CBD is an increasingly popular wellness remedy for conditions ranging from pain to sore muscles and sleeplessness. The use of this hemp-derived substance is on the rise across every demographic. Yet, seniors are often left out of the conversation and unaware if CBD is safe or effective for their bodies.
Studies have determined CBD is, in fact, safe for consumption, but at the moment, it’s only FDA-approved to treat epilepsy. Without more input from the FDA, you may be wondering if CBD is safe to supplement into your diet, how it makes you feel, and how it can help you lead a healthier life. We want to empower you to feel comfortable taking CBD so you can experience the benefits for yourself.
Here we review CBD oil facts, safety information, usage tips, and wellness benefits for seniors.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Seniors?
The CDC reports that over 78% of people over 55 and 85% of people over 65 live with at least one chronic condition. While some of these conditions, like lack of appetite or sleeplessness, are mild, others directly affect the quality of your day-to-day life, like Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Even the healthiest older adults may deal with chronic pain, loss of mobility, and bone health degradation.
Emerging studies show that CBD can effectively treat various conditions, from chronic pain and lack of sleep to managing symptoms of diseases like Parkinson’s. Plus, research indicates it’s safe for older adults to use.
A 2017 review of existing CBD studies found that CBD is safe for the general population, including seniors.
Here are a few facts about CBD:
- Has a low toxicity level
- Cannot get you high
- Can replace certain prescription medications
The proven health benefits of CBD make it a great option to add to your well-rounded wellness plan.
Now that I know it’s Safe...What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is a non-intoxicating compound and is one of over 200 cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis plants. Unlike THC, CBD absolutely can not get you high. In fact, CBD has a totally different effect on the body than THC. Rather than producing an intoxicating feeling, CBD promotes feelings of relaxation, pain relief, calmness, and more.
How Does CBD Work in the Body?
CBD is a cannabinoid like THC, and cannabinoids impact your body by working with your endocannabinoid system (ECS, for short.) The ECS has receptors on every organ in the body, and it works to maintain homeostasis, keeping you healthier and more active. We know which receptors THC binds with, but CBD isn’t as straightforward. CBD doesn’t bind to the primary ECS receptors, which means it likely binds with a receptor we haven’t identified yet. That said, CBD does interact with the ECS as an antagonist, which explains why it acts very differently than THC. In fact, CBD can actually counter the intoxicating feelings of THC and mitigate its adverse side effects like paranoia and increased heart rate.
To learn more about CBD, visit our overview on the positive and negative effects of CBD.
Potential Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD oil has a number of potential benefits for seniors, including:
- Pain management: CBD oil can help to reduce pain and inflammation, which can be beneficial for seniors who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and fibromyalgia.
- Sleep improvement: CBD oil can help to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, which can be beneficial for seniors who have trouble sleeping.
- Anxiety and stress reduction: CBD oil can help to reduce anxiety and stress, which can be beneficial for seniors who are dealing with anxiety disorders, depression, or other mental health conditions.
- Neuroprotection: CBD oil may help to protect the brain from age-related decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
- Reduces Chronic Pain Levels: A 2020 study found that CBD can work well for chronic pain that is not relieved or addressed by current treatment methods, including pain caused by multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis.
- Reduces Inflammation: This 2020 study on the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD found that it can help modulate oxidative stress, reducing inflammation throughout the body.
- Improves Sleep: A 2020 review of research found that CBD can manipulate sleep patterns to enhance quality, duration, and restfulness. The authors also noted that CBD could improve the quality of REM sleep in people with diagnosed sleep disorders.
- Stimulates Appetite: While CBD lacks the “munchies” quality of THC, increased appetite is one of the most common side effects reported in clinical CBD trials. A 2015 study of children with epilepsy found 30% of patients reported an increase in appetite after use.
- Replaces Prescription Medications: A 2017 study of 2,774 people found that nearly half of them successfully replaced prescriptions using cannabis-based products, including CBD. The most common drugs were antidepressants, opioids, and benzodiazepines. The authors noted elderly patients might especially benefit from CBD.
- Lowers Anxiety and Depression Levels: A 2015 research review concluded that CBD is proven to reduce anxiety behaviors in multiple disorders with minimal side effects and has an excellent safety profile. A 2014 study showed CBD’s effects on reducing depression levels and noted depression is often linked with anxiety.
- Boosts Immune System: This 2020 review of existing research concluded that CBD could control immune responses to cytokines, chemokines, and regulatory cell induction.
- Keeps Bones Healthy: A 2015 study found that administration of CBD has a significant impact on helping heal bone fractures after just eight weeks.
Slows Neurodegenerative Progression:
- Alzheimer’s: A 2019 study conducted in Korea found that CBD may help treat and prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. The authors noted using CBD and THC together may be even more effective.
- Dementia: A 2019 review found that cannabis can help treat the neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with dementia, such as agitation, irritability, aberrant motor behavior, nocturnal behavior disorders, and aberrant vocalization.
- Parkinson’s: A 2020 review of three studies found that CBD reduced psychotic symptoms of Parkinson’s with no influence on cognition and motor skills, reduced the recurrence of the sleep disorder RBD, and improved the overall quality of life for patients.
Best of all, CBD is non-addictive and has a low toxicity level. There are no recorded overdoses on CBD, and it is considered safe for use by the general population.
**Disclaimer: It’s important to note that this research is promising, but FDA-approved clinical trials are required to prove CBD’s efficacy for treating these ailments
What to Consider When Buying and Taking CBD
CBD has many health benefits when used correctly, but not all CBD products are created equally. Some products on the market contain less CBD than advertised or have toxic additives like chemicals and pesticides.
Here are some best practices that can help ensure you get the most out of your CBD experience:
- CBD products come in many forms, from pills, capsules, and lotions to edibles, oils, and tinctures. When starting, we recommend using a CBD tincture or oil. The oil gives you a controlled dosage with some of the highest bioavailability, meaning more CBD gets absorbed into your bloodstream, delivering more benefits to you.
- To properly consume CBD oil, squeeze the top of the dropper to fill it with the dosage you’re looking for and place the dropper under the tongue. Allow the oil to sit in the mouth for at least a minute before swallowing. This is called sublingual dosing, which helps the CBD absorb into your system.
- Start with a low dose and go slow, but don’t be afraid to experiment with dosages. How you interact with CBD depends on various factors, and some people simply need larger doses than others. Human trials typically start with dosages of 20 – 25 mg of CBD before increasing. But you may want to start with a lower dose of 5-10 mg. Once you get started, give yourself a few days to feel the full effects before considering increasing the amount.
- Take CBD oil daily for maximum effect. Start with a low dose and be consistent. Allow 15 to 45 minutes after dosing to feel the effects. CBD builds up in your system, and it may take between 3 and 7 days to start feeling improvements
- Look for full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD.
Full-spectrum means that the oil contains additional compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant extracts, including trace amounts of THC (not enough to make you high). Broad-spectrum oils include everything except THC.
Experts recommend trying full-spectrum and broad-spectrum oils because they allow you to experience maximum wellness benefits from the whole plant–as opposed to CBD alone. When CBD works in tandem with other cannabinoids and terpenes, it produces the entourage effect. Under the entourage effect, the many compounds in the cannabis plant work together to create a more complex and enjoyable experience than any singular compound can provide alone.
- Research the CBD brand before you buy. Product quality can vary significantly because the FDA does not regulate CBD edibles or supplements (yet.) Some CBD products don’t contain the amount of CBD advertised, or worse, they contain pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals. Always buy your CBD from a trusted provider- not a local gas station or video rental store. And make sure you ask to see a Certificate of Analysis (COA) to verify the safety and quality of the product.
When using CBD, a little bit of research goes a long way. We want you to have the best experience possible, which is why Medical Mike’s only uses organic, NY-sourced hemp plants. By working with trusted NY hemp farmers, we prevent pesticide residue and guarantee the highest quality hemp extracts.
We also test every hemp extract oil and salve with a third-party laboratory to confirm safety. Additionally, we’ve created full spectrum products specifically designed for use in the morning, daytime, and nighttime, so you always have the most efficient remedy at your fingertips.
Potential Risks of CBD Oil
CBD oil is considered safe for consumption by all ages, including seniors, and has a low toxicity level, meaning no recorded overdoses. However, that doesn’t mean CBD is without any side effects. Everyone is different, and how you react to CBD is based on a variety of unique factors.
Side effects of CBD in seniors can include:
- Change in appetite
- Dry mouth
- Drowsiness or increased sleepiness
- Increased liver function
- Orthostatic hypotension
Rarely, CBD can also interfere with certain medications. CBD is known to interact with your body in the same way as grapefruit juice, so if your medications advise you not to consume grapefruit juice, do not take CBD. Always consult your doctor or a medical professional familiar with your prescriptions before adding CBD as part of your daily regimen.
The Bottom-line – Is CBD Good for Seniors?
More FDA-backed research is needed to say definitively, but multiple studies have shown that CBD is safe for general use, including in seniors and older adults. It can provide relief for common symptoms of aging and address the root causes of problems like chronic pain, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, and more.
For seniors dealing with chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and arthritis, CBD can help treat common symptoms like inflammation, sleep quality, and overall quality of life.
Research has shown CBD can replace prescription medications for seniors dealing with anxiety and depression, mobility issues, poor sleep quality, and chronic pain. CBD can potentially treat the root causes of these issues and act as a complementary substance to any wellness plan.
When starting your CBD journey, remember to start low and go slow. Plus, always talk with your doctor before consuming CBD, particularly if you’re on other medications.
Shop our CBD products when you’re ready to get started. 👌