What to Know About CBD Oil For Elderly

‌CBD is a chemical found in marijuana. CBD doesn't contain the ingredient that produces a high, which is known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Typically CBD is available as an oil, but CBD is also sold as an extract, a vaporized liquid, and an oil-based capsule. Numerous CBD-infused food, drink, and beauty products are available online.

Many people use CBD oil to curb symptoms of many common health issues, including some elderly people. According to a 2020 nationally representative Consumer Reports survey, 20% of Americans 65 years and older said they'd tried CBD oil, up from 14% from the prior year in 2019. However, it's important to keep in mind what conditions CBD oil can help and whether it's safe for the elderly to use. 

Is CBD Oil Effective?

Each of us has something called an endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system works to keep you in a stable condition where everything in your body works at its best. For instance, if it is hot outside or if you are exercising vigorously, your endocannabinoid system will help steady your heart rate and keep your body temperature within a healthy range by making you sweat.

Your body works best when everything is balanced, and your endocannabinoid system helps maintain that balance, despite what might be going on in your external environment. 

When something is out of balance, like an inflamed joint due to arthritis or injury, CBD oil helps support your endocannabinoid system so your body can better handle and relieve the problem.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Seniors?

We need more research, but CBD oil seems to be an up-and-coming treatment solution for the elderly. 

While CBD and THC are both found as parts of the cannabis plant, significantly higher THC amounts are found in marijuana. Some seniors might be prescribed medical marijuana by their doctor, although medical marijuana is not legal in every state, and some people don't want to experience a "high." In those cases, CBD can be a great alternative.‌

CBD doesn't produce a high, and it's legal throughout the United States. It's sourced from a hemp strain of cannabis and contains .3% THC or less. This means you get all of the benefits without having to worry about feeling a high.

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Benefits of CBD Oil

There are numerous benefits of CBD oil:

  • Relieves arthritis pain
  • Relieves chronic pain
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Improves sleep
  • Prevents or reduces symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease
  • May reduce cancer cell growth
  • Reduces nausea and vomiting for cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy

Pain relief. CBD oil has also proven to be an effective, non-habit-forming treatment for pain. One study found that CBD reduces pain 30% more than traditional medication or medical marijuana (THC) alone.

General anxiety and performance anxiety. One study of individuals with a social anxiety disorder and fear of public speaking gave some people a single dose of CBD an hour and a half before they participated in public speaking. Those given the CBD experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety, with less discomfort and stress.

In short, CBD has been proven effective in enhancing the quality of life, preventing cognitive decline, reducing blood pressure in stressful situations, and more.

What to Consider When Buying CBD

Decide why and what form. Think about what you'll be using CBD for and how you'd prefer to use it. CBD is often available as an oil, pill, drop or lotion.

Consider the amount of THC. Some CBD products contain THC, although it's in very small amounts. If you're looking for CBD with no TCH in it at all, consider looking for CBD made from hemp. 

Find where it was made. Not all CBD products are made the same way. Colorado has very robust, trusted CBD manufacturing facilities, but if you buy CBD online and it comes from somewhere overseas, it may not have gone through any safety testing. 

Read the label. Always read the label of any CBD product to check for additional ingredients that could affect your health or safety. 

Stay cautious. Some CBD brands will make claims that CBD can cure cancer or help with heart disease. Huge health claims like that are illegal and are not verified. If a brand is advertising unrealistic benefits, beware.  

Risks of CBD Oil

Currently, the only CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration is a prescription oil called Epidiolex used to treat epilepsy. Although CBD is currently being studied as a potential treatment for other conditions like Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes, the research is limited.

CBD also carries some potential risks and may cause:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Potential negative interaction with other medications

Because CBD is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it is challenging to pinpoint effective doses or know exactly what you're getting. For this reason, it's important to talk with your doctor before taking CBD.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 17, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

CBD Awareness Project: “Benefits of CBD.”

Consumer Reports: “A Guide to CBD and Cannabis for Older Adults", "How to Shop for CBD."

Journal of pain and symptom management: "Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC:CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain." 

Mayo Clinic: “What are the benefits of CBD—and is it safe to use?”

Neuropsychopharmacology: "Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients." 

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