Fudge, hard-boiled sweets, and backgammon – these are just a few of the things we associate with the older generation. It turns out that seniors have something in common with younger folks too: their love of cannabis! It might surprise many, but seniors are the fastest-growing demographic of medical marijuana users in the US.
As more research and science support the effectiveness of marijuana’s medical potential, many older people are coming around to the idea of medical cannabis. While it may seem a little unconventional to share your cannabis with Grandma, the fact is that this natural medicine is providing much-needed relief from a plethora of ailments.
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Here are our five reasons why seniors could benefit from medical marijuana.
1. Cannabis Can Reduce the Number of Pills
Have you ever had to take several pills in the morning, then again in the noon, and then again at night? It can be a massive headache for both the person themselves and their caregivers remembering what needs to be taken, when each pill needs to be taken and needing to alter meal times to accommodate meds.
Before you know it, you’re taking more pills to counteract the side effects of the other medications, which might not even be doing an adequate job of treating the initial ailment. That’s why many older people who start using cannabis find that they can reduce the amount of medication they need daily. Studies have even linked cannabis use with reductions to overall prescription drug activity on average, so it’s a safe bet to say cannabis can help you reduce the number of pills you’ll need per day.
Few people realize that constantly taking pills can have a significant psychological impact on patients. Taking several different medications can wreak havoc on the body, especially when trying to control side-effects, get dosages correct and manage symptoms. Constantly swallowing pills can also become a bit of a chore and even more challenging depending on the symptoms you might experience. Cannabis can lessen the burden of heavy pill dosage, or at least be able to take the edge off when it comes to pain, muscle aches, and anxiety.
2. Cannabis is a Less Addictive Pain Medication
Quite possibly, one of the saddest things to see is a person becoming “zombified” due to the harsh opioids prescribed to patients to help them manage pain. It’s even more painful when you take into account that every single day 128 people die after overdosing on opioids. Roughly 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids to deal with chronic pain eventually abuse them, and 8-12% become addicted. In a nation where 191 million opioid prescriptions are written every year, those abuse numbers are especially troubling.
Cannabis can help seniors avoid or get off such medications, except perhaps in the most serious of circumstances. There are two good reasons for cannabis’s ability to treat pain. One is that phytocannabinoids help treat pain via the endocannabinoid system (ECS) rather than the opioid receptors in the body, meaning the addiction potential is reduced significantly. The other reason is that one of the leading causes of pain is psychological stress. Reduce the stress, and you can reduce the pain – one of the reasons why doctors often prescribe antidepressants to manage pain. And cannabis’ ability to manage stress and anxiety is well-documented.
3. You Don’t Have to Smoke Cannabis to Benefit
Cannabis has evolved over the past several decades: it’s not just some buds in a baggy now. You can vape cannabis, eat it and drink it, or even use a form of dermal cream or oil by rubbing it into your skin. For anyone whose medical conditions prohibit them from smoking or those who dislike smoking cannabis specifically, there are plenty of options to consider. Those seeking pain or anxiety relief looking to avoid any psychoactive effects can even get strains that don’t have any THC or opt for CBD instead. There are a million different options for cannabis users everywhere.
4.The Potential Wonders of CBD Oil
Speaking of CBD, let’s talk about CBD oil, an often overlooked and rapidly growing segment of the medical cannabis market. CBD oil has lots of potential as an effective anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and neuroprotective. The older we get, the more likely we are to suffer from degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease. CBD can not only help prevent such conditions from taking too much of a hold on a person’s life, but may actually help repair the nervous system after a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
On top of its effects on the nervous system and brain, CBD benefits the rest of your body, too. CBD is useful for taking the edge off of chronic pain, muscle or joint soreness caused by issues like arthritis, and can help ease symptoms and physical effects of anxiety, PTSD, and other stress disorders and even help you get a good night’s sleep.
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5. Increase Your Appetite with Cannabis
One of the worst things about getting older and becoming more susceptible to illness is that the appetite tends to slow down. Appetite decreases can lead to weight loss, issues with the immune system and depression, and a general lack of energy. This problem is compounded when taking several prescription pills with various side effects, some of which might aggravate the issues listed above. Cannabis can stimulate the appetite and help prevent these issues from occurring.
Have you or someone close to you successfully used cannabis to help overcome one of the above (or indeed any other) problems or conditions? As cannabis gets more and more normalized throughout the country and world, more and more people of all ages will turn to cannabis to help with their various issues. The biggest problem when it comes to seniors and cannabis is convincing them to try it in the first instance! Please #TellYourStory and help to spread the good work of medical marijuana.