While seniors have historically been more hesitant to try cannabinoids, they are increasingly becoming aware of their potential therapeutic properties and are now more than ever open to incorporating them into their health regimen. Cannabinoids have shown that they may be able to help address many of the specific conditions, diseases and symptoms that elderly members face, without causing the adverse side effects that come with prescription medications.
The elderly community’s initial resistance to cannabinoids often has to do with their concern over their psychoactive properties. But, not all cannabinoids cause euphoric effects. Cannabidiol (CBD), for example, offers pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects without causing disorientation or a high.
While cannabinoid products come in various forms, seniors most commonly prefer oils or tinctures, which can be swallowed or absorbed under the tongue. Cannabinoid oils can also be mixed into many foods and drinks.
The following are 5 ways that cannabinoids can potentially help members of the elderly community:
1. Reduce Pain and Inflammation
Among the most common reasons why the elderly community uses cannabinoids are because of their potential effective capabilities for alleviating pain and reducing inflammation. A vast number of studies have shown that the two major cannabinoids, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), reduce pain related to arthritis, cancer, neuropathy, spasticity, headache, migraines, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-operation, and spinal cord injuries and diseases. Their anti-inflammatory effects have shown to help reduce the development of several conditions, including atherosclerosis, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.
2. Protect Against Neurodegenerative Disorders
Our risk for developing dementia increases with age, but cannabinoids may help prevent the disorders from developing or limit their progression. CBD has been found to have neuroprotectant properties, which means it reduces damage to the brain and nervous system and encourages the growth of new cells. These properties may be beneficial for preventing or limiting the progression of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). By enhancing the birth of new brain cells and supporting the brain’s repair process, cannabinoids could help resist the development of various types of dementia.
3. Stimulate Bone Growth
With age, our bone density naturally decreases, making us susceptible to osteoporosis and fractures. This is especially true for women over 50, because hormonal changes related to menopause swiftly break down bone tissue. Cannabinoids may be able to both help prevent bone breakdown and stimulate new bone growth, improving the tissue’s density. Findings in one study even suggest that CBD has the capability of significantly improving the healing process of fractured bones.
4. Improve Sleep
The older we get, the harder it is to get regular quality nights of sleep. With age, we have a tendency to not get enough deep sleep, which is when our brain cells restore themselves. The cannabinoid THC has shown to potentially reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. CBD is known for possessing alerting properties and increasing wakefulness, but when taken earlier in the day has shown to later effectively increase total sleep time. For those struggling with stress, CBD has also shown to potentially reduce anxiety and emotional discomfort.
5. Reduce or Replace Pharmaceutical Drugs
A major complaint among seniors is the volume of daily medications they take. Often times one pill causes side effects that another is prescribed to fix. Because of the healing properties of cannabinoids may be able to help address pain, inflamed joints, insomnia, anxiety, constipation, and other symptoms, many in the elderly community have been able to reduce their prescription drug intake once they begin taking cannabinoids. One study found that elderly patients living at an assisted living center cut back significantly on other pharmaceuticals while they were taking CBD.
Want to learn even more about the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids? Check out our article, “A Look at the Major and Minor Cannabinoids.”