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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.

This article describes what CBD is, the difference between CBD oil and other forms, how it can help older adults, and some frequently asked questions. It also looks at a few different products a person can choose from.

A quick look at the best CBD oils for the elderly

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), another popular cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, CBD does not cause the “high” feeling that many people associate with cannabis use.

Learn more about the differences between CBD and THC.

There have been many studies into the potentially beneficial properties of CBD.

Research from 2018 suggests that CBD could positively affect 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.

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.

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

Unlike other medications, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter CBD products.

There are also not enough studies on CBD’s efficacy and side effects. This means a person needs to be careful when choosing and using them.

Read our buyer’s guide to CBD.

This is especially the case with seniors and older adults. The risk of health and medical conditions is typically higher than in the younger population due to increased age.

As such, CBD could bring certain benefits to older adults that younger people may not feel as much. However, these products could pose a health risk, for example, if they have negative interactions with prescription medications.

Deciding on a CBD product type

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.

For example, older adults with arthritis may prefer oils, creams, or lotions. They can apply them directly on their legs or areas of the body where arthritis affects them the most to help ease the pain.

Furthermore, a 2021 study points out that older adults absorb drugs, such as CBD, more slowly than other individuals. The research suggests that people should either opt for other forms, including oils, or if they want to take CBD orally, they can do it with a meal.

Learn more about different CBD forms.

Research third-party testing

The FDA does not regulate CBD products the same way it does other medications. Some manufacturers may therefore make bold claims about the safety or effectiveness of their products that have no factual basis.

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 body chemistry
  • the concentration of CBD in the product

As with any medicinal product, it is important for a person to begin with a low amount of CBD and gradually work their way up to higher amounts if they desire.

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 a 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.

Older adults, especially those already taking prescription medications or who have health conditions they know about, should speak to a physician or their specialist before using CBD.

A doctor can advise whether CBD will interact with their conditions or medications and provide recommendations on which forms to buy and how to use them.

Learn more about CBD dosage and safety.

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.

Senior athletes and those who get regular blood tests should avoid full-spectrum and other forms of CBD that contain THC, as this can show up in their blood results.

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 from 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.

Below are four options people can consider and order online.

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.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best CBD oil for those new to CBD: Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Tincture

  • Price: between $34 and $60
  • Type: full spectrum
  • Dosage: 20 milligrams (mg) per milliliter (mL)
  • THC content: less than 0.3%

Lazarus Naturals states that this tincture contains 20 mg of CBD per ml.

It contains full-spectrum CBD and both hemp and coconut oils. According to the ingredients label, it is suitable for vegans and is gluten-free. It also holds USDA organic certification.

The manufacturer recommends this product as a suitable place to start for those 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.

Other positives include third-party testing, interest-free payment options, free shipping over $50, and 0.25 mL markings on the dropper for a more accurate measurement.

However, the company has very few reviews with the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

Positive comments mention its good customer service, while other customers appreciate the company’s discount programs. However, critical reviews mention problems canceling orders and misleading product information.

A person may wish to consider the following advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • USDA organic
  • third-party tested
  • suitable for people new to CBD
  • easy to measure doses with a dropper
  • offers discounts to veterans and those on a low income

Cons

  • unsuitable for people with nut allergies
  • unsuitable for athletes or those who have regular blood tests
  • reports of misleading product information

A person can order a bottle of Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Tincture online for between $34 and $60.

Learn more about CBD tinctures.

Best CBD oil tincture: CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

  • Price: between $45 and $240
  • Type: full spectrum
  • Dosage: 17–167 mg per 1 mL
  • THC content: less than 0.3%

This full-spectrum CBD tincture contains 17 mg of CBD per 1 mL serving in its lowest strength and 167 mg of CBD per 1 mL in its most potent form.

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. One-time purchase orders include free shipping when spending over $75.

Other positives include subscription options with discounts and free shipping, no genetically modified organisms, and the United States Hemp Authority Certification.

Learn more about CBD tinctures.

Positive customer reviews state the oil helped them to sleep and that it had a pleasant flavor.

However, some customers write they found the gummies more convenient to take.

A person may wish to consider the following advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • comes in a wide range of strengths
  • contains non-GMO hemp
  • third-party tested
  • 60-day trial

Cons

  • unsuitable for people with nut allergies
  • may be more difficult to get an accurate dosage compared with gummies
  • higher strengths are very expensive

A person can order the CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture online for between $45 and $240.

Use code “MNT20” for 20% off.

Best low dose CBD isolate drops: Social CBD Natural Isolate Drops

  • Price: between $21.99 and $71.99
  • Type: isolate
  • Dosage: 16.7 to 66.6 mg per mL
  • THC content: 0%

This two-ingredient CBD oil is reportedly suitable for vegans and free from gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar. People can choose from lemon ginger, lavender, and peppermint flavors. A flavorless version is also available.

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

Depending on the size, each serving provides between 16.7 mg and 66.6 mg of CBD.

Other positives include a 30-day money-back guarantee, free shipping on orders over $49, and a subscription option that provides a 30% discount and free shipping on renewals.

The company also claims its products go through third-party testing and are cruelty-free.

Learn more about CBD isolate.

There are a limited amount of online reviews for this product. However, positive reviews mention that this isolate is suitable for adding to drinks and calming people for sleep.

However, negative reviews raise concerns about the product potentially causing skin irritation.

A person may wish to consider the following advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • does not contain THC
  • third-party tested
  • comes in low doses
  • comes in multiple flavors
  • less expensive than many other brands

Cons

  • a low number of online reviews
  • unsuitable for those with nut allergies

A person can order the Social CBD Natural Isolate Drops online for between $21.99 and $71.99.

30% off purchases with code HEALTH30.

Best broad-spectrum CBD tincture: Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture

  • Price: between $44.99 and $84.99
  • Type: Broad spectrum
  • Dosage: 33 mg per mL
  • THC content: 0%

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. The company writes that each standard dose contains 33 mg of CBD.

Ingredients include medium-chain triglyceride oil, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and turmeric, which the company claims may help with inflammation.

Receptra states its products go through third-party testing. Customers can access the results by scanning the QR code on the bottle.

Buyers also get free shipping on all orders and 30-day free returns.

There are very few online reviews for this product. Positive comments mention that it helps with inflammation and relieving pain. There are no critical reviews for this product on the company website.

A person may wish to consider the following advantages and disadvantages:

Pros

  • does not contain THC
  • third-party tested
  • easy to measure doses with a dropper
  • added ingredients may help with inflammation

Cons

  • contains sunflower oil, which can be an allergen
  • very limited number of online reviews

A person can order the Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric Tincture online for between $44.99 and $84.99.

The table below compares each product in this article for price, dosage, and more.

Lazarus NaturalsCBDistillerySocial CBDReceptra Naturals
Formtincturetinctureoiltincture
CBD typefull spectrumfull spectrumisolatebroad spectrum
THC contentless than 0.3%less than 0.3%0%0%
Dosage20 mg per 1 mL17–167 mg per 1 mL16.7–66.6 mg per 1 mL33 mg per 1 mL
Price$34–60$45–240$21.99–71.99$44.99–84.99

A person should consider the following factors before buying a CBD oil:

  • Hemp source: People may wish to consider where a company sources its hemp. Some manufacturers grow theirs in the United States, while others grow it in other countries. A person can look for manufacturers that use sustainable and responsible farming processes.
  • THC content: Federally, hemp products with less than 0.3% THC are legal. However, the substance may still show up on blood tests. A person should always check the THC content of their chosen CBD product before making a purchase and choose 0% THC products if they wish.
  • Dose: A person should consider the dose they will get per serving. Lower doses are more suitable for people who have not tried CBD products before, as CBD can affect everyone differently. A person should avoid products that do not suggest a dosage and do not disclose the amount of CBD a person will get per serving.
  • Unsupported medical claims: There is only one FDA-approved CBD drug, which doctors prescribe for certain seizures. A person should not use products that claim to treat or cure conditions such as cancer, mental health conditions, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, CBD products should not replace the care of healthcare professionals.
  • COA: Many brands publish a certificate of analysis (COA) for their products online. These documents detail the results of third-party lab testing. If a person cannot find a company’s COAs online, they should contact the brand for more information before making a purchase.

CBD can cause side effects. The most common side effects that studies show include:

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

This is because CBD can interact with the same enzyme as grapefruit, which research indicates can affect certain medications.

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.

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 also 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 low dose and gradually build up until they get the desired effect. Some brands offer doses as low as 16 mg per serving, which typically contains 1 mL of CBD. However, individuals may wish to halve their initial dose until they know they tolerate CBD products well.

Users should follow manufacturer instructions carefully and adhere to any dosage and serving advice to ensure they are getting a safe amount of CBD.

If a person experiences side effects or adverse reactions, they should stop using CBD immediately and speak with a doctor.

Is CBD oil suitable for seniors?

There is very limited research on whether CBD is good for older people.

However, CBD may help with pain due to arthritis, which is more common in older populations.

Does CBD oil interact with blood pressure medications?

It is possible that CBD oil interacts with blood pressure medications. A 2020 study points out that CBD intake reduced blood pressure at rest in male participants for 7 days. However, after this period, this effect stopped, and blood pressure only remained lowered during periods of activity.

More research is necessary on this topic to ensure that CBD is safe to take for people who take blood pressure medication.

As such, it is best to speak to a doctor before taking CBD oil together with any medications.

Some evidence suggests 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 carry out research into any product an individual is considering trying. People should seek guidance from a doctor before starting to use CBD. They should also avoid taking CBD alongside any medication with a “grapefruit warning.”