Aging is inevitable, but the comfort of a healthy life shouldn’t be! Seniors, like my grandmother Virginia, are tired of taking a cocktail of prescriptions to get them through the day. Virginia’s AM pill case has 6 different prescriptions, and her PM case has 9. Most days she complains of the side effects from her medications, and even though her ailments are being treated, she knows there has to be a better alternative. Pain affects many different aspects of your life including: mood, memory, relationships, sleep, motivation, and overall quality of life. Making sure my Grandmother’s day-to-day life is comfortable & easy is at the top of my families’ priorities. We have found that introducing CBD into her daily routine has made it easier when we are not able to be there in person as there is no fear of overdosing.
There are over 46 million American citizens age 65 or older, making this the population needing relief greater than ever. The number of people age 60 years and over is expected to double by 2025 worldwide and by 2050 in the United States (Abuhusira et al., 2018). This means that education on alternative options is extremely valuable when considering the future of our healthcare system. Chronic pain affects over 100 million Americans, and costs an estimated $635 billion dollars per year in the United States alone. However, treating chronic pain is difficult, and many pharmacologic options only work in a subset of patients owing to inadequate pain relief or side effects that preclude use (Boehnke et al., 2019).
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of the naturally occurring, non-psychoactive components found in both the Hemp and Cannabis plants. This compound not only provides astonishing antioxidant support, but also brings the body to homeostasis, or balance. CBD is particularly suited for seniors because there is no psychoactive component! This means absolutely no dizziness, nausea, euphoria, confusion, or disorientation will occur with the use of CBD products! These events are particularly important in the elderly population, which may suffer from conditions such as dementia, frequent falls, mobility problems, and hearing or vision impairments. CBD has been known to alleviate the symptoms of many conditions including, but not limited to: autoimmune disease, inflammation, neuropathic pain, energy regulation, anxiety, depression, and even cancer.
Modern understanding of the clinical effects of cannabis and cannabinoids in the treatment of pain is evolving. The two main phytocannabinoids are Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the main cannabinoid of the Cannabis plant which gives users the medicinal ‘high’. Humans naturally have an endocannabinoid system which helps regulate the endocrine system and energy functions on a daily basis. The endocannabinoid system is comprised of endogenous cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors including CB1 receptors located primarily in the brain and peripheral tissue, and CB2 receptors in the immune and hematopoietic systems. (Halawa, Furnish, & Wallace, 2018). When CBD is released into the body, the endocannabinoid system is stimulated; relieving pain, soothing anxiety, and balancing out your body where YOU need it!
Living in 2019 means that there are a variety of advanced products on the market, especially when it comes to CBD. When deciding what products to try, think about your preferences and daily lifestyle. Ingesting CBD can be dosed in forms of tincture oils (sublingual), capsules, or edibles. CBD can also be found in a topical form; which is great for specific areas of the body that need attention. Vaping is another great on-the-go dose because the onset is much quicker by being inhaled straight to the brain. When it comes to picking out the right product, I suggest going with what you feel comfortable with first, and expanding your choices as your confidence strengthens.
At first, my grandmother Virginia replaced her AM and PM ibuprofen with the 25mg CBD capsules in her pill case. After about a week we went over how she was feeling, and adjusted the dosage as needed. For the arthritis in her hands, she massages a topical CBD cream as needed into her joints for extra comfort. By introducing Cannabidiol to her daily regimen, Virginia has been able to wean off unnecessary prescriptions that have held her back in the past; living a clearer, more comfortable life every day. Aging can’t be reversed, but it can be managed one day at a time.
“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.”
Abuhasira, R., Schleider, L. B., Mechoulam, R., & Novack, V. (2018). Epidemiological characteristics, safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in the elderly. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 49, 44-50. doi:10.1016/j.ejim.2018.01.019
Boehnke, K. F., Scott, J. R., Litinas, E., Sisley, S., Williams, D. A., & Clauw, D. J. (2019). Pills to Pot: Observational Analyses of Cannabis Substitution Among Medical Cannabis Users With Chronic Pain. The Journal of Pain. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2019.01.010
Halawa, O. I., Furnish, T. J., & Wallace, M. S. (2018). Role of Cannabinoids in Pain Management. Essentials of Pain Medicine. doi:10.1016/b978-0-323-40196-8.00056-5