Senior Citizens Using Marijuana for Conditions Like Chronic Pain and Alzheimer’s
While all sorts of people are excited that we’ll soon be able to get an Alabama Marijuana Card, if evidence from the rest of the country is any indication, one group might be anticipating the arrival of medical marijuana more than anyone else: Alabama’s senior citizens.
It might surprise you to learn that marijuana use among older Americans has been on the rise for several years now, as a recent article by U.S. News and World Report spotlights. And while that trend may seem surprising at first, it makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons.
Older People More Likely to Experience Conditions that Qualify for Cannabis Treatment
One explanation for marijuana’s climbing popularity among older Americans is that this demographic is more likely to experience many qualifying conditions than other age groups.
Older Americans have higher rates of glaucoma, chronic pain, and of course terminal illnesses than younger Americans have. And in the words of the U.S. News and World Report article, “studies show marijuana may help reduce symptoms like insomnia and irritability in Alzheimer’s patients, improve motor symptoms from Parkinson’s, diminish arthritic pain and combat sleep disorders — conditions that are all common among older adults.”
Medical Marijuana Works
Of course one of the likeliest explanations for medical marijuana’s popularity among older Americans is also the simplest and most obvious: It works!
WebMD spoke with Joseph Palamar, a senior health researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, and he told them that the seniors he sees are using matijuana not to get high or relive their college days, but because it safely and effectively treats their qualifying conditions.
“From what I see, I think a lot of older people are using weed more for medical reasons rather than recreational reasons," Palamar said. "I know someone in this age group who for never in a million years I thought would use marijuana. She eats a marijuana gummy every night to help her sleep, because she feels it helps better than anything else. I think this is becoming more common.”
The efficacy of medical marijuana was the reason that senior advocacy group AARP gave for voicing their support for medical marijuana. In a statement announcing their position, the AARP said “The decision (to support medical marijuana) was based on the growing body of research suggesting marijuana may be helpful in treating certain medical conditions and symptoms.” the senior advocacy group wrote.
Cannabis is Better Tolerated and More Effective than Many Pharmaceuticals
Because seniors are more likely to deal with qualifying conditions, they’re also more likely to be on a long list of pharmaceutical drugs. And the more prescriptions one is on, the more likely one is to experience unwanted side effects and incompatible medications that counteract each other or, even worse, create all new problems when taken in combination.
So again it’s no wonder that more and more seniors are turning to medical marijuana, a medication that has been shown to reduce the need for opioids and other potentially harmful medications.
Rene Yeoman, a Floridian with chronic pain, told U.S. News and World Report that she prefers medical marijuana because it treats so many of her symptoms, and so she can rely on one medication instead of a cocktail of pills.
“I’ve been on just about everything, for either migraines or my back or whatever,” she said. “We don’t like to take those heavy medications, of which you can become addicted, you know? With the edibles, you just kind of seem to just relax.”
Stigmas Around Cannabis are Finally Fading
As medical marijuana laws spread (there are now thirty-six states where medical marijuana is legally available), more and more Americans are seeing the medical benefits of marijuana firsthand, and are thus discovering that the awful things they’ve always heard about cannabis are simply untrue.
“It’s accepted now,” Marvin Yeoman, a Florida senior with chronic pain (and the wife of Rene, whom we mentioned above), told U.S. News and World Report. “You used to have to sneak in the back alley to purchase it, but now you can just walk right into the store and buy it, just like you would go to Publix or Winn-Dixie.”
Marvin’s observation echoes an article published on the Harvard Health Publishing blog about increased marijuana use among older Americans. The blog notes that “Stigma is a complicated issue, but most would agree that the stigma associated with cannabis use is lessening, especially for medical cannabis.”
As with any Medication, Seniors who Use Medical Marijuana Should Consult their Doctors
Medical marijuana does work, and it does work safely, but it’s still a medicine, and so it should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
U.S. News and World Report spoke with Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, a neurology researcher and professor who urged seniors to only use medical marijuana while under the care of a qualified doctor.
“THC is safe for older people and won’t cause confusion or disorientation at modest and low doses,” Sanchez-Ramos said. “But it should be definitely supervised by a physician. If your physician has no experiences with cannabinoids and your condition, I would try to find a medical cannabis expert who does.”
Medical Marijuana isn’t Just for Older People
Rene Yeoman summed up our thoughts on medical marijuana well when she told U.S. News and World Report that “It should be legal, really. It’ll cut out a lot of the big pharma money that’s going into producing drugs like opioids — and you’d take away the punishment for it, so you don’t have millions of people in jail for doing it.”
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. Medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for a litany of symptoms and qualifying conditions. Why shouldn’t it be accessible to all patients with qualifying conditions, no matter where they live?
Alabama is Getting Medical Marijuana Soon, but You Can Prepare for it Immediately
While you still have to wait a little longer for medical marijuana to come to Alabama, you don’t have to wait a minute more to prepare for its imminent arrival.
Reserve a medical marijuana evaluation today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Alabama’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together, you’ll discuss your qualifying conditions and what medical marijuana might be able to do with you, all without even leaving your own home. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Alabama Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-5633, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Alabama Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.