How Cannabis Can Improve Life For The Elderly
Cannabis substitutes prescription drugs. THC and CBD vapor, oil, smoke help seniors with appetite, insomnia, pain, inflammations, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, depression, and other age-related pathologies.
Day after day, cannabis and its medical extracts are proving the world to be more effective than industrial medicines against a wide range of ailments. As a natural consequence, seniors drop prejudices, face the reality and turn to cannabis for treating their minor or major age-related diseases. Unfortunately, reality is also having hard times experimenting with medical cannabis under prohibitionist regimes, as middle age and old people often don’t know where to get and how to handle it.
Many seniors are not aware and informed about how medical cannabis might improve their life’s quality, and how this medical herb can be consumed without necessarily smoking it. A topical cream or a sublingual tincture could be used as needed by old people with little or no adverse effects. In many cases, these cannabis derivatives can substitute or reduce the use of harmful and addictive prescription drugs. While we wait for our governments to stop their criminal behaviour towards cannabis users, we try to spread a little information on how cannabis derivatives can help grandparents.
CANNABIS HELPS DEALING WITH AGE-RELATED DISEASES
Most seniors take prescription drugs on a daily basis. This need, or imposed behaviour, causes tremendous adverse effects. Since at least a decade, the United States are facing an epidemic with addictions and deaths caused by legal drugs use and abuse.
In a few countries such as Canada, USA and Israel, doctors and specialized clinics started using cannabis in order to help seniors to improve conditions such as reduced appetite, insomnia, pain, joint inflammations, and anxiety from neurodegenerative diseases. This progress was made after these last 10 years of lab research finally brought scientific evidence to some facts that ethnic medicines already knew.
CANNABIS CAN REDUCE ANXIETY, STRESS, DEPRESSION, AND PROVIDES A GOOD SLEEP
The older we get, the harder it is to sleep well. As we get older, we tend to get much of the light sleep and not enough deep sleep. During deep sleep hours, our brain restores and is “rinsed” from toxic substances produced by our own body, therefore sleep quality is important to retard age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Sleep pills are widely prescribed to old people (and younger too), causing potential addictions and a variety of unpleasant side effects. Cannabis can help by increasing the deep sleep time and reducing the lighter sleep stages.
Many young and middle age people already benefit from cannabis for their sleep, as THC and CBD can reduce the time we take to fall asleep. A high dose of THC could cause some anxiety effects, though. Anxiety disorders are on the rise, in both old and young subjects. Many studies, such as this one, investigate the role of endocannabinoids in axiety regulation and depression mechanisms as well.
Prescription drugs abuse and rates of alcohol consumption are on the rise in seniors, probably due to chronic stress, depression, or loneliness. This study dated 2005 points out how cannabinoids can promote neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on mice. This other study uses a synthetic cannabinoid in order to show how these substances improve the conditions of adolescent rats who were put under constant severe stress (let’s always remember to thank the lab rats for their contribution).
The results of this research indicate that cannabinoids might reduce the negative impact of stress on short term memory, while augmenting the long term memory, which is an important learning factor. The same synthetic cannabinoid was used in this other study where scientists procured just a mild stress in rats. Findings suggest that a cannabinoid treatment could represent a novel approach to cognitive deficits caused by stress-related depression.
Results of these and many other studies don’t necessarily mean cannabis can actually treat anxiety, depression, or other ailments. Scientists' point is about exploring cannabinoids potential for developing new medicines, which might be industrial synthetic cannabinoids in the next future, not the flowers we know.
On the other side, natural cannabidiol extracts or buds from high CBD strains proved to be also quick and effective antidepressants, and stay on top of people’s choice since a couple of years. Here is our dedicated shop page.
CANNABIS MAY HELP PREVENT NERVE INFLAMMATION
Researchers stated clear that cannabinoids do play a role in preventing nerve inflammation, which is thought to be a cause dementia and other major diseases in elderly people. In this study, the authors conclude there is an actual therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
This assumption is confirmed by a study which shows how CBD can literally revert the cognitive deficit caused by artificially caused Alzeheimer’s in rats, while this other research investigates the neuroprotective action of cannabinoids as an Alzheimer’s prevention factor, and this one shows how cannabinoids inhibit some of the many Alzheimer’s factors.
Many studies, such as this one, give evidence that our endocannabinoid system is involved both in physiological and pathological brain ageing, and finally, this article in the Time magazine brought the cannabis/Alzheimer debate to the vast audience.
Once again, there is no cannabis therapy yet for Alzheimer’s disease or other age-related dementia. Let’s just say it doesn’t hurt, while we wait for more research and the end of prejudices.
RELIEF FROM PAIN
Many serious medical conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases and autoimmune conditions involve inflammation, pain and oxidative damage. Major pain conditions are typically treated with opiates or other addictive medicines with side effects like vomiting, nausea, and sedation. In a clinical human trial, researchers tested cannabis in order to provide pain relief in people with HIV. The experiment was successful and patients also reported more appetite and less nausea, better mood and daily functions.
Latest patients’ and doctors’ experiences proved cannabis can be effective in treating pain, taken alone or in combination with a reduced dose of traditional painkillers. A vast literature confirms the efficacy of CBD and THC against some kinds of pain, especially from neuropathic origins. A correct amount of CBD intake can provide relief from pain without risking dizziness due to THC assumption. This makes it viable for old people. Today CBD is marketed in different forms to suit various needs, such as capsules, tincture, powder, suppositories, gel, oil, vaping liquids, and edibles.
A NEW GENERATION OF MEDICINES FOR BONE INJURIES, OSTEOPOROSIS, ARTHRITIS
Bones are another weak point with age and older people are likely to suffer pain from osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Today we have evidence that cannabinoids may improve age-related bone diseases and slow down the bone decay process.
Research has found that cannabinoids may act as therapeutic agents against bone and cartilage diseases and injuries. Back in 2000, a team of British researchers treated a few mice with inducted arthritis with pure CBD. Some may find it hard to believe, yet CBD stops the progression of arthritis in rats. Here is the study.
Nine years later, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that mice with mutated cannabinoid receptors had a lower bone density than normal rats. After fracturing mice’s bones, researchers verified a CBD treatment was very effective in enhancing natural bone repair, with cell tissues resulting stronger compared to the ones regenerated in CBD-free fractured mice. Further research from the same institute showed in 2015 that cannabidiol alone may help heal broken bones.
These results on rodents confirm other previous studies like this one, which found cannabinoids stimulate bone growth and collagen production in lab tests on human cells. A 2014 study by the University of Nottingham found cannabinoids have pain-relieving potential for osteoarthritis, and a June 2016 study indicates a novel biochemical mechanism by which cannabinoids may prevent cartilage breakdown in osteoarthritis.
All of these studies use only animal models or human cell cultures. We are still far away from an actual therapeutic cannabis application for major bone diseases, at least from a strictly scientific standpoint. While we wait for further research, cannabis medicated creams are becoming popular for sore joints, back pain and muscular fatigue. The whole phytotherapic mix of the cannabis plant might be found in some creams and topicals, and while patients wait for cannabis normalization, GW Pharmaceuticals already holds a patent for the therapeutic use of CBG against osteoporosis. CBG, or cannabigerol, is another promising not psychoactive medical cannabinoid found in plants only in little quantities.
THE FIRST CLINIC EXPERIMENTS WITH GROUPS OF ELDERLY PATIENTS
A research team from Tel Aviv University led by professor Raphael Mechoulam started a study with 19 senior citizens who are residents in a nursing clinic. The goal was providing relief to these patients with controlled doses of THC, and to demonstrate how cannabis can help elderly people’s health conditions. The residents were suffering from different chronic ailments, such as chronic pain, spasms and tremors.
They were treated with cannabis in vapor, oil or smoke three times a day for a year. 17 on 19 patients achieved or maintained a healthy weight, reduced their muscle spasms, tremors, pain and stiffness in their joints. They all had a better, longer sleep. Within the participants in this study, there was an evident reduction in the consumption of prescribed medications such as painkillers, mood modulators, and anti-psychotics. While other trials are ongoing in Tel Aviv with chronic diseases and terminally ill patients, researchers declared elderly participants experienced not just an immediate relief after smoking cannabis, but also a mood improvement and better communication attitudes.
Written by: Guest Writer
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