Why CBD Oil is Being Used More by Canadian Seniors

Aches, anxiety, and loneliness are just a few conditions that confront Canadian seniors. But in recent years, the data is clear – they are seeking alternate ways to treat these ills. According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of older adults (45+) using cannabis increased from 7% in 2018 to 10.5% in 2020.

Don’t misread the situation – most aren’t using cannabis recreationally. In fact, a survey released by Active Aging Canada found three-quarters took the substance for medicinal purposes.

Because of this, most older adults seek out products that contain CBD. What is CBD? This abbreviation refers to cannabidiol, the second most common compound in cannabis. Often, people confuse CBD for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – that’s the substance that gets you “high.”

But unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive compound. Instead, it’s thought CBD interferes with endocannabinoid receptors (more on this later). Because of this, users often report reduced discomfort, worry, and other improvements. In addition, due to its perceived efficacy, Canadian seniors have begun taking it to complement existing treatments.

CBD comes in many forms. At cannabis shops across Canada, CBD oil is the most common product available. To consume CBD oil, customers place drops in food/drink or under their tongue. However, not everyone likes the taste of CBD oil. In these cases, customers may opt for gel caps, CBD edibles, or even infused skin creams.

But none of this explains how CBD works. So, how does this substance do its thing? We’ll be honest – at this time, the body of research on CBD is rather thin. But based on what researchers already know, here’s how CBD functions.

When an individual consumes CBD, it’s taken up by the endocannabinoid system – a biological process first discovered in 1988. Normally, our body’s endocannabinoid system produces its own cannabinoids (like anandamide). But what happens when a user introduces CBD to this system?

Scientists still don’t fully understand CBD’s role in our endocannabinoid system, but many believe this compound prevents resident cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) from being broken down. Because of this, concentrations of endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG) increase.
Researchers have linked anandamide and 2-AG to various bodily processes. Most notably, papers suggest that anandamide suppresses the transmission of discomfort signals to the brain. Therefore, it’s hypothesized that when more anandamide is present in a person’s body, the less they’ll perceive pain.

Now, that sounds interesting – but what does 2-AG do? Among other things, those studying this compound have found correlations between its increased presence and lower stress/anxiety levels. According to this paper, as 2-AG concentrations went up, so did the mental resilience of test subjects.
However, let’s be clear – more research is needed to establish a firmer link between CBD, endocannabinoid levels, and the alleviation of the conditions mentioned above. But for many Canadian seniors, recent scientific research and existing anecdotal evidence have motivated them to try CBD products.

So, what conditions are they treating with CBD? Mitigation of discomfort offers one of the biggest potential use cases for CBD products. According to the most recent figures, nearly half of Canadians over 65 have arthritis. And at least 27% of seniors experience pain on an ongoing basis. So, these folks may be partially behind the increase in 45+ CBD use.
Additionally, some seniors may be using CBD to treat anxiety or depression. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, roughly 1 in 5 Canadian seniors had experienced emotional distress in the past two years.

A thin (but growing) body of research is showing that CBD may have anti-anxiety/anti-depressive effects. Because of this, more older adults may be seeking relief through this compound.

Lastly, some seniors are taking CBD to treat their cancers. Canadian adults over the age of 65 make up more than 60% of new cancer cases. And depending on when they get their diagnosis, these cases can be quite advanced.

Because of this, some cancer-afflicted seniors may be taking CBD to complement established treatment modalities. This move isn’t out of desperation – according to limited research, CBD appears to slow tumour growth, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, and promote the death of cancerous cells (while leaving healthy cells untouched).
However, like most CBD research, the body of evidence remains thin. These preliminary results are promising, but they are just that – preliminary.

For most Canadian seniors, CBD is uncharted territory. Except for the savvy few, many confuse the substance for cannabis. And thanks to the baggage this plant carries, the majority haven’t tried it. But as research improves, confusion is cleared up, and as younger generations age, acceptance will likely increase. 


This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace the guidance of your licensed healthcare practitioner. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and products are meant for general use only and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or provide medical advice. Any decision to use supplements to support your specific needs should be considered in partnership with your licensed healthcare practitioner. Any questions you may have concerning your use of drugs, medications, or supplements should be directed to your healthcare provider.