Oct 16
Navigating the CBD Landscape: Tips for Seniors

Navigating the CBD Landscape: Tips for Seniors

The legalization of CBD products has elevated interest in both research and usage that explore the possible pain-relieving effects of cannabidiols (CBD). In the US especially, CBD is marketed as a safe and useful option for relieving symptoms common with a number of ailments. Over 20% of Americans 65 years and older say they have tried CBD, indicating successes in supporting senior and end-of-life care. 

University House Issaquah, an Era Living owned and operated retirement community, recently hosted a presentation by Abby Winters, UW Pharmacist, showcasing uses of CBD. Seniors in attendance were inquisitive as to how CBD could be of benefit. Here’s a little about what they learned. 

Derived from hemp, CBD is the second most prevalent active ingredient in the cannabis plant, and comes without the mind and body-altering effects of THC. CBD contains less than 0.3% of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and is not psychoactive, instead interacting with receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system including the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system. Possible results include alleviating pain and anxiety, managing sleep disorders, mitigating inflammation, and addressing symptoms in Parkinson’s and Schizophrenia.

CBD has a long and impressive global history, dating back to 2727 BC when Chinese emperors were first detected to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. This continued on until the late 1930s when hemp was criminalized in the US. But CBD itself didn’t show up until 1940 when Roger Adams successfully isolated CBD from marijuana. Since then it has become increasingly important and useful in the medical industry from reducing seizures in epileptic children to helping decrease anxiety in adults and seniors.

Uses of CBD

A notable attribute of CBD is its flexibility. From topical lotions and salves to ingestible edibles and oils, CBD can be found nearly anywhere at this point. CBD comes in multiple forms: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD is a hemp extract containing CBD and other naturally occurring compounds like terpenes, while broad-spectrum has gone through one additional extraction process removing even more THC from the compound. CBD isolate is the purest of all; known as pure CBD, CBD isolate has no THC or other naturally occurring compounds of the hemp plant.

Common external application products include massage oils, bath salts, lotions and creams. Applying CBD-infused topicals to affected areas can bring relief to chronic pain sufferers. CBD can also be ingested sublingually, orally or through smoking and topical application.

Clinical Trials exploring CBD

While CBD is not new, clinical trials exploring its efficacy are. According to the Natural Medicine Database, over 160 clinical trials have been logged that actively measure the effects of CBD in controlled settings. 

Reviews of randomized controlled trials illuminate a lack of research concerning the analgesic properties of CBD. In many cases the results can be inconclusive or mixed at best. Even so, there are studies with great success; a CBD study of 97 people battling chronic pain with opioids found a notable reduction of opioid use and improved quality of life, although the pain did not improve. Fortunately, there have been no documented overdoses of CBD- it is generally safe to use. Older adults are encouraged to start slow and consult with their medical professionals beforehand.

Safe Usage

As with any new medication, CBD is best used with a degree of caution. Potential concerns include adverse side effects such as liver injury, drug interactions and effects on the male reproductive system. It’s important to remember vitamins and supplements, including CBD, are not regulated by the FDA. Assessing the quality before purchasing from a reputable source is highly advised. When shopping, look for products with either a cGMP certification or a NSF international certification to assure safety and efficacy in the products you’re purchasing. Check with a pharmacist or doctor beforehand to discuss possible interactions with medications or supplements you are currently taking. Oral CBD in particular should be taken with meals. 


If you’re curious about introducing CBD into your life, an easy way to start is by talking to your doctor. For additional information please consider attending a CBD seminar held with Dr. Abby Winter, PharmD, MPA, BCACP, she is a licensed pharmacist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy and serves as the Director for Outreach for the Plein Center for Geriatrics.  

Era Living communities embrace a holistic approach to healthy aging. We hold educational seminars for residents to explore alternative paths to wellness that include open and supportive dialogue. Reach out to learn more about our community programming and how Era Living supports health and discovery in all stages of life.

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