We’ve discussed at length all the health benefits that CBD may provide to those who consume it. They range from relieving digestion issues to chronic pain to sunburn to depression, and many things in between. Although CBD products can be a great choice for people of all ages, they are especially useful and beneficial for older people and seniors.
Seniors are more likely than other demographics to suffer from chronic conditions, less restful sleep, physical injuries, and a decline of their mental health. The fact that older people tend to suffer from more health conditions more often than younger people means that they are frequently on a wide range of different medications to treat them. These medications themselves can have serious side effects, negative interactions, and sometimes hurt the quality of life for the person taking them.
CBD for seniors, on the other hand, has the potential to improve many of the health conditions that older individuals suffer from, while not producing the side effects that other drugs and medications might. From what we know so far, these two aspects make CBD a prime choice for seniors, and it may be their answer for having a higher quality of life.
Here are three ways in which CBD may help seniors.
CBD for Seniors with Chronic Pain
The first and most obvious way that CBD may help older or elderly people is with chronic pain. Over 54 million adults in the United States suffer from some type of arthritis, and the majority of those are aged 65 and older. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all people over the age of 65 have had some form of diagnosed arthritis.
Although, as of today, there is not enough evidence to say definitively that CBD can effectively treat arthritic pain, there have been several studies undertaken to help determine whether or not CBD might be a viable and effective alternative remedy.
As we point out in another article of ours, Health Benefits of CBD, there have been numerous animal studies performed, such as this investigation published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Researchers in this study found that CBD consistently reduces inflammation in laboratory mice. A later study found that it has a similar pain-reducing effect in humans, without any apparent adverse side effects.
Additionally, a recent clinical trial undertaken by the pharmaceutical company Zynerba found that a CBD based topical drug provided pain relief to patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Daniel Clauw, MD, professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan and consulting doctor for this clinical trial, had this to say:
“I don’t think we have that many good drugs for pain, and we know that CBD has fewer side effects than opioids or even nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can cause bleeding and cardiovascular problems,” he says. “If I have an elderly patient with arthritis and a little bit of CBD can make their knees feel better, I’d prefer they take that than some other drugs.”
CBD and Osteoporosis
It is estimated that 10 million people in the US alone suffer from osteoporosis, a chronic skeletal disease that causes reduced bone mass and deterioration of the bone microarchitecture, resulting in an increased risk of fracture. It is also estimated that about 34 million people have low bone mass. Similar to arthritis, the majority of the burden of these conditions is shouldered by senior citizens.
Well, also similar to arthritis, CBD products may be able to help. According to a study, CBD can help heal fractures and support healthier bones. And because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also be very useful for patients with multiple sclerosis. This is obviously a massive benefit for the elderly, who often develop weak or fragile bones as they age.
A different study found that CBD actually helped reduce the degeneration of bones. It accomplished this by blocking the GPR55 receptor, a receptor found on osteoclasts, the cells that are responsible for degrading our bones. Researchers in this study demonstrated that CBD specifically blocked the activation of this receptor, effectively reducing the activity of the osteoclasts, and reducing the deterioration.
CBD for Seniors Who Have Trouble Sleeping
Elderly people suffer disproportionally from restlessness and difficulties sleeping. In fact, according to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 48% of older adults have symptoms of insomnia. Sleep patterns often change greatly as people age, which is why older individuals tend to get tired earlier in the evening, wake up really early in the morning, and take naps during the day. The problem is, those naps are often another reason why it’s difficult for seniors to get to sleep at night.
In addition to changing sleep patterns, the following factors and behaviors can lead older people to have trouble sleeping:
- Medications like antidepressants and blood pressure medicine
- Other health conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and chronic pain
- Mental health disorders including depression and anxiety
- Other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome
Although the mechanism is not completely understood, studies have suggested that CBD’s benefit when it comes to sleep stems from its calming effects. Specifically, its interaction with serotonin and GABA receptors in our brains. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that manages mood and anxiety, whereas GABA receptors (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) inhibit or reduce the activity of the neurons to help mitigate activity in the central nervous system.
In other words, CBD is thought to interact with two components of our bodies that are essential for falling asleep and achieving a good night’s rest. These interactions, along with its reported anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, suggest that CBD may help sleep by quieting our minds at the end of the day, reducing anxiety, and minimizing any pain or discomfort.
If used in place of certain prescription medications, CBD may also reduce the sleep problems associated with them as side effects.
CBD for Elderly People
There is a still a lot more research to be done when it comes to CBD and seniors, but according to the research and what we know so far, it looks like it may be a viable option for many of the health conditions that some older people develop. Seniors don’t have to suffer needlessly through pain or through prescription drug side effects. Because CBD has no known side effects or harmful effects, elderly people—or really everyone—have nothing to lose by giving it a try.