- D.H. Reilly
Medical Marijuana Works for Conditions Common Among Older Adults
One of the most frustrating parts of enduring the wait until we can finally get an Indiana Marijuana Card is looking around at most of the rest of the nation and seeing so many people enjoying the benefits that only medical marijuana can provide. And coast-to-coast, one demographic that’s enjoying those benefits in larger and larger numbers is our nation’s senior citizens.
In fact, senior marijuana use has been on the rise for a few years now for a variety of reasons, as a recent U.S. News and World Report article highlights.
Stigmas Around Medical Marijuana are Starting to Fade
With thirty-six states now making medical marijuana legally available to their residents, more and more Americans are experiencing the benefits of cannabis, and thus more and more Americans are learning that stigmas against marijuana use have been unfair and harmful.
“It’s accepted now,” Marvin Yeoman, a Florida senior with chronic pain, told U.S. News and World Report. “You used to have to sneak in the back alley to purchase it, but now you can just walk right into the store and buy it, just like you would go to Publix or Winn-Dixie.”
The Harvard Health Publishing blog agrees with Marvin’s observation. In a 2020 post discussing a peer-reviewed article about increased marijuana use among older Americans, the blog pointed out that “Stigma is a complicated issue, but most would agree that the stigma associated with cannabis use is lessening, especially for medical cannabis.”
In that same blog post, Harvard Health Publishing pointed to one very concrete piece of evidence showing that older Americans are coming around on cannabis: a statement from the AARP supporting the use of medical marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Works
Of course one very obvious reason why so many older Americans are now embracing medical marijuana is probably the very simple fact that it works!
Joseph Palamar, a senior health researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, told WebMD that he’s seeing seniors using medical marijuana not out of some attempt to recapture the highs of their youth, but simply because it treats their qualifying conditions well.
“From what I see, I think a lot of older people are using weed more for medical reasons rather than recreational reasons," Palamar said. "I know someone in this age group who for never in a million years I thought would use marijuana. She eats a marijuana gummy every night to help her sleep, because she feels it helps better than anything else. I think this is becoming more common.”
And the AARP also cited the simple fact that medical marijuana is so effective at bringing patients relief as motivating their statement of support. “The decision was based on the growing body of research suggesting marijuana may be helpful in treating certain medical conditions and symptoms,” the senior advocacy group wrote.
Many Seniors Deal with Qualifying Conditions
Another possible explanation for marijuana’s surging popularity among seniors is that theirs is a demographic where individuals are more likely to experience many of the qualifying conditions recognized by medical marijuana programs.
As U.S. News and World Report wrote, “studies show marijuana may help reduce symptoms like insomnia and irritability in Alzheimer’s patients, improve motor symptoms from Parkinson’s, diminish arthritic pain and combat sleep disorders — conditions that are all common among older adults.”
Older people are also more likely to experience chronic pain, glaucoma, and terminal illnesses, along with many other conditions that are commonly recognized as qualifying conditions.
Medical Marijuana is More Effective and Better Tolerated than Many Pharmaceuticals
Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce the need for opioids and other potentially harmful medications. And when one considers that seniors are often on a variety of prescription medications at one time, one can see why using medical marijuana instead might be appealing to them.
Rene Yeoman, the wife of Marvin Yeoman, the Floridian with chronic pain that we mentioned above, told U.S. News and World Report that she favors medical marijuana for the way it safely treats multiple symptoms, so that she can rely on cannabis instead of a prescription cocktail.
“I’ve been on just about everything, for either migraines or my back or whatever,” she said. “We don’t like to take those heavy medications, of which you can become addicted, you know? With the edibles, you just kind of seem to just relax.”
It’s Called Medical Marijuana for a Reason. Seniors Should Closely Consult with their Doctors.
Of course the fact that seniors as a demographic are more likely to experience qualifying conditions also means their healthcare can be more complicated than that of most younger people, making it all the more important that older Americans work closely with their doctors when using medical marijuana or any medication.
U.S. News and World Report spoke with Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, a researcher and professor of neurology at the University of South Florida, who emphasized the need for seniors to use marijuana only under the care of a qualified doctor.
“THC is safe for older people and won’t cause confusion or disorientation at modest and low doses,” he said. “But it should be definitely supervised by a physician. If your physician has no experiences with cannabinoids and your condition, I would try to find a medical cannabis expert who does.”
That’s also one of the many advantages of medical marijuana over street drugs, which can be cheaper than medical marijuana, but which can also be of uncertain origin and which lack the benefit of a knowledgeable doctor’s counsel.
Medical Marijuana isn’t Just for Older People
Rene summed up our thoughts on medical marijuana and seniors quite well when she said “It should be legal, really. It’ll cut out a lot of the big pharma money that’s going into producing drugs like opioids — and you’d take away the punishment for it, so you don’t have millions of people in jail for doing it.”
Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Medical marijuana is a safe, effective medication for a plethora of qualifying conditions, so shouldn’t all Americans have safe and legal access to it?
Indiana Will Come Around Eventually, but You Can Get Started Immediately
We’ve told you before that we believe medical marijuana in Indiana is inevitable, and while you still have to wait to get your Indiana Marijuana Card, you don’t have to wait to get ready for its eventual arrival in the Hoosier State.
Reserve a medical marijuana evaluation online today with one of our highly qualified, compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Indiana’s medical marijuana market is up and running. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
We’re dedicated to helping all people safely and conveniently find relief and wellness through access to medical marijuana. By focusing on education and inclusion, we hope to reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis and those who want to use it to enhance their health.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-7755, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation today!