Does CBD as Preventive Self-Care Make Sense For Seniors?

older woman talking to doctor

By John Wood

Seniors are the most medicated group in the United States. Because they are more susceptible to chronic health conditions, people 65 and older account for 34% of all prescription medication use, even though they comprise only 12% of the population, according to the American Public Health Association.

It’s not an enormous surprise. The older we get, the more our bodies “break down” and the more likely we are to rely on traditional methods to help us cope with our aches, pains and other maladies. It’s why many seniors — who are the group that potentially will derive the most benefit from it — are turning to CBD as a natural component of their preventive self-care strategy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “no public health problems… have been associated with the use of pure CBD.” Plus, known side effects from CBD use, such as dry mouth and drowsiness, are relatively minor.

Here are five ways CBD can play a role in your preventive medicine strategy and perform an important role in improving the quality of life in your golden years. CBD is thought to contribute to:

  1. Pain management – A National Institutes of Health-funded study found that 53% of seniors had, in the last month, experienced bothersome discomfort (with 75% saying they had pain in more than one location). Here’s why CBD could potentially play a role in easing aches and soreness in seniors. A 2009 study titled “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs” concluded that “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory response and subsequently attenuate disease symptoms.” A 2016 study by the European Journal of Pain concluded that topical CBD application may have therapeutic potential for relief of pain‐related behaviors and inflammation “without evident side effects.” Cytokines are small proteins released by the immune system to coordinate our body’s response to infection by triggering inflammation. However, sometimes excess cytokines are produced (which is referred to as a “cytokine storm”), resulting in hyper-inflammation (which can harm or even kill you). A 2018 study by The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics confirms that CBD and other cannabinoids help regulate the release of cytokines that can inflame allergic responses.
  2. Healthy joints – Falls are the leading cause of death for people 65 and older. Every year more than 30% of U.S. seniors fall. As we age, our bones lose mass and density. The data from a preclinical study found that “CBD leads to improvement in fracture healing.” Another study done by Tel Aviv University revealed that the “non-psychotropic compound in marijuana can help heal bone fissures.” Dr. Yankel Gabet, one of the researcher leaders, is quoted as saying, “We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue. After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future."
  3. A healthy, restful sleep – A reported 46% of seniors have trouble falling asleep, according to a national poll by Healthy Aging. One reason for this is because, as our body ages, it makes less of the chemicals and hormones that promote healthy sleep. It’s harmful because our body flushes out toxins and rejuvenates itself during sleep. A 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal found that in the first month, 66% of the study participants experienced an improved sleep score but, over time, their sleep scores fluctuated. It’s important to note that, in addition to 25 mg of premium CBD oil in each tablet, our Zebra CBD Sleep Support Tablets also comprise ingredients that are known sleep inducers, such as chamomile extract — a mild sleep aid commonly used to “calm nerves and reduce anxiety, nightmares, insomnia and other problems,” according to a report by the U.S. National Library of Medicine; extract of valerian root, a medicinal root (known as nature’s Valium) that’s been used to improve the quality of sleep since ancient times; melatonin, a naturally occurring human hormone and popular supplement known for resolving sleep issues by regulating your body’s sleep/wake cycles; and L-theanine, an amino acid present in green tea leaves that promotes a sense of calm and decreased alertness.
  4. A healthy heart — In older adults, heart disease is the number one cause of death. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure (often known as “the silent killer”) can cause serious problems with not only your heart but your brain and kidneys. A 2015 study published by The American Society of Clinical Investigation found that “a single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers.” Another study published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website revealed that CBD antioxidant properties may help reduce cardiac inflammation and deter cell death caused by oxidative stress.
  5. Enhanced skin care – Good blood circulation improves the health of your cells and reduces skin discoloration. CBD has been shown to improve blood circulation. A June 2017 study published by the Journal of Clinical Investigations found that “CBD is a vasodilator, which means it makes your arteries and blood vessels wider, allowing for greater blood flow with less pressure.” CBD is also thought to destroy free radicals, defined as “toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living tissues in a process called ‘oxidative stress.’ ” Free radicals also damage DNA and protein cross-linking, which over time cause accelerated aging. Research has shown that CBD helps ease the damaging effects of free radicals. Plus, CBD may increase collagen production. Collagen, the most abundant protein in your body, promotes vibrant skin. Research has shown that CBD may aid with the production of collagen, which may help lessen the visible signs of aging skin, such as wrinkles, skin dullness and ruddy skin tone.

While more research is needed into the health benefits of CBD, all signs indicate that making this safe and natural compound part of a preventive medicine strategy shows wisdom befitting your golden years.

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