Can I Give CBD to My Elderly Parent?

According to a recent Gallup Poll,  1 in 5 seniors, aged 50 and older, use CBD 

It may seem odd to think of giving CBD to our aging parents, but more and more studies show that CBD can have positive benefits for seniors. From anxiety to osteoarthritis, and Alzheimer’s to multiple sclerosis, scores of people credit CBD for easing the symptoms of these diseases when traditional medicines can’t.

The first step is talking with your parents about using CBD. To combat years of misinformation and negative stereotypes, you’ll need to be informed about CBD and its CBD’s potential benefits. You’ll also need to be prepared to debunk the cultural mythology around cannabis use.

The number one assurance you may need to make is that cannabidiol or CBD oils, tinctures, edibles and balms won’t make your parents “high.”

Hemp, a member of the Cannabis sativa family, lacks or is extremely low in THCA (THC once heated or decarboxylated), the euphoria-inducing agent more commonly found in Cannabis indica.

Instead, hemp-based CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to activate neurotransmitters and receptors in our bodies. CBD has been used to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, and inflammation successfully.

Benefits of CBD for the elderly (and most everyone else, for that matter)

Alzheimer’s & Dementia

CBD’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties act on neural tissue to counteract inflammation and to protect against further tissue deterioration. It also helps to eliminate the toxic proteins that cause the damage of Alzheimer’s disease, reduce brain cell inflammation, and regenerate damaged cells.

Well-known for its anti-anxiety properties, CBD can also help to soothe the agitation and anxiety often experienced in later stages of the disease.


Bone and joint pain are frequent complaints in older patients; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be debilitating. CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory effects can help treat the underlying inflammation of bone and joint disease. Also, CBD’s analgesic properties interact with the body’s neurotransmitters to alter pain messages.

CBD helps with arthritis pain in 2 ways. It’s a systemic treatment when taken orally, it can also be applied as a salve or cream to relieve localized musculoskeletal pain.

Cardiovascular disease

CBD can have an impact on the underlying vascular inflammation that plays a role in cardiovascular disease and hypertension. A CBD regimen can potentially reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. There is some evidence that CBD may mitigate post-stroke cerebral inflammation and be beneficial for recovery.


As we age, it becomes harder to achieve deep sleep for more extended periods of time. In deep sleep, our brains regenerate and eliminate some of the toxins our bodies produce. It’s not uncommon for doctors to prescribe potentially addictive sleeping medications to seniors. Giving CBD to parents can avoid addictive medications and help improve sleep quality.

Sleep quality plays a vital role in helping to prevent neurogenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and glaucoma. CBD has been shown to extend deep sleep and adjust the deep-light sleep cycle.


In general, senior citizens are at risk for loss of appetite, a serious problem for the elderly. Loss of appetite or disinterest in eating can lead to weight loss, malnutrition, bone and muscle loss, as well as mental issues. Hemp-based CBD, like its cousin marijuana, has been shown to be an appetite stimulant for seniors, helping to ensure adequate nutrition.

Giving CBD to your senior parent

Before giving CBD to your parents, do consult their primary care physician, as well as your parent. Although CBD is safe, the interactions of CBD and prescription medication interactions may dictate changes in dosage.

Your parent’s doctor may be resistant because of a lack of knowledge about the various studies into the benefits of CBD for elders that have been done. Though more research is needed, early results indicate that CBD has a number of positive benefits.

Once everyone has agreed to give CBD a try, the next step is deciding the initial dosage. Even though the average daily dose is 20 – 40 mg/day, experts agree that it’s far better to begin at a very low dose (2.5 – 5.0 mg/day) and increase slowly until the benefits are realized. It’s also important to remember that elderly patients tend to have more sensitivity to cannabis constituents.  

The other consideration before giving your parent CBD is where they live. CBD is legal in varying degrees in 47 states, though your parent may need a medical marijuana card to get CBD. In Nebraska, Idaho, or South Dakota, CBD, and cannabis are illegal, and your doctor can’t prescribe it for your loved one.

Orally, CBD oil or tincture can be taken as a capsule, soft gel, gummy, or sublingually. Although slower to metabolize in the system, capsules and the like have the advantage of fitting in with your parent’s daily pill regimen. It’s also easier to monitor the daily dose of CBD more precisely.

Which type of CBD is best for elderly patients?

Look for  CBD products that are derived from organic practices.

Be sure the manufacturer provides a certificate of analysis from a third-party lab. The certificate tells you the amount of CBD in the product and its purity. You’ll want to know not only the amount of CBD in the bottle but also the amount of CBD per dropper. By law, CBD cannot contain more than 0.3% THC, the “intoxicant” compound found in marijuana.

Full-spectrum CBD delivers all the compounds and cannabinoids available in hemp, including 0.3% THC, because it’s extracted from the whole plant. Broad-spectrum is much the same, only without the THC. Isolate is the purest form, 90% cannabidiol (CBD), without any other compounds beyond the carrier oil, which is often a combination of coconut and other oils.

Topical salves, balms, and creams deliver a less exact dose of CBD but provide specific, localized pain relief. Simply massage into the skin where it hurts. The skin forms a dermal barrier that hinders absorption, so apply generously.

Giving CBD to your aging parent can provide them with many benefits for some of the most troublesome conditions of aging. Whether it’s glaucoma, dementia, arthritis, or heart disease, CBD’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties can help provide relief.

In consultation with your parent’s primary care physician, and with your parent’s consent, a daily regimen of CBD can help alleviate pain, promote better appetite, and improve sleep quality. If your goal is to help your parent live a healthier and happier life in their elder years, then it’s time to discuss CBD with them.

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Andrew Mattison

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