Cannabis is associated with blood pressure reduction in older adults & may not cause a cognitive decline in older populations.
With today’s fastest growing segment of cannabis users in the US and the world being seniors, concerns over its use in a population at risk for numerous other medical conditions such cardiovascular disease and hypertension, as well as cannabinoids, most specifically THC, possibly contributing to cognitive decline, is of ongoing concern.
In January of this year, researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Israel released the results of a first-of-its-kind study in adults 60 and over with hypertension using cannabis therapy either in smoked or oil form.
According to the abstract: “Medical cannabis use is increasing rapidly in the past several years, with older adults being the fastest growing group. Nevertheless, the evidence for cardiovascular safety of cannabis use is scarce. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of cannabis on blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolic parameters in older adults with hypertension.”
The conclusion of the study: “amongst older adults with hypertension, cannabis treatment for 3 months was associated with a reduction in 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressure values with a nadir at 3 hours after cannabis administration”
And as reported here, a recent review in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology of “multiple studies have indicated that exposure to cannabis may not cause a cognitive decline in older populations.”
FTA – “Six articles reported findings for older populations (three human and three rodent studies), highlighting the paucity of research in this area. Human studies revealed largely null results, likely due to several methodological limitations,” the researchers wrote. “Better-controlled rodent studies indicate that the relationship between [THC] and cognitive function in healthy aging depends on age and level of THC exposure. Extremely low doses of THC improved cognition in very old rodents. Somewhat higher chronic doses improved cognition in moderately aged rodents. No studies examined the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) or high-CBD cannabis on cognition.”
As seniors follow their own paths to cannabis therapy, educating their doctors along the way, it’s important to stay up to date on potential benefits and unwanted effects of cannabis therapy despite the “paucity” of research.
If you want to get really technical on some of the other current research, here are a few studies released last month that may interest you. One on how CBD can help with PTSD from the pandemic; one on how CBD is helping folks with anxiety, stress and sleep; and a third on how cannabis may be a therapeutic agent in glioblastoma.
Could Cannabidiol Be a Treatment for Coronavirus Disease-19-Related Anxiety Disorders?
Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems
Cannabigerol Is a Potential Therapeutic Agent in a Novel Combined Therapy for Glioblastoma