CBD may help older adults with bone health, chronic pain, sleep, and more.

4 Powerful Ways CBD Can Help People 65 and Over

By Kristi Pahr

Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in the cannabis plant, has been all the rage among Millennials and younger adults for the last few years, but older adults shouldn’t discount it as a trend just for younger folks. Research shows that CBD has an excellent therapeutic potential not only for the under-65 crowd but for older adults as well. Due to its low-to-no side effect profile, lack of psychoactive effect, and ease of access, CBD is gaining ground among older adults looking for safe, effective ways to improve their health. Let’s take a look at some of the ways CBD can be beneficial to this group of people.  

4 Ways CBD Can Help People 65+

CBD may be effective in slowing bone loss by regulating a type of cell that destroys bone tissue, the osteoclast.

1. Bone Health

As we age, our bones can undergo a loss of mineralization and become brittle — a condition known as osteoporosis. Healthy bone tissue resembles a honeycomb with many closely spaced pockets. Osteoporosis, which means porous bone, causes that honeycomb structure to widen, the holes to increase in size, and ultimately, results in a decrease in the structural integrity of bone, making fractures much more likely.

CBD may be effective in slowing bone loss by regulating a type of cell that destroys bone tissue, the osteoclast. CBD also promotes the production of osteoblasts, the cell responsible for bone growth. So not only does CBD slow bone degradation, it promotes the production of healthy, new bone tissue.

2. Chronic Pain Relief

Whether it’s an aching back, a trick knee, or sore hands and wrists, approximately 50% of those over 65 live with arthritis. By targeting many different receptors throughout the body, CBD attacks pain on multiple fronts and provides relief for those who live with chronic pain. Unlike conventional pain relievers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and acetaminophen and narcotic pain relievers like opioids, CBD is virtually side-effect free and has zero potential for addiction.

3. Mental Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 20% of Americans over 55 live with some sort of mental health condition, most commonly depression or anxiety. While depression and anxiety are not considered normal parts of aging, they can be triggered by many things experienced by older adults — the death of a loved one, retirement, chronic illness, and isolation.

CBD may be an effective tool for the management of anxiety and lessening the effects of stress, one of the major contributors to depression. Traditional interventions for common mental health conditions can result in unwanted side effects and can also be habit-forming, as in the case with some popular anti-anxiety medications. CBD is non-habit-forming and has a zero-to-low side effect profile, making it a welcome alternative to conventional mental health pharmaceuticals.

4. Sleep Issues

As we age, it’s not unusual for our sleep patterns to change due to disruptions to a kind of internal body clock called the circadian rhythm. These disruptions can lead to sleeplessness and less restful sleep. Also, less melatonin is secreted in older adults, which has a negative effect on sleep.

Research from several studies found that regular CBD use increased sleep duration and improved overall sleep quality. As with pain management, CBD could provide a safe, non-habit forming solution to sleep disturbances in older adults.

While research into CBD's benefits is increasing every day, what we know shows that it is a safe and effective modality for many health and wellness concerns common in older adults. As with any new addition to your health and wellness regimen, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting CBD.

References: 

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Kristi Pahr is a freelance health and wellness writer and mother of two who spends most of her time caring for people other than herself. She is frequently exhausted and compensates with an intense caffeine addiction. Her work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, Men’s Health, and many others.

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