Updated on September 10, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Although they may be the last group of people you’d expect to take advantage of a new type of medicine, older adults can benefit from cannabis in many ways. Currently, 29 states and Washington, D.C. have legal medical marijuana programs — and nine of those have legalized recreational use as well. Senior citizens and elderly patients with chronic conditions across the country now have more access than ever to the healing properties of the all-natural marijuana plant.
One symptom many elderly patients and senior citizens struggle with is a lack of energy or motivation to do anything. Contrary to popular belief, there are certain strains of the cannabis plant that actually energize the user and make them more productive. Seniors struggling with sleepiness can take advantage of the uplifting nature of these strains, while also reaping the plant’s additional health benefits.
Benefits of Using Medical Marijuana to Energize the Elderly
Elderly patients and senior citizens will experience the same benefits other users do when they take cannabis medicine. In fact, many of the primary conditions, symptoms and side effects marijuana treats have to do with old age, such as:
Most seniors currently use prescription painkillers to combat these side effects and symptoms when they experience them. However, these medications can cause patients to feel extremely foggy in the head, confused or dazed. With certain marijuana medications, patients can treat the same symptoms without experiencing these adverse effects.
Painkillers — especially opioids — can also be incredibly addictive, causing the user to develop increasing tolerance to the drug. This means the patient will have to take more and more of the medication to achieve the same effect, which puts them at high risk of an overdose. Opioid overdoses are considered an epidemic in the United States — the CDC reports that more than 200,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1996 and 2016 in the United States.
Strains of Medical Marijuana to Energize the Elderly
When you’re looking for strains that achieve a specific effect, it’s important to understand the breakdown of cannabis plants. Marijuana consists of hundreds of cannabinoids, which are the components that give the plant its medicinal and psychoactive qualities. Two primary cannabinoids create the most noticeable effects:
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): This is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It’s known to uplift and energize the user, but it also creates the “high” associated with cannabis use. However, THC is also an essential component in many medicinal purposes of marijuana.
Cannabidiol (CBD):CBD does not make the user feel high and instead only creates a sense of relaxation and calmness. It also provides medicinal effects like pain relief and reduced inflammation.
So, every strain of marijuana has a different THC: CBD ratio, and a tiny percentage of most types contains other lesser-known cannabinoids. The types of strains to choose from include:
Sativa: Sativa strains have a higher THC content than CBD content, so they tend to energize the user and give them a noticeable head high. Sativa strains are also known to be best for increasing appetite.
Indica: Indica strains are known to make the user sleepy and relaxed. With their higher CBD content, they don’t uplift or energize the user as much as sativa strains. But don’t be fooled — indica strains still have some THC, so they can still make you feel high. Only pure CBD products allow users to avoid this side effect entirely.
Hybrids: Hybrids are just what they sound like — mixtures of the two principal strains cultivated to achieve a specific ratio of sativa effects to indica effects. Some hybrids are indica-dominant, while some are sativa-dominant. Others are nearly perfect 50-50 combinations.
As you can probably guess, you want to look for sativa strains and potentially some hybrids when you need energizing strains for the elderly. Some of the most popular options include:
Durban Poison (sativa)
Ghost Train Haze (sativa)
Green Crack (sativa)
Sour Diesel (sativa)
Jack Herer (sativa)
Pineapple Express (hybrid)
Lemon Haze (sativa)
Strawberry Cough (sativa)
Remember, these are just a few strain names in a world of thousands of options. However, these are some of the most popular choices out there. If your dispensary doesn’t have any of the ones listed, just ask them which of the strains they have in stock is best for boosting energy with minimal mind-altering effects. It’s a tall order even for cannabis since those two side effects tend to go together, but the beauty of marijuana strains is that there is always one that’s perfect for your loved ones’ specific needs.
Learn More About Medical Marijuana and Energizing Strains for the Elderly
If your elderly loved ones are struggling with a lack of energy, don’t wait any longer to get them the cannabis medicine they need to treat this symptom. You’ll be amazed at how different their life can be when they have the energy and motivation to complete daily tasks and other activities they once enjoyed.
For those who live in medically legal states, the first step is to meet with a medical marijuana doctor near you for an evaluation appointment. The physician will talk with your loved one about their energy, past treatments and other health conditions to decide if marijuana could be a good fit. Then, search our database to find a local dispensary with a knowledgeable staff, reasonable prices and a welcoming environment.