Health Care for Seniors – Is CBD An Alternative Way

“The world’s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. According to a new report, “An Aging World: 2015” this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 17 percent of the world’s population by 2050 (1.6 billion) Mar 28, 2016.”

I think you will agree that’s a whopping number of seniors – and yes, I happen to be one of them.

Health Concerns

The main health care concern among the older population worldwide is non-communicable diseases.

Growing old without good health is no picnic and yet it is a situation that a lot of seniors face every day. We are plagued with illnesses, terminal diseases, chronic pain, etc., and every time we turn around, there is a new pill for this and a new pill for that.

We constantly worry about the high cost of drugs, the number we may have to take daily and how the drugs, which are there to help us, end up giving us more problems such as:

a man looking confused about medication

  • imbalance which can result in falls

  • confusion in thinking

  • radical mood changes

  • weight problems

  • depression

  • trouble sleeping

  • indigestion

  • low blood pressure

Quality of Life

Quality of life is “the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group – things that are needed for a good quality of life.”

The average life expectancy in Canada for men is 78.8 and for women 83.3; in the United States, the average life expectancy for men is 76.3, and for women 81.3. Do we really want to spend our Golden Years taking five or six different kinds of pills a day, oftentimes with severe side effects, and still not feel any better? Choosing quality of life vs living longer is an obvious decision.

The prolonged consumption of traditional pharmaceutical drugs can become addictive and pose a risk of kidney or liver damage, overdosing or mixing up the medication, and moments of forgetfulness.

An Alternative Way

“In the United States, seniors are the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis users, CBS News reports.” Canada, with its proposed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis could follow suit, however, it is worth noting here that the July 2018 date has been delayed. Just recently Canadian Health Minister Ginette Pettipas Taylor announced that even if the bill does pass in the Senate, the official launch will not occur in July but most likely sometime in August or September. (In 2001, medicinal marijuana was legalized in Canada, with Health Canada overseeing licensing and regulation.)

The Arthritis Society has dedicated $720,000 Canadian to cannabis research between 2015 and 2019. They have also asked the federal government to match that amount. The Arthritis Society says “We can’t do it alone: we need a systemic commitment from the federal government to prioritize medical cannabis research.”

an arthritic woman with a walker trying to sit down

In 2016, a three-year research grant was given to Dr. Mark Ware, McGill University, Montreal, to study the use of cannabis for fibromyalgia pain. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder with widespread musculoskeletal pain (in the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck, and back), fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas; it is the second most common condition affecting the bones and muscles. Patients with fibromyalgia can also experience insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Ware says, to date, there are no good treatment options and that drugs such as opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often ineffective and can have serious side effects.

It is Dr. Ware’s hope that they can identify if oral cannabinoids can offer relief in fibromyalgia patients and restore the quality of life.

Dr. Alan Bell, an assistant professor in the department of family and community at the University of Toronto, says that for older patients suffering from chronic pain, he tends to “use it ahead of opioids.” Using opioids is dangerous for seniors increasing the risk of falls and mental confusion as well as a dependency on the opioids.

Hilary Black is director of patient education and advocacy at Canopy Growth Corporation, which is the parent company of three of Canada’s largest licensed cannabis producers. She is committed to breaking down the barriers to access cannabis for all Canadian patients and has pioneered the first medical cannabis dispensary in B. C. Canada in 1997. Black also cautions that seniors need to be educated about the difference between THC and CBD and that the correct dosage is of extreme importance.

How CBD Can Benefit Seniors

A comment complaint of seniors is pain and not being able to sleep. Sometimes a topical cream applied at bedtime can provide some relief for the pain.

I turned to CBD oil. The pain in my hips was severe enough that I would toss through the night, trying to relieve the pain and getting very little sleep. I did not want to get dependent on prescription drugs and began using the CBD oil which definitely gave me the pain relief I sought as well as help me sleep better at night. To me, this was the most natural option without any side effects.

Many seniors are turning away from traditional pharmaceutical drugs and the side effects and replacing their medication with Medical Marijuana and CBD products. There are several reasons why these products could be beneficial to seniors such as:

an older woman in a nursing home

  • supports the management of stress and anxiety

  • aids in better mobility

  • promotes bone health

  • acts as an anti-inflammatory

  • promotes a sense of calm

After all, some of us are going to be around a lot of years; why not make the best of them in the most natural, comfortable way possible.

(Note, I did not provide any statistics or information on International countries due to the simple fact the laws are different for each country and cannabis may or may not be legal.)

(Disclaimer: Please be advised that this is not a medical endorsement on my part.)

FDA Disclosure

4 thoughts on “Health Care for Seniors – Is CBD An Alternative Way”

  1. Fascinating stuff, I never knew CBD oil was even a thing! This is an issue fairly close to my heart since I’m studying nutrition at university. I would also love to see better ways to deal with illnesses that doesn’t involve pills. From this article it, CBD oil sounds like a good middle ground between pills and cannabis (since obviously cannabis itself isn’t an option for most 😛 )

    Reply
    • Thank you Bryce for taking the time to check this out. Yes, CBD oil is generating lots of interest, not only with seniors who are tired of paying exorbitant prices but also with the side effects associated with them. CBD oil though is not just for seniors and can be used in the treatment of many ailments such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS). 

      I always like to see people looking at more alternatives. Congratulations on your chosen career choice in the nutrition field.

      Thank you again for your interest.

      Reply
  2. Super information.. I hope when you guys come in the fall you can have a nice long talk with Tom about all this as he continues to be skeptical. He’s tried one kind of oil with zero results and wont try anything else.

    Reply
    • Thanks Liza! We would love to talk to him. There are some products that aren’t as good quality as others. It could be any number of reasons – wrong dosage, poor quality, etc. We will arrive with loads of information for you :). Thanks for commenting!

      Reply

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