Cannabis has been used as a natural remedy for pain, nausea, and other conditions for centuries. In recent years, it has also been explored as a potential treatment for age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Cannabis can help maintain levels of cognitive function by boosting memory retention and inhibiting the development of beta amyloid plaques – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. It may also be a more effective treatment for pain than opioids because it doesn’t produce the same level of dependency or side effects. As people are living longer than ever before, cannabis is emerging as an important part of aging gracefully. Here are 3 ways cannabis is helping seniors age gracefully.
Cannabis and dementia
Cannabis is a potential treatment for dementia, but it doesn’t have the same negative side effects as other drugs. Dementia is a type of brain disease that makes it hard to remember things and can be caused by a variety of things, including Alzheimer’s disease. Cannabis may help to reduce the risk of developing dementia because the chemical compounds from cannabis, called cannabinoids, bind to specific receptors in your brain and help regulate cognitive function.
In one study done with mice, researchers found that administration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a cannabinoid found in cannabis, reduced beta amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Although this study was done on mice, research has shown similar findings in humans.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “cannabis shows great promise in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Cannabis and Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and is estimated to affect one in three seniors. It can be difficult to find treatments that work, but recent research has shown that cannabis may help maintain cognitive function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Cannabis is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help with pain relief without requiring dangerous opioids.
Cannabis may also help slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by blocking the production of beta amyloid plaques, which is a hallmark of this condition. Cannabis may also improve sleep and appetite, two things that are frequently neglected in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
But don’t take our word for it – Harvard professor Dr. John Wooten, who is director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, told NPR: “The marijuana plant can actually slow down some aspects of memory loss as we age.”
Cannabis for pain relief
Older adults are more at risk for chronic pain than younger adults. This is partly because as we age, our brains produce less of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which can lead to decreased feelings of pleasure and increased feelings of pain. Dopamine also plays a role in regulating mood and sleep.
According to a study on cannabis and aging, cannabinoids like THC can help relieve persistent nociceptive pain (pain caused by damage or injury) and neuropathic pain (pain arising from nerve damage). The study concludes that cannabis can be an effective treatment for these types of pain because it activates the body’s endocannabinoid system – which is similar to how opioids work – but without the same side effects.
For many seniors, chronic pain becomes the norm rather than the exception. Cannabis provides relief from this discomfort without having to resort to addictive prescription drugs.
It’s no secret that there are a number of benefits to cannabis use, especially as we age. But what does this mean for those who have been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or chronic pain?
In the case of dementia, it has been shown that cannabis can help patients improve their memories and recall. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, cannabis can help improve brain cell communication and reduce inflammation. And for those dealing with chronic pain, cannabis can help reduce the intensity of pain and muscle spasms.
If you or a loved one is dealing with any of these conditions, you may want to give cannabis a try! You can purchase cannabis products at Westcoast Cannabis online dispensary.