In the last few years, there has been a spike in cannabis legalization—from medical to recreational use—and people curious, particularly seniors. As it stands now, seniors account for the largest growth population for marijuana use, the psychoactive variety of cannabis. This means that they are open to hemp in its varieties, but they may or may not know the difference from its non-psychoactive compound, cannabidiol (CBD).
While awareness around CBD continues to grow daily, a lack of knowledge about “cannabis” might act as a deterrent or conversely, they may use a novelty product to in an attempt to treat their pain — or worse, a serious condition.
After all, seniors are known to experience chronic pain associated with an array of illnesses. This is among the reasons researchers believe they are the highest population of marijuana users. They could be smoking it to treat their pain.
Research in the journal Pain found that, within the previous month, 52.9% of people over 65 years of age — that’s a staggering 18.7 million older Americans – reported troublesome pain. In a population of roughly only 46 million people, that makes pain practically an epidemic.
To add insult to injury, as the study Pain in Older Adults: Epidemiology, Impact and Barriers to Management points out, “Pain is poorly managed in older adults.” But as a health professional caring for senior patients, you have a critical role, with the capacity to effect positive change in the lives of many older people who are overlooked and underserved.
Seniors are often partial to natural strategies that can be self-administered, with mainstream treatments like pharmaceutical medications and physiotherapy the least preferred options. And since CBD is natural, they are bound to ask about it.
This infers a need. By educating our patients about CBD, we can help our older patients make informed decisions about their choice to use products containing the relatively new ingredient on the market.
Is CBD Safe for Seniors
CBD has not yet revealed any negative side-effects, which could be why everyone from children to the aging are exploring its potential benefits. As the World Health Organization says, CBD shows no patterns of abuse or dependence potential and has a very good safety profile. This means, it is still considered safe for seniors.
That said, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still collecting studies before they approve CBD as an active ingredient in medications. So officially, you cannot advocate CBD as a medication in and of itself. The FDA has a meeting planned with stakeholders on May 31, 2019, to address the current concerns against the CBD-hype backdrop.
However, the 2018 Farm Bill revised the Controlled Substances Act to remove cannabis products that contain a concentration of less than 0.3% (dry weight) of THC. Now, CBD products have become readily available to the general public — from novelty items to products boasting cosmetic and pharmaceutical benefits. And seniors are asking about it to treat their pain.
This is a slippery slope.
While the research on CBD is exploding, there are not yet sufficient cannabidiol studies to get an official FDA stamp as an active ingredient. Epidiolox is the only CBD product currently approved by the FDA to treat disease; in this case, seizures.
However, CBD is legal as an inactive ingredient. It is approved for cosmetic use, particularly as an emollient.
Emollients or moisturizers have skin-conditioning benefits, so regardless of its other potential uses, CBD is still beneficial for the skin.
CBD has been associated with many anecdotal and preclinical benefits, which has caught the attention of healthcare providers, and lay people interested in natural health as well as advanced scientific discovery. Thus, this natural compound appears to be on the verge of revolutionizing healthcare. That said, the FDA has not officially given their seal of approval, beyond the aforementioned seizure drug and validity as a cosmetic. However, they are collecting studies as we speak.
As we, as a society, become older and then elderly, the need for access to safe, effective options to treat significant pain will continue to increase. This makes evidence-based CBD formulations ever more needed. However, as of now, the benefits of CBD are only speculation beyond its cosmetic benefits at the federal level and it varies from state-to-state. We advise you to check your state and federal laws before you consult your patients about CBD if they wish to use it for any concern beyond cosmetics.
As with all treatments, if your patients or clients have any potential concerns, it is important they speak to their primary care physician.
What Forms Does CBD Come In?
There are a range of CBD delivery systems available, which CBD CLINIC™ does not officially endorse. Five popular options include:
- Tincture: According to Dictionary.com, a tincture is “a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol.” This form is often used sublingually to deliver CBD rapidly into the blood vessels under the tongue and, therefore, to the body.
- Vape Pen: A vape pen is used to inhale CBD-infused vapor. Concentrated CBD oil is heated and vaporized by an easy to carry, specifically designed pen. This delivery system takes effect sooner but also wears off quicker.
- CBD Oil: CBD oil is an oil containing cannabidiol. Consumed orally, it takes longer to exert its active benefits and provides longer-acting therapeutic effects.
- Edibles: Your patients can consume products containing CBD too. There are a range of commercially available edibles including bars, candies, chocolates, cookies, gummies, and infused honies. There are also many free online.
- Topical formulations: Topical formulations include ointments and creams that are rubbed onto the body, delivering the benefits of CBD directly to the local area.
CBD in CBD CLINIC™’s Formulations
CBD CLINIC’s pain-relieving topicals combine the best of natural science in a proprietary formula that delivers natural pain relieving compounds directly to the affected area. We combine OTC active ingredients menthol, camphor with jojoba seed oil, CBD hemp oil (Cannabis sativa L.), and other natural emollients. The natural moisturizers not only promote skin health; they also help the active analgesic compounds penetrate deeply into the skin to rapidly increase blood flow to the musculoskeletal system, so people of all ages can find safe, powerful, and effective relief.