In the last few years, seniors finally started considering cannabis as a medical herb instead of a dangerous drug. That’s a big deal for a generation that grew up during prohibition, and it must be for good reason. All over the world, more and more seniors are becoming aware of the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids, with the non-psychotropic CBD being a preferred choice. Not that a little THC would hurt most older people, yet in most countries the laws on medical cannabis continue to lag behind scientific findings.

Health deterioration is an unavoidable part of the ageing process, often leading seniors to use pharmaceutical drugs with numerous (and occasionally severe) side effects. Research is showing that CBD has “anti-ageing” effects on our body, and that it can treat or relieve the symptoms of most age-related diseases—with no major side effects. Many seniors are also discovering its positive effects on their overall wellness, not just to address specific issues. Here are some typical conditions where seniors can benefit from CBD.

PAIN RELIEF, ARTHRITIS, AND OSTEOPOROSIS

Anyone over the age of 60 starts experiencing some kind of pain. It might be from previous injuries, muscle or joint soreness, or other conditions. It is argued that cannabis is a pain-reliever to the same extent as, or even better than, prescription medication. Cannabinoids are able to reduce pain related to arthritis, cancer, neuropathy, spasticity, headache, migraines, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, post-operation and post-injury recovery, and spinal cord injuries and diseases.

Several studies have shown CBD to be a promising treatment for joint pain as well as its underlying causes. A recent study by the University of Chicago showed how cannabinoids produce “clear activity” in a variety of models of joint pain in animals. These effects are the result of both inhibition of pain pathway signalling (mostly by CB1 cannabinoid receptors) and anti-inflammatory effects (mostly by CB2 receptors).

The study also recognises that “data has demonstrated that the different elements of the endocannabinoid signalling system are expressed in the appropriate tissues in humans and animals” and that cannabinoids may actually produce beneficial effects on joint pain[1].

Another study, this time by Halifax University, Canada, has recently shown that acute joint inflammation caused by induced osteoarthritis in rats was reduced by local CBD treatment. The data presented in this study indicate that local administration of CBD blocked the pain[2], and that prophylactic CBD treatment prevented the later development of pain and nerve damage in arthritic joints.

In a lab environment, the efficacy of CBD as a topical treatment for arthritis[3] was highlighted in a 2016 study by the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, where transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, pain, and inflammatory biomarkers in rats.

Even if these and other findings don’t come from regulated clinical trials, both the preclinical and human data from patients indicate that cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment for joint pain. CBD may be a safe therapeutic agent for treating neuropathic pain caused by osteoarthritis, possibly reversing some of its underlying causes.

Our cannabinoid receptors might also play a role in the prevention of osteoporosis[4], which is another common condition associated with ageing. A lab study by the University of Edinburgh showed that CB1 receptor activity protects against age-related bone loss by regulating the bone mass and life cycle of bone marrow cells.

Cannabinoids seem to be able to both prevent bone breakdown and stimulate bone growth, improving tissue density. Research findings even suggest that CBD has the capability of significantly improving the healing process of fractured bones. A 2015 study by several labs built upon past research to demonstrate the action of CBD on bone formation[5] and inhibition of degradation processes of bone tissue.

Osteoporosis CBD

NEURODEGENERATIVE DISORDERS

Many lab studies support CBD as an antioxidant and neuroprotective. CBD and THC were shown to prevent hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage as well as, or better than, other antioxidants. Research data shows that cannabidiol may be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders, such as cerebral ischemia. CBD is today viewed as a promising pharmacological tool capable of attenuating neural inflammatory responses. Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other neurodegenerative disorders reported improved memory, better cognitive ability and overall mental health during and after treatments with CBD.

A review of recent research titled “Neurological Aspects of Medical Use of Cannabidiol[6]” collated all the preclinical and clinical findings carried out investigating the effects of CBD alone. The potential role of CBD in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebral ischemia, was examined. The results indicated that preclinical evidence showed CBD to produce beneficial effects on all these severe conditions, but its employment needs further confirmation from well-designed clinical studies.

After probably reading a few studies showing promising results of CBD in neurology, in 2003 the US Government published a patent entitled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”, stating that cannabinoids are useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of a wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. The patent also claimed that cannabinoids are found to limit neurological damage following ischemic episodes.

SLEEP DISORDERS

During sleep, our brain clears out toxins, such as free radicals, it has been producing during the day. Sleep quality is important to prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases, but sleep issues are very common among seniors. Elderly people are frequently prescribed sleeping pills, which cause dependency and a wide range of side effects.

CBD has been shown to decrease muscle spasms caused by neuromuscular disorders that can interrupt sleep. Cannabidiol calms the mind and relaxes the muscles, and it also seems to positively influence the sleep-wake cycle, supporting a healthy and natural night’s rest.

CBD Sleeping Medical

CARDIOVASCULAR FUNCTIONS

Several studies indicate CBD’s potential to support robust cardiovascular health. Its vasodilatory effect can support healthy blood pressure[7] and increase blood flow. In preclinical research, CBD has been shown to alleviate ischemic tissue damage, which can prevent the heart from receiving oxygen. The cannabinoid has been observed to reduce the size of infarcts[8] in rat hearts, and to protect against myocardial ischemic injury.

The same anti-ischemic effect on rats also concerns brain tissue. A study showed that the administration of cannabidiol after hypoxic-ischemic episodes directly reduces long-term brain injury[9] and restores neurobehavioral function. From labs to clinical therapies, CBD is today effectively used as a stroke prevention medication and in post-stroke brain recovery.

Finally, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of CBD also seem to protect against cardiovascular damage[10] caused by type 2 diabetes, of which cardiovascular disease is a side effect.

GASTROINTESTINAL HEALTH

Digestive and gastrointestinal complications can add to the clinical picture as a result of age-related cell deterioration and inflammation within the digestive tract. Moreover, seniors often suffer from loss of appetite, which causes weight loss, tissue weakness, and mental issues. CBD has proven to be a good appetite stimulant, and inflammatory bowel diseases[11], colitis and Crohn’s disease might be successfully targeted by CBD.

Gastrointestinal CBD Medical

HOW SENIORS CAN USE CBD

Even if the majority of the elderly population have not experimented with CBD yet, more and more patients, older or not, have already been able to reduce their prescription drug intake upon taking cannabinoids. Many seniors are still not aware of how medical cannabis could improve their quality of life, but it seems that those who have started taking CBD are happy with the results.

CBD has no or very minor side effects and is used as a replacement or supplement to prescription-grade painkillers and muscle relaxants. CBD products help people deal with pain, inflammation, and even seizures, although even medical professionals are not too sure on how much to use for what ailment.

CBD comes in a wide variety of forms, including pills, isolate crystals, salves, edibles, sprays, oils, and tinctures, which can be swallowed or absorbed under the tongue. This assortment of methods makes consumption and dosing very easy, even for seniors or impaired people. Cannabinoid oils can also be mixed into regular food and drink, and do not produce the high associated with THC. With today’s booming demand for CBD, new products are constantly being developed to target different needs and conditions, including formulas specifically tailored to the ageing population.

External Resources:
  1. Is cannabis an effective treatment for joint pain? - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  3. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.n ih.gov
  4. Cannabinoid receptor type 1 protects against age-related osteoporosis by regulating osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation in marrow stromal cells. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  5. Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  6. Neurological Aspects of Medical Use of Cannabidiol. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  7. A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  8. Acute administration of cannabidiol in vivo suppresses ischaemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias and reduces infarct size when given at reperfusion. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  9. Cannabidiol administration after hypoxia-ischemia to newborn rats reduces long-term brain injury and restores neurobehavioral function. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  10. Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol? - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  11. Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: a brief overview. - PubMed - NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Disclaimer:
This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals resources.

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