The aging process is something that all humans go through. As we get older there are many functions that naturally begin to slow down or stop completely in our body. Several elderly people begin to lose their sensory abilities (sight, hearing, taste, etc.), bones and muscles become fragile, and even their mass decreases. Besides all that, older people are at risk of developing depression, anxiety and insomnia. It is quite common for doctors to prescribe antidepressants, anxiolytics and hypnotic substances for these problems, but sometimes the prescription is too heavy for the patient, causing more problems.
In addition, when people get older, new problems appear and new drugs are prescribed for each of these. This is known as polypharmacy, which could cause more problems because the mixture of several medications causes the adverse drug reaction (ADR), mainly affecting the liver and kidneys. Finally, these reactions could lead to the prescription of more medications.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that More than 20% of people 60 years and older have neurological or mental disorders. In the population with this age, the most common disorder is depression (7%), dementia (5%) and anxiety (3.8%). The problem is that the world's population is aging rapidly. In fact, the WHO predicts a global increase in the world's population over 60 years, from 12% to 22% between the years 2015 and 2050.
According to a research article, the use of inappropriate medication among the elderly ranges from 11.5% to 62.5%, therefore, about 50% of people take at least 1 or 2 pharmacists who do not need. On the other hand, it is crucial to be aware that the elderly have a greater risk of developing adverse side effects while taking the medication, due to the illness they suffer, the consumption of other prescribed substances, the forgetfulness and errors in the calculation of the dose.
Therefore, while the percentage of older people increases in the world, it is important to find natural and safe alternatives, and cannabinoids could be one of these. This article will study how medicinal cannabis could reduce some of the substances administered in the elderly.
Depression, anxiety, insomnia and cannabinoids
Current treatments for anxiety are associated with limited response rates, residual symptoms, adverse effects and poor adherence. These limitations give priority to unusual pharmaceutical substances, as well as cannabidiol (CBD). A phytocannabinoid constituent of the Cannabis sativa plant, with a wide range of therapeutic properties. Its anxiolytic potential without any psychoactive effect, demonstrated conclusively in several preclinical and clinical studies, has attracted a growing interest.
With this information, and next to the fact that CBD has a very low addiction potential and does not lead to severe side effects, the evidence points to CBD as the perfect alternative as a treatment for anxiety in the elderly. To understand how cannabinoids affect the body, the endocannabinoid system is key.
On the other hand, it is recognized that the improvement in mood is one of the benefits of the complex experience caused by cannabis. In preclinical studies, it was originally reported that stimulation of CB1 receptors by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 THC), The main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, gave rise to an activity of antidepressant type. These changes include a improved efflux of noradrenaline, 5-hydroxytryptamine and dopamine in various regions of the brain, which are molecules associated with changes in mood. Δ9 THC, it's a partial agonist of CB1 receptor, which can Activate the receivers to a maximum response (when inadequate amounts of ligands are present), or reduce the Overstimulation of receptors (when excessive amounts of ligands are present).
Another investigation recognized that CBD exhibited a dose-dependent antidepressant effect in models with animals. This acts as a partial agonist in the human serotonin 5-HT receptors, which could be involved in its antidepressant and anxiolytic effect. In addition, it has a low affinity for both cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. On the other hand, another phytocannabinoid known as cannabicyromen (CBC) also caused an antidepressant effect in animals (in high doses), but the underlying mechanisms of such activity are still unclear, leading to further studies.
Currently, tartar depression, stress and Burnout Syndrome with synthetic THC (Dronabinol), also showed successful results. In addition, THC, as well as other cannabinoids that contain a phenol group in its molecular structure, possess an antioxidant activity to protect neurons against stress.
Finally, Insomnia is one of the psychiatric disorders associated with anxiety. In fact, disruptions in sleep are part of the criteria for the diagnosis of two categories of anxiety disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Patients with GAD frequently complain that they have restless, non-restorative sleep and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. While nightmares interrupt the REM sleep phase, persistent symptoms of arousal and insomnia are common disorders in patients with PTSD. A scientific journal published that CBD helps to induce sleep in rats with anxiety, through its anxiolytic effect, instead of through sleep regulation.
In 2017, a more recent literature review confirmed that the CBD could be of help against excessive daytime sleepiness and conduct disorder during REM sleep. In addition, THC may decrease the period of time it takes to transition from sleeplessness to falling asleep, but it could damage long-term sleep quality. To better understand its clinical implications, additional longitudinal and controlled research is needed.
After all the above information, the evidence suggests that CBD could be used as a non-toxic alternative substance instead of conventional antidepressants, anxiolytics and hypnotic medications, resulting in a reduction in the amount of medications ingested by the elderly.
Did you like this post? Make an assessment. This post has been made based on existing research until the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase of studies around medical cannabis, the information exposed may vary over time and we will inform in subsequent writings.
 World Health Organization. (2018). Mental health of older adults. [online]
 Guaraldo L. Inappropriate medication use among the elderly: a systematic review of administrative databases. BMC Geriatr 2011; 11: 79
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 El-Alfy, A., Ivey, K., Robinson, K., Ahmed, S., Radwan, M., Slade, D., Khan, I., ElSohly, M. and Ross, S. (2010). Antidepressant-like effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, [online] 95 (4), pp.434-442.
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Here’s what you want to know before visiting your local medical dispensary:You may need a doctor’s recommendation, medical cannabis certification, or whatever appropriate documentation is needed by your state. Typically, you need to be 18 or older to be eligible for a medical consent, but exceptions could be made in some states for minors with especially debilitating problems. You will usually enroll with a medicinal dispensary. This is to maintain your medical cannabis recommendation or certificate on file for regulatory and legal purposes. There will be a waiting space. This is to control the circulation of patients and product, but a straightforward dividing wall gives patients privacy and direct one-on-one contact using a budtender to discuss medical issues. Many times, but not always, your purchases will be tracked by medical dispensaries. This procedure can help budtenders and patients monitor effective medicine in addition to possess a living listing of producers and goods for future reference and follow-up. Medicinal dispensaries usually allow you to smell and examine the buds before buy. This may vary from state-to-state.
DOES AN APPLICANT NEED MUNICIPAL APPROVAL BEFORE RECEIVING A RETAIL CANNABIS LICENSE? Yes, municipal approval is necessary prior to the AGLC will issue a retail cannabis license. Applicants must get in touch with their intended municipality to find out requirements regarding municipal retail cannabis legislation, zoning requirements, land-use restrictions, and place requirements regarding how near a retail shop can be into a provincial medical care facility, college, or parcel of property designated as a college book.
Keep non-medical cannabis legal Adults that are 19 decades or older are in a position to:Have up to 30 gram of legal dried cannabis or the equivalent on their person. Share up to 30 g of legal cannabis with other adults in Canada. Buy cannabis products from a Yukon Liquor Corporation licensed merchant. Grow up to four crops per family. It is illegal to provide non invasive cannabis to anyone under the age of 19 and also for anybody below the age of 19 to have any quantity of non-medical cannabis in Yukon.It is illegal and dangerous to drive while under the influence of cannabis or other intoxicants.