CBD and the Aging Population
While more people of all age groups are turning to CBD for its health and wellness properties, the aging population in particular has become more open to trying a natural, holistic method of dealing with age-related concerns. Americans are living longer and many are turning to CBD to aid in a better quality of life. After all, as we get older and throughout certain times in our lives, we are all faced with different conditions and stressors. How can CBD potentially help?
First: What exactly is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (both marijuana and hemp). While marijuana contains high levels of the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), hemp contains the legal limit of THC (.03%) or less. The CBD products you find in stores come from the hemp plant.
Second: Why and how does CBD work?
Our bodies have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a series of nerve receptors (CB1 and CB2) located throughout the body that interact with both cannabinoids we naturally produce in our bodies (endocannabinoids) as well as those cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Our ECS helps with regulating moods, pain, sleep, it also helps with our immune function, and more. When we age, we may need a bit more help in these areas and hemp offers anti-inflammatoryand anti-depressant properties.
What is the whole point of our ECS?
We all have individual needs depending on our lifestyles and other factors. Many factors affect our bodily systems and responses: what we eat, our chemical make-up, our exercise routines, whether we meditate or pray, have a steady routine to maintain mental health, and so much more. Different activities cause our bodies to produce numerous natural compounds that help regulate our everyday bodily functions. For instance, running helps your body produce anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid that we call “the bliss molecule”. Our ECS takes these cannabinoids and endocannabinoids to regulate many of our body functions and helps improve signaling and receptor activation and interactions to promote homeostasis. Therefore, our body uses the ECS to find homeostasis.
What is homeostasis?
Our body reaches homeostasis when it finds full internal balance, even when met with external stressors. Anandamide isn’t the only endocannabinoid that our body produces. Another main endocannabinoid is 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which is involved in a lot of bodily functions such as emotion, energy, pain and immunity. As it turns out, our body produces these endocannabinoids whenever it falls out of homeostasis to try to heal itself. Sometimes we don’t produce enough natural endocannabinoids and can supplement with CBD to help keep our ECS functioning at its best.
Now that we know why CBD works so well: How do we take CBD in a way that is effective?
CBD comes in many forms. Tinctures (oil placed under the tongue), are best used for chronic conditions and usually taken as a daily regimen to build up in your system and last longer periods of time. Water-soluble products (which are made using nano technology), are ideal for“as-needed” use since it increases bioactivity to work faster and stronger in your system. You can also take capsules, edibles and even topical applications for localized concerns.
An important factor when taking CBD is dosage. Because everyone’s internal body make up and external factors are unique to them, the dosage for each person will also be different. As a result, you will always want to start low (maybe 5mg a day) and work your way up. Some people work well on a low dose for their certain issues. Others may need 40-100mg or more a day, depending on what is going on.
As you are looking over products you might be interested in taking, you may see that it is labeled as an isolate, broad spectrum or full spectrum. What does this mean? An isolate means that just a single cannabinoid, like CBD, is extracted and is then put into a product. Broad spectrum means the product contains a blend of all cannabinoids except THC. Finally, full spectrum means the product is a blend of all cannabinoids including legal limits of less than 0.3% THC. THC has been somewhat demonized in the past, but in small amounts, THC can help kick your system into balance.
Final note: Not all products are made the same. Do your research to make sure you are purchasing the best quality CBD products. Look for third–party lab testing so you know exactly what you are taking. Look for organic hemp that is grown in the US. And make sure you check the laws in your state regarding cannabis and CBD.
With all of this said, in many cases, CBD has been a great natural alternative to medicine. But to err on the side of caution—although there has been some well-documented research and studies on the use of CBD—it is still always recommended that you consult your doctor any time you make changes and have questions or concerns. Never just stop taking your current medications without a doctor’s approval. Work with your doctor on a timeline if your goal is to come off of other medications and move towards taking CBD as a natural way of facing age-related concerns.