Over the past few years CBD has grown in popularity across all segments of the population. There are young people and old people alike using CBD to with a variety of ailments. Perhaps the one group of individuals that could benefit the most from CBD are seniors.
It is important to note that the number of senior citizens in the US (this is people over the age of 65) is going to double from 50 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. With the number of senior citizens growing, it is not surprising that the popularity of CBD oil products is growing as a natural remedy for certain age-related health conditions, like pain.
What Is CBD?
To understand how CBD can benefit seniors, we first need to look at exactly what CBD is and how it works. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a part of the hemp plant. In fact, it is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the plant. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation.
These cannabinoids work their medicinal magic by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put a complex system simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
To further understand how CBD can benefit seniors we need to explore what the endocannabinoid system is. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system of receptors located throughout the body. It was not until in the 1990s that researchers first discovered endocannabinoids, which are the natural cannabis-like molecules produced by the human body. Scientists began to realize that cannabinoids from plants like hemp influenced the human body by mimicking our own naturally occurring endocannabinoids.
The ECS has receptors located all throughout the body including the brain, central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system (digestive tract, immune system, reproductive system, skin cells, heart, and more). The endocannabinoids work by binding to their corresponding receptors, giving our cells specific directions. Certain cannabinoids like CBD increase the number of endocannabinoids present in the body.
CBD For Seniors’ Chronic Pain
One of the most prevalent issues that many seniors are dealing with is chronic pain. Chronic pain is often caused by a variety of conditions, but one of the most frequent causes is inflammation and pain in the joints due to arthritis. Another form of pain many seniors deal with is nerve pain or neuropathy associated with diabetes. According to information from the CDC, approximately 49.6% of seniors have reported having arthritis, which is one of the top causes of pain in seniors.
A 2011 study that was done in rats looked at how CBD would affect pain. The study concluded that CBD helped to reduce inflammatory pain in the rats. It did this by impacting the way pain receptors in the rat’s body responded to the sensation of pain. In 2014 there was a review done of all research on animals regarding CBD and arthritis. The review of all animal research indicated that CBD may be helpful for those suffering from osteoarthritis.
This evidence seems to indicate that CBD can be effective in helping seniors relieve the pain they often experience from aching and inflamed joints.
Bone Strength Benefits For Seniors
As a person ages, their bone density will decrease naturally. If this problem is left unchecked, it can cause bone diseases and fractures, including osteoporosis. Some early evidence has suggested that CBD oil can benefit seniors by helping preserve healthy bones and heal those that are already damaged. Again, this varies from one person to another, but there is promising evidence.
Sleep Benefits For Seniors
Seniors, like many others, often experience issues with sleep. Often sleep issues that seniors may have are related to chronic pain. However, there is a large and growing number of seniors that face issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and stress. All these conditions can lead to reduced quality of sleep or difficulty falling asleep.
CBD can be very effective in helping you to fall asleep in several ways. The first is by reducing pain and inflammation that may be keeping you up at night. Another way it can help with sleep is through CBD’s anti-anxiety properties. CBD has a general calming effect which can be helpful for conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. This calming can often help those relax before bed, which makes it easier to fall asleep.
Finally, some types of CBD have properties that can help with sleep by helping you fall asleep. The hemp plant comes in two varieties, indica and sativa. CBD that is made from an indica plant has stronger anti-insomnia properties which can help someone who is having trouble sleeping fall asleep.
How Can Seniors Take CBD?
Now if you are searching for the benefits of CBD for seniors you are also probably wondering how you take it. There are many ways that it can be taken including in a tincture or oil form, gummies or edibles, topical creams, and smokable products.
When CBD oil is administered sublingually in an oil or tincture form, it is held under the tongue for up to 90 seconds so that the mucus membranes in the mouth can absorb the oil’s active ingredients. The benefit for seniors of consuming CBD oil sublingually is that the absorption process bypasses the digestive system and liver metabolization, allowing the compounds to reach your bloodstream and interact with the endocannabinoid system more quickly.
Another common way for seniors to benefit from CBD is to ingest it orally. When you ingest it, it passes through the digestive system and is metabolized by the liver, eventually sending its active compounds to your bloodstream. This form of administration is exactly how vitamins and other daily supplements are most typically taken. Common ingestible products include capsules, edibles, gummies, and beverages.
Some CBD products are designed to be applied directly onto the skin. The active ingredients in these topical products are absorbed through the skin so that they can interact with cells that are nearby the surface without ever entering the bloodstream. Topical CBD oil products are ideal for seniors looking to benefit from isolated pain relief or to address skin conditions because they can be applied directly to where they are needed most.
CBD can also be inhaled by vaporizing or through smokable hemp flower. A vaporizer heats CBD just enough to release its active compounds. During vaporization or smoking, it enters your lungs and diffuses directly into your bloodstream. Because it does not have to make its way through the digestive system or liver, the CBD enters your circulatory system faster. Also, less CBD is lost during vaporizing or smoking compared to the ingestion method.
Finding the right product is important for any senior that is looking to benefit from CBD. You want to get a product that has enough milligrams of CBD and is in a form that would benefit your condition the most. Equally as important is finding a reputable and reliable source for your CBD. A quality CBD store is important because unfortunately there are many companies and brands doing less than reputable things with CBD in the current marketplace. Finding the right CBD provider is going to help ensure that seniors get the relief they are looking for without having to turn to potentially harmful chemical-based medications.