Updated on December 21, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Aging is a part of the natural process of life, which can grant us wisdom and experience, but it also comes hand in hand with a variety of physical changes that can be less pleasant to deal with. As the baby boom generation reaches its senior years, making a large segment of the population 65 years or older, issues with vision, cardiovascular disease and cognition are bound to increase. Fortunately, with 58% of surveyed American adults indicating that marijuana use should be legal in a 2015 Gallup poll, there’s hope on the horizon for many of the ailments of aging.
Prescription drugs once seemed to hold the solution for the elderly population, but with 30 percent of those 65 or older using prescription drugs, marijuana can offer an alternative for those who want to combat pain and improve their lives. Marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drugs means that research is behind on the drug’s medical capacities, but the tides are shifting for the cannabis plant.
With legalization for both recreational and medicinal use occurring all over the country, there are more reasons than ever to consider the potentiality for marijuana to decrease pain and improve the quality of your life. For those who are older than 65 and are interested in CBD or its oil, marijuana seeds and edibles for relief, here are some things to know.
According to Dr. Igor Grant, chair of the UCSD Department of Psychiatry, “There is increasing evidence that cannabis is helpful in the management of certain kinds of pain.” For example, when it comes to pain from arthritis, a recent study showed that more type 2 cannabinoid receptors (CB2) are present in arthritic joints, which enables cannabis to guard against inflammation when its inhaled or consumed.
Forget About Pharmaceuticals
Many people rely on prescription drugs to deal with bodily issues, and this only increases as we age. Unfortunately, many pharmaceuticals come with addictive properties that are detrimental to well-being. Fortunately, a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine revealed that there is a lower opioid abuse rate in states that allow medical cannabis, making an excellent case for a different option.
A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
It’s well known that old age can lead to physical decline, but it’s actually inflammation and free radicals that cause the ailments associated with aging. According to Dr. Robert Melamede, “Nobody dies from being old, they die from age related illnesses.” Because hemp, a varietal of the cannabis sativa plant, is rich in fatty acids which are necessary for bodily health, it can increase endocannabinoid activity in the body and decrease pain-related ailments.
Options for Inhalation
The idea of lighting up may not appeal to many seniors who are already on the proverbial fence, but there are options beyond simply smoking it. With legalization changing at a rapid rate, people have the option of trying edibles instead of lighting up. Cannabis is not only found in everything from crackers to chocolate nowadays, it can be added to any recipe that requires butter or oil!
No Need to Get High
Most people who are even mildly familiar with marijuana are well aware of the stereotypes associated with getting high, from eating Cheetos to watching too much television. While the ‘high’ feeling is associated with the compound THC, there are numerous medical varieties that do not contain this compound but still provide the associated medical benefits of the cannabis plant.
The Science Behind It
There is still a lot missing in our understanding of marijuana due to the lack of investment into research, but there are available studies that provide positive feedback regarding its ability to alleviate pain and reduce cancer symptoms. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two synthetic types of marijuana, dronabinol and nabilone, and more research is on the way.
An Alternative to Prescriptions
As a culture, we’re very familiar with the instant impacts of drugs that can deal with pain, stress relief and arthritis. However, the side effects can be just as difficult to deal with. While there is a sense of security in using a familiar prescription, it may be worth testing out marijuana to measure its pain relief capacities without all the added side effects.
What’s The Stigma?
There may have been a time that marijuana use sat outside the parameters of the mainstream, but with changing laws the old stigmas are rapidly dissolving. According to a 2014 Truven Health Analytics NPR Health Poll, approximately 78 percent of respondents approved of marijuana for medical use. As legalization increases, this number will likely bump up along with it.
There’s More Than One Strain
For those who are unfamiliar with marijuana, it can be easy not to know that, like coffee or potato chips, there’s no shortage of choice when it comes to available strains. From the best cannabis seeds to a variety of strains, you don’t have to worry about a one-size-fits-all approach. If you’re looking to deal with symptoms of stress, you may want to try Girl Scout Cookies or OG Kush, or, for pain relief, One to One may help.
Increasing Your Appetite
Many seniors struggle with physical fitness and maintaining a healthy weight, but your body health is an important part of aging well. Fortunately, according to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, the rate of obesity is lower by a third for people who smoke marijuana a minimum of 3 times a week. It’s just important not to rely solely on marijuana for weight maintenance.
Find Help for the Elderly in Your Life
Marijuanadoctors.com is your go to source for all things related to medical marijuana. Check out our aliment resources for more information on what conditions marijuana can help with. We also update our blog regularly with the latest news, program updates and marijuana resources.