This is the time of year when pundits make their annual predictions about which trends or products will be hot (and which will not) over the next 12 months. Given my passion for all things related to getting and staying healthy, I try to stay on top of things that boomers can do to live their healthiest life.

And there is one trend that I see which I believe will continue to gain traction in 2020. It is the expanded boomer use of CBD (cannabidiol) to address a variety of health issues.

CBD Is Becoming Popular

I say this because of the increasing popularity of CBD among boomers as well as the ongoing research into its probable health benefits. In fact, CBD products are now everywhere. You can find it in lotions, oils, tinctures, sprays, and candy (no brownies, sorry).

To give you an idea of how widespread CBD use has become, the respected Gallup polling organization has found that almost one in five (that is about 20 percent) American adults over 50 years of age now use CBD.

Most commonly, boomers add CBD to their health regimens to help control pain, reduce anxiety and get better sleep. Some have also reported that CBD has helped them manage symptoms of multiple sclerosis and cancer.

What Is CBD?

Just in case you may not be familiar with CBD, it is the second most prominent compound in the Cannabis plant, which is more commonly known as marijuana. Scientists have identified more than 80 such compounds, collectively known as cannabinoids.

CBD is non-psychoactive, and it does not create any type of euphoria, intoxication or cognitive impairment. The compound that does have those effects is found in the Cannabis sativa plant and is known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Does CBD Cure Everything?

In terms of its possible health benefits, it is important to keep in mind that neither CBD nor any other health product, for that matter, is a miracle cure-all for whatever ailment or condition you may have.

While there has been a substantial amount of recent research on the potential health benefits of CBD, there is still a lot more that needs to be done before all the benefits have been identified and proven in clinical settings.

Research continues to determine CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, bone health, glaucoma, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

There also is research being done on how CBD could possibly help reduce the use of opioids and help people recover from opioid addiction.

As academic research centers in the United States and other countries continue studying the effects of CBD, there will be greater certainty of its benefits. For now, the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved use of CBD is for the treatment of a specific form of childhood epilepsy.

CBD and “Medical Marijuana” Are Not the Same

People often wonder if CBD is the same as “medical marijuana.” It is not. The difference is that “medical marijuana” also includes THC, along with other cannabinoids.

The CBD linked to health benefits is supposed to be extracted from the cannabis and used in a purified form to eliminate THC and other compounds and impurities that may be present in the plant.

To give you an analogy: hops and barley are both ingredients of beer. But we would not say that hops is the same as beer or that barley is the same as beer.

It’s the same with CBD and “medical marijuana.” CBD is a compound found in “medical marijuana,” but it is not “medical marijuana.” For more information about pure CBD, visit 1Pure.com.

Recently, there has been a lot in the news about hemp, which is a source of CBD. This can be somewhat confusing. Basically, marijuana and hemp are the same plant, except that hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 percent of THC.

Any plant with more than this amount of THC is classified as marijuana. This distinction between the two is important from a legal perspective since recent Federal legislation legalized the cultivation of hemp.

CBD products derived from hemp and that do not contain any THC are legal on a Federal level. Keep in mind, however, that laws regarding cannabis-based products (and cannabis itself) are constantly changing. So, you should check your local laws regarding these products if you are considering using CBD.

Is CBD Safe for Boomers?

According to medical experts and the National Institutes of Health, CBD is well tolerated. That said, CBD may interact with blood thinners, such as Warfarin or Coumadin, painkillers, insulin, and other medications or supplements.

CBD may also affect how the liver metabolizes certain medications, which could impact their effectiveness.

So, if you are considering CBD, it’s important that you first talk with your doctor to see if it makes sense for you and if any potential benefit of CBD would outweigh any risks or side effects.

In addition to possible drug interactions, these could include nausea, fatigue, irritability, lower blood pressure, dry mouth and changes in appetite.

Given the explosion in CBD products on the market, and since CBD is currently not regulated, unfortunately some unscrupulous manufacturers are selling a wide variety of purported CBD products that may be mislabeled, contain ingredients other than CBD or not contain any CBD at all.

So, if, after talking with your doctor, you decide that CBD therapy may offer some benefit, make sure you are purchasing pure, hemp-based CBD isolate, that the manufacturer can show a Certificate of Analysis from a credible third-party, and that the label clearly lists the concentration of CBD in milligrams.

Stay away from manufacturers that make concrete health claims or that don’t have a customer service telephone number. Last, check to see if the manufacturer has any online reviews to get the opinion and feedback of other users of the product.

One last thing to keep in mind is that Medicare does not cover CBD therapies. If you have private insurance, you could check if CBD is on their formulary, but you probably will find them not willing to cover it either.

Costs can also vary depending on where you live since some states tax CBD and each manufacturer sets their own prices.

What do you know about CBD? Have you or anyone you know tried CBD to relieve specific health issues? Did you talk with your healthcare provider before doing so? What was your experience? If you have not tried CBD, would you consider it? Why or why not? Please join the conversation and let’s explore the topic further!

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