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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa. In recent years, it’s become widely known for its anticipated health benefits for a wide range of users – including elderly people.
Because cannabidiol contains extremely low levels of THC, it doesn’t induce the “high” that cannabis does. This makes hemp oils much safer and enjoyable for daily use, from people in their twenties all the way to people in their nineties. Most products don’t even contain THC at all.
Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain and anxiety, both of which are common health conditions found in senior citizens. In some cases, it’s possible that hemp oils may even minimize the need for medication to treat some age-related ailments.
Not quite sure about using CBD for the elderly and their common health complaints? Let’s take a look at six of the well-researched benefits that CBD oil may have for our elderly loved ones.
1. Relieves Arthritic Discomfort
An estimated 58.5 million people in the United States suffer from arthritis, and almost half of those are 65 years and older. It’s a common complaint amongst our elderly family members, and unfortunately, arthritis can be tricky to treat.
CBD is well known for its potential pain-relief benefits, but it’s especially heralded for its anti-inflammatory properties. Arthritis is essentially a fancy word for “joint inflammation,” which is why many believe CBD can be a key method for alleviating arthritic pain.
In 2019, the Arthritis Foundation conducted a poll of more than 2,600 people with arthritis. Up to 79% of the respondents were already using CBD or had used it in the past. Another 29% reported specifically using CBD to manage their arthritis-related symptoms.
Research on test rats indicates that cannabidiol does show a promising reduction in pain levels. It’s possible that using CBD for arthritis in seniors could minimize the need for other medications and provide much-needed relief from chronic discomfort.
2. Improves Sleep Quality
It’s estimated that between 40% to 70% of older adults have chronic sleep issues. Individuals aged 60 and older are also more susceptible to insomnia, according to Sleep Foundation. Studies have demonstrated that women are 40% more likely to have insomnia than men.
The reasons for senior sleep problems can range from pain-related problems to sleep apnea or REM sleep behavior disorder – all of which tend to affect older people. To add fuel to fire, scientifically, lack of restorative sleep impacts everything from digestion to mood to hormones.
Initial research suggests that there are many potential CBD health benefits for seniors, including benefits related to better rest and sleep. It’s now commonly believed that using CBD for sleep in elderly people may potentially combat insomnia-related issues, helping users fall and stay asleep.
When someone consumes CBD, the substance travels to the endocannabinoid receptors in the body’s immune cells and brain. There, the CBD increases serotonin and dopamine levels, which contributes to a more relaxed state of mind that can promote good sleep.
A by-product of this process is that serotonin and dopamine help numb pain, including discomfort caused by arthritis or stiff joints that often keep senior patients awake.
A 2019 study found that those adults who used CBD experienced lower anxiety levels and better sleep scores in their first month. By reducing discomfort and promoting feelings of calmness and relaxation, CBD oils for the elderly may genuinely improve users’ abilities to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
3. Helps Manage Chronic Pain
Elderly people are affected by all kinds of chronic pain, not just arthritis. Unfortunately, seniors are more prone to chronic pain than those under the age of 65.
Chronic pain often includes:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Muscle pain (such as fibromyalgia)
Additionally, many seniors still feel the sting of old injuries sustained earlier in life or past scars from surgeries. Some general aches and pains might not even have a particular catalyst. They are simply related to the aging process or, unfortunately, just plain bad luck.
CBD for chronic pain might help reduce ongoing, stubborn discomfort. The CBD increases dopamine and serotonin levels and soothes inflammation, resulting in less pain and more relaxation.
It’s possible that CBD can even help with serious, long-term pain caused by conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, limb loss, spinal cord injuries, and brachial plexus injuries. One study found that patients with fibromyalgia experience a 30% reduction in pain while undergoing controlled CBD treatment.
To fight ongoing pain, many patients consistently take NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen. Unfortunately, overusing these over-the-counter medications can result in harmful side effects, such as a high risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers in elders. Many doctors do not encourage NSAIDS for long-term use.
If people can reduce their use of pain pills like Advil by using alternative, natural substances like CBD oil, they may also be able to minimize these risks.
4. Lowers Anxiety Levels
Anxiety is not just an issue reserved for psychological treatment. Mental health disorders can result in physical pain, too. Feelings of anxiety often coexist with uncomfortable headaches, muscle tension, chest tightness, and general body aches.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 40 million adults annually. What’s more, anxiety is just as common in older adults as it is in young people. It’s fairly common for seniors to feel depressed, stressed, and/or physically anxious.
Evidence suggests that CBD for seniors can positively affect those dealing with anxiety and depression. In 2015, researchers found evidence that strongly supported the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders in oral doses of 300 to 600 mg. A study conducted in 2018 also found that cannabidiol may be able to help with PTSD-related anxiety in humans.
Anxiety disorders are linked to low serotonin levels within the body. Considering that CBD can lower stress in the body, potentially reduce depressive tendencies, and support serotonin production, it makes sense to study its effects in patients with anxiety-induced discomfort – including those in their later years.
5. Supports Good Bone Health
In the United States, nearly one in ten elderly people live with osteoporosis and fragile bones. This disease weakens bones significantly, increasing the risk of serious breaks – especially in the hips, spine, or wrists.
Our bone mass eventually stops increasing – usually around the age of 30. By the time we are in our 60s or beyond, our bones have weakened substantially. Many elders develop osteoporosis, but even those without the disease may suffer from brittle, fragile bones.
There are many things seniors can do to care for their bones, including taking certain medications and engaging in safe physical activity. Another avenue may be taking CBD oil. A study conducted in 2020 found that cannabinoids improved bone healing in test mice, but this research needs to be validated in clinical trials (and eventually, in humans).
Still, it makes sense. Research has long indicated that cannabinoids could help support our skeletal endocannabinoid systems, which play an enormous role in bone mass regulation. If so, there may soon be even stronger evidence supporting the use of CBD for the elderly.
6. Potentially Fights Neurodegenerative Disorders
As people age, they may suffer from neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer's. Every year, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease alone.
Sadly, these neurodegenerative disorders may result in mental deterioration, as well as ongoing pain in elderly people. It’s estimated that up to 80% of patients with dementia experience at least some pain.
Neurodegenerative disorders are often associated with:
- Aching or burning sensations
- Sharp nerve pains
- Numbness in the limbs
- Joint discomfort
There could be CBD benefits for elderly people with neurodegenerative disorders. Some research suggests that cannabinoids could help manage some of the behavioral symptoms of diseases like dementia. Not only can CBD have a calming effect on agitated patients, but it can also sometimes make confused or anxious patients feel happier.
Additional studies suggest that CBD for the elderly could actually help work against Alzheimer’s Disease. In a preliminary study conducted on mice with symptoms of Alzheimer's, CBD oil was found to increase learning ability and maybe even counteract the disease. The affected mice had fewer amyloid clumps in their bodies – key characteristics of Alzheimer’s.
Explore Our Wide Range of CBD Products
Using CBD for the elderly shouldn’t be considered a last-ditch, “hippy” effort. There’s substantial research that backs CBD’s benefits in many age groups, including those over the age of 65. As studies continue to take place, we’re confident we’ll continue to see even stronger evidence appear.
At Foilage Wellness, we’re not here to promote the coolest or trendiest products. We’re here to help you and your loved ones feel happier, healthier, and more in control of your own bodies. Our wide range of CBD products is carefully sourced and created to promote your best interests.
If you’re interested in learning about high-quality CBD products for pain, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to talk you through your options.