by MedMaven, Medically Reviewed by Dr. 12/2021
CBD is gaining popularity fast as a potential new supplement that may be able to support overall wellness in a variety of areas. But, CBD oil for seniors is on the rise as well, due to the senior-friendly potential of CBD. But, what is CBD oil, and what are people (and scientists) saying about its possibilities?
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol, often shortened to CBD, is a molecular compound and active ingredient found in cannabis sativa, derived from the hemp plant. In order to make CBD oil, CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and diluted via a carrier oil. CBD differs from another popularized cannabis ingredient (THC) in that it is not psychoactive. However, many have touted the supposed beneficial effects of CBD, including claims that it may help individuals sleep better, feel soothed, find relief from muscle pain, and more.
How Is CBD Senior-Friendly?
There are a variety of supposed reasons why CBD for seniors is something that should get all of our attention. Check out the top reasons why CBD might be senior-friendly.
Alternative for Prescription Medicines
As we age and our bodies start to need more help to function like they used to, health care providers typically prescribe pharmaceuticals for assistance. But, the major drawback is that the older population is continually being fed excessive amounts of prescription drugs that, with daily use and interactions with each other, can become dangerous and lead to harmful side effects, addictions, and risks for substance abuse. Naturally, many are looking for a way out of this seemingly endless pharmaceutical cycle; for many, that’s where CBD has come in.
CBD, in comparison to most prescription drugs, has been found to have far fewer side effects and negligible addictive traits (if any). While research is still being done to determine whether or not CBD has legitimate health benefits, many senior citizens are utilizing a daily dose of CBD as a natural alternative to their synthetic prescription medications.
Research shows that, as we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to sleep deeply for sustained periods. In fact, insomnia is especially common among seniors. For the elderly in particular, sleep (and it’s regenerative aspects) are important for preventing neurodegenerative diseases that are common among aging individuals. Rather than rely on prescribed sleeping pills that tend to lead to dependency and tolerance, many have turned to CBD for sleep.
One study actually found that individuals using CBD tinctures, which are concentrated, showed a major difference in sleep quality and duration. Because of research such as this, it’s not a surprise to hear that some seniors are trying out CBD oil for sleep. On top of the fact that many use CBD for soothing, pain relief, and anxiety relief, it’s even less surprising that seniors feel that using it will bring them into a calm enough state to get healthy sleep.
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With the onset of age, we’re confronted with a variety of issues; whether they be physical, social, or mental, days increasingly become a struggle. As a result, research has shown that seniors have a higher chance of developing mental illnesses, especially if they report feelings of disconnection, neglect, or isolation. But, rather than looking to conventional prescription drugs to soothe them, seniors are now looking to CBD.
While research is still new in this area, there have been studies showing that CBD may exhibit effects similar to anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. Research is mainly focussed on CBD’s effect on the endocannabinoid system, which is a collection of neuroreceptors in the brain and nervous system. By binding to these receptors, scientists have found that CBD may lead to chemical reactions that soothe the mind and promote feelings of ease.
Muscle Pain Relief
Chronic pain is one of the most common problems affecting seniors, with 75-85% suffering from it in the United States. For this reason, many are turning towards medications that are made to provide pain relief; but, those medications often lead to damaging side effects, including addiction. With chronic pain plaguing our nation’s elderly, many are turning to alternative solutions to the problem; and CBD is increasingly becoming the answer for a lot of people.
CBD oil for pain relief is one of the most popular alternative solutions, with research still being done to look into whether or not it’s an effective natural alternative to traditional pain medications. Studies have shown that, in regard to reducing inflammation and alleviating joint pain, CBD has displayed promise in promoting support. Currently, experts believe that CBD may affect pain due to its interaction with endocannabinoid receptors in our brains.
According to Mental Health America, 27% of seniors are suffering from severe anxiety that significantly impacts their functioning. Typically, anxiety is treated with prescription drugs. It goes without saying that anti-anxiety drugs are susceptible to side effects and addiction, similar to many other prescription drugs on the market. But, for seniors looking for a way to cut down on the number of pill bottles in their drug cabinets, many have decided that CBD may be what they’re looking for.
Increasingly often we’re seeing elderly individuals turning to CBD oil for anxiety due to new research and anecdotal evidence that leads them to the conclusion that it may be helpful. For example, one study found that a group with social anxiety saw a significant decrease in their symptoms after taking CBD. Another study used CBD as a treatment for both insomnia and anxiety in individuals suffering from PTSD, which is another mental disorder that disproportionately affects many seniors. Keeping all of this in mind, it makes sense that a large number of elderly individuals are looking to CBD for anxiety.
What Do the Research and Stats Say?
Throughout this article, we’ve cited a variety of studies and bodies of research that have taken deep dives into CBD, and it’s claimed health benefits. However, it’s important to keep in mind that CBD oil research is still extremely new, to the point where the FDA has not been able to verify any of the claims that many make regarding CBD’s supposed benefits. While CBD research brings us some promising conclusions, we’re not yet at a point where we can definitively say that CBD is a legitimate medication alternative for these health problems. But, what we do know is that CBD is a relatively safe and natural ingredient and that trying out CBD for elderly individuals may end up, resulting in support for their overall wellness.
CBD oil for older adults has skyrocketed in popularity due to many individuals touting its potential senior-friendly qualities. While research is still early, many feel that CBD has displayed possible positive effects on sleep, anxiety, depression, pain, and more, all while being a natural and non-addictive alternative to the heaps of prescription drugs that seniors usually take on a daily basis.