Across America in legalizing states, seniors from retirement age to centennials are starting to make use of cannabis products. This is not the popular swell of support we’ve seen in the younger generations who see cannabis as a cool relatively harmless recreation. Instead, America’s seniors are turning to cannabis as a medical solution to a wide variety of problems that are a constant reality for the elderly.
Medical cannabis has been approved as a treatment for severe and chronic conditions in 33 states including Washington DC and or home here in Maryland. This approval has been based on the steady results of medical cannabis research and thousands of personal accounts where medical cannabis has significantly improved the lives of those who have turned to it when industry pharmaceuticals left them with ongoing and painful symptoms.
So why are today’s seniors, a traditionally cautious population, flocking to cannabis products? The answer is clear if you only ask a few who have found relief through these plant-based medical solutions.
Many Forms of Cannabis Treatments
- Infused Oil
- Diffusion and Vapor
- Medically Dosed Foods
The Medical Benefits for Seniors Using Cannabis
Cannabis consists of two primary active ingredients: CBD and THC. CBD acts primarily as a muscle relaxer and appetite enhancer. It eases pain and promotes a sense of wellbeing. TCH, on the other hand, is associated with the psychoactive effects known to come from cannabis. When considering senior use of cannabis, it’s often important to distinguish which active ingredient the benefit is coming from. Far more states have legalized CBD for these reasons than cannabis and it’s TCH component.
However, THC has it’s own medical benefits including the ability to reduce depression, anxiety, and night terrors among other conditions. This is why Maryland seniors are noted as increasing their use in CBD, THC, or both to help with their individual ailments.
Easing the Aches & Pains
One of the major reasons why seniors are enthusiastic about cannabis products is the ability to ease aches and pains. Rheumatoid Arthritis, the arch nemesis of aging and a cause of extreme pain in many elderly, can be eased with the help of the pain-relieving qualities of CBD while THC can help seniors get a good night’s sleep even after pain medication wears off.
But it doesn’t stop at arthritis. Linking pain and achiness from surgeries, tissue deterioration, and other causes of both targeted and ambient body pain have all found eased symptoms with the application of cannabis salves or the use of a tincture to release the beneficial compounds.
Being Able to Eat and Digest Comfortably
Thousands of seniors suffer from disorders or bear treatments that make it nearly impossible to eat. Most notably, seniors fighting cancer by undergoing chemotherapy deal with constant nausea and complete lack of appetite. The relaxing and appetite enhancing qualities of CBD that traditionally cause “Munchies” in young people become a life-saving effect.
Of course, there are also dozens of other lesser known digestive, nervous, and hormonal disorders that make eating difficult or painful for elderly patients Turning to CBD and cannabis edibles can make staying alive more pleasant and even bring back the joy of eating to these seniors.
Returning to a Feeling of Wellbeing
THC’s psychoactive effect has won cannabis a dubious reputation, but even this compound can serve an important medical purpose for senior patients. Seniors who experience chronic pain that cannot be fully dulled by medication can finally achieve relaxation and a feeling of wellbeing through the uplifting “high” provided by THC. Some pain salves, for example, include both CBD and TCH which eases the pain and makes it easier to feel good ignoring any pain that remains.
Seniors who suffer from constant anxiety or deep depressions can also benefit from treatments that include TCH. THC relaxes the mind and creates a slightly euphoric sense of wellbeing. For the thousands of seniors who experience mood disturbances from their medication, dementia, or medical conditions, THC can help feel relaxed and achieve a mood equilibrium.
A Deep and Dreamless Sleep
Many seniors have reported that cannabis products have allowed them to achieve deeper and more restful sleep. The relaxing effects of cannabis can help a patient to fall asleep and it also has an interesting side effect: Cannabis tends to suppress dreams or cause them not to be remembered. For seniors who suffer from night terrors or vivid dreams that interfere with sleep, cannabis can make sleep more complete and enjoyable.
Controlling Tremors, Spasms, and Seizures
But we saved the best for last. Cannabis is one of the leading medical treatments for treating seizures, tremors, and spasms without the downsides of contemporary pharmaceutical medications. Cannabis treatments have been approved in completely non-legalized states for treating epilepsy and is the current best way to treat a form of rare adolescent epilepsy.
Along the same lines, seniors who experience both tremors and spasms have also found that cannabis has offered profound improvements to these symptoms. Many report that their tremors stopped almost entirely once they began cannabis-based treatments.
Cannabis Compared to Other Common Senior Medications
As we have just discussed, cannabis has a wide variety of medical benefits for the elderly. But what about the potential downsides? This is a reasonable question anyone should ask when considering a new type of medical treatment. What are the potential negative effects from using cannabis tinctures, salves, and vapor?
So far, side effects of cannabis may include red eyes, mildly increased heart rate, dry mouth, and slower reaction times. Smoking the buds can come with some respiratory concerns based on inhaling any kind of smoke. And cannabis has been found to cause weight gain due to increased appetite. But so far, cannabis has borne out to be comparable or safer than the majority of pharmaceutical drugs that seniors are already taking to keep them alive or even achieve the same effects.
An Alternative to Opioids
Seniors across America have been prescribed opioid pain killers in order to deal with chronic or acute pain conditions like arthritis or post-surgery recovery. Unfortunately, the highly addictive nature of opioids has doctors and seniors looking for alternatives. Cannabis’ relaxing and pain relieving qualities offer that alternative without the consequences of physical addiction.
Cannabis is not physically addictive as the body does not crave it when treatments are missed. This makes it far easier for seniors to manage their own preferred amount of treatment with no physical drive to continue and increase the dosage.
Those Who Already Do Not Drive
There are also many seniors who already take medications or experience medical conditions that exclude them from driving. Cannabis has been known to cause euphoria and lowered reaction times, but this is not a big change for seniors who are already on powerful medications and no longer drive themselves anywhere.
Common Meds That Cause Dizziness or Lightheadedness
A large number of medications seniors take for pain or for serious medical conditions also cause the common symptoms of dizziness or lightheadedness. Effects that might seem irresponsible or recreational when used by young people become a common side effect of staying alive for the elderly. And not that unpleasant a side effect in the grand scheme of medical treatments.
Boomer Seniors are Familiar with Cannabis
Last but not least, it’s worth considering who today’s seniors really are. Seniors aren’t just our generation’s grandparents. Perhaps cannabis is more acceptable to today’s seniors is because today’s seniors are Boomers. Baby Boomers were one of the first big generations to move toward cannabis legalization and are generally more familiar and comfortable with cannabis use than the grandmothers and grandfathers of yesterday.
So why are seniors today increasing their use of cannabis treatments? The new opportunity, the positive results, and the generationally increased comfort with the idea have all led us to where we are today. For more insights into medical cannabis use in Maryland and across the USA, contact us today! We’d be happy to talk to you about any questions, concerns, or treatments available.