With more and more medical cannabis companies starting to reach out to the elderly population, we figured now would be the perfect time to do a write-up on some of the top health benefits of CBD for senior citizens.
Indeed, given that health deterioration is an all but inevitable byproduct of aging, it makes sense that the elderly community would be the perfect population to take advantage of the whole-body therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
And moreover, given the completely non-psychoactive properties of CBD and the wide variety of treatment methods that are currently available (topicals, oils, edibles, etc), now is the perfect time for senior citizens to begin implementing the drug into their day-to-day treatment routine.
1) General pain relief (Arthritis, chronic pain, general soreness/stiffness, etc)
It’s very unlikely that anyone over the age of 65 lives a completely and entirely pain-free life. Whether it’s generic aches and pains, muscle soreness, general ‘bone stiffness’, or chronic joint pain from arthritis, the vast majority of seniors deal with some sort of pain every single day of their lives.
In terms of joint pain specifically, several studies have shown CBD to not only alleviate onset pain caused by arthritis, but to physiologically reverse its underlying causes (at least in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease). For acute treatment, topical CBD creams and ointments have shown to be the most effective method.
As far as stiffness, muscle soreness, and general day to day “aches and pains”, CBD is also incredibly effective because it works by attaching to CB-2 receptors and reducing inflammation at the actual site of pain. These CB-2 receptors exist in nearly every cell and tissue type in the human body, hence the ability of CBD to treat nearly any kind of pain or discomfort, no matter the location.
2) Improved memory, cognitive ability, and overall mental health (Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, neurodegenerative disorders, etc)
CBD is patented by the US Government for its role as a “neuroprotectant”. This means that it physiologically acts to reverse the effects of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s.
The drug works by protecting the myelin insulation of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, which is the specific site of attack in neurodegenerative disorders. However, nerve fiber damage does not only occur in instances of disease – it’s also a simple and unavoidable ‘byproduct’ of aging, wherein cell types throughout the body begin to deteriorate and ultimately wear down.
Onset symptoms of damage or deterioration in the myelin sheath include decreased mental/cognitive ability (otherwise known as dementia), and decreased bodily control and movement (ataxias) — both of which are common side effects of old age.
3) Improved heart health
CBD for heart health doesn’t get as much attention as it does for things like arthritis and pain management, but there have been plenty of medical studies over the years showcasing the drug’s potential impact on cardiovascular functioning.
Ischemic muscle/tissue damage (ischemia is an insufficient supply of blood to the heart) has been especially noted as an area in which CBD can have a positive impact, with the drug having been observed to reduce the size of infarcts in rat hearts, and also to protect against myocardial ischemic injury.
Additionally, CBD molecules have been observed to therapeutically target the cardiovascular system as a whole, causing vasorelaxation in dilated arteries (which can raise blood pressure and constrict blood flow to and from the heart).
And lastly, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of CBD have been shown to protect against cardiovascular damage caused by a “high glucose environment”. This is specifically referring to Type 2 diabetes, of which cardiovascular disease is a well known side effect.
4) Elimination of multiple prescription medications
This is one of the best overall benefits of CBD for senior citizens, as the drug’s wide-ranging physiological effects present the very real possibility of eliminating one (or several) pharmaceutical prescriptions.
In addition to being expensive and cost-prohibitive, prescription meds are often known to produce dangerous side effects either on their own, or when taken along with other medications. CBD, on the other hand, has no known side effects and has been used in many instances as a replacement for, amongst other things, prescription-grade painkillers and muscle relaxants.
5) Stroke prevention and improved post-stroke brain recovery
A recent study in Neuropharmacology has shown the administration of cannabidiol (CBD) after hypoxic-ischemic episodes to directly reduce “long-term brain injury and restore neurobehavioral function.” (Hypoxia-ischemia is a lack of oxygen/blood flow to the brain, and is the direct cause of stroke).
Moreover, it has been known for years that CBD is a cerebroprotective cannabinoid that acts as a neuroprotectant during ischemic injury, and exerts positive “pharmacological effects” during and after episodes of ischemic stroke. CBD has been used effectively as both a stroke prevention medication and in instances of post-stroke brain recovery.
6) Improved bone health and organ functioning
CBD has shown to play a direct role in the prevention of osteoporosis, which is another common and near-unavoidable condition associated with aging. (Osteoporosis is bone deterioration that results from the accumulation of fat in the bone marrow compartment). One study in particular has shown how the cannabinoid prevents age-related osteoporosis and promotes bone health by regulating CB receptors within the bone marrow.
Additionally, CBD has been known to have the same “anti-aging” effects on other organs of the body, including the liver, kidney, eyes, stomach, and even the skin. Cells of all organ and tissue types are prone to normal breakdown and degeneration over time, and cannabinoids have been known to prohibit degeneration by stimulating CB receptors within the respective cell membranes. These CB receptors have been found in virtually every cell and tissue type in the human body.
7) Improved digestive health and gastrointestinal/bowel functioning
Age-specific gastrointestinal complications in the bowels and digestive system are often the result of inflammation and/or cell deterioration within the digestive tract lining. In either instance, CBD has been shown to play an active role in digestive/metabolic health by stimulating cells in the gastrointestinal lining. In fact, abdominal/digestive treatment is one of the oldest and most ancient medicinal uses of cannabis.
Diseases like colitis and Crohn’s disease have been known in particular to be therapeutically targeted by CBD molecules, as have other inflammatory bowel diseases like IBD. The drug, usually administered for these conditions via oil drops placed under the tongue, acts by stimulating and promoting cells within the gastrointestinal layers, which thereby promotes their overall health and metabolic efficiency.
8) Reduced inflammation and balanced immune system
Anti-inflammation and immune regulation has been one of the most thoroughly-researched areas of medicinal CBD use, and is one of the most generalized ways in which seniors can use the drug to improve their health and overall quality of life. Often times just a few drops (about 20 mg) of CBD oil under the tongue each day is enough to reduce acute inflammation in various parts of the body. This can reduce general aches, pains, and soreness in bones and muscle tissue.
Likewise, CBD is a known regulator of the immune response system, which oftentimes becomes suppressed as individuals age. The protection of this system allows for an enhanced ability to fend off bacteria and viruses, which ultimately promotes the health and longevity of cells and organs throughout the body.
9) Improved quality of sleep
Most doctors will tell you that quality sleep is one of the most important things to maintaining a healthy body. Yet unfortunately, the inability to get a good night’s sleep is one of the chief complaints among the elderly population.
CBD is a phenomenon in this regard. In addition to its general pain-relieving properties (pain is often times itself a cause of sleep interruption), the drug is known to alleviate acute and chronic muscle spasms associated with anything from multiple sclerosis to random spastic episodes (i.e. Charley Horses).
Additionally, CBD’s soothing, calming mental relaxation effect and its acute systemic effect on the sleep-wake cycle make it the perfect treatment option for achieving the healthy, natural, quality night’s sleep that’s needed for cell replenishment and overall well-being.
10) Alleviation/reversal of neurodegenerative disorders
We talked earlier about the US Government’s medical patent on CBD as a neuroprotectant for degenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis. While the drug indeed is an excellent treatment option for these chronic diseases (MS, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, etc), it’s also a great medication for the hundreds of other disorders that initiate the loss in structure or function of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous system.
However, in addition to disease, the deterioration of neurons is also the simple and natural result of aging (over time cells lose their ability to function efficiently). As a neuroprotectant, CBD prevents both the deterioration of neurons due to old age and alleviates/reverses the effects of degeneration associated with chronic disease.
Cannabis for Senior Citizens… Why CBD?
CBD is a great all-natural treatment for seniors for a few different reasons. For one, the drug is entirely non-psychoactive (unlike THC), meaning it won’t get you high. Also, because CBD is available in oil tinctures, edibles, sprays, and topicals, a lot of seniors are much more willing to give it a try, being that it can be administered without having to be smoked or vaporized.
And finally, the whole-body homeostasis effects of CBD and its interaction with the endocannabinoid system make it a perfect, all-natural treatment option with zero side effects. Like we mentioned a couple of different times earlier, as people get older their cells inevitably begin to deteriorate and become less efficient and effective. Cannabidiol works to stimulate and “reinvigorate” these cells by interacting with CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in their permeable membranes. And the incredible thing is, there’s seemingly no cells in the human body that do not contain CB receptors, hence the wide range of ailments and medical conditions that CBD has shown to be effective for.
All in all, while CBD won’t make you look 50 years younger or keep your hair from turning gray, it truly is a phenomenal treatment option for senior citizens of all ages that are looking to achieve a healthier, more active lifestyle and an overall improved quality of life.