According to a study, marijuana use among adults aged 65+ is on the rise. The rising number of marijuana users is due to the severe health issues they face with growing age. The use of marijuana helps relieve the pain and suffering related to several health issues like osteoporosis, arthritis, poor sleep, hypertension, and mental disorders. At the same time, other older citizens use marijuana just for recreational purposes to enhance their golden years.
However, the question that worries everyone is whether marijuana usage is safe for seniors or not. According to the European Journal of Internal Study, senior citizens can safely use marijuana. The effectiveness and dosage of this drug depend on the health condition that is being treated.
Here are some of the health concerns that senior citizens face and how marijuana can be a savior.
1. Chronic pain
More than half a million Americans use marijuana for chronic pain. Several studies indicate positive results in terms of pain alleviation by medical marijuana. One such report talks about clinical trials conducted on patients suffering from chronic pain due to chemotherapy, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Marijuana intake reduced their chronic pain by over 35%.
Another 2019 survey showed that in Colorado, older adults above 60 years of age used medical marijuana to mitigate chronic back pain and osteoarthritis-related pain. Therefore, marijuana seems to have positive pain-relieving effects on seniors and might be safe for moderate consumption.
2. Multiple sclerosis
More than 800,000 Americans, including seniors above 45 years of age, suffer from chronic muscle spasms and high pain intensity due to multiple sclerosis. According to a study conducted on marijuana users visiting neurology clinics, about 68% of marijuana users used medical marijuana to alleviate MS pain symptoms. Interestingly, many of the older users of marijuana seem to prefer to purchase their marijuana directly from local or known online dispensaries.
However, one should be careful about the dosage and the content of THC in marijuana. If you are looking for a reputed dispensary to buy marijuana for medical purposes, check out Weedsmart on the internet.
Based on the study mentioned above, we can say that marijuana seems to be doing the trick to counter pain from multiple sclerosis for most senior citizens. Therefore, adequately supervised doses of marijuana seem to be safe for seniors.
3. Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are common in older people in America. A University of Illinois at Chicago study shows that consumption of marijuana with low-THC content (approximately 7.5mg or lower) helps reduce stress. In contrast, a higher dose (greater than 12.5mg) has the opposite effects. Another study shows that medical marijuana activates the endocannabinoid system in the body by reacting the CB1 and CB2 receptors releasing the pleasure hormone dopamine, which causes a reduction in anxiety levels in adults. Therefore, marijuana at low THC concentration might be safe for seniors and help reduce their stress and anxiety levels.
According to a study, about 50% of seniors aged 65 and above claim to have sleep-related disorders or suffer from insomnia. Research done on the effects of marijuana on sleep suggests that it can have two types of effects on sleep. Having marijuana with a high THC content helps reduce sleep latency, i.e., it helps fall asleep faster but adversely affects the long-term sleep cycle. On the other hand, marijuana with a higher CBD content and low THC content helps improve the REM sleep cycle, reduces nightmares, and mitigates excessive daytime sleepiness. Therefore, marijuana can help enhance sleep quality for seniors but only with the right strain of marijuana.
According to the latest research posted on cancer.org, marijuana compounds such as THC and CBD slow down the growth of cancer cells, and lab studies even showed the death of cancer cells. Some animal studies also indicated that cannabinoids were able to slow down the spread of cancer. Marijuana seemed to help older cancer patients combat nausea, vomiting, and body pain due to chemotherapy. The clinical trials showed that cancer patients taking marijuana needed less pain medication than those who did not take marijuana. However, one should not rely on marijuana to treat cancer. Instead, marijuana should be taken only after consulting with a doctor.
Now that we have looked at the positive side of marijuana and unofficially concluded that marijuana is safe for seniors, with the correct dose and composition. Let us now look at the precautions that elderly citizens should take while consuming marijuana.
Precautions to Take While Taking Marijuana:
Seniors should take certain precautions while taking medical marijuana. Overdose of marijuana can cause nausea and the risk of falling. Some studies suggest that prolonged use of marijuana with high THC content may reduce memory recall and deteriorate symptoms in dementia patients. Similarly, smoking marijuana may exacerbate respiratory issues in seniors. The smoke from the joint carries toxins and may be carcinogenic. Seniors can try vaping instead of smoking for greater efficacy and faster absorption.
It is crucial to inform the doctor about the consumption of marijuana. Seniors should only try marijuana after approval from a doctor. This practice prevents harmful reactions caused by mixing marijuana compounds with existing prescription drugs.
In conclusion, marijuana is safe for seniors when taken under the guidance of an expert. Overall, marijuana in moderation seems to provide good healthcare and quality of life. More dispensaries are setting up for marijuana in several states, helping seniors access medical marijuana in their neighborhoods.