Medical Cannabis is now legal in 33 states, this opens the door to many new users. Medical Cannabis is gaining in popularity towards many different groups of people and the elderly is one of them.
More and more people over the age of 65 are turning to cannabis for pain relief and better sleep. Although we must keep in mind, at that age the body will interact differently with the Cannabis compounds. Also, the elderly tend to have a higher amount of daily medication intake which can interfere with the results too.
What could be the benefits?
Cannabis is well known now for its relief in chronic pain, sleep neuropathy, and anxiety. Not only that, older people are generally using a lot of different prescriptions drug which can mess up an immune system. Cannabis can help make that list of medications shorter.
It is important to remember that people who enter palliative care are not necessarily dying. Although it is one more step toward the end of our life. It might be a heavy psychological burden for some and bring some extra anxiety we don't need.
Introducing cannabis to these patients can help improve their quality of life.
It is proven that THC has the ability to decrease the activity of our brain's default mode network. This means it can possibly help guide patients toward a peaceful death by, reducing our sense of ego and self-thoughts.
What could be the risks?
The main risk is the interaction of Cannabis with the medications elderly people are already taking. It is hard to predict exactly how it will affect patients when they are under a lot of medications already.
Most medications will end up being stronger thus people are cutting down on their doses. But some other medications like coumadin have an adverse effect.
Therefore, it is critical to talk to your physician about it if you are already under any kind of prescription. They can see with blood testing how the cannabis interacts with the concentration of your other medications. Although, Dr. Joseph J Morgan precise that low doses of cannabis (lower than 10mg) have a low to no risk side effect even when combined with medication. Dr. Morgan also determined for drug interaction to be a valuable risk the patients would have to intake a much higher dose of cannabinoids (more than 60mg a day).
The two other most recorded unwanted side effects are dizziness and dry mouth.
More studies are being made and the results are very exciting.
A study made in Israel last year experimented with the safety of cannabis with patients over 65 years old. They found that 18,1% of the patients stopped using opioids analgesics or reduced their doses. Only 9,7% experimented dizziness and 7.1% experimented dry mouth.
Another, study made at the Neurologic Institute of Buffalo in New York demonstrated that 32% of patients (age of the patient: average 81) reduced their opioids pain medication. In this experimentation, the main discomfort the patents endured was sleepiness, balance problems, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Although, 13% of these people were released from this suffering after their dosage was adjusted.
They also found out that the best ration for CBD and THC to have no side effect is 1:1.
That same study showed that 69% of its patients/participants were able to observe symptoms of relief, in pain (49%), sleep (18%), neuropathy (15%), and anxiety (10%).
Just like any other specific use cannabis could have, we are still lacking in studies, because of the stigma around the plant and its legal state in the different regions of America. Unfortunately, this also results in a lot of Americans trying this kind of medicine without the supervision of professionals. We are hoping to see federal legalization in 2020 if not a lot of states are already working towards medicinal or recreational legalization.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are in no way intended to treat or diagnose any physical ailment or disease. Please consult your Doctor before adding CBD or any supplement to your diet. Most workplace and competitive sports drug screens focus on delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and do not screen for Cannabinol (CBD) or other legal and natural hemp-based compounds. Be advised, studies have shown that consuming hemp foods or oils can cause a positive result when screening urine and blood specimens. Therefore, if you are subject to any form of drug testing or screening. We recommended (as does the United States Armed Services) that you DO-NOT ingest CBD or hemp oil before consulting your healthcare practitioner or your drug screening testing company or employer.