker, says he places droplets of cannabis under tongue before he goes to bed, and he says it helps him sleep. The same goes for 95-year-old Alice, who experienced insomnia before turning to medical marijuana.