Medical Cannabis for Baby Boomers and Seniors
Medical Cannabis for Baby Boomers and Seniors
Seniors and Baby Boomers make up the largest demographic of the Canadian population. According to the 2016 Statistics Canada Census, seniors make up 16.9% of the population, with that proportion reaching up to 25% in the coming years. As the population of seniors increase, needs will become more complex and prevalent as more people enter the transitionary phases of “the golden years”.
We’re now learning that cannabis use among seniors is increasing as more realize the benefits that cannabis can bring to the golden years. Apollo Cannabis Clinic is dedicated to working with seniors to help them access medical cannabis and understands the complex needs of this demographic.
Cannabis Use in Seniors in Canada
Statistics Canada’s National Cannabis Survey, which was conducted in early 2019 concluded that half of the new users of cannabis are aged 45 and older. Pre-legalization, this group accounted for only one-third of new cannabis users, indicating that since legalization, more individuals in their later years are accessing cannabis.
There has been a quiet, yet strong voice of some cannabis doctors Canada promoting the benefits of cannabis for seniors. “Around 85 percent of my patients deal with chronic pain,”, said Dr. Blake Pearson of Sarnia, Ontario, “Chronic pain is the number one diagnosis but I also deal with conditions like osteoarthritis, sleep disorders and chemo-induced nausea. Medical cannabis is a much safer option than opioids or benzodiazepines.”
Common Uses for Cannabis in the Golden Years
Cannabis for Pain Management
According to Statistics Canada’s National Population Health Survey (NPHS) and the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), 27% of seniors living in private households reported chronic pain, compared with 16% of people aged 18 to 64. The reported prevalence of chronic pain increases to 38% when seniors enter long-term care home facilities. For ageing adults, the prevalence of chronic pain outweighs diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, incontinence, cataracts and suffering from the effects of stroke.
Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that exist within the body, and are responsible for modulating the neural conduction of pain signals by mitigating sensations and inflammation through the activation of cannabinoid receptors. Adding more cannabinoids to the body helps reduce the subjective and objective feelings of the way we experience pain.
Dr. Pearson of Sarnia is currently researching how traditional medications for pain management in seniors may be replaced by CBD Oil. “I’ve been able to lower patient opiate doses in some cases,” he says, “We’ve been able to take people off three or four different medications and replace them with some form of cannabis drops.”
Cannabis as a Neuroprotectant
It’s possible that cannabis can also help reverse the ageing process of the brain. Cannabinoids are being regarded as neuroprotective, meaning they can help reduce damage to the brain during times of trauma. Acting as a neuroprotectant also means that after a traumatic brain injury, cannabinoids encourage the growth and development of new neurons – it helps the brain heal itself.
Cannabis is being enthusiastically studied for its potential for treating symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases, Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis, with preliminary studies beginning to show that cannabis can reverse and rejuvenate cells of the brain that are damaged from these later-onset neurological conditions.
A study was published in Nature Medicine that observed the effects of THC on ageing mice. Those mice that were administered THC exhibited better memory recollection, showing promise for the restoration of the ageing brain and prevention of late-onset neurological conditions than those who did not receive THC. While these animal studies are extremely preliminary, there is great hope for the prevention and treatment of neurological conditions with cannabis.
Cannabis as an Antioxidant
Cannabinoids, particularly CBD, hold antioxidant properties that act with the body to prevent illnesses and battle diseases. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals within our bodies that eventually damage cells, leading to the development of illnesses and chronic diseases. Antioxidants neutralize oxidation right in the bloodstream, improving the health of cells.
Many studies have linked high consumption of antioxidants with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and arthritis.
Viewing cannabis as a supplement for its antioxidant properties show the benefits of cannabis for preventative health maintenance.
Help with Transitions
The supposed golden years of ageing can often turn out to be the most difficult with the number of transitions people go through in their later years. From the loss of spouses to chronic illness, and changes of homes to retirement residences, anxiety and depression become big risk factors for seniors and baby boomers.
CBD and CBD Oil have emerged as a powerful tool to help treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
When CBD is introduced into the body, there is an increase in the effectiveness of the serotonin receptors of the brain. These are chemical processes modern anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications try to replicate.
While the research is still emerging on how CBD and CBD Oil can treat anxiety, and there is a need for more longitudinal studies examining the link between cannabis and mental health, a 2015 review of previous studies concluded that “CBD oil is a promising treatment for numerous forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder”.
Helping Baby Boomers and Seniors Embrace Medical Cannabis
With seniors forming half of the new users of cannabis and cannabinoid medicine, a growing community of researchers, physicians, and geriatric specialists are embracing the possibilities of cannabis in the later years. With preliminary research supporting the neuroprotective, pain relieving, anti-oxidant, and anti-anxiety properties of cannabis, more are able to see cannabis as an alternative to powerful opioids and prescription medications that could cause unwanted side effects.
Exploring Medical Cannabis With Apollo Cannabis Clinics
Seniors and Baby Boomers who are considering cannabinoid medicine are welcome to connect with Apollo Cannabis Clinics.
We are an evidenced-based clinic that has been conducting observational research on medical cannabis and conditions since 2014. Our staff includes health care professionals to assist patients of all ages and backgrounds.
In order to access Apollo’s services, start by contacting us. During the initial appointment, individuals are asked to disclose their medical history and past cannabis use, and the doctor will work with the patient to determine an appropriate treatment plan that involves cannabis.
Our cannabis physicians will work with specific concerns and medical conditions facing seniors and Baby Boomers and will explore with the patient how medical cannabis can help improve health and quality of life in the golden years.