5 Ways Medical Cannabis Can Increase Quality of Life in Seniors
Sooner or later, you reach an age where you are fed up. You just want to kick those who say that age is just a matter of attitude. As your body ages, there’s too much to think about to believe age is all in your head. Aging is a real pain!
Yes, some people manage it better than others. A good attitude helps you put up with things. And, the willingness to exercise, diet, and think good thoughts get you through some problems. But, aging sucks!
What’s your aging problem?
Senior citizens are felled by strokes, diabetes, and countless medical problems that drive them from the workplace, exhaust their finances, and weigh on their families. Only rare genes keep people healthy into their elderly years.
Seniors struggle with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other early onset neurological conditions. And, many factors contribute to chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. Joints, muscles, glands, and organs age with them causing some problems and aggravating others.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines “human aging” as “physiological changes that take place in the human body leading to senescence, the decline of biological functions and of the ability to adapt to metabolic stress. In humans the physiological developments are normally accompanied by psychological and behavioural [sic] changes, and other changes, involving social and economic factors, also occur.” This definition leaves little room for exception.
Many elderly citizens find it difficult to budget the many medications prescribed. They don’t enjoy being overmedicated, and they are very open to alternatives. Medical cannabis has more to offer as they get older if they want to increase their quality of life.
5 ways medical cannabis can increase the quality of life in seniors:
1. Bones — Many people first feel their age in their bones. Their bones weaken with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, creating continuous pain and/or brittle bones subject to fracture. Research reported in the Annals of Medicine (2009) confirmed that medical cannabis interacts effectively with neural receptors CB1 and CB2.
More important, it confirmed that CB1 “is present mainly in skeletal nerve terminals” and CB2 “stimulate's bone formation and inhibits bone resorption.” The research concluded that cannabis could forestall or treat post-menopausal osteoporosis.
Additional research has found that cannabinoids may encourage healing of broken bones and stimulate the building and strengthening of the cartilage cells that contribute to osteoarthritic pain. And, Roger Pertwee of GW Pharmaceuticals holds a patent on the use of CBG (cannabigerol) for therapeutic test and use. FDA approval should make it available to those with suffering from such needs.
2. Sleep — Senior citizens often have trouble sleeping. Sleeping problems include insomnia, sleep apnea, or sleeping light and not deep.
Healthy people sleep deeply. The sleep lets their brains relax and restore. That rest slows the neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington, and Parkinson’s diseases. So, doctors prescribe sleeping pills for those who can’t sleep well.
According to the CBD Project, “Poor sleep and lack of sleep cause physiological changes in the body after just one night, resulting in slower reaction times, deceased cognitive performance, less energy, aggravated pain and inflammation, and in many cases overeating or cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate ‘comfort’ foods.”
Cannabis can induce deep sleep without the side-effects and possible addiction. You can narrow down options to the most effective medical cannabis strain for you. Sativa-heavy strains are likely to stimulate your system whereas select Indicas usually deliver a deep and sound sleep.
For seniors suffering from sleep problems and who do not smoke, CBD (cannabidiol) is by far the better choice. It can be administered sublingually, as pills, or in recipes. CBD reduces anxiety to encourage deeper and longer sleep. It also reduces REM behavior where people physically act out dreams and disturb sleep.
3. Dementia — Seniors are terrified of Alzheimer’s. Most have seen how their peers decline when afflicted. Research has yet to close in on identifying causes or effective therapies. While there are some drugs to forestall its advance and/or modify some symptoms, those prescriptions do not do what medical cannabis has proven it can do.
Researchers believe Alzheimer’s results from a plaque building up among the brain cells. Beta amyloid peptides, the product of protein amino acids, create this plaque which interferes with neurological flow and leads to brain cell degeneration.
Alzheimer’s.net reports on two promising research projects: (1) The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that very small doses of THC can slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins; and, (2) La Jolla’s Salk Institute found that exposing beta amyloid proteins to THC “reduced the levels of beta amyloid, stopped the inflammatory response from the nerve cells caused by beta amyloid and allowed the nerve cells to survive.”
4. Pain — Pain comes with age, and most pain is rooted in inflammation. The pain may sit in muscles, joints, organs, and/or glands. But, it sends signals throughout your anatomy. The only solution lies in reducing that inflammation to reduce the transmission.
Doctors prescribe NSAIDs, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and opioids. Seniors try chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, and acupuncture sessions. But, medical cannabis has a better record treating inflammation, pain, and neuropathy. Seniors who do not smoke can treat with CBD in capsules, edible, gels, lozenges, oils, and transdermal lotions and patches.
5. Depression — Elderly adults suffer from depression, disproportionately so. They may live alone, they may have lost their spouse, and they miss their children. They worry about money, they don’t eat well, and they suffer all kinds of ailments.
They may abuse alcohol and become addicted to their prescription meds. And, even in the best family and social circumstances, they continue to worry, often to the point of suicide.
Low doses of cannabis, especially CBD, will manage depression, suppress the physical causes, and restore mood and focus. It acts on systems immediately. And, elderly folks are comforted by the neural protective elements in medical cannabis.
What to look for at your medical cannabis dispensary —
If you are the senior citizen looking for solutions or if you are the caregiver, you want to research the cannabis strain or derivative best suited to the medical or psychological problems interfering the quality of life.
Then, you are armed to visit your medical cannabis dispensary to work with your budtender to pick the product that will help you sleep, reduce your pain, eliminate your stress, and make you laugh.