Updated on September 10, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
More and more people see the advantages of including different forms of medical marijuana into their treatment. From edibles to tinctures and salves, there seems to be no end to what cannabis can do for those struggling with chronic conditions. However, some elderly patients still have a hard time getting over the plant’s negative stigma. After all, most of these men and women grew up during a time when marijuana was heavily vilified.
The sad part is that medical cannabis is an ideal treatment for many of the debilitating ailments older patients struggle with. If you have elderly parents or grandparents, it’s time to either introduce the topic of medical marijuana or bring it up again. Our understanding of the herb has increased dramatically in recent years, and there is more evidence than ever of the benefits cannabis presents to a broad range of conditions.
Everyone wants to age gracefully. Medical pot products could be the answer for many senior citizens seeking to improve their overall health and enjoy an improved quality of life. Here are five benefits of cannabis you can share with your grandparents that specifically affect their lifestyle. We also have some tips on how to address their concerns and get them on board with the idea of including marijuana medications into their treatment routine.
1. It’s a Tailor-Made Treatment for Those of Advancing Years
Many states across the U.S. now recognize that by legalizing medical marijuana, they are giving more people the opportunity to find treatment for diseases that are both chronic and intractable. Cannabis medications are tailor-made for several conditions that mostly affect elderly patients, and it’s potential for treating a wide range of disorders and symptoms is astounding. This includes:
2. Many Seniors Recognize Medical Marijuana as a Valid Option
Now that the use of medical marijuana is becoming more widely accepted, grandparents across the globe are jumping on the bandwagon. In fact, seniors represent the fastest growing population of cannabis consumers — those 65 years of age and up have seen an incredible 250 percent increase in the use of marijuana, which may be related to its legalization in many states. Those with chronic conditions can now visit an authorized marijuana doctor and receive a recommendation to use this form of treatment legally.
3. There Are Very Few Downsides
It seems that every prescription medication ad on television is accompanied by a massive list of potential adverse side effects. Although some unwanted side effects can result from marijuana use, they are significantly less severe than those that come along with many of the medications your grandparents are probably already taking.
Most seniors take anywhere from five to 20 different prescription drugs every day, and many of them have severe side effects — especially if they contain opiates. Cannabis side effects are very different, less harsh and manageable with correct dosage under the supervision of a marijuana doctor. The main advantages are that cannabis is way less addictive than opiates and it cannot cause a fatality or overdose — even if you accidentally use too much.
4. A Variety of Consumption Methods Are Available
If your grandma is not a smoker, chances are she will be completely adverse to the idea of smoking pot. Thankfully, those who want to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana have ample options when it comes to medicating methods. Both tinctures and edibles are a popular ingestion method among seniors. However, you should warn them about dosing — it sometimes takes up to an hour to feel the effects of edibles, so remind them to wait before taking more.
Marijuana-infused salves, balms and other topicals are also an excellent option for those struggling with arthritis or other bone- and muscle-related conditions. Unfortunately, inhaling cannabis is one of the fastest ways to get relief from painful symptoms. But you can always teach your grandparents how to use a vaporizer. This method is healthier than smoking but still has many of the fast-acting advantages.
5. They Don’t Have to Get Stoned
Thanks to the booming medical marijuana market in states like Colorado, California and the Pacific Northwest, there are more strains than ever to choose from. These designer options are intended to target individualized symptoms. And thankfully, with the popularity of CBD products, tons of options exist that won’t get users high. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, while tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is what causes the psychoactive side effects.
If your grandparents are afraid of getting stoned, be sure to let them know of the plethora of options that are now available with high concentrations of CBD. THC does contain many medicinal properties, but CBD also has its own advantages as a medical treatment.
How to Address Your Grandparents’ Concerns
If you believe medical cannabis would bring a positive change to the health and wellbeing of your grandparents but they are still holding out, it’s probably because they are scared. They have had decades to hear of the negative impact marijuana can have on their health. So, it’s important to educate yourself on the potential adverse side effects of cannabis and be open and honest with them. No treatment is perfect or free from side effects — however, they will appreciate your honesty. Plus, when they are ready to try medical marijuana, they will feel adequately prepared.
When your grandparents use medical marijuana for the first time, here are a few tips that could ease the process and help them to feel more secure:
Make sure they are in a safe, comfortable environment — preferably their own home.
Make plans to come over ahead of time. Maybe plan a dinner date, so they don’t ingest cannabis for the first time on an empty stomach.
Make sure to create a relaxing environment. For example, make a playlist of their favorite music and have snacks on hand.
Encourage them to enjoy a good night’s rest afterward.
Arrange for Your Grandparents to Consult With a Nearby Marijuana Doctor
Medical marijuana is legal in more than half of the states in this country. So, chances are there is a medical marijuana doctor near you. Use our database to arrange a consultation for your parents or grandparents to meet with these qualified professionals. Not only will this ease their mind as they feel free to ask any questions they have, but it will also allow them to get their medical marijuana recommendation. In many states, this is the first step to enjoying the benefits of medical cannabis.