It may surprise you to learn that the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis users in the United States is not from the younger generation, but seniors. So, how did a plant that has historically been a preserve of counter-culture and particularly the youth become revered by society’s elders?
While cannabis use may have been prolific during the 1960s and 70s, the herb gradually picked up a bad reputation, with claims that it exacerbates mental health conditions and causes other unwanted effects. However, after decades of steep barriers to research, the science on cannabis is beginning to shine through and the plant is enjoying a renaissance.
It just so happens that many of the medical benefits of cannabis are of value to conditions commonly experienced by seniors, such as arthritis and neurodegeneration. Not to mention, a lot of these therapeutic effects can be derived from a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis: cannabidiol (CBD). Not having to get “stoned” to benefit from medical cannabis has certainly improved public opinion of the plant.
CBD for arthritis
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can be extraordinary painful and reduce quality of life, which could also lead to mental health complications. There have been a series of studies noting the pain relief that CBD provides from arthritis-induced joint pain.Moreover, CBD can even reverse the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes the immune symptom to attack joint cartilage. CBD topicals such as creams have been shown to be the best way to manage acute arthritis pain.
CBD binds with CB2 receptors, hence why it has such influence over the immune system as an anti-inflammatory. Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, with CB2 receptors evenly spread. This explains why CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties work for seemingly any inflammatory condition, including the notorious irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
CBD is a neuroprotectant
CBD’s neuroprotective properties are of such interest and potential value that cannabinoids have been patented for this very use by the US federal government. This suggests that CBD could possibly help to slow or stop the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s – the research strengthens this theory.
There are two factors which contribute to nerve fiber damage: neurodegenerative diseases and aging. Damage occurs when the myelin insulation protecting nerve fibers starts to deteriorate – in neurodegenerative diseases, this happens more quickly than normal. However, CBD slows the breakdown of myelin insulation.
When the myelin sheath deteriorates, the person affected begins to lose cognitive function and also control over their bodily movements. For instance, many old people simply affected by aging experience tremors.
Enjoy better sleep with CBD
Sleep is underrated, and if we don’t give ourselves enough time in shutdown each night then prepares for mental and physical health problems to manifest, in addition to fatigue. Frustratingly for seniors, a lack of sleep often occurs due to other factors keeping them awake, rather than insomnia.
However, CBD can help with all aspects of sleep deficiency. If pain is preventing getting to or staying asleep, then CBD’s tranquilizing effects are beneficial, reducing discomfort as well as sedating the body until it’s in a good place for sleep. Patients with epilepsy and other conditions that are typified by spasms can enjoy better sleep due to the anti-seizure and antispasmodic properties of CBD.
The calming mental effect CBD also aids the sleep process – there’s nothing like a whirring mind with unhelpful and nagging thoughts to keep a person awake at night. CBD can also reduce the likelihood of nightmares by keeping rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep to a minimum – REM sleep is the phase of sleep where we dream. Instead, CBD encourages more deep sleep, which is necessary to produce new cells and to cleanse neurotoxins from the brain. More sleep also means less fatigue and more energy during the day, an essential for seniors.
CBD helps the heart
The possibilities of CBD to improve cardiovascular health are very encouraging, with several studies showcasing the potential of this cannabinoid in protecting from ischemic muscle and tissue damage. Those with ischemia are unable to get enough blood into the heart, however it seems that CBD can help with this issue, according to research on rats. These studies have shown that CBD can reduce the risk of myocardial ischemia and also shrink infarcts (lumps of dead tissue) in the heart.
Many patients with type 2 diabetes also suffer from cardiovascular disease, but the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities of CBD can help to prevent it. The high concentrations of glucose in the body is what causes damage to the heart. Research also hints at CBD improving the health of the heart by upping blood pressure through the vasorelaxation of dilated arteries.
CBD can reduce the need for prescription drugs
Tablet intake tends to increase with age, and seniors often find themselves consuming a cocktail of drugs daily. Unfortunately, many prescription meds have some unwelcome side effects which sometimes need treating themselves – this means even more pills. Not to mention that some drugs just don’t interact well with other drugs.
For those without good medical coverage, the costs of all this medication can be hard to bear. Therefore, the prospect of chucking all these drugs in favor of one medicine is very appealing, and CBD e-liquid and vape oil may just fit the bill. In addition to bringing fast relief, CBD has no notable side effects and pose no risk of dependency.
CBD regulates the immune system
With the endocannabinoid system (ECS) known to regulate immune system response, it’s logical that CBD – a cannabinoid that regulates the ECS – is of use. The list of anti-inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases is endless, but patients with all sorts of ailments are enjoying a higher quality of life and less physical pain because of CBD medication.
For internal inflammation, vaping or consuming CBD gummy bears or similar edibles is most suitable, while topicals are more effective for inflammation either affecting or centered around the skin. For fast relief from acute symptoms, vaping or sublingual consumption is preferred.