CBD and Seniors

CBD and Seniors

Boomers Fuel Boom in Popularity of CBD

Marijuana oil cbd bottle isolated on white background

Boomers are turning to CBD oil for pain management and other health issues.

En español | Nancy Giacobbe has been a medical marijuana cardholder since the legalization of medicinal use of the plant in California in 2008. But in 2014, her husband Chris had trouble sleeping due to painful spasms and tremors caused by treatments for a rare form of cancer. While Giacobbe, 61, had used the plant for its psychoactive properties (i.e., the high produced by tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) she soon saw the medicinal benefits of the plant’s other, lesser-known compound — cannabidiol, or CBD — when Chris began to use it for his pain.

Giacobbe realized Chris could just use CBD without psychoactive effects. “When he would sleep, his face would just be at peace,” Giacobbe says.

CBD, which comes in a wide variety of forms including salves, edibles and oils, does not produce the high typically associated with marijuana. But CBD seems to help people deal with pain, inflammation and even seizures, although even medical researchers and professionals aren’t sure why it works, how it works or even how much to use for what ailments.
Her husband passed away three years ago, but Giacobbe, who lives in Bodega Bay, Calif., now uses topical CBD for her arthritis, which has the potential to severely hinder her work as an aesthetician because she uses her hands every day. She can use the CBD ointment during the day because it causes no side effects and has no smell. At night, she says, “I put the salve on my hands and put on cotton gloves. Within an hour, I’m a happy person and can do a full 35-hour workweek.”
Giacobbe is just one of many older adults who now use CBD as a treatment — both with and without a prescription — for mental and physical health issues. As of March 2018, in Colorado, one of nine states in which marijuana is legal for recreational use (the others being Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia), people 50 and older now make up more than 36 percent of patients on the medical marijuana registry.
“We see really great interest amongst seniors,” says Martin Lee, director of the Northern California nonprofit Project CBD, which promotes the use of the compound as a natural alternative to traditional forms of drug therapy.
Mikhail Kogan, M.D., medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine, has prescribed CBD for his patients since the compound was legalized for medical use in the District of Columbia in 2011. Kogan says cannabinoids are “safer than Tylenol or caffeine by tenfold. If you compare them to opiates, they’re about 10,000 times safer.” He recommends placing a few drops of the oil under the tongue.
All cannabis is illegal on the federal level. But cannabis-based CBD products with THC are widely available in states where it is legal. These products have varying ratios of CBD to THC, and because there are no official medical guidelines on dosage, patients are left to determine for themselves how much to take or how to modify their ratio. “You have to find the point at which you’re comfortable, hopefully, and that will include as much THC as works per person,” Lee says. “Some people do better at higher doses of CBD. Some people can tolerate higher doses of THC.”
For those in states where it is not legal, however, the CBD available is derived from industrial hemp, which is cannabis with a negligible amount of THC. This makes it impossible to modify the ratio as there is no THC present, which means there are fewer products to choose from. And since there is no FDA approval of these products, it can be hard to trust that what you’re buying actually is what’s advertised.
CBD’s cost is not uniform either. Depending on the dosage, strain and dispensary, it can cost from $100 to $1,000 a month. In California, for example, there is a 15 percent excise tax, plus an additional cultivation tax, which means a $50 bottle of CBD oil can cost about $65. You also have to pay for it out of pocket; private health insurance and Medicare don’t cover CBD due to the federal illegality of cannabis.
Even as CBD’s popularity has grown, the medical community is still not sure how it works scientifically. “It clearly has some anti-inflammatory effects, but the exact mechanism is still not known,” says Pal Pacher, a pharmacologist and cardiologist at the National Institutes of Health, who has conducted studies on the compound.
Clinical trials both in the U.S. and around the world have shown that CBD works. The compound has been proven to dramatically reduce seizures in children with rare forms of epilepsy, and in 2017, GW Pharmaceuticals submitted Epidiolex, a pure CBD plant extract, to the FDA for approval as an epilepsy drug. It received a recommendation for approval from an administration advisory panel in April.
While there is growing interest among scientists to study CBD’s causes and effects, researchers are hindered by marijuana’s Drug Enforcement Agency Schedule I classification, meaning it is considered in the same drug class as heroin.
As a physician specializing in integrative medicine, Kogan says that CBD and cannabis are excellent components of his care model because of their documented use throughout history. “Cannabis use goes back in every existing society,” he says.
Lee, who uses CBD to help with his own health issues stemming from a stroke in 2006, sees people 50 and older as the critical generation that is turning back the stigma of cannabis-based therapy. “It’s the baby boomers,” he says. “We have all sorts of health problems. Cannabis can really speak to a lot of those problems.”

Cannabis reduces brain inflammation and slows the aging process Rob Lovegreen

Cannabinoids Reverse Aging Processes in Brain, New Study Shows

Findings in a new study by German and Israeli researchers suggest that cannabinoids may effectively reverse age-related memory loss. The study, conducted by investigators at the University of Bonn and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, found that regular treatments of a particular cannabinoid caused older mice to have equal memory performance and learning capacities as younger mice.

“The treatment completely reversed the loss of performance in the old animals,” said Prof. Andreas Zimmer, author of the study.

Mice age quickly and like humans their memory performance and cognitive abilities naturally decrease with age. Zimmer and his team of researchers investigated whether four weeks of low-dose treatments of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) would elicit any memory and learning effects. Some of the young mice (two months old), middle-aged mice (12 months), and older mice (18 months) were given THC, while others at each of those ages remained untreated. All the mice then underwent a water maze exam and were tested on how quickly they could recognize familiar objects.

The researchers found that while untreated mice displayed natural age-dependent memory and cognitive loss, the older mice treated with THC demonstrated the same level of cognitive functions as the two-month-old mice. THC effectively eliminated the typical memory loss and reductions in cognitive ability caused by age.

“These results reveal a profound, long-lasting improvement on cognitive performance resulting from a low dose of THC treatment in mature and old animals,” the study concludes.

The scientists found that THC’s cognitive benefits were related to the cannabinoid’s interaction with the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating an array of physiological processes, including memory and cognition. Cannabinoids like THC and cannabidiol (CBD) interact with cannabinoid receptors and elicit chemical responses that help to balance the body’s processes and systems.

The findings suggest that cannabinoids may be beneficial for maintaining brain health and potentially for treating dementia disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists are planning a clinical trial on humans aged 60 to 70 later this year.

“If we can rejuvenate the brain so that everybody gets five to 10 more years without needing extra care then that is more than we could have imagined,” said Andras Bilkei-gorzo, another author of the study, in an interview with The Guardian.

What is CBD and its role in Anti Aging Dr. John Hicks

8 Benefits of CBD for Senior Citizens

With the growing number of states across the country that have welcomed legislation making marijuana legal, both medically and recreationally, new products are being specifically tailored to the aging population. One such product, which comes in many forms, is Cannabidiol or CBD. CBD which can be delivered in multiple ways including oil vapor, topical cream, ingestible tinctures or edibles, is the non-psychoactive part found in marijuana. In layman terms, CBD delivers all of the benefits of marijuana without making the user high. The positive effects that are brought on using CBD can be particularly welcoming to seniors.

Many seniors are not aware of how medical cannabis could improve their quality of life and how the stereotypical marijuana user and use has changed. Because CBD is extracted from the marijuana plant, seniors can take advantage of the medical benefits afforded by the extract without the head or body sensation often associated with marijuana. Additionally, seniors have the option of delivering CBD to their bodies in forms more familiar, rather than inhaling smoke. CBD is an oil extract and therefore can be added to things like topical gels, tinctures and edible products.

In many cases, these derivatives of cannabis can reduce or even replace the use of harmful and addictive prescription drugs. While this information is only now making its way into the mainstream, the natural consequence is, seniors drop their prejudices, face the reality and turn to the treatment of their minor and major age-related diseases using cannabis.

Here are 8 reasons why CBD should become a regular part of every seniors’ health routine as they age.

1. Pain Relief

It has long been known that cannabis is a pain reliever to the same extent as, perhaps even better, prescription medication. For instance, clinical studies have proved that Marijuana is very effective in decreasing arthritis and nerve pain. Handmade, medical, boutique-style creams are the effective cure of different muscles and joint pains.


2. Bone Health

Cannabis could provide a great need for the elderly as it relates to bone fragility. According to a study, cannabis use can help heal fractures and support healthier bones. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis can be very useful for patients with multiple sclerosis.


3. Soothing Effects

Although CBD is known for its soothing effects on senior consumers, it promotes the feeling of energy and acts against inertia. This is because CBD strengthens cells in the human body and contributes to complete regeneration.

In addition, CBD is an antioxidant that promotes the sense of vigilance that can be disturbed by the presence of free radicals. A study shows that cannabidiol has stronger antioxidant properties than Vitamin C and Vitamin E.


4. Fights Glaucoma

There has been growing research that supports a link between cannabis and the treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma, which is a neurodegenerative disease (the breakdown of neurons in the communication process from the brain to the body), affects the sight of individuals from an increase in pressure in the eye known as intraocular pressure (IoP). Going back decades, there is supporting evidence that cannabinoids can reduce IoP by up to 25%, however the required dosage of inhalation of full THC cannabis has posed a risk to some patients. However, due to the accompanying symptoms of glaucoma, CBD as a pain management product works well, and may have the added benefit of helping reduce pressure.


5. Insomnia and Sleep Issues

The older we get, the more difficult it is to achieve sustained periods of deep sleep. During the deep sleep phases, our brain regenerates and is freed from toxic substances, which were produced by the body itself. Therefore, sleep quality is also of immense importance to prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or glaucoma. Frequently, elderly people are prescribed sleeping pills, which have a great potential for dependency and a wide range of unpleasant side effects. CBD can help in the extension of the deep sleep phase and the reduction of the lighter sleeping phases.


6. Alternative to Prescription Medications

The number of seniors who use daily prescription drugs grows each year unnecessarily and continuously. Pharmaceutical companies present our government with one of the largest lobbying groups in the country, to promote the effectiveness and stability provided by their products. However, prescription drugs can be extremely dangerous for its users, and can be responsible for organ damage, tissue damage, drug addiction and even death.

In comparison, marijuana is a safe alternative to prescription drugs, coming with fewer side effects and lower addictive traits. This benefit is heightened with CBD and in fact has been used to combat addiction to prescription drugs. Neither deaths nor overdoses have been documented, which are related to marijuana.


7. Stimulates Appetite

A general, dangerous health hazard among older citizens is the loss of appetite, which causes weight loss, tissue weakness, and mental issues. While marijuana has been extensively researched, and shown to improve the appetite of users, CBD likewise has proven to be a good appetite stimulant and thus helpful for seniors.


8. Alzheimer’s and Dementia

An emerging trend that is being researched is could marijuana prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. According to multiple studies, cannabinoids, and by extension CBD, can contribute to the elimination of a toxic protein related to this disease. This is triggered by a loss of inflammation of the brain and regeneration of damaged cells.

While the potential benefits of CBD use are well documented, it is recommended that you always consult your physician regarding the use of any substance. And, further be aware that the use and possession of marijuana or CBD is illegal in several states. For a comprehensive list of states in which marijuana is and is not legal

Medical Marijuana and the Elderly

5 Ways in Which CBD Can Help Seniors

The cannabis plant with its different components (cannabinoids as they are scientifically known) has been proven to carry a plethora of medicinal benefits. In late years, we have come to know which exactly of these cannabinoids is responsible for most of these benefits. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis that we attribute most of the medicinal uses of marijuana to. A huge number of diseases are now being prescribed CBD extracts for pain relief and other forms of treatment, and people who regularly use CBD-rich strains of marijuana have been reporting less vulnerability to several diseases and ailments. There is one demographic segment that was late to catch up on the uses of CBD: seniors. Although seniors have lately started to increasingly realize how beneficial CBD could be to their many forms of pain, the many benefits that substance has to offer them went unnoticed for a long time. That is quite bizarre too, seeing as how seniors more than perhaps any other groups have a lot to gain from CBD treatment.

So, how can CBD help seniors? Here is a list of 5 major health difficulties that seniors often experience and that CBD has proven capable of remedying.


Reduction of pain and inflammation

CBD was found a long time ago to cause relief for pains caused by arthritis, neuropathy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, as well as numerous types of cancer. Moreover, the recurrent headaches and migraines experienced by most seniors can also be prevented using CBD.

Sufferers of diseases like atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, spinal cord injuries, as well as injuries suffered after medical operations, are now being prescribed CBD for its anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects. We can also add Hepatitis C and lupus to the list of diseases prevalent among seniors and whose patients benefit from CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative benefits.



A common symptom of aging is the decrease in bone density, which is followed by a proneness to get osteoporosis which in turn makes seniors vulnerable to bone fractures. Women over 50 are even more vulnerable than men in this regard due to the crackdown on bone tissues that comes with menopause. That makes CBD crucial for seniors in both a preventive and a curative sense. CBD was found to halt the damage of bone tissues. Not only that, it was even discovered to trigger the renewal of these tissues as well as bone growth. These effects combined lead to the increase of bone density that the elderly very much need. Moreover, CBD extracts work perfectly to counter muscle and bone pains.


Sleep Difficulties

Many seniors experience difficulties falling asleep, sleeping for long hours, or generally maintaining healthy sleep patterns. The hazardous effect of that on seniors is that inconsistent sleep paired with age stimulate neurodegenerative diseases like glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, along with many other possible diseases. The benefits of CBD in this regard are manifold. Firstly, unlike pharmaceutical sleep aids, CBD actually enhances alertness and wakefulness throughout the day. However, CBD works as a sleeping aid only when consumed early in the day. It was reported to enable sleep for longer hours which makes it suitable for someone suffering insomnia. CBD also treats some of the most common causes of insomnia like stress and anxiety, therefore hitting the ailment at its roots. Anxiety and distress are highly common among seniors and might be intensified by their physical pain. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, CBD is a much safer alternative to pharmaceutical drugs in general and sleep aid in particular. This takes us to the next point.



The Reduction of Pharmaceutical Drug Consumption

It is no longer news that excessive use of pharmaceutical drugs can be quite destructive to a person’s body. This is something that especially seniors can testify to. Because old people are prescribed countless amounts of pharmaceuticals for the various age-related diseases they endure, many of them end up in a loop of drugs that cause them side effects that they are prescribed new drugs to treat and so on. By using CBD to treat the ailments mentioned above as well as many others that they suffer, a lot of seniors have lately been able to lay off, or at least reduce, their consumption of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.

There are many reasons why replacing pharmaceutical drugs with CBD products leaves patients way better off. First of all, CBD (or any other marijuana-based substance for that matter) cannot be addictive. Unlike many pharmaceutical drugs, especially those used to treat psychological difficulties or insomnia, the withdrawal symptoms of CBD are as mild as those of quitting caffeine. Second, CBD has little to no side effects, which anyone who has any experience with long-term use of pharmaceuticals knows is not the case with the latter. A person weighing 140 pounds would require north of 4 pounds of marijuana to be consumed all in one day to reach the point of toxicity, according to a recent study.



Appetite Enhancement

Many seniors tend to experience appetite loss as they grow in age, which can lead to mental and psychological issues, their tissues growing more delicate and consequently weak, as well as weight loss with all its hazardous consequences. Marijuana has been known for long to be an appetite stimulant. That applies particularly to its CBD component. However, CBD’s appetite-related effects are not confined to increasing appetite. It generally brings about healthier nutritional behavior, meaning that albeit an appetite stimulant, it does not cause excessive food consumption. The American Journal of Epidemiology recently found in one of its studies that obesity occurred one-third less frequently among regular marijuana consumers (at least three times a week) in comparison to those who have never consumed the plant at all.


Are there safe ways for seniors to use CBD?

Because smoking CBD-rich marijuana strains is probably not the best method for seniors to consume CBD, dispensaries have lately been producing alternatives that are safer for seniors to use. That includes oil, edibles like CBD-infused gummy bears, and tinctures that they could place under their tongues.

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