CBD Oil for the Elderly and Older Adults: Benefits & Uses

Illustration for CBD Oil for elderly
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: October 14, 2021

The Cannabis Sativa plant has at least 104 chemical compounds—also referred to as cannabinoids—of which cannabidiol (CBD) is a notable one. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD isn’t intoxicating as it does not give the highly stimulating feeling that cannabis is known for.

CBD has a wide range of properties that are being studied for their potential clinical benefits. Certain studies show that CBD could be helpful in a wide range of conditions, such as pain, inflammation, epilepsy, anorexia, schizophrenia, and more.

CBD oil is a liquid extract that’s usually derived from hemp. It is typically extracted with pressurized CO2 and then infused into carrier oils, such as MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or olive oil.

You can find CBD oil over the counter in many countries. Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in all 50 states and you don’t need a prescription to buy it.

Moreover, CBD oil can be useful in certain conditions affecting older people. As such, it’s essential to determine exactly how helpful it is in treating these conditions and how to use it to minimize side effects and other potential health risks.

What Are the Different Types of CBD Oil?

CBD oils have three main variants based on chemical composition. These variants are CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD oil, and broad-spectrum CBD oil.

CBD Isolate

This is the purest form of CBD, having no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content or other hemp compounds. The isolate is usually found in a crystal or powder form of CBD and is cheaper than the other variants.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids that occur in the cannabis plant — also known as whole-plant CBD — including trace amounts of THC. Full-spectrum CBD has been shown to have more medicinal benefits than the other variants as it evokes the entourage effect — a mechanism where all cannabis compounds work together in synergy to amplify each other’s effects.

Broad Spectrum CBD

The broad-spectrum CBD also has all the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant but doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol. This variant is not as easily obtainable as the other versions, although the extraction process is similar to the other two.

How Effective Is CBD Oil?

Hand Holding CBD Oil Bottle Hemp Leaf with Stethoscope

In our bodies, the endocannabinoid system works to promote and maintain homeostasis — a state where everything functions optimally. It works irrespective of our external environment so that changes or fluctuations do not affect our normal body balance.

When that balance is breached, perhaps due to a sickness or injury, CBD oil helps the endocannabinoid system adjust so that it can resolve the problem faster and more optimally. CBD oil achieves this by slowing down the breakdown of endocannabinoids already present in the body.

This allows the body to use them longer and regulate balance more efficiently in all other systems throughout the body.

How Safe Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil has shown itself as a rising and promising treatment for older people.

It provides an alternative for older adults who are prescribed medical marijuana by their doctors. Medical marijuana is legal in some states, but some older people would prefer not to experience the buzz when taking their medicine.

CBD does not intoxicate or produce a feeling of euphoria when used; however, this is also dependent on the THC content.

CBD is usually tolerated by most people with very few side effects. A consultation with a holistic doctor experienced in CBD use will help you get a bigger picture of the pros and cons of your treatment.

Speaking of which…

What Are the Health Benefits of CBD Oil for Seniors?

There are several health benefits of CBD oil. Although research is still in development, certain studies show that CBD might become an alternative treatment option for seniors with different health conditions, such as:

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the major causes of disability in the United States.

Recent reports from the Arthritis Foundation have shown that two of the most common types of arthritis — rheumatoid and osteoarthritis — may be successfully managed with the use of CBD.

Further research has also shown that CBD helped in reducing pain, improving sleep, and reducing anxiety among arthritis patients.

Although not many clinical studies have been conducted, the arthritis foundation has urged the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to regulate the use of CBD products.

2. Chronic Pain

CBD can be used for pain management too. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing joint pain associated with arthritis (1).

Its antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective properties have made CBD a reliable option for many.

It can be used for health conditions such as lupus, nausea, post-traumatic stress, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, and even neuropathic pain.

3. Anxiety Disorders

Studies have confirmed that CBD may be an alternative solution for anxiety. A study carried out by the national institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that CBD helped in reducing stress in animals.

CBD has also been recommended for people with post-traumatic stress disorders and it can also be used to treat insomnia caused by anxiety.

On top of that, CBD can help with the following conditions:

  • Migraine
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorder
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Nausea
  • Lung conditions
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

 Things to Consider Before Buying CBD Oil

CBD Oil and Hemp Leaf in the Trolley

You should consider certain factors such as safety, transparency of your vendor, and the product’s quality to avoid common mistakes when buying CBD Oil.

Here are a few important things to look for:

  • Certificates of Analysis (COA): this is the document that confirms the product’s chemical profile and the lack of contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and mycotoxins.
  • The company’s reputation can be determined based on reviews, warning letters from the FDA, health claims made by the company (if it is unsubstantiated or not), and its certification status.
  • MCT oil helps improve CBD’s absorption because CBD and other cannabinoids are fat-soluble.

In some countries, CBD oil is classified as a nutritional supplement rather than a drug. This makes it harder to know if it contains the exact quantities of cannabidiol, as regulation may be a bit lax.

 Is CBD Oil Safe?

Although CBD oil can improve the quality of life of the elderly, it also comes with some benign side effects. Some of the risks associated with CBD oil include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue and Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight fluctuation

In addition to these side effects, there’s also a risk of CBD-drug interactions. Some medications come with a “grapefruit warning”. These are drugs that interact with even small quantities of grapefruit, affecting the enzymes that break down these drugs. CBD also affects these enzymes and, as such, should not be taken alongside these medications due to possible complications.

Drugs that shouldn’t be taken with CBD include:

  • Cholesterol medications (Statins)
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Heart rhythm medications
  • Anti-infection medications
  • Mood medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Pain medications
  • Erectile dysfunction and prostate medications
  • Organ transplant rejection medications
  • Crohn’s disease medications

Key Takeaways on the Benefits of CBD Oil for the Elderly 

Old age comes with its own quirks as well. Lots of health conditions have been more prevalent among the older population. CBD has shown itself as a natural and safe alternative to pharmaceutical medications when it comes to addressing the problems linked to aging.

A good number of studies, surveys and other scientific evidence show that CBD does help in the treatment of conditions associated with seniors, such as pain, inflammation, arthritis, and even sleep disorders, and neurodegenerative conditions.

That said, it’s important you speak with your physician and do some research before you try any CBD oil product.

Do we have any seniors among our readers? Give us a shout in the comment section and tell us how CBD has improved your quality of life!

References

  1. Zuardi AW. Cannabidiol: from an inactive cannabinoid to a drug with a wide spectrum of action. Rev Bras Psiquiatr. (2008).
  2. Campos AC, Moreira FA, Gomes FV, Del Bel EA, Guimarães FS. Multiple mechanisms are involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. (2012).
  3. Martin-Santos R, Crippa JA, Batalla A, Bhattacharyya S, Atakan Z, Borgwardt S, et al. Acute effects of a single, oral dose of d9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)administration in healthy volunteers. Curr Pharm Des. (2012).
  4. Schier A. R., Ribeiro N. P., Silva A. C., Hallak J. E., Crippa J. A., Nardi A., E., et al. . Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Rev Bras Psiquiatr. (2012).
  5. Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent.Curr Drug Saf. (2011).

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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