Views From The Leaf

The Summit Releaf Blog

THC CBD and Seniors

April 5, 2021


This article appeared in [MedicareGuide] and has been published here with permission.

Chances are good that you’ve heard a lot in recent years about medical marijuana and cannabidiol, or CBD, as it’s usually known. But even if you’ve seen the news, it can be hard to figure out whether either might be right for you, as well as what’s legal where you live.

The first thing to know is that even if marijuana is legal in your state, it is still illegal from the point of view of the federal government. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice updated its policy on marijuana to allow states to govern themselves when it comes to legalization, whether for medical or recreational use or both.

What You Need to Know

Marijuana comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and CBD is derived from hemp, which is related to the marijuana plant but does not contain THC, the compound that gives you a “high” feeling.

The amount of marijuana you can have depends on your state’s law (if it’s legal at all); use the state map here to see what’s legal where you live.

Studies find that many seniors get relief from pain and other symptoms with medical marijuana and CBD, but if the THC content level is too high for your body, you may experience side effects.

What’s the Difference Between Medical Marijuana & CBD?

The marijuana plant contains more than 500 different chemicals, of which 60 are cannabinoids, a group of substances found in the cannabis plant. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the “high” feeling that marijuana is best known for.

Medical marijuana products may have less THC than recreational marijuana; it’s called medical marijuana because these products are designed to relieve health problems such as pain, anxiety, glaucoma and other issues.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is another active compound in cannabis, but it doesn’t bring on a high. There are three types of CBD: isolate, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum. Full-spectrum is the only kind that contains small traces of THC, but it’s not enough to get you high. Broad-spectrum CBD contains no THC and isolate CBD is the purest product; up to 99% all CBD is this type. Oils, tinctures, lotions and gummies are just a few of the ways you can use CBD.

How Can Medical Marijuana and CBD Help Seniors?

Between 2015 and 2018, medical marijuana use among older Americans nearly doubled, from 2.4% to 4.2%. It’s not hard to see why: More states have legalized marijuana not just for medical use but recreationally, making it easier to buy the products and reducing the stigma.

Here are some of the most common conditions for which seniors use marijuana:

  • Cancer: Medical marijuana increases appetite, relieves nausea from chemotherapy and curbs pain and anxiety.
  • Severe/chronic pain: Marijuana reduces pain without increasing the risk of overdose that comes with taking opioids.
  • Glaucoma: One of the most frequently cited reasons for using marijuana, studies have found marijuana reduces the intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: Research shows that taking a combination of CBD and THC increases brain cell survival, reduces lipid function and stimulates the hippocampus.
  • Crohn’s disease: Decreases pain, improves appetite and relieves nausea and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Epilepsy and seizures: Can reduce the number of seizures.
  • Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms: Treats pain and spasms and relieves muscle stiffness.
  • HIV/AIDS: Stimulates appetite and relieves nausea brought on by medication.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): While still being studied, early indicators point to some relief for muscle stiffness when a combination of CBD and THC is used with ALS medication.

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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