In recent years, cannabis use has been on the rise across many population demographics. According to CNBC, about 3.7 percent of adults in the United States aged 65 or older used cannabis in the last year. This is an increase of more than ten times from 2007, where only 0.3 percent of the senior population used cannabis. This number is expected to rise even higher as more and more states legalize recreational marijuana, and more dispensaries are opened across the country.
One could attribute this rise to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in several US states, the federal legalization of hemp, or the popularization of TV shows normalizing marijuana like Weeds. No matter how you attribute cannabis’s massive increase in use, it’s undoubtedly influencing the public in a widely positive way. One of the significant groups causing this rise is seniors, as cannabis use among them has spiked rapidly over the last few years. In fact, according to a study done by the University of Colorado, cannabis use in senior citizens is becoming popular faster than any other age group. While many people still feel that there’s a significant negative stigma surrounding cannabis, it may have medical benefits particularly useful for senior citizens.
Benefits of Cannabis for Seniors
Getting older can take a significant toll on your body, both externally and internally. Fortunately, cannabis may potentially slow or decrease the symptoms of some of the effects of aging. One of these conditions is osteoporosis, which is a damaging bone disease that dramatically increases your risk of fractures and other painful injuries. Osteoporosis slowly weakens your bones, making them more sensitive to impact or falls. The condition affects more than half of the senior citizen population nationally, meaning more than 53 million Americans are affected by it.
A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research in 2018 suggests that CBD could help your bones to become and stay stronger over time. The study involved researchers orally administering CBD to rats with bone fractures and resulted in the size of the fracture decreasing over four weeks. The fracture also took significantly less time to heal than the traditionally recognized healing period of six to eight weeks. Although this study wasn’t conducted on humans, the results show that the use of CBD in the treatment of bone strength could be promising.
Another condition that frequently affects seniors is arthritis. Arthritis is incredibly painful and is often degenerative, meaning it will only become more painful and more immobilizing over time. It specifically affects your joints and includes symptoms like swelling, pain, or stiffness, sometimes eventually resulting in full mobility loss. The University of Kentucky conducted a study in 2016 which consisted of researchers applying a topical CBD solution to rats diagnosed with arthritis. It was shown that the rats involved in the study experienced significantly less pain surrounding their joints and swelling around the joints was reduced considerably.
Many seniors use cannabis products to help them with their brain health as well. While there’s still a lot of human research that needs to be done on using cannabis to treat these ailments, many people say it personally helps them in their daily lives.
Should Seniors Be Using Cannabis?
Using cannabis, especially if you’re using CBD products solely, doesn’t have any known severe side effects. CBD is widely considered very safe and non-addictive by the World Health Organization and many people use it to treat a variety of different illnesses or pains. It may be worth it to invest in a high-quality topical CBD product to test the waters surrounding cannabis.
While CBD is relatively safe to use without taking many precautions, there are some things to consider before starting to use it. You should always consult with your physician before beginning any new supplement, CBD or otherwise. Talk to them about your symptoms and make sure using CBD is the right choice for you. Certain medications can interact with oral forms of CBD, so it’s important that you talk to your provider about any potential interaction. Also, many websites attempt to scam users by labeling hemp seed oil as containing CBD. If you can, buy your cannabis products from a licensed dispensary or a reputable retailer online.