In less than 2 decades, America’s senior population will outnumber the minors. Unfortunately, seniors are an often-neglected section of society in terms of healthcare problem solving and innovation. Literal millions of seniors suffer from neurodegenerative conditions, but they are also plagued by feelings of helplessness and worry. Considering that the population is greying fast, we need solutions to make their lives easier – and quick. A common supplement that several seniors are turning to today is CBD oil. Some have found that it provides relief in areas such as mood, digestion and pain relief. But can CBD help seniors? And how does one go about introducing CBD to seniors?
CBD use for seniors is already growing
Remedy Review recently conducted a study on CBD use in seniors. Out of 1000 people ages 54 and up, 9% had tried CBD. Of those, 51% said that they believed it had improved their quality of life. This points to a growing number of senior citizens who are willing to try new alternatives to classic pharmacological approaches. Among the several problems the elderly face are pain, inflammation, sleeplessness, and stress. These are also the broad reasons that they are turning to CBD.
Benefits of CBD for seniors
CBD for stress relief
Stress responses tend to get maladaptive as one grows older. More importantly, a decline in health, disabilities and losing loved ones can lead to overwhelming worry in seniors. There is some evidence that CBD can lead to prolonged levels of anandamide in the system. Anandamide is the brain’s very own ‘bliss molecule’ neurotransmitter. It has been associated with feelings of euphoria, calmness and general health support. CBD can also activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, leading to increased activity. Activity in serotonin receptors can be tied to feelings of contentment and calm. As a neuroprotectant, CBD can slow the degeneration of neurons. When one is able to better understand their surroundings as a result of greater cognitive function, it could lead to less confusion and anxiety.
CBD for pain relief
An overwhelming majority of the senior population suffers from some form of pain. While this pain may be manageable with prescription painkillers, several of these are opioid-based and addictive or have nasty side effects. Preliminary studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system (the system that CBD benefits) can play a major role in pain management. CBD is also understood to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and so many aches and pains seniors face are related to a form of inflammatory response. Healthcare professionals and caregivers are growing increasingly interested in CBD for seniors.
CBD for sleep
In a vicious cycle, seniority can come with the aforementioned pain and stress that inevitably affects one’s quality of sleep. The less sleep one gets, the more sensitive they are physically and psychologically to pain and stress. However, the lack of sleep can also lead to more serious concerns, such as heart disease or weight gain. Healthcare specialists often prescribe seniors sleeping pills to deal with insomnia, which arguably does more harm in the long term. By calming some of the factors that lead to lack of sleep, CBD could potentially get to the root of sleeplessness and provide more holistic relief. At higher doses, CBD has also been found to have some sedative effects which could be helpful.
CBD as a neuroprotectant
The United States government currently holds a patent on cannabinoids for their neuroprotectant properties. In their words, “cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” But what exactly is a neuroprotectant? Neuroprotectant and neurogenerative compounds are those that protect existing neurons from oxidative stress and support the growth of new neurons, respectively. Clinical research on CBD for seniors is sorely lacking, but researchers hope to develop CBD as a low-risk preventative solution for inflammation in the brain.
Could CBD help seniors?
At the moment, research points to yes. Several seniors already take CBD on the advice of their physicians. However, at higher doses, CBD may neutralize enzymes in the liver that metabolize some common prescription medications. If you’re a senior planning on taking CBD or looking to give a senior family member CBD, make sure to consult a physician first. Once the doctor gives you the green light, however, there are still some considerations.
A lot of safety issues that arise from CBD use do not stem from the compound itself, but from manufacturers of CBD. Because CBD has not been regulated by the FDA, companies are free to print whatever they want on the label. However, one can't always take a label at face value. The FDA has sent warning letters to several CBD manufacturers over the years for misleading consumers about the safety or potency of their products. Some were found to have no CBD at all! Moreover, companies may market their CBD as THC-free, but still leave traces of the psychoactive compound in their final product. If you’re looking to buy CBD for seniors, make sure to check whether the company you’re looking at conducts third-party lab tests on their products. This is the only way to know if the product you’re buying is safe for use. Hempure conducts third-party lab tests on every batch of products, as well as chromatography to remove even the smallest traces of THC.
CBD products for seniors
There are several ways to incorporate CBD into an elderly person’s schedule.
If they are currently taking other medication or supplements, they could simply add CBD capsules to their daily set of pills. Although CBD capsules may take longer to take effect since they have to be metabolized by the digestive system first, the effects will last longer.
CBD oil drops or CBD tinctures are another easy way to add CBD to a seniors lifestyle. One can mix tinctures into food and drink. However, your body may end up absorbing less of the compound this way. A better alternative is to take CBD drops sublingually – place a few drops under the tongue, hold for 60-90 seconds, and then swallow. This method works faster than capsules.
While this may be an unconventional choice, if an elderly person is comfortable with the practice of vaping, a CBD vape for seniors could be greatly effective. Vaping allows CBD to get to work almost instantly, which makes it great for times when quick pain relief or stress relief is necessary. More importantly, when CBD is vaped, a larger percentage of it is absorbed by the body compared to other methods of intake.
If what you’re looking for in your CBD product for seniors is pain relief in aching joints and muscles, topical CBD can be a great option. The skin has endocannabinoid receptors that can modulate pain responses and reduce inflammation. Topical CBD can reach these receptors quickly for timely pain relief. CBD balms, creams and salves need to be highly concentrated to take effect since the skin is quite impermeable. For instance, Hempure CBD balms come in 2 strengths: 750mg and 1400mg, both highly potent formulations that provide results.
It is imperative that society turns more resourcing towards making the last decades of a person’s life comfortable, happy and relatively pain-free. In the meantime, we can use available research to do our part. While CBD isn’t a cure-all for the ailments senior citizens may face, it can certainly add some much-needed relief.