By Elements of Green

Two Senior Citizens looking over a grassy landscape from a cliff.

People constantly search for the next health trend, whether that may be acai, apple cider vinegar or wheat grass. These are exciting and can shine light into how different natural foods can support your health in various ways. Rarely, however, do we come across a plant like hemp that has more potential health benefits than one can count. These benefits come in the form of CBD oil and other CBD extracts. All of which have the ability to harness the powerful micronutrients present in the hemp plant. The benefits of CBD for seniors are clear, and continued research is unlocking more information and potential uses of this powerful compound. One particular age group that stands to greatly benefit from CBD forseniors.

Seniors in particular are looking at CBD as a possible supplement to prescription medicines. This is because CBD oil may address some of the most common ailments, sickness and side effects that are experienced with traditional medicines.

cbd forbes

Scientists and practitioners are eagerly awaiting results from upcoming studies that are being conducted by researchers across the globe. Some research that we will review in this piece has already shown CBD’s potential to support the livelihood of seniors, and improve their overall health and wellness.

80% of seniors experience at least one chronic disease, while 77% experience two or more. These are staggering numbers. In this article, we are going to explore how CBD may positively impact some the side of effects caused by these diseases – and perhaps improve the condition of the diseases themselves. In this article we will look at 8 benefits and reasons to try CBD as a senior.

8 Benefits and Reasons to Try CBD as a Senior

  1. Pain Relief
  2. Soothing Effects & Lowered Anxiety
  3. Improved Appetite
  4. Fights Glaucoma
  5. Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues
  6. Reduce Prescription Medicine Usage
  7. Why Not Try It?
  8. Alzheimer’s & Cancer

1. CBD Can Help Manage Pain

The single most common side effect of chronic illness is chronic pain. This can be due to a variety of factors, but is most commonly due to inflammation, circulation and overuse in seniors. Pain can also come from frequently diagnosed issues including join pain and arthritis. In both clinical studies and anecdotal testimonials from users, CBD has been shown to help with alleviating chronic pain temporarily.

An older gentleman reading a news paper.

The US Arthritis Foundation has been very vocal about wanting to expedite clinical studies for CBD to determine its true level of effectiveness on joint pain and inflammation – with this, comes a demand for more clarity from the FDA regarding CBD. The body reacts to CBD through its endocannabinoid system, and although we do not fully understand how this system works, the picture is becoming clearer. Healthline found that ‘CBD creates anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that help with pain management. This means that CBD oil and other products may benefit people with chronic pain, such as chronic back pain.’

Additionally, according to Medium, “some Studies have shown that CBD can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain from conditions such as Arthritis, Joint Paint and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).”

CBD benefits for seniors illustration.

2. Reducing Anxiety

Anxiety is another common side effect of many chronic illnesses, and can significantly exaggerate the pain and negative impact of any disease. Thankfully, CBD is showing some early promise in improving people with dealing with stress and anxiety. The consensus is ‘Preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD, with a notable lack of anxiogenic effects.’

In 2019, 39 people diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder were involved in a double-blind study that tested whether CBD improved their symptoms. Over four weeks, one part of the group was given 300 milligrams of CBD oil, while the other part was administered a placebo. The study decisively found that the group that took CBD scored significantly better on the questionnaire, meaning the CBD had improved the symptoms associated with SAD.

New research on CBD is coming out constantly, further demonstrating its potential benefits and any side effects. In particular for stress and anxiety, CBD has been shown in over 30 animal and human studies to be effective in reducing peoples’ symptoms quickly and consistently. Although there is a lot still to learn, the promising results that have been shown so far are encouraging and hopefully lead to even more observational scientific work, and therefore greater adoption of CBD.

An older lady eating Yogurt.

3. Improved Appetite

Chronic illness leads to appetite issues in seniors frequently. Everyone knows about the common perception that when you consume cannabis (with THC), one of the most immediate impacts is a rapid increase in appetite.  In addition to this, CBD is now being shown through some anecdotal testimony and clinical research studies to show an improvement in appetite. This is a common issue with seniors who have chronic diseases.

Research is continuously coming out with new information about this subject. What we do know is that CBD does not bind to the CB1 receptors in your brain. These receptors, that THC do bind to, are responsible for the direct impact on hunger. Although CBD does not have the direct impact that THC does, it does impact your endocannabinoid.

For now, what we do know is that “that activating CB1 receptors increases hunger while blocking this receptor can reduce appetite. We also know that the endocannabinoid system affects neurotransmitter signalling (such as dopamine) and can thereby affect our reward system and the desire to eat.”

An older couple sitting by the river.

4. Fighting Glaucoma

The mayo clinic describes Glaucoma as a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60.” Some individuals who have tried CBD oil claim that it helped with their Glaucoma. We will update the article when more research comes out about this, but as for now this is unconfirmed.

5. Improved Sleep

Another serious side effect of chronic disease is insomnia and sleeplessness, which once again further exaggerates others pains and issues. One of CBD’s most common uses is for improved sleep, and an overwhelming amount of research has proven to show CBD’s positive effect in this area.

Prominent sleep professionals in the medical community are already touting the benefits CBD can have on sleep when taken appropriately. Dr. Michael Breus PHD, more commonly referred to as ‘The Sleep Doctor’, has explained that CBD may be a healthier and safer alternative to prescription sleep medication which can both improve sleep quality and lower chronic difficulties with sleep.

New research is continually emerging on how CBD impacts the body for everything from anxiety to sleep. Particularly with sleep, several studies have been conducted in Europe and North America to determine the effectiveness of CBD with improved sleep quality, mid-day tiredness, REM sleeps and other contributing components.

A study completed in 2019 was done to determine whether CBD improved sleep and/or anxiety. In total, 72 people were included in the study with 25 subjects experiencing chronic sleep issues, and 47 having symptoms of anxiety. Within one month of taking CBD, anxiety scores decreased in 57 patients (79.2%) and continued to lower for the remainder of the study. Sleep scores for 48 of subjects (66.7%) improved, showing decisively that CBD did improve the subjects’ sleep over the period of the study.

Some medication in a green bowl.

6. Reduce Prescription Drug Consumption

One of the most exciting long term prospects for CBD is the potential for it to reduce peoples’ dependency on prescription medicine. Kaiser Health News shared “A recent study found that in 2011, 15 percent of seniors were prescribed an opioid when they were discharged from the hospital; three months later, 42 percent were still taking the pain medicine.” This is extremely concerning, as many chronic diseases can leave people with no choice but to turn to opioids with the level of pain that they may experience.

In a 2018 study, it was shown that CBD may be able to help people that experienced addiction. Mainly, CBD helps by improving the likelihood of a relapse.

Findings from a 2018 study revealed that CBD can actually help combat addiction by preventing relapses. In the study, researchers found that after administering CBD once a day for seven days, patients no longer displayed “addictive behaviors” and it deterred the patient from relapsing for five months.

Hands holding "Senior" scrabble tiles.

7. Why Not Try It?

Apart from the few side effects some have reported experiencing that we will discuss in more detail below, there is little to no reason for trying CBD to see if works for you. We recommend that you always speak to a registered physician before trying CBD.

8. Cancer and Alzheimer’s

We want to preface this section by saying we are not in any way suggesting that people should use CBD as a cure or treatment for the diseases listed above. That being said, there has being some very compelling research that has begun recently which looks at whether Cannabis can assist with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CBD and other cannabinoids found in cannabis may prevent protein growth which are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s. During the beginning stages of the disease, the preliminary cause is inflammation of the brain, and CBD may be able to reduce this.

Little information is known about whether CBD directly helps with cancer. The senior director points out that “cannabinoids overall show promising therapeutic effects to help modulate tumor growth and relieve symptoms such as appetite, weight loss, and pain. It’s unclear if these possible benefits are the cause of a variety of cannabinoids or only certain molecules, such as THC.”

Potential Side Effects

These side effects listed below are uncommon but are important to look out for.

  • Dry Mouth
  • Lowered Blood Pressure
  • Changes in Appetite

An older man holding a baby.

Commonly Asked Questions

Does CBD make you ‘high’?

The simple answer is no, CBD does not get you high. This is because CBD does not attach to the CB1 receptors in your brain, and therefore cannot cause a psychoactive effect. THC is the psychoactive compound that causes the “high” feeling.

Can I buy CBD legally?

CBD is actually legal for adults to buy in most European countries. Please visit our legal guide to CBD here, for more specific information on each country.

Should I talk to a doctor about CBD?

Although it is not mandatory to consult a medical professional in countries where CBD is recreationally legal, we always recommend it. This is especially important if you plan to be taking CBD in conjunction with prescription medication(s).