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CBD and other alternative medicines for Elders

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Many Elder people can remember a time when marijuana and other drugs weren’t mainstream at all. Prior to the last few years, there was no clinical consensus on the possible benefits of alternative recreational drugs that were used illegally. But that attitude has begun to change, as more states legalize marijuana use and more medical facilities are acknowledging the possible benefits of these alternative substances. For Elder persons, some of the elements of these “medications” have shown promise in reducing stress, increasing appetite, and even reducing inflammation and aches and pains.

CBD is a chemical found in marijuana, but it is not the chemical that gets you “high” (that’s THC). In fact, CBD has been shown in studies to have numerous positive effects on health, all without causing any sort of intoxication like traditional marijuana. CBD comes in many different forms, such as drinks, supplements, or even candy, and is primarily marketed as a “supplement” rather than an official medication.

As studies continue into the effect that CBD can have on a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to point out that one of the strong consensuses at this time is at low doses, CBD does not cause adverse health problems. Unlike smoking marijuana, which of course can cause issues due to both the drugs’ effect and the action of inhaling hot smoke into your lungs (risk of lung infections!), CBD can be ingested orally.

Other interesting research has also begun into other alternative and non-mainstream substances for treatment of a myriad of issues that often affect the elderly. For example, there is currently some serious medical interest into the effects of psylocibin on depression, anxiety, and overall malaise. Psylocibin is the active ingredient in the classic “magic mushrooms.” Although it may sound scary to hear that researchers are looking into using serious and very drastic psychedelic substances to treat depression, there is some promise that even a very small dose that does not cause any real hallucinations can have strong benefits on overall mood and brain health.

As we progress further in our knowledge of the human mind and of the medical field, it may seem odd to realize that things that have long been considered universally “bad for you” (like marijuana and magic mushrooms) may in fact, if used correctly, have some positive affect. For elders especially, who may struggle with depression and mood and are unable to combat them with the same level of activity as a younger person (see previous articles about the benefits of exercise!), these “new” therapeutics may bring a higher quality of life and a better prognosis for long-term health.

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Senior Steps is a full-service geriatric care management company offering top-quality, personalized care to elderly clients on Boston’s South Shore. We offer free consultations, so call us today at 617-405-8796 or e-mail us at if you would like to chat about how we can help you or an elderly loved one with medical, financial, or legal advocacy, or activities of daily living.

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