Updated: Jan 4
CBD, or cannabidiol, which comes in a wide variety of forms, is used by 9% of seniors according to a recent Gallup poll. Its growing popularity is featured in targeted senior living ads, resources and senior focused products. CBD will not get you high despite being closely related in structure and chemistry to THC, the euphoric- inducing ingredient found in marijuana.
CBD formulas must contain less than 3% THC to be legal according to recent legislation.
What is CBD?
It is a molecule that can be harvested from either the hemp plant or any of the cannabis plants and has non-euphoric systemic and local effects. While many mechanisms of action have been proposed, scientists are still not sure as to how it works. It can work in isolation as pure CBD or synergistically with other compounds that come with it in the plant such as terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids. CBD is available in medication form for specific types of seizures.
Why CBD for Seniors?
While it is important to know that CBD in its non-drug form is not indicative for treatment of any disease or diagnosis, it has been shown in animal and small clinical trials to be effective for the very ailments many seniors suffer from such as insomnia, arthritis, inflammation, anxiety, aches and pains and other maladies.
Why Seniors Should be Informed
Because CBD is being sold on the fringes of federal oversight, there are many precautionary steps seniors should think about. First, the product should have a label on it that identifies all the contents in it and secondly a third-party lab should have tested it to guarantee truthfulness in identity.
A series of quality assurance tests showed that up to 70% of products can be contaminated with heavy metals or pollutants, hence the need for product labeling.
Seniors and Polypharmacy
Polypharmacy or the use of 5 or more medications in a day is a health crisis for the senior population. Polypharmacy may cause lower quality of life and an overexpression of symptoms not to mention adverse drug interactions. Taking too many meds increases your chances of dementia symptoms.
CBD is replacing this polypharmacy dilemma as elderly replace their Tylenols, pain pills, sleep aids and tranquilizers for CBD, which many say work despite a lack of large clinical trials. Coordination with the health care team will help CBD work with or instead of medications already being prescribed.
CBD and Safety
The World Health Organization has given CBD a stamp of approval for safety concerns stating it has a good safety profile and there is no chance of addiction. Side-effects are limited to lightheadedness, drowsiness, and paradoxically, increased alertness. Since some of these side-effects may increase the risk for falls, extra care should be taken with dose titration.
Be informed, be aware and make wise choices!
For more details on CBD, see Kathy’s blog, The ABC’s of CBD