Blog Details

February 28, 2024 0 Comments

How Medical Marijuana Can Help as We Age

As we age, most of us will notice changes in our physical and cognitive health. Things that came easily to us when we were younger, like sleep and exercise, can become more difficult as we develop health conditions that are common with aging. Even people as young as 40 years old may notice changes as they transition to their senior years.

To combat the symptoms associated with these conditions, doctors typically prescribe narcotics that might not be effective or, worse, might cause us to trade relief for side effects that are even worse than our symptoms. The good news is, that medical marijuana may help to alleviate symptoms without side effects for some older adults. In this article, we’ll explore the most common conditions associated with aging that might be helped with medical marijuana as well as what cannabinoids are shown to be most effective for each condition.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people worldwide are living longer. Today most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond. Every country in the world is experiencing growth in both the size and the proportion of older persons in the population.

By 2030, one in six people in the world will be 60 years or over. The share of the population aged 60 years and over will increase from one billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion. By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older will double (2.1 billion). The number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050 to reach 426 million.

While this shift in the distribution of a country’s population towards older ages – known as population aging – started in high-income countries (for example in Japan 30% of the population is already over 60 years old), it is now low- and middle-income countries that are experiencing the greatest change. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population over 60 years will live in low- and middle-income countries.

Key Facts

• In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries.

• The pace of population aging is much faster than in the past.

• In 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older outnumbered children younger than 5 years.

• Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%.

Conditions common in older adults


Occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time. Most commonly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.

Symptoms: Pain when moving, especially at night, stiffness after not using a joint for a while, swelling, and feeling unable to move the joint normally.

What to try: Use a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio. This is because Cannabidiol (CBD) has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce arthritis pain, while tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can help manage the pain itself.

Tip: Patients report that using a vape pen offers more precise methods of delivery, allowing users to adjust the dose as needed. Also, better results are reported by not relying on cannabis alone. Eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise and sleep


Diabetes is a condition that causes your blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels to rise too high.

Symptoms: Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, feeling thirsty often, extreme fatigue, urinating often, blurry vision.

Studies: One of the first major reports ever published by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) stated that marijuana could have the following benefits for people with diabetes: stabilizes blood sugar, anti-inflammatory action that can help treat some arterial inflammation that is common in diabetes, a neuroprotective effect that helps thwart nerve inflammation and reduce neuropathic pain by activating receptors in the body and brain, anti-spasmodic agents help relieve muscle cramps and pain caused by gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, acts as a vasodilator to help keep blood vessels open and improve circulation, contributes to lowering blood pressure over time, topical creams relieved neuropathic pain and tingling in the hands and feet and may help calm restless leg syndrome (RLS), so that the patient can sleep better.

Another study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2016 found that CBD treatment reduced inflammation, improved glucose levels, and insulin sensitivity, and reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.

What to try: An article published in the National Library of Medicine reports use of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) can have anti-diabetic compounds and also help with weight loss. In addition, CBD has been shown in studies to help prevent diabetes, act as an anti-inflammatory, and help with pain associated with diabetes.

Tip: Patients report that best results occur with a combination of THCV and CBD using any of the delivery methods such as tinctures, oils, vape pens, or topicals.

Alzheimer’s Disease 

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder characterized by a decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. It is also the most common cause of dementia.

Symptoms: Can include memory loss, difficulty in problem-solving, difficulty completing tasks, confusion about time and place, vision problems, communication problems, misplaced objects, withdrawal from social activities, and changes in mood or personality. As the disease progresses, symptoms will worsen and can include a complete lack of mobility and a reduction of vocabulary to just a few words.

Studies: A study titled A Review on Studies of Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease – Focusing on CBD, THC was conducted where 1,149 studies completed previously that focused on Alzheimer’s Disease and its treatment with cannabis sativa were searched and the results, overall, shared in the study results. After excluding duplicates and research that did not specifically meet the criteria, nine studies were left. These studies showed that CBD protected PC12 cells from neurotoxicity and oxidation stress, increased cell survival, reduced ROS (reactive oxygen species or ROS is now emerging as a key detrimental factor driving AD pathogenesis) production, reduced lipid peroxidation (numerous studies have demonstrated increased lipid peroxidation in the brains of patients with advanced AD), inhibited acetylcholinesterase (AChE is an enzyme that reduces neurotransmitters to choline and creates insoluble Amyloid plaques in the brain), and stimulated the neurogenesis (cell regeneration) of the hippocampus.

What to try: Two of the studies mentioned above indicate that the use of CBD with THC is most effective in preventing and treating mild cases of Alzheimer’s Disease. The combination produces both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. For advanced cases, THC can help with behavioral

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that are difficult to control and interfere with day-to-day activities. Persistent worrying or anxiety about several areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events.

Symptoms: Symptoms vary but may include overthinking plans and mentally creating possible worst-case outcomes, perceiving situations as threatening, difficulty handling uncertainty, Indecisiveness, Inability to let go of a worry, inability to relax, feeling restless, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, trouble sleeping, trembling, nervousness, easily startled, nausea or diarrhea, and irritability.

Studies: A University of Washington study titled “Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders” noted, “Both for anxiety and fear memory processing, the endocannabinoid system is thought to ensure an appropriate reaction to stressful events and to serve as a regulatory buffer system for emotional responses.”

What to try: THC appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses and increase anxiety at higher doses. CBD appears to decrease anxiety at all doses that have been tested.

Tip: Work with your medical marijuana doctor and pharmacist to ensure you’re taking the right dose. Overconsumption of THC can sometimes worsen symptoms. Use low-dose THC or CBD in any dose for the treatment of anxiety.


A common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. It also can cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million U.S. adults experience symptoms of a sleep disorder.

Symptoms: Having a hard time falling asleep at night, waking up during the night, waking up too early, tired or sleepy during the day, depressed or anxious, difficulty paying attention, and difficulty focusing on tasks.

Studies: Studies like this one published in the Journal of Sleep Research have shown that THC can be effective in treating insomnia. However, research also suggests that higher doses can affect REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which can affect your ability to dream. This can be effective for those also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but may be undesirable for those who only have insomnia.

What to try: When used under the direction of your medical marijuana physician and pharmacist, THC edibles, CBN oil, THC/CBD tinctures, and indica strains — known for their relaxing and sedative effects — can all be effective cannabis products for sleep.

Tip: Patients report that best results occur with a combination of THCV and CBD using any of the delivery methods such as tinctures, oils, vape pens, or topicals.

Next Steps

Though medical marijuana research is promising, it’s still in its infancy due to long-held federal and state laws prohibiting possession even for research purposes. In addition, most research focuses on THC and CBD although there are many cannabinoids in marijuana. As medical marijuana is legalized, state by state, more research will be available.

You can take steps now to perhaps make your conditions related to aging more manageable and possibly even eliminate symptoms. You must work with a medical marijuana physician and pharmacist who are knowledgeable about conditions and products that would be most effective in treating your conditions and recommend the best dosage for you to start. Effects can vary from individual to individual, so you’ll need to start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you have the maximum healing effects for you. Remember to ALWAYS consult with your primary care physician before making changes to your medications or healthcare treatment and stay aware of fall risks. 

If you’re ready to start your healing journey, our specialists and physicians are standing by to guide you. Click the button below to take the first step in your healing journey.

Senior Discount $99 for 12 months of recommendations