Study Seeks To Answer: Will Cannabis Make You Live Longer?
How might you live longer with the benefits of cannabis medicine? This is the latest research on aging.
Does cannabis make you live longer? We’d like to think so, especially if we look at the finer details of a new study published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. This study explored data from the lives of older adults, analyzing their health issues, access to cannabis, and hours worked.
The results were pretty surprising. It may not tell us how to live longer with cannabis, but it does say a lot about the quality of life in legalized states. Since we already know cannabis is safe for seniors to use, we should dig into the possible benefits.
The Basic Facts of the Study
The study pulled information from a national survey called the “Health and Retirement Study”, performed in 2012 to 2013. The survey focused on individuals over the age of 50, which explores trends in health and labor supply of older adults. The researchers compared data from states with medical cannabis laws to those without. It also looked at working hours of these older adults.
The authors came to three conclusions:
- Medical cannabis laws in a state meant lower reports of pain, and better self-assessments on health.
- States with medical cannabis laws had higher older adult labor supply.
- The benefits of medical cannabis laws were highest for older adults which a health condition which qualified for cannabis use.
The team behind the study theorized medical cannabis improves the lives of older adults by treating various health conditions without the adverse side effects of conventional prescriptions. Through better, cannabis-based treatment, the authors hypothesize, people within legal states were able to return to work sooner, and with a higher functional capacity.
How to Work Longer and How to Live Longer, a Theory About Cannabis
How does this theory about medical cannabis laws and higher productivity turn into a longer life? The authors have found that open access to medical cannabis decreases the pain of older adults. In states with legal cannabis, they also report that “the probability of reporting one’s health as very good or excellent increases by 3.4 percent.” We don’t need a scientific study to see how lower pain and better health assessments could be linked to a longer life.
A final conclusion from the study says cannabis “allows at least some older adults to better manage symptoms associated with health conditions that can interfere with productivity and quality of life.” Quality of life is always intimately connected to health and life expectancy. Could cannabis help you live longer by improving your health and well being?
3 Ways Cannabis Could Help You Live Longer
With the growing body of scientific study regarding the health benefits of cannabis, the plant may have more than one thing to teach us about living longer.
Boost Heart Health
There are a few ways through which cannabis may lend itself to better heart health. One of the most interesting ways is the link between lower rates of obesity and cannabis use. While we might all assume cannabis users would have higher issues with weight gain thanks to the munchies, they tend to have less. Obesity comes with a host of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. With lower obesity rates, comes lower heart disease rates.
Another way cannabis could help improve heart health as we age is through activation of our CB2 receptors. Now, not all cannabinoids work with this immunity-based cannabinoid receptor, but CBD is a primary candidate. Through its influence over the CB2 receptors, it reduces inflammation and the effects of free radicals. CBD-rich strains may help prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering cardiovascular inflammation.
The risk of stroke increases the older you get. One study published recently in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology demonstrated benefits of cannabis use on brain health. After 72 hours of abstinence, study participants went through several neurological tests.
The results showed people who had used cannabis had higher oxygen levels and blood flow to the brain, which are both important to stroke prevention. Interestingly, the researchers behind the study found the higher the dose before testing, the better the blood flow and oxygen levels later.
Ease the Symptoms of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Early onset dementia appears around 60 years of age, with the average age of onset at 80 years. Small studies have found that cannabis may help reduce the frustrating symptoms of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study completed in Israel discovered THC effectively reduced patient agitation, delusions, sleep disorders, and irritability. The authors also found that THC helped relieve the stress of the patients’ caregivers.
While more research is needed to draw definite conclusions, there is enough preliminary evidence to warrant more extensive trials. Significantly, other research confirms that cannabis doesn’t cause cognitive decline after the age of 65.
It seems plausible to say that cannabis, as medicine, can help us not only work longer but also to live longer. If medical cannabis boosts the working hours of older adults, the health benefits will very likely continue long after retirement. It’s a little early to claim cannabis is the fountain of youth, but there is evidence showing it helps boost quality of life, reduce pain, and possibly prevent the onset of age-related disease.