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News

Why Are More Older People Using Cannabis?

The rumor that more older people are using cannabis is true. That’s according to a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2018 that suggests increasing numbers of middle-aged and older adults are using cannabis.

Based on data gathered in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2015 and 2016, researchers found that about 9 percent of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 used marijuana in the previous year and 3 percent of people over 65 used the drug in that same time period. That’s up from 2013 when the same survey reported that 7 percent of middle-aged Americans used marijuana in the previous year, and only 1.4 percent of people over 65.

And it doesn’t seem to be once or twice. Study authors found that because 5.7 percent of middle-aged respondents said they’d tried it in the past month, it’s likely they’re also a group who uses cannabis often.

Why Are Older Americans Using Cannabis?

Older Americans are using cannabis for the same reasons everyone else is: because it’s enjoyable or to self-medicate.

In regards to medical uses, another 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society (JAGS) found that the most common reasons were pain (64 percent), sleep (38 percent), anxiety (24 percent), depression (22 percent), and appetite stimulation (18 percent).

Why Now?

older americans using cannabis edibles

The United States is experiencing a dramatic increase in the acceptance of cannabis use. This is occurring at the same time that our elderly population is increasing. Indeed, Baby Boomers have higher rates of substance use compared to any previous generation.

And cannabis is also more available. A 2015 study using the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions showed that the prevalence of cannabis use more than doubled from 2001–02 to 2012–13.

What Are Older People Consuming?

buds on oil

The study published in JAGS found that the older American who uses cannabis seems to favor edibles (42 percent), more than smoking (29 percent). Respiratory issues associated with age may be one reason smoking is not as popular. Lotions and oils were also favorites among respondents.

Dr. Benjamin Han, an assistant professor of internal medicine at New York University School of Medicine and lead author of the study that analyzed NSDUH data, warned that baby boomers who’ve had prior experience with marijuana shouldn’t necessarily use the same amount that they did when they were young. The potency of today’s cannabis is a lot higher than in the 60s and 70s and their ability to metabolize the drug is likely different. As Han put it, “A smaller amount is going to hit you a lot harder when you’re older.”

Cannabis has a lot to offer, so it’s no surprise that as the stigma recedes, more Americans are turning to it to help them cope with a variety of ailment or for pleasure. If you’re new to cannabis, there are plenty of resources available to help you —including our skilled Experience Guides at our Oakland Dispensary. Stop by for help picking the perfect cannabis products for your goals.

Categories
Education

Cannabis and the Immune System

Cannabis’ medical benefits range from the psychological to the physical. Patients report relief from ailments as different as depression and lower back pain. Did you know that cannabis can also act on the body’s own immune system response? This could possibly even work against painful autoimmune conditions!

Let’s learn about cannabis and the immune system to get a better understanding of how this potent medicine interacts with the body’s natural defenses.

What Is the Immune System?

The immune system is what allows humans to move through the world without succumbing to infection. It consists of cells and tissues that communicate with one another to identify and control foreign bodies that might enter the body.

cannabis and the immune system

The visible portion of the immune system is called the innate defense system. This includes the skin as well as the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, ears, and mouth. These frontline defenders block and filter out pathogens and damaging bacteria.

Less visible is the adaptive defense system. This a more specialized portion that goes after threats that have worked their way into the body. Organs in the adaptive immune system include the spleen (in the abdomen) and the thymus (in the chest, just in front of the heart). Both of these produce disease-fighting white blood cells. Marrow, the tissue inside bones, also plays an important role in generating these cells.

Autoimmune Diseases

You know the feverish, ache-y feeling you can develop when you first catch a cold? That’s the adaptive immune system at work, raising the body’s temperature to kill off foreign bodies as white blood cells get to work at the site of infection.

For the most part, these uncomfortable side effects of an immune response are a small price to pay in exchange for the defense they provide. In some cases, though, the immune system may be unable to distinguish between external dangers and the body’s own cells and processes.

cannabis and the immune system autoimmune illness.jpg

Such reactions result in what we call “autoimmune” diseases. These include sickle cell disease, lupus, and intestinal disorders like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Now, let’s take a look at how cannabis and the immune system interact with one another — and how THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids might offer some hope.

Cannabis and the Immune System

The endocannabinoid system (or ECS) is the network of neuroreceptors that process the chemical compounds in cannabis. They ultimately causing the consumer to feel “high,” relaxed, hungry, or sleepy.

It may also regulate immune response.

The cannabinoids in whole-plant cannabis can decrease immune-related inflammatory responses by suppressing signaling proteins called cytokines. This can help minimize discomfort due to a triggered immune system. Suppressing these cytokines may also reduce dangerous neurological inflammation that the immune system may introduce in the case of a stroke.

Not all cannabinoids come from cannabis. Anandaminde, the “bliss molecule,” occurs naturally in the human body. There is evidence to suggest that it can heal irritated tissue in the stomachs of mice. This may hold some promise for those afflicted by digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.

Whether you’re looking for cannabis to boost your immune system or to simply incorporate into your wellness regiment, come visit our Oakland dispensary. Our in-store Experience Guides are eager to help! Already know what you want? Use our online dispensary menu to order now!

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Terpenes

Terpene Profiles: Linalool, Cannabis’s Stress-Fighting Medicine

Terpenes aren’t the only plant compounds found in the cannabis plant, nor are they the only “active ingredients” contained in this incredible and unique botanical family. But here at ECO Cannabis, we believe they’re one of the most important determinants of a particular cannabis plant’s essential character.

Linalool person with bud in hand

Not only do terpenes give each of those plants its distinctive flavor and aroma, but all those terpenes—there are over 200 of them!—have medical attributes as well, bringing their own unique healing to the table, both alone and in collaboration with others.

One of the most important and effective of these is linalool, the focus of today’s post. In addition to being—let’s just face it—kind of fun to say out loud a bunch of times, linalool has powerful stress-fighting characteristics, a quality also evident in another plant in which it occurs: Lavender. Let’s learn a bit more about this very distinctive, complex, and floral terpene!

Linalool and lavender

What Does Linalool Do For Us?

We humans have known since ancient times that inhaling the scent of lavender, a unique and uniquely beautiful herb native to the Mediterranean region—and an essential ingredient in the southern French herb blend Herbes de Provence—has a marked and calming effect.

And we’re not the only animals to experience this. A rodent-based study found that even rats benefit from linalool’s stress-reducing qualities.

We already accumulate linalool from other sources, such as food. Even those who abstain from cannabis typically consume about two grams a year. There’s no harm in this; linalool dissipates relatively quickly and unlike cannabinoids, isn’t stored in our fatty tissues.

Linalool 3

In addition to reducing stress, linalool has other real-world applications such as:

Anti-Depressant: Stress and depression are closely related, and in another rodent-based study, researchers found that the terpene helped mice reduce depression-like behavioral signifiers and pushed them to continue trying to escape otherwise threatening or fatal situations in which they were placed (like forced swimming).

Anti-Microbial: Like some other terpenes, linalool has the potential to fight infections, an especially important use in an era of otherwise drug-resistant microbes.

Pain Relief: Linalool exhibits a wide range of effects on our central nervous system, helping regulate brain chemicals such as adenosine and glutamate. But in one particularly fascinating study, patients who had recently undergone gastric banding surgery demonstrated a marked decrease in their reliance on opioid painkillers.

How to Get Linalool from Cannabis

Linalool medical professional looking at bud

Linalool is one of the “primary terpenes,” and it’s highly abundant in cannabis. A distinct lavender-like scent is a good tip-off to a high linalool content. Strains that feature linalool include:

Lavender: No surprise a strain named after nature’s most recognizable source of linalool would contain a hefty dose of it! Lavender is highly relaxing, with moderate sleepy and euphoric effects as well.

LA Confidential: Another calming and often sleepy-feeling strain, like Lavender, it’s savored as a highly relaxing experience and a strong pain-fighter as well.

Amnesia Haze: As the name suggests, this strain may inspire deep forgetfulness! With a notably euphoric onset, the generally happy, uplifted and relaxed effects make this a venerable and well-loved cannabis strain.

Ready to experience the benefits of terpenes? Stop by our Oakland dispensary. Our Experience Guides will help you find the best products for the effects you want!