September 8, 2020. The number one reason people use medical marijuana is for chronic pain. This condition has also been the driving force behind the majority seniors who have obtained permission from their physicians to use medical marijuana. But as noted in the recent article by Consumer Reports – A Guide to CBD and Cannabis for Older Adults, there are certain precautions to using THC in the elderly. Dr Maroon was asked to comment on the the use of CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in both marijuana and hemp, for pain.
CBD is thought to help by reducing inflammation, specifically in molecules called cytokines and brain cells called microglia. “Both can lead to an inflammatory response,” says Joseph Maroon, MD, a clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A 2018 review in the journal Surgical Neurology International by Maroon and colleagues found that curbing inflammation with CBD use may help with anxiety, depression, and seizures.
Here are some of the precautions Consumer Reports lists when using medical marijuana:
- Possible side effects – Marijuana may cause an irregular heartbeat in some may lead to hallucinations, delusion, and psychosis.
- Increased rates of depression and anxiety – have been reported with marijuana use.
- Commercial marijuana products possible higher potency – may be stronger than traditional smoked “weed.”
For both THC and CBD there may be interactions with certain prescription and over-the-counter medications. Be sure to review all your medications with your physician before starting THC or CBD.