Study Finds Health Gains for Older Adults Using Cannabis

Old person holding a small bottle

A recent study on the effects of medical cannabis on older adults reveals that cannabis-based products can offer multiple benefits for this demographic, particularly in terms of health, well-being, sleep, and mood.

Study Findings

Published in the journal Drugs and Aging, the research addresses the lack of high-quality studies involving older adults and the common practice of excluding individuals over 65 from clinical trials. As older patients increasingly turn to medical cannabis for relief, this study offers valuable insights.

Significant improvements were observed in pain severity and pain interference among older patients reporting chronic pain as their primary condition. The study involved data from T21, a large observational study of individuals in the UK seeking prescribed cannabis for various primary conditions.

The researchers noted that while the National Health Service provides limited access to cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs), over 200 unlicensed CBMPs are available for prescription in the UK.

Consistent Improvements

Outcomes were measured through self-reported assessments of quality of life, general health, mood, and sleep. The results showed consistent improvements in each of these well-being measures between the start of treatment and the three-month follow-up.

  • Considerable reductions in pain severity and pain interference
  • Significant improvements in general health and well-being
  • Notable reductions in depressed mood and sleep difficulties

The research highlighted that while older individuals experienced less improvement in quality of life and mood compared to those under 65, the benefits were still substantial. Improvements in general health and sleep were similar for both age groups.

Differences Between Age Groups

The study found several differences between younger and older patients. Older patients were more likely to be female, report chronic pain as their primary condition, and be on multiple prescribed drugs. They were less likely to have used cannabis before or to have used it daily before treatment.

In terms of prescribed products, patients over 64 were more likely to receive CBD-dominant oil and less likely to receive THC-dominant flower. Despite these differences, there was evidence of consistent improvement across multiple well-being measures.

Addressing Research Gaps

The findings begin to fill a gap in existing cannabis research, as there is currently a lack of published data on prescribed medical cannabis use in older individuals in the UK. The study emphasizes the need for real-world evidence to assess the effectiveness and safety of these products for older individuals.

Personal Opinion

It's evident that medical cannabis holds promise for improving the health and well-being of older adults. The consistent improvements in pain management, sleep, and mood are particularly encouraging.

This research underscores the importance of including older individuals in clinical trials to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of medical cannabis.

It's heartening to see a growing body of evidence supporting the use of cannabis-based products for older adults. As the medical community continues to explore this area, it's crucial to ensure that older patients have access to safe and effective treatments that can enhance their quality of life.

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Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

About the author:

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen is known for his extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of CBD and hemp production. With a career spanning over a decade in the cannabis industry, he has dedicated his life to understanding the intricacies of these plants and their potential benefits to human health and the environment. Over the years, Robin has worked tirelessly to promote the full legalization of hemp in Europe. His fascination with the plant's versatility and potential for sustainable production led him to pursue a career in the field.

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