It seems that baby boomers have discovered cannabidiol (CBD). A 2019 study of 13 million online comments about CBD oil found that baby boomers and millennials generated an equal amount of posts on the topic at 41 percent for each group.  While anxiety is the main driver of millennial CBD demand; baby boomers predominantly are seeking relief from joint and muscle pain.
How CBD Helps Reduce Joint and Muscle Pain
CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. The ECS has CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain; CB2 receptors are mostly found in immune cells and in a few neurons.
The ECS acts to restore balance whenever something happens with one of the body functions, such as appetite, sleep, immune response, and more. When CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor, it inhibits pain and inflammation. It also releases tension that causes anxiety.
CBD topical products have the ability to work their way deep into the tissues and so are being used for musculoskeletal and joint pain relief. Treatments using CBD have been shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis, neurological disorders, broken bones, and overworked muscles.
A study reported in the European Journal of Pain looked into the effectiveness of a topical CBD gel on rats to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. The CBD was applied to the rats for four consecutive days. Results indicated a significant drop in joint swelling and signs of pain. The data indicated that topical CBD has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side effects.
There are other areas of the body that can benefit from topical relief:
- Elbows, knees, and other joints
CBD for Insomnia
As we get older, the neurons that regulate our sleep start to die off. While, seniors don’t need as much sleep as they did when they were younger, these changes result in waking up earlier. As a result, seniors may spend less time in deep sleep and REM sleep, and more time in less beneficial light sleep. Deep sleep and REM sleep are critical for restoring our physical and cognitive health.
CBD has been shown to aid insomnia and improve sleep quality. Some research on CBD and sleep indicates that CBD may interact with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system to potentially affect the sleep/wake cycle. Furthermore, by reducing the symptoms of pain and anxiety, CBD may also contribute to a more restful sleep.
CBD’s effect on other conditions of aging
While more studies are needed, some other conditions associated with aging that may benefit from CBD include:
Parkinson’s: A study points to a possible effect of CBD in improving quality of life measures in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients with no psychiatric comorbidities. However, studies with larger samples and specific objectives are required before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Alzheimer’s: Studies among animal models with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disease, demonstrate the ability of CBD to reduce reactive gliosis (scarring in the central nervous system) and the neuroinflammatory response as well as to promote neurogenesis (process by which new neurons are formed in the brain). Importantly, the studies showed CBD also reversed and prevented the development of cognitive deficits in AD animal models.  Another study demonstrated CBD's ability to prevent the development of a social recognition deficit in AD transgenic mice. The findings provide the first evidence that CBD may have potential as a preventative treatment for AD with a particular relevance for symptoms of social withdrawal and facial recognition.
High blood pressure: Preclinical studies show CBD has numerous cardiovascular benefits, including reduced blood pressure (BP) response to stress. The aim of this study was to investigate if CBD reduces BP in humans. Nine healthy male volunteers were given 600 mg of CBD or placebo in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Cardiovascular parameters were monitored using a finometer and laser Doppler. The data showed that acute administration of CBD reduces resting BP and the BP increase to stress in humans, associated with increased heart rate (HR).
Can you take too much CBD?
A review of CBD from 2011 found that chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans. But even though it’s well tolerated, CBD oil side effects could include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. CBD also can interact with other medications, such as blood thinners. It’s therefore advisable to talk to your doctor about taking CBD relative to other medications you are taking.