Old age is a fact of life. Most seniors have to accept that the aging process will cause their health to deteriorate. At the same time, there are no reasons to believe that they can protect themselves from the onslaught of a slew of health ailments associated with old age with proper care which may include CBD.
To sustain their health and cope with symptoms of serious diseases, such as arthritis and dementia, older people follow a strict regimen of prescription medications. American Public Health Association estimates state that almost 75% of prescription drug use can be attributed to the elderly in the US. This statistic is more staggering when you consider seniors only making 12% of the total American population.
Prescription drugs have an ugly side. They have many unpleasant side effects, such as headaches, fatigue, pain, and migraines. Fortunately, now we have a natural alternative in the name of CBD, which has an excellent safety profile and isn’t known to cause any serious issues.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of the more than 113 compounds found in the cannabis plant. These compounds share striking similarities with compounds the human endocannabinoid system produces called endocannabinoids.
The core mission of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain the body’s homeostasis. It interacts with other systems, such as the immune system and nervous system, to accomplish this. The system reaches out to other systems through special receptors — cannabinoid receptors — present throughout your peripheral and central nervous systems. This is how it can play a balancing role in many physiological reactions involving mood, appetite, inflammation, and motor control, among others.
When you take phytocannabinoids like CBD, you stimulate the activity of your body’s internal endocannabinoid system. When you have a certain issue, such as depression or anxiety, these compounds fill the void left by endocannabinoids and provide relief.
Is CBD the Same as Marijuana?
Even though marijuana and CBD belong to the Cannabis sativa species of plants, their chemical makeup varies. For instance, CBD is non-intoxicating; i.e., it doesn’t cause a high. At the same time, THC is a scheduled psychotropic substance known for altering consciousness and inducing a high.
While THC and CBD exist in any strain of cannabis, THC is present in higher concentrations in the marijuana plant. While some seniors may get medical marijuana prescriptions under certain conditions, it is illegal beyond a certain amount in most states.
For seniors, the best option is CBD. CBD is derived from the hemp plant that contains only trace amounts of THC (less than .3%).
Benefits of CBD for Old Age
While CBD science is still in its early stages, existing studies paint a promising picture. While CBD provides benefits for all age groups, we’ll shed light on those most relevant to the elderly in this article.
CBD for Pain Management
50% of the senior population complains about chronic pain every month. This is due to the aging process, but most ailments rear their heads in the advanced stages of life, such as heart and renal disease, diabetes, and skeletal complications. Arthritis affects 25% of adults alone.
A treasure trove of studies indicates that CBD could provide relief for managing chronic pain, especially that arising from cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and sciatica.
In one study, rats given an oral CBD treatment exhibited a significant reduction in neuropathic inflammatory pain.
Besides providing instant relief, other rodent studies demonstrated how the compound provides long-term relief by changing how the brain responds to pain in general.
CBD research isn’t just animal-based. We also have human clinical evidence. A CBD-based oral spray helped reduce pain in patients living with rheumatoid arthritis. It also contributed to better sleep.
For the elderly, taking controlled doses of CBD daily may relieve pain, increase mobility and flexibility, and better quality of life in general.
CBD for Insomnia Relief
The speed with which neurons die is high in old age. This affects the sleep quality of seniors.
Many seniors find getting some shut-eye at the right time and waking up refreshed and energized a distant possibility. AS a result, they spend the entire day exhausted and out of sorts.
When seniors wake up before they’re supposed to, they get less REM or deep sleep and more impactful light sleep. REM sleep is vital for our brain and physical health. Its inadequacy can cause serious complications and make the elderly susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and immune system problems.
Up to 50% of seniors reported insomnia or disrupted sleep. This includes:
- Taking more than 30 minutes to go to bed
- Getting up several times in one night
- Waking up early
- Feeling lethargic and exhausted the next day due to poor sleep quality
The relaxing properties of CBD are alone to help some seniors get some proper sleep. When this doesn’t help, CBD acts as a sleep aid by overcoming the underlying causes of insomnia, such as depression, pain, and anxiety.
CBD for Cancer-Related Symptoms
With age, our susceptibility to cancer increases, ultimately peaking in old age. Seniors represent 70% of cancer fatalities and 60% of cancer diagnoses. Patients living with cancer have to deal with a slew of painful symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
The go-to treatment for cancer patients is chemotherapy and some analgesics to keep the pain in check. However, these medications don’t help every individual, and some of the drugs have enormous substance abuse potential.
Chemotherapy can itself cause adverse side effects, the topmost being nausea and vomiting. Sometimes, these symptoms are so unbearable that almost half of the cancer patients abandon chemotherapy.
Studies have shown to provide effective protection from chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting. In one study, cancer patients who didn’t respond well to traditional pain drugs showed an improved response to CBD, which proved 30% more potent and effective than opioids. In another research, CBD cut the likelihood of chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea by 50%.