A full 80% of adults aged 50 to 80 would be open to stopping one or more of the prescription medicines they’ve been taking for more than a year, if a health provider said it was possible. Already, 26% said they have done so in the past two years.

Of those willing to stop a medicine, 67% said they would likely ask for advice about doing so at their next visit with a provider, according to new findings from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

But the poll also shows the importance of communication between patients and providers when deprescribing – a concept that includes both decreasing and stopping a medication because a temporary health condition has resolved, the medicine might clash with others, or the overall benefits and risks of taking it have changed.

“De-prescribing, which can include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements, should be based on dialogue between patients and providers, and sometimes family members,” says Sarah Vordenberg, a professor who worked on the poll.

More than a third of older adults who said they had stopped taking a prescription medicine they’d been on for more than a year, and didn’t start on a replacement for it, said they did so without talking with a health professional such as a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner.

The poll has implications for many older adults, because it finds that 82% of people aged 50 to 80 take at least one prescription medicine regularly. 

Cannabis Extract Causes Blood Pressure Drop in Healthy Mice

Cannabigerol, an extract found naturally in the cannabis plant, is an increasingly popular treatment (as over-the-counter CBG oil) for chronic pain and inflammation. However, repeated use of cannabigerol caused a drop in the blood pressure of healthy mice, according to a new study at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. 

In this study, researchers set out to investigate the effects of giving cannabigerol for 14 days with vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, locomotor activity) recorded for 24 hours each day. The results indicate a “small, but significant drop” in the blood pressure of healthy mice over a two-week period. 

Cannabigerol in most strains of cannabis products is relatively low because it quickly converts to tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Select strains are specifically bred to produce higher levels of cannabigerol as a marketing tool. “Our research suggests that cannabigerol could lower blood pressure, which could be dangerous for people with normal blood pressure,” said Victoria Vernail, lead author of the study and Ph.D. candidate at Penn State. “

On the other hand, cannabigerol could also be studied as a new way to treat high blood pressure.”  

Sauna Treatment Lowers Blood Pressure, Improves Vascular Health

Not feeling cannabis, research shows sauna heat therapy as another way to reduce blood pressure in middle-aged people. Sauna exposure is a type of passive heat therapy. It has grown in popularity as a way to improve overall cardiovascular health.

High blood pressure can lead to serious health challenges, such as heart disease and stroke, eye problems and kidney disease. It could also damage your arteries, restricting blood flow and oxygen to the heart.  

The current study was based on earlier work from Finland showing a trend that people who used the sauna frequently for at least 19 minutes or more were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who did not. 

“This suggests we may not need to go to extremes to see improvements in cardiovascular health when using heat therapy over a longer period of time,” said Olivia Leach, a master’s student at Brigham Young University and first author of the study.