Actually, there are several reasons why seniors are the fastest growing population embracing medical cannabis. With statistics indicating that the average senior takes 4-5 different prescription medications every day, more and more of my fellow oldsters are growing very concerned about the adverse effects of these drugs. They are beginning to realize, in big numbers, that replacing prescription medications with cannabis is safer and more effective in controlling their symptoms.
As I fast approach my 65th birthday, I feel extremely qualified to write this post. I will be discussing the many benefits of as well as the different delivery methods for the cannabis products available at your local dispensary.
If you are not familiar with the Endocannaboid System (ECS), you really should know about it. It will explain a lot about why medical cannabis works so beneficially for so many different medical diseases and conditions. Here is the link to an article I wrote about it.
From what I have read, my cannabis story is unusual in that I have been a continuous user for over 46 years. Most of my fellow baby boomers used cannabis in their teens and 20s, then gave it up for alcohol. Many are now returning to it in their “golden years.” Others are embracing it for the first time. I discovered it as an 18 year old at university. It has always helped with my anxiety. Now that sleep can be elusive and muscle pain is a constant in my life, I consider cannabis to be the best and safest medicine available to relieve insomnia and pain.
I am going to kick this off with what I consider to be the 2 biggest misconceptions that I hear from seniors (and from many younger people, too) to rationalize avoiding cannabis:
I do not want to smoke it and I do not want to get high
I get it. And my response to that is:
No worries. There are many other ways to use cannabis besides smoking it and you can use high-CBD/low-THC products that will not get you high but will provide many benefits. For you complete novices, the 2 main cannabinoids in cannabis are THC (psychotropic) and CBD (non-psychotropic).
When I did a search for “Benefits of Medical Cannabis For Seniors,” I was thrilled to see that the National Council For Aging Care posted their guide to medical cannabis for seniors. Without further ado, here is their list.
Conditions and How Cannabis Helps:
- Relieves nausea and vomiting, a common side effect of chemotherapy
- Helps with loss of appetite, a common side effect of chemotherapy
- Relieves neuropathic pain, a common side effect of chemotherapy
- Shrinks tumors and in some cases puts cancer into remission. There is only anecdotal evidence for this, but I personally have read dozens of accounts of people who are now cancer-free due to cannabis usage.
- Helps with symptoms of depression and loss of appetite
- Slows the advancement of beta-amyloids, proteins on the brain which signal the presence of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Regenerates neurons in the brain known as neurogenesis
- Restores memories and cognition
- Relieves osteoarthritis pain
- Nerve damage
- Cancer pain
Anxiety Disorders (LowTHC-HighCBD strains)
- Relieves general anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Moderate depression
Opioid usage, misuse and addiction have been proven to decrease significantly in states with legal medical cannabis dispensaries and adult-use laws. As a result there are fewer opioid deaths, fewer opioids are prescribed and fewer people seek treatment for opioid abuse.
Anorexia is a common problem amongst seniors. Many seniors lose interest in food due to a myriad of reasons. They may have lost their sense of smell and taste, they have dental problems, heart problems, depression, anxiety, or are under treatment for cancer. Certain strains of cannabis stimulate the appetite. There are also strains which aid with weight loss.
Cannabis may relieve the pressure in the eyes caused by a buildup of fluid which can damage the optic nerves.
Different Delivery Methods for the Consumption of Medical Cannabis
- Vaping using a vaporizer or a vape pen
- Cannabis infused edibles and drinks, but novices beware, as it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects. Start with a very low dose and increase it slowly. You will thank me for this advice. If you do eat too much, CBD counteracts the effects of too much THC.
- Oils, including Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO or RSO) which are taken orally
- Topicals such as lotions, sprays, gels, creams and salves which are applied to specific areas of the body to relieve pain, itchiness, rashes and redness
- Tinctures which typically come with droppers and are consumed sublingually
- Suppositories which are the most efficient and beneficial delivery method
- Smoking using a pipe, joint, bong or waterpipe
BTW, research now suggests that long-term cannabis usage has preventative qualities; it can keep you healthy by preventing diseases from developing in the first place by nourishing your endocannabinoid system.
I hope I have piqued the interest of those who have been afraid to try cannabis products or have been “on the fence” about it. If you want to learn more, check out my source for this article.
Source: aging.com, The Complete Guide To Medical Marijuana For Seniors