Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis plants. It has been suggested through various studies to have major benefits in many illnesses and diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. But what are the uses and benefits of CBD for seniors?
As CBD becomes more popular among those suffering from these conditions, it is not uncommon to find many older adults wondering if CBD is a valid option for seniors.
To answer that, we need to look at a few different factors; Is CBD safe for seniors to use? What are the dosage guidelines? And what are some of the side effects they should be aware of before taking CBD products?
This article will discuss safety measures when considering CBD for seniors, how much they should take, and any potential side effects they may experience while taking CBD.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. CBD is not psychoactive, which means it does not get a person high, unlike THC.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors within the Endocannabinoid System.
Research shows that they may have many potential medical benefits, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis, and more.
These are just a small portion of the many ailments that seniors may have to contend with as they age and their bodies start to degrade slowly.
As we learn more about CBD, the Endocannabinoid System, and the wide variety of conditions that CBD may help with, we will better understand how to use CBD effectively.
Is CBD safe for seniors?
CBD, in general, is regarded as safe to take by almost everyone, including seniors.
Studies have shown that doses up to 1500mg of CBD are well tolerated in humans, with minimal side effects reported.
There is still some cause for concern when attempting any new treatments, however, and CBD is no different.
Many senior citizens are on medications that may interact with certain cannabinoids like CBD, and seniors should always discuss treatment with a doctor beforehand to ensure safety.
What medications interact with CBD, and why is this a cause of concern for seniors?
In your life, you may have had to take a medication that had a “grapefruit” warning on it.
Medications that have this warning should not be taken with grapefruit because it interacts with certain medications by preventing them from being broken down properly by the body.
This can result in increased blood levels of those drugs which can lead to severe side effects or even death.
CBD also has the same effects on certain medications, which is why it is so important for seniors to speak with their doctor beforehand if they are considering using CBD.
Because many seniors today are on medications to help with various ailments, and some may suffer from disorders that affect their cognitive abilities, seniors need to be extra vigilant when using CBD.
What side effects of CBD should seniors be aware of?
While the majority of the side effects of CBD are minor and tend to diminish after taking CBD for a while, there are still some to be aware of.
Here are the most common side effects of CBD:
- Upset stomach, digestive issues
- Drowsiness, dizziness
- Low blood pressure
- May thin blood, should not be used in conjunction with blood thinners
- Appetite changes
- Dry mouth
Keep in mind that a person may experience one of these side effects, multiple, or none at all.
The type of CBD taken (oils, gummies, topicals, etc.) may also affect whether any side effects are noticed. The dosage also plays a part; many people who experience negative, unwanted side effects from CBD may benefit from a lower dose.
Always speak with your health care provider before starting any new dietary supplements or medications, including over-the-counter medications or supplements.
Potential benefits of CBD for seniors
From reduced anxiety to chronic pain relief, there are many possible benefits of CBD for seniors.
Here are some of the different conditions that CBD can potentially be used for by senior citizens in Canada:
CBD may help with the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
This is because CBD has been shown to be able to reduce the production of inflammatory molecules, like cytokines.
Therefore, this may lead to a reduction in symptoms associated with arthritis such as joint stiffness and swelling.
The anti-inflammatory properties also mean that CBD may help relieve osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis by reducing physical discomfort and stress caused by these conditions.
CBD has been shown to have an anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety effect.
Studies suggest that CBD may help reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, such as tension in muscle tissues.
It has also been shown to be a potential treatment for social phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder; this is because it may reduce fear responses.
CBD has the potential to help in the management of chronic pain, and make living with pain more manageable, according to research done on the subject.
It is thought that CBD reduces pain by blocking pain receptors in the brain and by reducing inflammation.
CBD may also help modulate natural endocannabinoids (such as anandamide); this may help to provide a feeling of relief from chronic pain symptoms including inflammation.
Over 500,000 Canadians live with some form of dementia in Canada today, and studies show that CBD may be able to help with this.
In this study, high doses of CBD were given over a two-week period; the results showed improvements in the function of two proteins that help reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque.
Beta-amyloid plaque is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, and initial research suggests that the use of CBD oil can improve cognition in those afflicted with early-onset familial Alzheimer’s.
Insomnia and sleep disorders
It’s no secret that sleep is harder to come by as we age, and many senior citizens suffer from some form of sleep disorder – be it insomnia, early waking, or disrupted sleep from other conditions.
CBD may be able to help with these sleep-related conditions by reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) and regulating the production of melatonin.
Depression and mood swings
CBD’s potential to reduce depression is largely a result of its ability to regulate serotonin levels in the brain.
Serotonin significatly declines as we age, which may lead to mood swings and feelings of sadness.
CBD has been shown to restore proper serotonin function by inhibiting reuptake; this allows more serotonin to be available for use in the hippocampus (the lobe that plays an important role in mood regulation).
Bone and heart health
Maintaining a healthy heart and bones is crucial for seniors, and CBD can help.
Studies have shown that CBD may reduce heart attack and stroke risk, improve blood pressure levels, and decrease inflammation around the heart.
Not only that but regular use of CBD is also linked to the promotion of healthy bone growth and density; because of this, CBD could potentially play a big role in treating osteoporosis in the future.
CBD dosage guidelines for seniors
There are no standard dosing guidelines as of yet in Canada for seniors or otherwise; because of this, dosing is a bit of trial and error.
Many factors play into accurate CBD dosing, including body weight, metabolism, and the method of CBD you are using.
If you are new to CBD, the best way to begin using it is to take it low and slow. Start by taking a small amount (5-10mg twice a day) and monitoring the CBD’s effects on your body.
After you’ve given it a bit of time (one week or so) you can gradually start increasing your dose if needed.
The reason behind this method of taking it slow and working your way up is that CBD works on a bell curve scale.
Take too little CBD, and you won’t see much benefit from it. Take too much, and the effects start to diminish.
It is all about finding the dose somewhere between these two extremes that work best for you and your personal health concerns.
Best CBD products for seniors in Canada
We’ve discussed safety, dosage, and the potential benefits of CBD for seniors; now, let’s take a look at some of the best ways that they can utilize CBD to its full potential.
Here are the most recommended CBD products for seniors in Canada:
CBD gummies are a great option for seniors. They are easy to chew and swallow, convenient to take with them on the go, and offer an easy way to dose their daily CBD.
CBD capsules are another great option for seniors using CBD. Capsules come with preset amounts of CBD in them, so dosing is simple.
Additionally, there is no taste involved, which many prefer. CBD capsules can be easily stored with other (approved medications) to take at the same time.
Using CBD externally may help to reduce inflammation, soothe sore muscles, and provide relief from external pain.
Topical CBD products can be used anywhere on the body to help with any of these problems that seniors might have without impacting their digestive system as other methods would.
CBD oils are an option for some seniors; however, many may find the other options listed to be a bit more user-friendly.
Oils and tinctures still remain the most popular method of ingesting CBD to date, however.
Oils are available from 600-4800mg of CBD here at Mellow and come with a handy dropper cap for easy administration.
Final thoughts on CBD for seniors
CBD can potentially offer some amazing benefits for seniors, including pain and inflammation relief, reduced anxiety, and improved mood.
That being said, it’s also important to consider the safety aspect of taking CBD.
If you’re interested in trying out this all-natural supplement to improve your quality of life as a senior, consult with your doctor first about any interactions with medications or possible side effects before beginning use.