10 Ways that Cannabis Helps Keep You Healthy As You Age
Cannabis can assist you during the aging process by providing relief, improving cognitive abilities, and stimulating new activity throughout your cells.
We are all growing older and medical marijuana could be a vital key to supporting and maintaining our well-being as we age.
Indeed, a growing body of scientific studies has shown that the cannabinoids found in cannabis have a wide range of positive health benefits for humans, including the potential to reverse the degenerative processes of aging.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 ways cannabis can help to keep us feeling younger and healthier.
1. Healthy Skin and Fewer Wrinkles
Cannabinoids, chemical compounds found within cannabis, are known to be natural antioxidants that can protect the skin from free radicals.
One of those compounds, called Cannabidiol or CBD, is potentially a stronger antioxidant than both vitamins C and E.
CBD products are also anti-inflammatory, help to increase skin oil production, and have been reported to be effective against symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety Levels
One function of our human endocannabinoid system is to regulate stress levels internally by producing anandamide, the “bliss” molecule that has a very similar structure to THC and CBD.
If we aren’t producing enough anandamide then we can feel increased levels of stress and anxiety. Cannabinoids mimic this molecule and help our system to regulate stress levels.
Cannabis is able to stimulate the serotonin receptors in the brain and has also shown to have beneficial effects in both animal and human models of anxiety disorders.
3. Improve Mood and Appetite
Moving from mid-life into elderly years, your mood and appetite can change due to hormonal fluctuations, career pressures, family obligations, and age-related illnesses.
Regulating mood and appetite as you age, especially for those with serious illnesses, can sometimes be a matter of life or death.
The active compound THC in cannabis is known to help stimulate appetite in those with serious illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.
According to the United Patients Group, when medical cannabis is smoked it increases the levels of ghrelin and leptin, two key hunger-regulating hormones.
Cannabis has also been shown to elevate mood, encouraging a positive euphoric feeling that can help to balance effects from stress, anxiety, and depression.
4. Relief from Pain and Inflammation
As you age it is common to experience aches and pains of the muscles, bones, and ligaments due to inflammation.
Inflammation causes cellular damage in the body and is directly related to illnesses that accelerate aging, such as:
One of the most ancient and common uses of medical marijuana is as a pain reliever or analgesic. People using it report it to be effective against chronic and neuropathic pains, as well as in managing chronic inflammation.
You don’t have to smoke or get high to find pain relief with cannabis; you can apply topical creams and salves for quick alleviation.
5. Bone Health
Maintaining healthy bones as we age is an important factor for living and aging well.
Osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones, commonly occurs in post-menopausal women and in aging men as hormones decrease. It is also a common condition for those who experience chronic pain or inflammation, and in those who are bed-ridden.
Cannabis can help to stimulate the production of new bone cells in elderly people and is an effective treatment against osteoporosis and in maintaining bone health as we age.
6. Better Sleep and Wake Cycles
Getting proper sleep each night helps you during the day to have better memory, cognitive action, and more accurate motor functions.
Studies have confirmed that micro-dosing marijuana helps with reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and allows the user to sleep more soundly throughout the night without waking up, in the short term.
Cannabidiol, or CBD the primary non-psychoactive component in cannabis, is helpful in modulating the sleep-wake cycles especially for those suffering from sleeping disorders.
According to a study published in the journal, Current Psychiatry Reports, medium to high doses of CBD taken for insomnia or other sleep disorders is associated with an increase in total sleep time.
7. Improve Memory and Cognition
The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in maintaining a balance of hormones and enzymes that support memory & cognition, as well as carrying information from cell to cell.
When the endocannabinoid system begins to decline aging processes can begin to accelerate.
A study done by scientists at the University of Bonn demonstrated that low doses of THC interact with the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
This study showed that low dosages of THC from cannabis were effective in reversing a decline of cognitive abilities in aged mice The study demonstrates that marijuana may be effective in improving memory and learning abilities in older patients.
8. Regulate Hormones and Fertility Cycles
Before entering menopause estrogen and endocannabinoids work together to maintain women’s fertility cycles with hormonal regulation.
As estrogen levels drop, endocannabinoid production also drops.
While more research is still needed, some evidence suggests that premature changes in endocannabinoid production could be directly linked to premature menopausal symptoms.
The cannabinoids contained in cannabis can enter into our systems and replicate our endocannabinoid molecules by bonding to the cannabinoid receptors.
This effect may be beneficial in balancing the symptoms of premenopausal and menopausal symptoms, as well as possibly strengthening the reproductive organs functioning.
9. Support the Immune System
The connection between cannabis and the immunological system is still being researched. Some studies show that cannabis may suppress the immune system, such as via its anti-inflammatory properties, while others show that it supports immunological functions, such as in its killing of cancerous cells.
One study makes connections between cannabis and increased production of two primary disease-fighting cells in monkeys, CD4 and CD8, and concludes that cannabinoids have the potential to decrease disease progression.
Another study shows that cannabinoids were able to prevent the HIV virus from infecting immune system cells. These studies suggest that cannabinoids found in cannabis can be used as an anti-viral medication to support the immune system.
Further research is needed to fully elucidate the long-term effects of cannabis upon the human immunological system’s functioning.
10. Stimulate Dormant Cells and Regenerate
Neurodegeneration is a process of losing structure and function in the neurons and nerve cells throughout your body and is directly correlated to the aging process.
Using cannabis to activate the cannabinoid receptors in older bodies that are not producing enough on their own can support the body in reducing or even reversing the effects of neurodegeneration.
Research from Gary Wenk has shown that a low, daily dose of marijuana in elderly people can protect and regenerate dormant brain cells, as well as stimulate neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells.
Another study shows that cannabinoids can promote neurogenesis even after there has been brain cell damage.
More research is still needed to fully understand the effects of cannabis on neurogenesis, but experts agree that the endocannabinoid system plays a major role in facilitating neurogenesis throughout the entire life span.
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