At a gathering last week, I was confronted by my sister-in-law with an unusual question – “All of my mum’s friends are using CBD – what’s with that?”. For those of us of a younger persuasion, the idea of elderly citizens using cannabinoids might seem strange. CBD is an up-and-coming treatment in the world of alternative medicine, one of many interesting molecules in the cannabinoid family. These are all produced by the plants Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. These plants have had a controversial reputation since their ban in the US in the 1920’s, and in many other countries subsequently. Although CBD does not induce any high whatsoever and is legal in most jurisdictions, many people wrongly associate it with the other, less beneficial compounds derived from the Cannabis plant.

I set out to research what issues faced by those of the older generation might be helped in one way or another by CBD, and why this new product appeals to so many of them.

When CBD makes the news, it is often promoted by those seeking to legalise Cannabis for recreation. At other times CBD has been publicised by Mixed Martial Arts fighters and NFA footballers using it to reduce recovery times. It seems like a stretch of the imagination to draw a line through cannabis campaigners and cage fighters to my sister-in-law’s mother.

Many seniors experience trouble sleeping, whether it is clinically diagnosed insomnia or just a general inability to sleep as much as is needed, or at the times they want to. In any age group, inadequate sleep can lead on to real health problems like fatigue, heart disease, and strokes. CBD has been implicated by a variety of users in helping them to sleep better.

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One of the best-publicised effects of CBD on the human body is as an anti-inflammatory. This is an important attribute in many painkillers and other medicines. Anti-inflammation is a basic function and helps fight the signs, symptoms, and causes of several illnesses.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chronic pain – pain which is low-level and constant – can be effectively treated by CBD, as is claimed by users around the world. This may also be due in part to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Anxiety and Depression

Since CBD was linked to anxiety by research in the 1980s, more effort has gone into looking at its effects on mental health issues such as this. Many patients claim that CBD has helped cope with anxiety and depression, which are common ailments affecting many of the older population.

A Gentler Alternative

The elderly commonly have a battery of prescribed pills and medicines to take on a weekly basis, and some wish to have a more natural alternative to some of the prescribed drugs they are given. For many, the lack of side-effects of this plant-based supplement has proven attractive.

As always, medical advice should be sought. Start at a low dosage, and work upwards until you find what’s right for you.

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