Cannabis is often viewed as a nefarious substance, and certainly hasn’t been part of mainstream conversation for several decades. But if all of these negative takes on the plant are true, then how has one component of cannabis become so popular with the most reserved demographic in society, senior citizens?
That component is cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical that doesn’t produce many of the side effects associated with cannabis, such as anxiety and paranoia, and in the long-term, memory loss and reduced motivation.
Butdoes contain many therapeutic benefits, and has all-encompassing medicinal value thanks to its effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These include pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, neuroprotective and bone-strengthening qualities. CBD is an antioxidant, so when applied to the skin, can also have potent anti-aging effects.
In this post, we will concentrate on how the ECS works and how CBD helps to regulate it, before looking at the specifics of how seniors can benefit from CBD products.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS)
The ECS has been perhaps the body’s best kept biological secret, remaining hidden in plain sight until the 1990s. The system was uncovered only due to the earlier discovery of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) a cannabinoid in cannabis with psychoactive properties.
The ECS can be found in the central and peripheral nervous systems, where it manages our physical and psychological wellbeing. In a healthy person, the ECS can regulate itself naturally, controlling pain levels, mood, appetite and enhancing immune system function.
But when the ECS falls out of balance, the responsibility lies on cannabinoids like CBD to supplement it. These compounds act either as plant-based replacements for endocannabinoids, or regulators of the overall system.
The anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD
Arthritis is an extremely painful condition, which is more prevalent among senior citizens than any other age group., whereas osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by long-term wear and tear to the joints, which causes pain due to cartilage breakdown and bone exposure.
However, the intrinsic connection between the ECS and the immune system means that CBD boasts unique anti-inflammatory qualities, that can be more effective than the likes of aspirin and piroxicam. CBD is also safer than addictive opioid drugs, which can be prescribed for arthritis and joint pain.
For RA, CBD is perhaps more effective when administered orally, as this helps the whole body, and remedies the symptoms of leaky gut, which may be causing overactivity in the immune system.
Taking CBD for general pain
The body deteriorates as we grow older, and what would have previously been manageable niggles can blow up into chronic, debilitating pain. However, CBD is a non-intoxicating alternative to cannabis for pain relief, and a less risky option to opioids.
Furthermore, with hemp-based CBD products available to buy without a prescription, senior citizens can easily experiment with CBD, and do so discreetly. In contrast, due to the age-old stigma surrounding cannabis, some may be afraid to ask about it when speaking with a doctor.
CBD can be used for pain relief as a single treatment, or combined with a painkiller. However, as CBD can affect how some drugs are metabolized, seniors should consult a medical expert before mixing them together.
CBD optimizes brain health
Cognitive decline is one of the biggest signals of old age, and losing control over one’s mental faculties can also be a very scary process. Encouragingly, neuroscience is now proving that people don’t have to sit and suffer with reduced cognitionand neurodegenerative diseases in their final years. This is because neurodegeneration is at least partially caused by structural changes to the brain, which can be treated with the appropriate compounds. The hippocampus is integral for cognition, and CBD protects this region of the brain by encouraging the growth of new brain cells. This may help to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay, and a Brazilian patient is currently receiving specialtreatment for the condition.
CBD promotes good brain health not just, but also by enhancing sleep quality. The brain does the majority of its healing when in a deep sleep state, as this is when beta-amyloid plaques and other neurotoxins can be removed by cerebrospinal fluid.
CBD’s anti-aging effects
Elderly citizensalso love the anti-aging properties of CBD. Infused creams and serums can help to slow the formation of wrinkles and crow’s feet, as well as deep lines. Nourishing the skin with CBD can also lead to a more vibrant complexion, giving the impression of youthfulness, even in seniority.