How Seniors and the Elderly Can Benefit From Medical Marijuana
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 01/19/2018 in Medical Marijuana
We’re well past the era of “reefer madness,” but folks still have plenty of misconceptions about cannabis. As an elderly patient, you may wonder about the developments in medicinal cannabis over the years. You might even consider trying it out. It turns out that not only can seniors benefit from medical marijuana, but they may also find it works better than standard medication.
Can Medical Marijuana Help My Condition?
Cannabis medicine can relieve a wide variety of symptoms and medical conditions, many of which elderly folks commonly deal with. The most common conditions treated with marijuana medicine include:
- Chronic Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Severe Nausea
Medical marijuana has also been shown to relieve other health issues, but the ones listed above have the most scientific and legal support. Not only do they have a lot of research backing their responsiveness to medical cannabis, but they also have the highest likelihood of authorization by state medical marijuana programs.
The scientific and anecdotal evidence we have suggests that cannabis works as a(n):
- Anti-seizure medication
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Sleep aid
- Appetite stimulant
- Muscle relaxant
Whether you can legally use medical marijuana in your state depends on the health issues it authorizes for cannabis medicine treatment. Research your state medical marijuana laws to see if you could qualify.
Won’t Using Cannabis Hurt Me?
Since marijuana has so much stigma surrounding it, many folks think using marijuana can severely harm their health. However, the side effects of marijuana tend to be relatively harmless and easy to control. Common medical marijuana side effects include:
- Red eyes
- Increased hunger
- Dry mouth and thirst
- Short-term memory loss
Patients who deal with these side effects can often utilize an easy fix or switch their medication time to resolve them. For example, they can drink extra water to counteract their thirst, or they can take their medicine at a different time of day if it makes them feel sleepy.
You might also worry about hurting your lungs by smoking marijuana. While smoking cannabis can indeed harm your lungs, you have many other options for how to take your medicine. The ways you can legally take medical marijuana depend on your state laws, but here are some examples that don’t involve smoking:
- Eating an edible
- Using a topical treatment, like a lotion
- Adding cannabis oil to your food or directly ingesting it
- Taking a pill or capsule with cannabis compounds in it
In some cases, patients discover they have a bad reaction to their marijuana medication, like paranoia. Don’t worry if this happens to you — you can work closely with your doctor to try a different kind of cannabis medicine that will have different effects.
What If I Don’t Want to Get High?
Contrary to widespread belief, not every kind of cannabis medication makes you feel the “high” we commonly associate with marijuana. The versatility of marijuana medicine is all thanks to the science behind the plant.
Cannabis is made up of numerous compounds called cannabinoids. While we know about around 500 different cannabinoids, the two primary cannabinoids in marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These two compounds cause many of the medical benefits we get from cannabis.
When you use a medication with only CBD and no THC — or mostly CBD and a low amount of THC — you don’t have to worry about getting high. CBD doesn’t impair your thinking, but it can still help with symptoms like pain and seizures. You may feel drowsy when you take CBD-based medicine, but you can still think and act the same.
How Well Does Cannabis Medicine Work Compared to Pharmaceuticals?
Medical marijuana isn’t considered a part of the typical drugs you find in the United States. Since you can’t find marijuana medicine at your local pharmacy, doesn’t that mean it isn’t as effective? Fortunately, medical marijuana can work just as well as — if not better than — standard medication.
Patients can use cannabis as a supplement to their prescription drugs or even as a total replacement. Cannabis medicine can enhance the efficiency of some drugs, letting you lower your dosage and experience fewer side effects. In some cases, patients find they can go completely off their prescription medication. Of course, before you make a decision regarding any kind of medicine, consult your doctor first.
Facts About Seniors and Medical Cannabis
Here are a few statistics about medical cannabis use in senior citizens:
- Medical marijuana can help reduce drug dependency among seniors by replacing highly addictive opioid medications. Since seniors get 55% of all opioid prescriptions, opioid dependence happens frequently among folks over 65.
- Almost three-quarters of adults over 45 think a patient should be able to use medical marijuana legally when a doctor recommends it.
- More seniors are deciding to move to medical marijuana-friendly states when they retire.
- The number of folks over 55 who use marijuana is continually increasing.
How Do I Start Registering for Medical Marijuana?
Do you want to find out if medical marijuana will work as the solution to your health problems? Getting started involves a few easy steps:
- Learn More About Cannabis Medicine: Knowing a little about every aspect of medical marijuana can help guide your decisions as a patient.
- Research Your State’s Medical Cannabis Laws: Every state has certain procedures for signing up for medical marijuana and regulations for use and possession.
- Find a Marijuana-Certified Doctor: Not only will seeing a doctor for a recommendation help you learn about your suitability for medical marijuana, but it’s often the first step in signing up for a patient card.
Visit a Dispensary: Dispensaries work as a legitimate source for marijuana medicine and a helpful resource for patients to fill their recommendations and get more information.