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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound in the cannabis plant. It may have several potential health benefits, but research is still in its early stages. Some CBD products may be more suitable for older adults.

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Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another well-known cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, CBD does not cause the “high” feeling that many people associate with cannabis use.

There have been many studies into the potentially beneficial properties of CBD. Some suggest that CBD could have a positive impact on a range of medical conditions, including pain, inflammation, epilepsy, sleep disorders, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, anorexia, schizophrenia, and other conditions.

Learn more about the potential benefits of CBD here.

A 2016 study in rats suggests that topical applications of CBD could help manage the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

Learn more about using CBD to treat arthritis symptoms here.

For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.

Unlike with other medications, the FDA does not guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter CBD products.

This means that a person needs to be careful when choosing to use them. There have not been enough studies into the efficacy and side effects of CBD.

Read our buyer’s guide to CBD here.

Decide which form of CBD product

CBD products come in a variety of forms. One of the first things a person should do is decide which form is the best option for them.

Some common forms of CBD products include:

Each form of CBD product has its own benefits and drawbacks, and what is right for one person may not be right for another.

Learn more about different CBD forms here.

Research third-party testing

The FDA does not regulate CBD products in the same way it does other medications, and therefore some manufacturers may make bold claims that have no basis in fact.

However, to protect public health, the FDA can take action against CBD companies that make unfounded health claims.

This is why it is important to look for companies that say that their products have undergone testing by a third-party company. This means that an independent laboratory has verified the product’s purity and potency.

Start with a low amount

The amount of CBD a person should take will depend on a range of variables, including:

  • their body weight
  • the condition they want to help with
  • their individual body chemistry
  • the concentration of CBD in the product

It is important, as with any medicinal product, for a person to begin with a low amount of CBD and gradually work their way up to higher amounts, if required.

It might also be useful for people to make notes on any side effects they experience and any benefits they notice.

Different forms of the same strength of CBD product might also affect a person differently. For example, eating a gummy and applying a topical cream may have very different effects on an individual — even if those products contain the same strength and concentration of CBD.

Factors such as how quickly a person digests and metabolizes versus how effectively their skin absorbs substances can play a part in the effects of CBD.

Learn more about CBD dosage and safety here.

People should also be aware of the different types of CBD. Most CBD products contain one of the following types of CBD:

  • Full-spectrum CBD: This contains all cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: This contains a mix of cannabinoids, usually without THC.
  • CBD isolate: This is pure isolated CBD, without other cannabinoids or THC.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: Products contain safe, high-quality ingredients and state all ingredients clearly. They are free of pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the certificate of analysis.
  • Dosage: Products contain or recommend a serving size of a safe CBD dosage. They also state the dosage clearly.
  • Third-party laboratories: Products undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Laboratory results: Products are from brands that make their testing results publicly available.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Lazarus Naturals Standard Potency Full Spectrum CBD Tincture

Best CBD oil for older adults new to CBD

This tincture from Lazarus Naturals contains 20 milligrams (mg) of CBD per milliliter (ml).

It contains full-spectrum CBD and both hemp and coconut oils. It is suitable for vegans and is also gluten free.

The manufacturer recommends this product as a good place to start for those who are new to CBD. It comes in a variety of flavors.

Lazarus Naturals also offers a financial assistance program for veterans, people with long-term disabilities, and those from low income households.

Learn more about CBD tinctures here.

CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

Best CBD oil tincture for older adults

This full-spectrum CBD tincture contains 17 mg of CBD per 1-ml serving (in its lowest strength) to 167 mg CBD per 1 ml (in the highest, “max-plus,” strength).

Due to the fact that it only contains two ingredients — fractionated coconut oil and full-spectrum CBD hemp extract — it is unflavored.

CBDistillery offers a 60-day, risk-free satisfaction guarantee.

Learn more about CBD tinctures here.

Social CBD Natural Isolate Drops

Best CBD isolate drops for older adults

This two-ingredient CBD oil is suitable for vegans and is free from gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar. It is also unflavored.

While Social CBD offers flavored versions, these contain more ingredients.

Social CBD sells broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products, but it makes this particular oil using CBD isolate.

Learn more about CBD isolate here.

30% off purchase with code HEALTH30

Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture

Best broad-spectrum CBD tincture for older adults

According to Receptra Naturals, this broad-spectrum CBD tincture contains 0% THC, making it suitable for those wanting to avoid any form of THC.

It comes in a 1-ounce bottle with a graduated dropper, making it easy to measure out the exact dose a person wants to take.

Ingredients include MCT oil, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and turmeric, which may help with inflammation.

CBD is not completely without side effects. The most common side effects that studies have demonstrated include:

It is also important for a person to know whether or not they are taking any medications that come with a “grapefruit warning.”

More than 85 different drugs may interact with grapefruit, and CBD can also affect these medications. This is because CBD can interact with the same enzyme as grapefruit.

According to the FDA, the types of drugs that grapefruit — and therefore CBD — may affect include those for:

Below, we answer some common questions about CBD for older adults:

Is CBD good for pain relief?

Various studies indicate that CBD may have some pain relief benefits for different ailments, including managing symptoms of age-related conditions, such as arthritis.

Learn more about using CBD products for pain management here.

Can CBD replace medication or therapy?

People should not use CBD as a replacement for medical treatment, such as prescription drugs or physical therapy.

An individual should consult a doctor before using CBD to treat a health condition or symptom.

Research into the potential health benefits and uses of CBD is ongoing. No study has shown that CBD cures any condition or symptom. While CBD is safe to use as a complementary therapy, it should not replace prescribed treatments.

What dosage is best for older adults?

People should start using CBD products at a very low dose and gradually build it up to suit their needs.

There is some evidence to suggest that CBD can help with conditions such as pain, arthritis, inflammation, and sleep disorders. Some of these conditions are more prevalent among older populations. For older adults who experience a condition such as this, CBD may help.

However, it is important to do some personal research into each product an individual is considering trying. People should seek guidance from a doctor before starting to use CBD. Avoid taking CBD alongside any medication with a “grapefruit warning.”