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AR: Is CBD alone a potent medication?

Almost one in five Americans over 50 now uses some kind of CBD product, according to a recent Gallup poll. And they are doing so undeterred by the total lack of FDA oversight or guidelines. But to what extent is CBD use a public health concern for seniors? And what do older adults need to consider when they start using CBD?

If you’ve been on a sleep aid for many years, and you want to stop taking it and use CBD, I would not recommend that you all of a sudden stop taking the sleep aid and start taking CBD, because your insomnia will get worse. Under the guidance of your physician, you would want to taper in the CBD until you reach a stable dose.

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I spoke with Dr. Danial Schecter, an Ontario-based family physician who is the co-founder of a network of cannabis-based medicine clinics that have served over 60,000 patients in Canada, and who recently became Director of Global Medical Services at Canopy Growth Corporate, about the guidance he suggests for seniors interested in using CBD.

DS: No. What I would say is, we don’t know what your dose is going to be. Everyone’s endocannabinoid tone is different, their metabolism is different, you’re on a certain number of medications that will potentially affect the metabolism of CBD and the only way to know if it is going to work and what the dosage is, is by taking a standardized approach, starting low and going slow.

AR: What do you recommend for seniors who want to supplement or replace their medications with CBD?

DS: That’s actually what we’re seeing the most of these days. In Canada, where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, the greatest increase in our patient population at the clinics are the Baby Boomers and the parents of Baby Boomers who are coming in all the time asking to try that CBD oil.

Many seniors are not aware of how medical cannabis could improve their quality of life and how the stereotypical marijuana user and use has changed. Because CBD is extracted from the marijuana plant, seniors can take advantage of the medical benefits afforded by the extract without the head or body sensation often associated with marijuana. Additionally, seniors have the option of delivering CBD to their bodies in forms more familiar, rather than inhaling smoke. CBD is an oil extract and therefore can be added to things like topical gels, tinctures and edible products.

The number of seniors who use daily prescription drugs grows each year unnecessarily and continuously. Pharmaceutical companies present our government with one of the largest lobbying groups in the country, to promote the effectiveness and stability provided by their products. However, prescription drugs can be extremely dangerous for its users, and can be responsible for organ damage, tissue damage, drug addiction and even death.

1. Pain Relief

An emerging trend that is being researched is could marijuana prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease. According to multiple studies, cannabinoids, and by extension CBD, can contribute to the elimination of a toxic protein related to this disease. This is triggered by a loss of inflammation of the brain and regeneration of damaged cells.

There has been growing research that supports a link between cannabis and the treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma, which is a neurodegenerative disease (the breakdown of neurons in the communication process from the brain to the body), affects the sight of individuals from an increase in pressure in the eye known as intraocular pressure (IoP). Going back decades, there is supporting evidence that cannabinoids can reduce IoP by up to 25%, however the required dosage of inhalation of full THC cannabis has posed a risk to some patients. However, due to the accompanying symptoms of glaucoma, CBD as a pain management product works well, and may have the added benefit of helping reduce pressure.

In addition, CBD is an antioxidant that promotes the sense of vigilance that can be disturbed by the presence of free radicals. A study shows that cannabidiol has stronger antioxidant properties than Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

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