One of the newest trends is cannabis-infused beauty products containing the cannabinoid CBD. As you may know, CBD is one of the active components within cannabis, however in its isolated form is non-psychoactive, and can offer many of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the “high.”
Recently consumers may have noticed an increase in new cannabis-infused beauty products that claim to harness the powers of CBD in the forms of bath bombs, creams, lotions, lip balms, and moisturizers. For any passionate medical cannabis patient, these products are an exciting new way to consume cannabis without inhaling harmful smoke. However, those claims suggesting that cannabinoids can be absorbed through the skin are currently rooted only in anecdotal evidence, and not clinical research.
There is emerging research suggesting that transdermal cannabis consumption, that is, cannabis absorbed through the skin, can address arthritis and surface level pain. However, everyone reacts differently to these medicinal products and results may vary. Always consult your Canna Care Docs practitioner when trying new a new form of medicine.
Silver haze in the golden years
Even as the boomer generation — the one known for “tuning in and dropping out” — approaches retirement, there’s a long-held stigma surrounding marijuana among older people. For many who were young in the 1960s and 70s, cannabis was something seen at parties, possibly experimented with, but for the most part set aside. It’s hard to get past decades of federal prohibition and criminalization, so it’s little wonder that in 2017 only three percent of adults over 65 years old reported being “current smokers.”1
However, with medical cannabis continuing to spread through the country — and with more and more research pointing to its benefits for everything from chronic pain and sleep problems to anxiety and arthritis — the tide seems to be turning. In fact, in the 30 states that allow medical or recreational use, the fastest growing demographic of users is adults over 50.2 The face of who is using this substance is getting older and wiser.
But what explains this turnaround, and what do seniors need to be aware of when it comes to medical cannabis? Let’s take a closer look.
Marijuana as medicine
Ultimately, beyond increased access, a big reason that seniors are turning to cannabis is that it helps with a range of health issues. Not only that, some of these effects are specifically beneficial for the medical concerns and needs of older adults. How so? Here’s a quick breakdown:
Chronic pain: A growing body of research is showing that use of cannabis helps manage and minimize chronic pain, a very frequently reported issue among those over 65. A recently published review article assessing the current state of research noted there were numerous studies supporting significant pain-managing effects.3 In addition, this study—alongside others — localized on the fact that cannabis users with chronic pain took significantly less prescribed medications, such as opioids.
Arthritis: The use of CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical found in cannabis which can be extracted separately from psychoactive THC, has been shown in multiple studies to be effective in taking on arthritis pain and discomfort. A review article published in the journal, European Journal of Neuroscience, noted “promising results” and clear effects on inflammation, the source of much discomfort.4
Sleep: Disruptions in sleep are very common in older adults, especially those who are taking certain prescribed medications. Here too, cannabis has been shown to have a distinct effect. A study published in the journal, Chemistry & Biodiversity, noted “marked improvement” in the quality of sleep in patients with chronic pain problems.5 Cannabis is proving to be a safe alternative to sometimes addictive prescribed drugs.
The above is just some of what’s becoming an increasingly large body of evidence for cannabis as medicine. No doubt research in this vein will continue and our understanding will further expand.
Safe & sound
Another important aspect for seniors is that medicinal cannabis users tend to take less pharmaceutical drugs. Numerous studies point to that fact, especially in cases surrounding chronic pain and discomfort. Why is that important? Because, simply put, older adults are more likely to be on multiple medications, which can lead to negative drug interactions that interrupt sleep, affect mood, appetite, and motor skills, while sapping overall quality-of-life.
Finally, it’s important to note that smoking isn’t the only way to ingest this medicine. Cannabis—in both psychoactive and non-psychoactive forms—can be consumed as edibles, drops, or pills. Furthermore, it can be vaporized in the same way electronic cigarettes are, or even used topically for arthritis. Cannabis is a sound alternative to opioids, as use is manageable, and has minimal side-effects, which is in stark contrast to many pharmaceutical pills and medicines.
There’s value in exploring cannabis as medicine, no matter how old you are.
1 “Americans Who Smoke Marijuana By Age Group 2017 | Statistic”. 2018. Statista. Accessed December 5 2018. https://www.statista.com/statistics/737849/share-americans-age-group-smokes-marijuana/
2 O’Neill, Stephanie. 2018. “Ticket To Ride: Pot Sellers Put Seniors On The Canna-Bus”. Npr.Org. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/17/648024454/ticket-to-ride-pot-sellers-put-seniors-on-the-canna-bus
3 Hill, Kevin P., Matthew D. Palastro, Brian Johnson, and Joseph W. Ditre. 2017. “Cannabis And Pain: A Clinical Review”. Cannabis And Cannabinoid Research 2 (1): 96-104. Mary Ann Liebert Inc. doi:10.1089/can.2017.0017
4 La Porta C, et al. 2018. “Involvement Of The Endocannabinoid System In Osteoarthritis Pain. – Pubmed – NCBI “. Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Accessed December 5 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494687
5 Russo, Ethan B., Geoffrey W. Guy, and Philip J. Robson. 2007. “Cannabis, Pain, And Sleep: Lessons From Therapeutic Clinical Trials Of Sativex®, A Cannabis-Based Medicine”. Chemistry & Biodiversity 38 (47). doi:10.1002/chin.200747254
Cannabis has long been associated with “the munchies,” an uncontrollable urge to snack or feast on a large assortment of healthy, or more likely, unhealthy food options. But this urge to consume food is far more important to medical cannabis patients, especially those suffering from HIV, AIDS, and cancer.
It has been known that cannabinoids like THC and CBD have an influence on how we as humans consume food, often playing a role in either weight gain or weight loss. Stimulation of CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the body are known to increase cravings for food increasing weight gain, while “antagonism” of these CB receptors can cause weight loss.
While small doses of THC are known to not promote weight gain, extended and more frequent cannabis consumption is known to increase an individual’s daily caloric intake, likely due to more food intake, or snacks, between meals.
Cannabis-induced weight gain in patients with HIV, AIDS, and cancer
For patients with HIV or AIDS, it is of clinical certainty that cannabis consumption via smoking or oral consumption is effective in increasing food intake. In a University of California study, patients consuming cannabis with Dronabinol, and by smoking, saw a weight gain of 3.5 kg and 3.1 kg respectively. Similar results were seen across other studies.
Cancer patients can also experience weight gain with cannabis therapy. Studies going as far back as 1975 have suggested that cannabis could treat nausea and stimulate appetite. Furthermore, other clinical studies have suggested that cannabis use could increase food intake in those who are underweight, but not increase food intake in those who are either of normal weight, or who are overweight. This could be explained by other factors including the frequency of cannabis use, along with other substances at play within the individual user.
Cannabis as an alternative treatment method
Cannabis offers an alternative treatment to other drugs (like Megestrol) that aim to produce weight gain in HIV, AIDS, and cancer patients. While clinically proven to promote weight gain, cannabis isn’t known to produce more weight gain than existing, traditional treatment options.
Sansone R. A., Sansone L. A. Marijuana and body weight. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. 2014;11(7-8):50–54.
For those who might be exploring the benefits of cannabis or are considering its many therapeutic effects, Cannabidiol, often abbreviated as CBD is especially important for cannabis patients. CBD possess a wide array of therapeutic effects, without the psychoactive and intoxicating effects that are typically associated with cannabis.
CBD is one of close to 85 cannabinoids present in cannabis, with THC being the most commonly known. Cannabinoids are chemicals within cannabis that offer relief to patients, similar to natural compounds in our body called endocannabinoids.
As a standalone drug, this cannabinoid has garnered significant interest in the last ten years from the medical community for a number of benefits as a1:
The potential value of CBD for patients
With increased pressure from the North American public, cannabidiol has taken center stage as a drug with an impressive volume of therapeutic applications, but is often still wrapped up in state and federal politics and medical cannabis legalization. With increased attention and further legalization efforts in the United States, research surrounding the health applications are still in its infancy stages, but documentation and clinical trials continue to flow into the public sphere.
The CBD knowledge-base continues to grow
Recently, research has revolved around the use of cannabidiol for treating refractory epilepsy, most notably in children suffering from Dravet Syndrome.2 Clinical trials have explored the impacts of CBD on pediatric epilepsy, yielding positive results from a study consisting of 74 patients under the age of 18, with 90 percent of patients reporting a reduction in seizure frequency.3
Clinical evidence also demonstrates that cannabidiol can reduce anxiety-related behavior related to a number of disorders including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.4
Isolated cannabidiol oil is an emerging product available to patients, and oral consumption remains as one of the simplest ways to consume the product. CBD tinctures are also available; infused with alcohol and held underneath the tongue to aid delivery into the bloodstream. However, recent studies have suggested that vaporization of CBD might present as the most efficient way of consuming cannabidiol5, compared to other consumption methods such as topical creams and edible products.
The possibilities of cannabidiol are endless, and for patients on their cannabis journey, cannabidiol has the possibility to work wonders; supported by clinical trials and evidence, the hope is that CBD cements itself as a drug that can aid in a myriad of medical issues.
1.Morales P, Reggio PH, Jagerovic N. An Overview on Medicinal Chemistry of Synthetic and Natural Derivatives of Cannabidiol. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2017;8. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00422.
2. Welty TE, Luebke A, Gidal BE. Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls. Epilepsy Currents. 2014;14(5):250-252. doi:10.5698/1535-7597-14.5.250.
3. Tzadok M, Uliel-Siboni S, Linder I, et al. CBD-enriched medical cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy. Seizure. 2016;35:41-44. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2016.01.004.
4. Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1. 5. Solowij N, Broyd SJ, Hell HHV, Hazekamp A. A protocol for the delivery of cannabidiol (CBD) and combined CBD and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by vaporisation. BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2014;15(1). doi:10.1186/2050-6511-15-58.
5. Solowij N, Broyd SJ, Hell HHV, Hazekamp A. A protocol for the delivery of cannabidiol (CBD) and combined CBD and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by vaporisation. BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2014;15(1). doi:10.1186/2050-6511-15-58.
Cannabis, a plant that has proven to be complex is still under the microscope by researchers, patients, physicians, and society. But one of the most famous and most widely known phrases associated with the plant will always be THC, or more appropriately, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. But many new patients want an introduction on THC basics, learning how it can play a role in a patient’s well-being and healing.
While cannabis has been used for medical, religious, and recreational purposes for over 5,000 years1, THC, as an isolated cannabinoid derived from the plant was first discovered by Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Goani in 19642. This cornerstone research discovery by Mechoulam would lead to the discovery of other cannabinoids including CBD, as well as the endocannabinoid system, our body’s way of utilizing the healing potential of cannabis.3
THC is known to be the major psychoactive component of cannabis, in other words, it’s the part of the cannabis plant that gives the euphoric feeling of being “high”.4 As one of the many cannabinoids present within cannabis, THC interacts with our endocannabinoid system to produce a wide range of effects.5 THC activates CB1 receptors within the central nervous system and our endocannabinoid system, giving THC this unique effect with both therapeutic and recreational uses.6
THC basics: perceptions in today’s society
As a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, THC and its potential as a medicine has been wrapped up in political red tape, along with many stigmas tied to the plant including potential harms and notions of it leading to other more harmful drugs.7
However, cannabis and THC as a medicine has had a resurgence as of late within North America, attributed partly because of reduced stigma, further normalization, and the growing opioid abuse epidemic.8
Learning the THC basics to utilize its many therapeutic benefits
Cannabis and THC has been historically known to be ingested through smoking of the dried herb, however, as patients of medical cannabis, there are many other consumption methods that are more beneficial to one’s health than inhaling smoke, including vaporization, edible products, and even tinctures.
THC is simply one cannabinoid present within cannabis that interacts with many other cannabinoids present within the plant, including aromatic terpenes which all contribute to what is known as the entourage effect. THC as an extract presents its own unique set of therapeutic effects, but when interacting other other cannabinoids and terpenes, it can lead patients down the road of many different avenues of healing.
As for the specific effects of THC, they can both be short and long term, with both therapeutic and adverse effects, dependent on many things including the individual, dose, potency, and delivery method.
The therapeutic effects of THC
• Muscle Relaxant
• Appetite stimulant
• Potential to lower blood pressure
• Pain reliever9
The adverse effects of THC
• Distortion of time
• Memory impairment
• Panic attacks or anxiety
The debate surrounding THC
The debates and voices surrounding cannabis and THC basics as a medicine continues. Proponents of THC are pushing to support medical cannabis in the treatment of many conditions, especially those that have not responded to traditional treatment methods. Cannabis is considered “relatively safe” with few deaths ever reported, can be “self-titratable,” while being relatively inexpensive in comparison to other pharmaceutical agents.11
The voices against cannabis argue that clinical trials to confirm either the harms are benefits are lacking, need FDA approval, and also lack methods standardization and measurement of potency or quality. However, there are companies, like CB2 Insights, who are leading the charge to provide this type of standardized and regulated data in order to transform cannabis into mainstream healthcare.
1. Pertwee RG. Cannabinoid pharmacology: the first 66 years. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2009;147(S1). doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706406.
2. Gaoni Y, Mechoulam R. Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 1964;86(8):1646-1647. doi:10.1021/ja01062a046.
3. Gaoni et al.
4. Bridgeman MB, Abazia DT. Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting. Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2017;42(2):180-188.
5. Bridgeman et al.
6. Bridgeman et al.
7. Bridgeman et al.
8. Bridgeman et al.
9. Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2011;163(7):1344-1364. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x.
10. Russo et al.
11. Russo et al.
Discover the benefits of marijuana therapy
Marijuana therapy remains a new option for many patients, however cannabis has been clinically proven to address multiple conditions, especially when traditional treatment options have failed. Chronic pain particularly can be addressed by medical marijuana, offering a treatment method that is less addictive, with less potential for overdose than traditional treatment with opioids. Cannabis can also address mood disorders like anxiety and depression and is a popular option for patients wishing to medicate with something other than antidepressants.
Canna Care Docs is proud to have helped over 350,000 patients access marijuana therapy programs and continue on the path of health and wellness for those seeking alternative treatment options. We serve new and existing patients across 28 clinics in 12 different jurisdictions.
Leverage marijuana therapy without impairment
Patients will be happy to learn that they can use cannabis as a medicine to medicate without impairment. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an active cannabinoid within the plant that offers the therapeutic values of cannabis without impairment, as it is non-psychoactive. For medical patients, this is a great option for those looking to medicate throughout the day, without the “high” that is associated with the plant, and THC. Patients looking to explore the benefits of medical cannabis are encouraged to contact a Canna Care Docs clinic in their community and have all their questions answered by our knowledgeable staff. Experience the Canna Care Docs difference and learn how marijuana therapy can aid in your condition.