Even though cannabis has been known as a therapeutic plant for thousands of years, it’s been demonised as a drug and relatively marginalised as such over the recent decades. Fortunately, the tides are slowly turning, as the plant’s medicinal benefits are being increasingly rediscovered, researched and recognised. Yet many folks still have their reservations.
Understandably, those on the older side of the age spectrum often react suspiciously or even dismissively when it comes to hemp and cannabis products. It’s unfortunate because the components of the cannabis plant could potentially serve as an easy and tolerable remedy for many of the issues that old age presents. In particular, cannabidiol (CBD for short) could be of great interest among the elderly.
WHAT EXACTLY IS CBD?
The cannabis plant contains over 130 different cannabinoids, which are special compounds that are mainly concentrated in the resin of the plant’s aromatic flower buds. Little is known about their exact properties because modern research is still in its infancy. What is clear so far is that individual cannabinoids can affect each of us and our respective bodies differently.
CBD is one of the better researched cannabinoids and it’s associated with many positive effects, which we’ll cover in the next section. CBD is often obtained from commercial industrial hemp plants that, by law, must have a negligible amount of THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid linked to psychotropic effects. The upper limit for THC in legal industrial hemp plants in Germany and most other European countries is 0.2%, but the THC content in end products tends to be even lower because of the other materials like seed oil that are added to create tinctures, capsules, creams, gels and more. That’s why the ‘high’ sensation should be absent from CBD products and they are legally available in various forms in several parts of the world.
At this point, we’d like to point out that while CBD is often touted as a cure-all by some companies and in the media too, CBD itself is used only in a select few registered medications that must be prescribed by a physician to treat multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. However, CBD is available without a prescription as a dietary supplement and in cosmetics online and in some stores depending on the region.
Most of the effects attributed to CBD are not considered to be sufficiently backed by the scientific community, which is in large part due to the fact that for most of the last century, cannabis has been under strict controls, making it difficult to conduct research. Be that as it may, an increasing number of positive patient testimonials continues to paint a more nuanced picture about the CBD’s potential benefits.
HOW MIGHT CBD HELP THE ELDERLY?
CBD for rheumatism
Many older people struggle with rheumatism, a term that covers more than 200 different conditions, all of which with various symptoms and causes. But there’s one thing they share in common: disorders in the connective and supporting tissue of the musculoskeletal system. In other words, those affected suffer from pain in the joints and tissues as well as in the bones, which severely impairs and restricts quality of life. As a result, patients with rheumatism often become restless, face anxiety and find it hard to fall asleep. CBD’s alleged pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, and calming properties could have a beneficial effect on these patients, though there is still a lack of scientific evidence to prove a direct connection.
CBD for better sleep
Sleep disorders are very common among seniors, often as a consequence to the other common conditions that make it difficult to sleep. Many who have tried CBD have said that incorporating it into their daily routine has helped provide relief. For example, CBD can be used in meditation oils or in a tincture in a warm evening beverage to help calm down after a tiring day. At present time, there’s not enough solid scientific evidence on the impact of CBD on sleep. Yet many report that incorporating CBD into their evening ritual has helped them wake up feeling much more rested.
CBD for arthritis
Arthritis affects more than 40 million people in Europe, with patients tending to skew older and pain most commonly found in the knees, hands and hips. CBD could also have a positive effect thanks to its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, which some researchers attribute to CBD’s interaction with the body's . Preclinical studies in rats have shown that CBD appears to reduce joint inflammation, yet further research is being carried out in order to be able to give patients specific dosing recommendations. Arthritis is often looped into a term called chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP for short) and is considered to be a qualifying condition for medical cannabis prescriptions in some countries as well.
CBD for anxiety
Anxiety is a natural instinct that is essential for survival because it can help detect danger. But mind you, some people, including many eldelry people, experience anxiety during trivial situations, leading to tremors, shortness of breath or sometimes heart palpitations. To treat these disorders, doctors often prescribe medications with side effects that are sometimes as strong as the symptoms themselves.
Although there aren’t any concrete results yet, new research suggests that CBD can influence the 5-HT1A receptor in the brain, a very important part of the central nervous system because of its role in relieving anxiety. One study found that CBD was able to interact with this receptor, which means it’s possible CBD could have a positive effect on anxiety disorders.
CBD for pain relief
We all know about pain — and that it tends to occur more often with age. Particularly among older people with pre-existing conditions, pain has long been a part of everyday life. The hemp plant seems to have been used to relieve pain for thousands of years. While many claim CBD provides relief for migraines, headaches and back pain, some scientific studies suggest it can be a good supplement to traditional painkillers. Those affected by chronic pain who added CBD to their regimen were able to reduce their dosage of opioids. Seniors with chronic pain could benefit from this effect as well, albeit these studies are only in their initial stages. Much more research is needed to provide comprehensive scientific evidence about CBD’s effects on pain.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF CBD?
In general, side effects including fatigue, insomnia, low blood pressure, drowsiness and dizziness, loss of appetite, diarrhea and rare allergic reactions. There are also certain medications that should not be taken with CBD.
Therefore, it’s always recommended to speak to a patient’s doctor or healthcare professional before taking CBD to rule out any possible drug interactions from the get-go.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CBD PRODUCT
The range of CBD oils and other hemp products available online is particularly wide. That said, it’s not advised to jump the gun and order from a supplier just because they offer an unbeatable price. CBD production is complex and the creation of quality products requires a lot of labor and technical know-how, factors which should both be reflected in the end price.
It is important to pay attention to excellent quality, especially when it comes to hemp products, and take the following into account:
- Hemp that’s grown organically in the EU
- Products that are free from pesticides
- Products that are free from additives
- Certified manufacturers who hold with a license to produce or be imported into your country
- s regularly tested by third-party laboratories
HOW CAN CBD BE TAKEN?
High-quality CBD oil can be administered orally under the tongue or swallowed in oil capsule form. It is important to accustom the body slowly to CBD and to . Those who have never taken CBD before should start with a low dose of 5 mg per day. This amount is then slowly increased in small steps until the desired effects are achieved.
For liquid oil extracts, it is recommended to apply a drop under the tongue. From there, the CBD is absorbed through the oral mucosa in the mouth and the effects tend to take hold in a matter of minutes. CBD oils are also available as sprays, which are applied to the tongue and absorbed similarly through the mouth.
However, with oil capsules, keep in mind that CBD oil is digested through the stomach, not the oral mucosa, which is why it will take longer for the effect to take hold. Creams and ointments with CBD are also available for topical use in which the CBD is absorbed through the skin.