CBD for Seniors: How it Works and What You Can Do

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant that comes with many health benefits.

Uses for CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) has been known to help with anxiety, PTSD, arthritis, pain, inflammation, heart health, high blood pressure, cancer treatment side effects, and Alzheimer’s. In addition, it can provide relief for multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy, stress, acne, sleep problems, and more. The primary uses of CBD are for cell repair and reducing inflammation. 

Arthritis is a top concern for seniors, with 49.6% of seniors suffering from arthritis. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have made it popular with seniors seeking relief from arthritis.

Side effects of CBD are mild and rare but can include diarrhea, fatigue, changes in appetite, or changes in weight. 

Many Americans are beginning to incorporate it into their wellness routines, including 20% of seniors who suffer from many of the ailments CBD can relieve. A recent study from Remedy Review found that 51% of seniors who have tried CBD oil have experienced an improved quality of life.

Why seniors use CBD

Nearly one in five Americans now use CBD to treat one or more conditions. CBD can be consumed in many ways, including orally ingesting CBD oil, eating a CBD edible, taking a CBD capsule, or even rubbing topical CBD cream onto the skin. The best method and dosage for each person will vary depending on age, metabolism, current medications, physical activity level, and other health factors. 

Seniors have reported using CBD for the following health conditions:

  • 42% for inflammation
  • 40.9% for chronic pain
  • 38.6% for insomnia
  • 31.8% for arthritis

The results were astounding: 61.1% reported a reduction in pain, and 45.6% reported improved sleep quality. These study participants also reported reduced stress and anxiety, elevated moods, and higher energy levels. 

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7 other benefits of CBD

Last year, the Harvard Medical School posted a blog that pointed to numerous studies indicating that CBD oil is effective in stopping and reducing the frequency of seizures. Here are other benefits of using CBD. 

  1. Pain management. Nearly half of all seniors have arthritis, and 75-85% suffer from chronic pain. Studies have shown that CBD has few to no adverse side effects, and it manages pain more effectively than NSAIDs.  
  2. Cellular health. CBD promotes energy by strengthening cells and contributing to cellular regeneration. It is also an antioxidant that fights against free radicals more effectively than Vitamins C and E.
  3. Quality of sleep. Many seniors turn to sleep medications when they have trouble falling asleep. However, these can interfere with current medications, become habit-forming, and lead to a hungover feeling the next day. CBD can calm the mind enough for you to fall asleep and avoid taking strong prescription drugs. 
  4. Combat addiction. The country is currently facing an opioid crisis, and Americans aged 65 and older are not immune. CBD has been shown to help combat addiction
  5. Improve heart health. Heart disease is the most common health condition among older adults, according to the American College of Cardiology. High blood pressure can lead to heart conditions, but a 2017 study found that CBD oil reduced resting blood pressure in 100 men. 
  6. Deter neurodegenerative diseases. Because of the way it reacts to the brain and the central nervous system, experts believe CBD could be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. 
  7. Mood disorders. Everyone has mood swings, but seniors are subject to drastic shifts in mood due to things like declining health, disability, boredom, or the loss of a loved one. CBD can help regulate serotonin and alleviate stress, calm the mind, and improve cognition. 

Does Medicare cover CBD?

Unfortunately, Medicare will not cover CBD or CBD oil. Since CBD that derives from marijuana plants is not legal in all states (CBD from hemp plants is), it is not FDA-approved and thus Medicare cannot cover it. You can still order it online or purchase out-of-pocket at pharmacies, grocery stores, or dispensaries if they are available in your area.

There are some types of CBD-derived drugs, for example, Epidiolex for seizures, that are approved by the FDA and covered by Medicare.

Important notes

  • CBD will not get you “high.” It is separate from the part of the cannabis plant that has a psychoactive effect (THC). 
  • CBD can be safer than many prescription or over-the-counter drugs, some of which can be habit-forming, cause adverse side effects, and damage the liver over time. 
  • Never stop taking one of your prescription medications because you think CBD will be more effective in treating your condition. 
  • Always check with your doctor before beginning any new medication regimen.

What to know before taking CBD

Talk with your healthcare provider about whether CBD might be right for you, and always take CBD under the supervision of your primary care doctor. There are many options for how to take CBD, and you may be able to find a means and a dosage that works for you. 

When purchasing CBD, make sure that the product actually contains cannabidiol and not just hemp seed oil, hemp seeds, or Cannabis sativa seed oil. These products do not contain the main ingredient that can help with pain and other ailments. 

It’s better to use CBD that’s derived from organic hemp, and lab-tested to make sure it doesn’t contain contaminants. 

Be sure to check with your doctor before taking CBD oil, as it can interfere with certain drugs. Drugs that come with a grapefruit warning cannot usually be taken with CBD.

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