According to an article in the Washington Post, marijuana use is now as common among baby boomers as it is among teens, and health concerns appear to be a key factor for those 65+. As medical marijuana is particularly effective at treating chronic pain, which is more prevalent among the elderly, there’s been an increase in patients using it.
Findings show that medical marijuana is well-tolerated by patients age 75 or older and may improve symptoms like pain, anxiety and sleep difficulties. In a recent study by Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel, over 2000 patients over 65 began cannabis treatment for pain and cancer. After 6 months, nearly 94% of the respondents reported improvement in their condition and a lowered level of pain. Another BGU study on Medical Cannabis Protocols for Older Patients states that “older adults might benefit from cannabis treatment for conditions that are not adequately addressed using current medically approved therapies.”
Relief from Painful Arthritis is #1
The number one ailment we see among our mature patients is arthritis. They are relieved when we introduce them to cannabis tinctures and rubs that can actually be put on legs, knees, across the back – wherever they’re having arthritic pain. Treatment is as unique as the patient, so we maintain ongoing communication to help them find the perfect medicine for their condition.
Our Patient Advisor Louise Lewis works with many first-time, elderly, medical marijuana patients who can sometimes be a little nervous about trying cannabis as treatment for their qualifying condition. We alleviate any safety concerns and help them understand it’s just plant-based medicine. “If they are smokers, I tell them to buy a pre-roll and act like they’re 15 again. Smoke it behind the shed; enjoy yourself. Then, write down how you felt during and after, and give us a call.”
Medical Marijuana as Alternative to Opioids
Discomfort associated with diabetes, glaucoma, shingles or chemotherapy can also find relief via medical marijuana as a substitute for opioids. (Several recent studies have found that Medicare prescriptions for opiate painkillers are lower in states with medical marijuana programs.)
Starting with an initial orientation session with one of our Patient Advisors, the communication and help continues the entire time you are a patient of First State Compassion. Together, we find the optimal method of ingestion, fragrance or taste and dosage for that person. We work closely with patients, answering any questions they have along the way.
We are well aware that seniors metabolize medical marijuana differently than younger patients, and take into consideration what prescription drugs they might also be taking. Having that close relationship from the start helps inform the wellness journey we take with each patient towards a better quality of life.
So, while you might find it amusing to learn your grandparent has a medical marijuana card, just remember it’s no joke: Seniors are using medical marijuana because they want to get well.