A Senior Guide to CBD – Legality, Use and Safety

CBD Overview

In recent years, CBD (cannabidiol) products have found their way onto store shelves across New York City.  CBD manufacturers and users tout a variety of mental and physical benefits, but like any new healthcare development, a quick online search generates nearly as many questions as answers.

In this guide, we will explain where CBD comes from, possible health benefits and considerations you should make before trying CBD.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol oil is derived from the cannabis plant, but contains only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary chemical compound that gives recreational marijuana users a “high.” CBD products will typically contain no more than 0.03 percent THC, compared to modern recreational or medical marijuana, which typically contains between 70 and 85 percent THC.

Because CBD is nonpsychoactive but offers many of the same therapeutic benefits as medical marijuana, many users prefer CBD to avoid the potentially disorienting (or at least distracting) side effects of THC products. 

CBD Health Benefits

The body of scientific research on CBD continues to grow, however most medical testing seems to point to several broad categories of health benefits:

  • Pain Relief – studies in animals and humans suggest CBD products can help address chronic pain stemming from arthritis, inflammation, spinal cord injuries and muscle pain, and may serve as an alternative solution to acute instances of pain like cramps and headaches.
  • Anxiety Relief – Researchers believe CBD changes how your brain receives serotonin, a mood-regulation chemical naturally produced by the body, resulting in reduced physiological reactions to anxiety, improved sleep and an overall reduction in feelings of stress.
  • Anti-seizure – CBD has been credited as reducing the number of epilepsy-related seizures in some patients as part of a broader schedule of medication. Interestingly, the only CBD product currently approved by the FDA is Epidiolex, a prescription drug to treat epilepsy.

CBD Legality

For many, CBD’s relation to recreational marijuana and other THC products inspires concerns about the legality of CBD products.  Currently, there are no federal laws prohibiting the use or sale of CBD products that contain less than 0.03 percent THC, however some states have additional laws that may impact how CBD can be sold, packaged, advertised or ingested.  For example, New York State allows the use and sale of any CBD products with the exception to the sale of CBD-infused food and beverages.

Buy Smart

CBD, like any other non-FDA approved home remedy or nutritional supplement, the quality of individual products can vary wildly and requires buyers to perform some due diligence and shop smart.

Try speaking with your physician and/or pharmacist to learn what brands are considered most reputable. Failing that, consider calling or visiting a brick-and-mortar, CBD-focused store. Businesses that specialize in CBD products will have better informed staff, and in most cases, sell higher-quality CBD products than a run-of-the-mill deli or gas station.

Taking CBD

There are many ways to ingest CBD, including using a vaporizer pen, smoking hemp flowers, ingesting CBD oil, eating CBD-infused edibles or CBD-infused topical creams.

Using a vaporizer device or smoking hemp plant material usually takes effect faster than other ingestion methods, but also carries the highest potential for negative health impacts on the user’s lungs, throat and mouth, and judging dosage size can be quite difficult. CBD-infused edibles share a similar challenge when it comes to managing dose size and is often quite expensive, relative to the amount of CBD provided per serving. 

Alternate methods like taking CBD oil orally or applying a topical cream will usually carry the lowest number of health risks for users, however patients should still closely read the ingredients list to ensure there are no potential allergens in the product.

Talking to Your Doctor

Like any other change to your medical care, you should thoroughly discuss the benefits and risks of CBD products with your primary care physician BEFORE you start shopping. While generally benign, CBD products and/or their delivery methods can have negative interactions with some prescription medications, including (but not limited to) drugs meant to regulate blood pressure. 

As with any developing treatment option, there will be a wide range of differing opinions on CBD products from countless sources online. We recommend you use your best judgement and always defer to your actual medical care providers, as they will always have the most up-to-date and clear information on your current health status and medication schedule.

SelectCare hopes this post answered some of your questions about CBD products. To learn more about how SelectCare’s team of home healthcare providers helps New Yorkers live happier, healthier lives in their long-time homes, call today or request a free in-home care guide.