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Cannabis Medicine Offers Seniors A New Way To Grow Old

More seniors than ever are turning to medical marijuana to treat their age-related illnesses.
Photo Sonya Yruel - Courtesy of Drug Policy Alliance

Cannabis

Cannabis Medicine Offers Seniors A New Way To Grow Old

A rapidly growing number of senior citizens are embracing the herbal alternative to opioids and other pharmaceuticals offered by cannabis and using medical marijuana to treat their age-related illnesses. Thankfully, the medical and senior care communities are also becoming more receptive to the possibilities of cannabis medicine.

Maybe it’s because contemporary cannabis culture in the United States is so inextricably bound to the legacy of the “Summer of Love,” but cannabis use is often associated with young people and youth culture. However, medical cannabis is becoming more socially accepted with each passing year, and it isn’t just the new generations exploring the plant’s healing and palliative properties.

A recent report from the Gerontological Society of America said that there’s no doubt more seniors are using cannabis medicine, and that many are experiencing benefits.

From the report:

“Cannabis may be an effective substitute for prescription opioids and other misused medications… [and] has emerged as an alternative for the under treatment of pain at the end of life.”

The report attributes the recent uptick in senior cannabis medicine use to a complex suite of factors.

“Cannabis use among older Americans is increasing. Although much of this growth has been attributed to the entry of a more tolerant baby boom cohort into older age, recent evidence suggests the pathways to cannabis are more complex,” the report said. “Some older persons have responded to changing social and legal environments and are increasingly likely to take cannabis recreationally. Other older persons are experiencing age-related health care needs, and some take cannabis for symptom management, as recommended by a medical doctor.”

Thankfully for those seniors embracing cannabis medicine, some medical treatment and retirement facilities are starting to embrace it as well.

One such facility, a nursing home in the Bronx, New York, is letting its residents medicate with cannabis.

From the New York Times:

“Hebrew Home at Riverdale, is taking the unusual step of helping its residents use medical marijuana under a new program to treat various illnesses with an alternative to prescription drugs. While the staff will not store or administer pot, residents are allowed to buy it from a dispensary, keep it in locked boxes in their rooms and take it on their own.”

And while this growing trend may be heartening to those seniors relying on cannabis for relief from chronic conditions, there’s still the chilling shadow of looming federal enforcement casting a pall of uncertainty over the massive legislative progress made at the state level. Which explains why places like Hebrew Home are still in the minority when it comes to cannabis policies at senior facilities.

This can have devastating consequences for seniors unfortunate enough to be in the wrong state, or simply at the wrong facility.

From the Times:

“Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, older people who stand to benefit often cannot get it. Most nursing homes do not openly sanction its use, and many doctors are reluctant to endorse pot use, saying not enough is known about the risks in the oldest age groups.”

So while cannabis medicine shows great promise and increased success in treating age-related illness, seniors hoping to benefit from it will have to deal with the same legal uncertainty as the rest of us, at least for the time being.

TELL US, do you use cannabis medicine to treat an age-related illness?

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Shirley Horne

    July 11, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I have Lupus and Fibro … Just started taking cannabis 1 drop a day of strain PK/CBD . I live in bad pain everyday and can,t sleep at nights .
    These are what I am taking right now: They are not helping much.
    Pregabalin 75mg 1 capsule 3 times a day Red and White capsule for pain
    Gabapentin 300mg 1 capsule 2 time a day Yellow capsule for nerve pain and restless legs syndrome
    Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate 200mg 1 tablet 2 times a day White tablet for Lupus
    Amitriptyline 50mg 1 at bedtime Light brown tablet for depression
    Furosemide 20mg 1 in the morning Very small white tablet water pill
    B12 1200mcg 1 a day
    D3 1000ui 2 a day
    Coenzyme Q10 100mg 2 a day
    Acidophilus avec FOS 3 a day

    • Tootsie

      July 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      not all CBD oils are equal try a different brand.

  2. Tim

    February 27, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I have recently moved to the state of Washington and have try to get into the cannabis industry I have 45 years of experience in cannabis. I also have 19 years in landscape and irrigation . Willing to work any day of the week any hours of the day and I would be happy to work.

    • Shadar

      February 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      You say you have 45 years experience in cannabis, but what kind of experience?

      My advice would be to get to know the managers and owners of a number of cannabis shops in your area to see if your vibe matches their shop. Also contact the growers, most of whom have web pages with Contact info.

      Lots of people want to participate in the industry. A long history of cannabis consumption and a bit of home-growing is NOT what they want. A great budtender is someone who can talk intelligently about dozens of strains, who is personable and friendly and confident and has the memory skills to know what’s in the shop (could be forty or fifty strains) and how most of them smoke and what the effects are like. Someone who knows which growers do what strains the best and who doesn’t. Blue Dream from Grower A is not necessarily like Blue Dream from Grower B. If a budtender can show me the half dozen exceptional products in the store, and my post-purchase verification matches their sales pitch, then I’m back. If not, I find a better shop. It’s getting competitive.

      For growing, if you’ve got a track record growing commercial cannabis or perhaps know how to diagnose and treat sick plants or know something about breeding, then you’ve got a story that might sell. Previous home growers don’t get much respect.

      Now that the legal adult market has been around for a few years in WA or CO, and OR and CA have always had a sophisticated medical industry, they have developed an employment base of very skilled people. As time goes by, it gets harder and harder to break in.

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