Medical Marijuana & Seniors

Whether you are pro- or anti-medical marijuana, there is no denying that there has been an increased use of this treatment amongst seniors. Like all medications, marijuana comes with side effects, but if used correctly, it can help treat many common illnesses amongst the senior population. Continue reading as we discuss the statistics on usage of medical marijuana, what it can treat, and what side effects might occur.

Increased Use Amongst Seniors

A study conducted by the University of Colorado in 2019 stated that marijuana use in that state among people 60 and older rose tenfold over the previous decade. Also, data from the 2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Health stated that 9.4 percent of adults between the ages of 60-64 reported that they had used marijuana in the past year which is an increase of 1.9 percent from the prior 10-year period. For those ages 65 and older, 3.7 percent reported using marijuana in the past year which is a huge increase from just 0.3 percent in 2007. Lastly, another study that was published earlier this year from NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine reported that between 2015 and 2018, marijuana usage amongst those 65 and older increased by 75 percent.

What it Can Treat

Although medical marijuana is seen in a negative light by some people, there is a reason for its increased use amongst the senior population. There is anecdotal evidence that indicates in can help ease the symptoms of these illnesses listed below:

  • Wasting syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Chronic Pain associated with diabetes, MS, and other types of nerve pain
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy seizures
  • Nausea and weight loss resulting from cancer/chemotherapy
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • IBS and Crohn’s disease

Possible Negative Side Effects

Research indicates that seniors may be more sensitive to the psychoactive properties of medical marijuana than younger users. This could cause dizziness which could result in falling. There have also been studies that show that medical marijuana use could be dangerous for those who have recently had a heart attack and could also cause lower bone density in the hip bones and lower spine. Lower bone density makes seniors more susceptible to a fracture resulting from a fall.

It is always important to consult your doctor before trying any new medication to make sure you are staying safe and healthy. Talk to your doctor about medical marijuana if you believe this could be beneficial to your health.

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