The hemp plant’s main claim to fame–THC–may be getting a run for its money by the recent popularity of CBD, also found within the same plant. Unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high–unless you were lucky enough to have invested in one of the many CBD-related stocks that continually produce “big profits” for its investors.
So what exactly does it do? CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, has been the focal point of studies surrounding everything from anxiety cures to pet medication, and it can now even be found at the local deli or gas station.
While THC may be considered a younger man’s game, those aged 54 and older have shown an interest in CBD along with many others. We studied over 1,000 seniors, all of who were at least 54 years old, by asking them questions about their CBD usage and the associated benefits and side effects. Read on to hear what these established men and women had to say.
Not So Stuck in Their Ways
Nine percent of the seniors surveyed used CBD for health-related purposes. While this number may appear small, the chemical’s impact is anything but. Over 65 percent of the seniors who tried CBD said their quality of life was good, whereas just 31.1 percent said the same before trying CBD.
Perhaps the cure-all nature associated with such a long list of benefits and uses simply sounds too good to be true to the 91 percent of seniors who chose to stay away from CBD. Or maybe doubt creeps in because of CBD’s association with the chemical THC that creates a chemical high in the brain. Doubt aside, the reward of trying CBD clearly outweighed the risk in the minds of many aged 54 and over, considering the seniors who did try CBD experienced a dramatic improvement to their quality of life.
Ingesting the chemical in everything from beverages to pills, the senior community exhibited openness to a variety of products and methods for cannabidiol consumption. Perhaps the most intuitive form of using CBD would be the application of it directly inside the mouth, which was also the most common choice among our surveyed seniors. Fifty-four percent did so, followed by 21.1 percent that chose to eat CBD-infused ediblesand add oil drops to their beverages. The least popular ingestion method was through smoke or vapor, only occurring 10 percent of the time among our senior CBD users.
The CBD Hit List
As it turns out, the 9 percent of seniors who chose to try CBD did so for a good reason. The chemical has been studied and shown to reduce inflammation, which prompted 42 percent of seniors to give it a shot. The next most common reason, chronic pain, is said to be suffered by up to 88 percent of seniors. Nearly 41 percent of seniors studied were trying to reduce this type of pain through the use of CBD.
Anxiety and stress were cited as the fifth and sixth most common symptoms, respectively, that seniors attempted to alleviate via CBD. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that nearly 18.1 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 18 suffers from an anxiety disorder, and only 36.9 percent of those suffering choose to get treatment. It’s encouraging, then, that some seniors are attempting to self-heal with this type of nontraditional “treatment.” Even more encouraging is that so few experienced side effects, the most common of which was dry mouth (reported by 12.4 percent of users), a condition not considered life-threatening.
Senior Symptoms Alleviated
Chronic pain saw a 61 percent reduction rate among seniors using CBD. To treat physical pain, CBD is often applied as gels and other topical lotions. This reduction in pain could also lead to some of the other positives seniors reported when using CBD, like the 23.3 percent who experienced a better mood or the 45.6 percent who noticed improved sleep quality.
Interestingly, CBD shares at least one similar response as THC: an increased appetite. THC is said to promote the release of hunger-stimulating hormones in the brain, causing what’s known as “the munchies.” For 7.8 percent of seniors, CBD created a similarly increased desire for food.
The data behind this study strongly support the consideration of CBD as an alternative healing tool. Seventy-eight percent of seniors said they were satisfied with the product, and 89 percent said they would recommend CBD for health-related purposes to a family member or friend.
Over or Behind the Counter?
Of course, natural remedies have numerous prescription counterparts. Instead of CBD lotions, chronic pain is often treated with Percocet and Vicodin, while stress and anxiety are often met with prescriptions for Valium or Xanax. The decision (and often debate) between over-the-counter and natural medications, however, has garnered much stamina and division in recent years. Natural remedies and practices like yoga, meditation, and the use of chiropractors all increased in 2018 paralleled by the growth of the prescription painkiller epidemic.
According to 58 percent of seniors, there is a substance abuse problem in their local community. Moreover, 26 percent think they personally consume too many prescription drugs daily. As for alternative ideas? Fifty-three percent of the seniors who had not tried CBD mentioned they would like to try this natural alternative to doctor-recommended prescription medications.
While minimal side effects are certainly an upside to natural medication, the effectiveness of these remedies is what truly counted among our seniors. Less than 8 percent of the seniors who tried CBD said it was not at all effective. Nearly 29 percent rated CBD as extremely effective, while another 38.9 percent claimed it was moderately effective. That said, our seniors also touted the positive effects they noticed with prescription medications. Approximately 39 percent each said they were extremely effective or moderately effective.
The Seniors of THC
Marijuana can blur the line between prescription and over-the-counter medication. While 10 U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, 33 states have legalized its use medically. Covering a wide range of uses, smoking or consuming this drug is associated with everything from pain relief to college parties.
Among the 6 percent of seniors who admitted to smoking marijuana, 50 percent said they did so for both medicinal and recreational purposes. More often than not, seniors smoked marijuana with the intention of boosting their moods. Roughly 58 percent hoped it would make them happier, while another 41.8 percent hoped it would alleviate anxiety and reduce stress. The second most popular reason (nearly 51 percent) for seniors smoking marijuana was to attain a better quality of sleep.
The Next Budding Market …
While getting older once conjured images of weekly pillboxes full of prescription medications, 2019’s increasing holistic market for medical treatments may be changing this vision. Thanks to cannabidiol, many seniors can now find solace and respite in the face of everything from poor blood pressure to subpar sleep quality.
Of course, the interest in CBD extends well beyond the senior demographic. The chemical’s meteoric rise in today’s marketplace would only have been possible with the interest and patronage of several generations. Symptoms like chronic pain can be remedy motivators for seniors, while stress and anxiety cures attract many modern health gurus looking for alternatives to prescription medications.
As the dangers of prescription medications, particularly opioids, continue to stack up, CBD may look more and more appealing.
Methodology and Limitations
We collected responses from 1,047 seniors by administering online surveys through Prolific.ac. For this analysis, we have defined seniors as adults aged 54 and older. Respondents who were younger than the designated age were excluded from our findings. To ensure data accuracy, participants who failed an attention-check question or entered inconsistent data were excluded.
The main limitation of this study is that different sources have varied definitions for the age ranges that qualify as “seniors.” Additionally, all benefits and side effects are based on self-reporting. Self-reported data are subject, but not limited, to selective memory, exaggeration, or telescoping. These findings have not been reviewed or approved by medical experts and should not be used as a substitute for seeking out and listening to a primary care physician.
The findings shown in this study are not medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for seeking out primary care providers. This study is based on anecdotal evidence and relies on self-reported data.
Fair Use Statement
Are any of the seniors in your life suffering in a way that CBD could potentially help? You’re more than welcome to share the results of this study with them, or anybody else for that matter, for noncommercial purposes. Just be sure to link back to this page and its authors so that they can receive proper credit for their work.