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What Is CBD and What Are the Benefits of CBD for Seniors?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound extracted from marijuana or hemp — but that doesn’t mean it will get you high. The active ingredient in marijuana is THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is what gives the plant an intoxicating effect.
In 2018, hemp-derived CBD was declared legal on a federal level. However, it is still illegal in a small handful of states, so check your local regulations before purchasing CBD products.
CBD is considered a supplement, which means it is not approved or regulated by the FDA. While there have not yet been enough long-term clinical studies to definitively prove CBD’s effectiveness, there is anecdotal support from CBD users, who claim that CBD may have helped with a wide range of afflictions, from anxiety and insomnia to chronic pain and inflammation.
These are all issues we commonly face as we age, and so it’s no surprise that seniors are curious about using CBD. In fact, a 2017 survey conducted by HelloMD and Brightfield Group showed that hemp-derived CBD users tend to be slightly older, falling into the ages of 50 to 64.
Under the guidance of a doctor, exploring CBD may be considered safe for seniors. According to Mikhail Kogan, M.D., medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine, cannabinoids are “safer than Tylenol or caffeine by tenfold. If you compare them to opiates, they're about 10,000 times safer.”
Can Seniors Use CBD?
Using CBD may help with several common problems that seniors face, from arthritis to difficulty sleeping. However, before you hop on the CBD train, there are a few things to consider.
First, talk to your doctor before incorporating any new supplement or pain relief method into your routine, including CBD. CBD may interact with your medications, so it is important to take CBD under the guidance of a physician.
If your doctor gives you the OK to try CBD, the next thing you’ll want to consider and discuss with your doctor is dosage. How much CBD should a senior take? Dr. Danial Schecter, family physician and the Director of Global Medical Services at Canopy Growth Corporate, recommends that seniors start with 2.5 milligrams of CBD and continue to increase in increments of 2.5 mg until reaching the desired response. 2.5mg is a low dose, which could allow seniors to test the waters and ensure that CBD is the right choice for them before taking a higher dose, but you should always listen to the dosage recommendations provided to you from your doctor.
Ways to Use CBD
CBD comes in a wide variety of forms, and depending on where you live, you may even be able to find it at your local grocery store. CBD can be either ingested or used topically, and each form has its pros and cons.
Edible forms of CBD include capsules, beverages, candies, baked goods and CBD oil. One upside of using oral forms of CBD is that it is usually easier to measure your dosage — the packaging will generally tell you how many milligrams of CBD there are per serving. However, some people feel the effects more quickly or slowly than others.
Topical CBD often comes in the form of creams, balms or lotions, though you may also find transdermal patches. Lotions and balms are designed to focus the pain-relieving effects of CBD on one area of the body, which is why many people use topical CBD in an effort to help with arthritis, inflammation and localized pain. However, topical treatments often contain higher concentrations of CBD to be effective, which means lotions and balms are generally more expensive than oral CBD.
A Few Words of Caution About CBD
CBD may have a few side effects. Side effects may include drowsiness, reduced appetite, dry mouth and diarrhea. As stated earlier, CBD may interact with medications, and should only be used under the guidance of your physician.
Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, it is important to purchase CBD products only from reputable brands. It’s best to do some research before you buy a CBD product to ensure its legitimacy.
Last but not least, if you live in a state where marijuana is legal, you may find CBD products that also contain THC, the component of marijuana that causes euphoria. Be careful not to purchase CBD that contains THC if you don’t want to experience an intoxicating effect.
Health & Wellness for Seniors
Explore more tips for physical and emotional wellbeing on the Brookdale blog. Got questions about senior living at Brookdale? Contact us today!
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