“It’s like what ‘near beer’ is to your pint of craft brew, except it improves your health.” We recently heard this explanation about CBD versus THC as it relates to marijuana and thought it was worth sharing because it’s so accurate. In this case, the pint of craft brew is cannabis that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an intoxicating compound that affects the brain and the body. The “near beer” is Cannabidiol or CBD, marijuana’s non-psychoactive compound. And as we’ll discover in this article, CBD has a lot of health benefits, especially for seniors. (To read about cannabis that contains THC and how it affects seniors, read our article, “The Definitive Cannabis Guide For Seniors.”)
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is extracted from cannabis, a naturally growing plant that goes by various names including marijuana, pot, weed, ganja and hemp. This last one is a strain of cannabis traditionally used to make clothing and rope and contains very low levels of the intoxicating compound THC. However, hemp is not CBD. Rather, CBD can be extracted from hemp as well as other forms of cannabis including the strains Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. It can be distilled into various forms including topicals, oil vapour and edibles.
Is CBD and Cannabis Legal?
Yes. Medicinal marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 and recreational marijuana has been legal since October 2018. On October 17, 2019, marijuana edibles (food infused with cannabis) became legal in Canada too. As an extraction of cannabis, CBD is also legal. It’s also worth mentioning that the stigma attached to marijuana, namely that it’s only used by long-haired hippies, no longer applies to modern cannabis usage. Now that it is legal, everyone from 19-year-old college students to grandmothers are using CBD and cannabis for a variety of reasons. Also, medical doctors, university researchers and government organizations are all studying cannabis and how it can be applied to modern-day medicine practices.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD oil works by targeting your brain receptors, central nervous system and cells that trigger relaxation sensations. And it does this without the side effect of the “high” or intoxication associated with THC. According to an article by Medical News Today, “CBD stops the body from absorbing anandamide, a compound associated with regulating pain. So, increased levels of anandamide in the bloodstream may reduce the amount of pain a person feels. Cannabidiol may also limit inflammation in the brain and nervous system, which may benefit people experiencing pain, insomnia, and certain immune-system responses.”
Is CBD Safe?
Yes. There has never been a case of a fatality because of the consumption of CBD or cannabis. According to a report from the American Cancer Institute, this is because, “cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration [so] lethal overdoses from Cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur.” CBD is a non-toxic substance that is not addictive and has very few side effects, all of which are mild compared to the side effects of certain pharmacological medications. Some users have reported experiencing dry mouth, lightheadedness and sedation after having used CBD in higher doses but for most people, the side effects are benign or non-existent.
What Are The Health Benefits Of CBD For Seniors?
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing sector of cannabis and CBD users in the country. In fact, 400,000 seniors reported using a cannabis product between the months of July and September in 2019. Of those, more than half (52%) reported using it exclusively for medical reasons. There’s good reason for this. Firstly, it’s a safe alternative to harmful pharmaceuticals. As mentioned above there are very few side effects, if any, and it’s impossible to overdose on CBD. Secondly, with CBD products there’s no intoxicating effect like what you’ll find with THC products. Here is a list of other health benefits fo CBD for seniors:
- • bone health
- • quality of sleep improvement
- • heart health
- • mood improvement
- • quality of life improvement
What Conditions Can CBD Help Treat?
Cannabis and CBD have been used for centuries to treat various types of pain including chronic pain. Since legalization, more research has begun on the various other ways CBD can benefit your health. There is now a growing body of evidence that suggests CBD is effective for:
- • insomnia and sleep issues
- • glaucoma
- • multiple sclerosis
- • epilepsy and seizures
- • arthritis
- • appetite stimulation
- • cardiovascular disease
- • anxiety and stress
- • Parkinson’s disease
- • Nausea
- • Alzheimer’s and dementia
These last two points are perhaps most interesting as there is increasing interest in how CBD can prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Various researchers are currently looking at how CBD could possibly contribute to the elimination of the toxic protein related to Alzheimer’s disease, which in turn triggers the regeneration of damaged cells and the lessening of inflammation in the brain.
How To Purchase CBD
In our opinion, the best way to buy cannabis is online through a reputable website. It’s easy, safe, discreet, and you don’t have to worry about leaving the house. No parking fuss, no bus schedule to worry about and you can shop at any time, Plus, online distributors will send your purchase in a simple, unmarked package straight to your door so you don’t have to worry about what your neighbours might think. The other option is to physically go to a store.
What Types of CBD Products Are There For Seniors?
The great thing about CBD products is they are available in forms that everyone is familiar with: oils, tinctures, topical creams and edible candies. No smoking required. In fact, marijuana bud is not an option when you want to consume CBD because it’s an extract from the plant, not the plant itself. Also, it’s important to know that reputable websites such as StashClub go the extra mile listing not only the ingredients of products but also what strain of plant they are derived from (in most cases it’s either Indica or Sativa), the amount of the product in the package and the percentage of THC or CBD in each product. Here are your CBD product options:
Because it’s a flowering plant, cannabis can be distilled down into an oil form and the THC removed, leaving just the Cannabidiol. It can then be consumed orally via an oil or tincture or applied topically.
Edibles are food products infused with CBD oil and they range from candies to chocolates. Again, there are no intoxicating side effects from consuming a CBD product unlike THC edibles, which we take an extensive look at in our article, “How To Choose The Right Type of Cannabis Edibles.”
#3. Drops, Tinctures, Capsules
These CBD products are similar to oils and edibles but packaged in various forms making consumption as easy as popping a daily vitamin.
A lot of people confuse vaping with smoking but there’s a big difference. Vaporizing is the act of heating a product to a temperature just below the combustion point so that active ingredients are released in a vapour and inhaled, but no smoke is created. There are disposable CBD vape pens available as well as refill cartridges if you already own a vaporizer. For more about vaporizing, read our article “Vaporizing Cannabis – What is Vaping, is it Bad For You, and How To Do It?”
What CBD Dosage Is Correct For Seniors?
As mentioned above, it’s impossible to overdose on CBD, but it is important to know how much to take on an orderly basis. Topical usage doesn’t usually have a recommended dosage program but when it comes to consuming CBD, there are two main factors to consider: how much do you weigh and how much pain are you in. The higher each of these factors are, the more CBD you’ll require. Below is a chart that can be used as a good rule of thumb for dosage but we also recommend speaking to your physician about how CBD can be implemented into your medical regimen, how much is recommended to consume and for how long.