The unfortunate truth is that as we grow older and our bodies begin to retire, our health problems begin to get worse. The conventional method of handling symptoms such as depression or appetite loss is with prescribed medication. However, the newest trend has seniors using marijuana instead of opiates, and is showing great success. Read this article for the ten good reasons for seniors to use cannabis.
- Conventional medicine masks
- Cannabis helps
- Seniors and Cannabis: Ten Interesting Facts to Consider
- 1. You don’t have to smoke it!
- 2. Relief from pain
- 3. Relief from muscle tension
- 4. Arthritis treatment
- 5. It is safer than most commonly prescribed medications
- 6. It is not physically addictive
- 7. It can reduce (or even replace) the need for prescription medications
- 8. There are many different strains—some without psychoactive effects
- 9. It does not cause brain damage or reduce your IQ
- 10. It is an effective appetite stimulant
As we grow older, health problems associated with aging tend to mount. From joint pain and arthritis to loss of appetite and depression—or even more serious ailments such as organ disease and cancer—certain characteristics associated with becoming older can be difficult to embrace, perhaps even unpleasant to experience. Seeking reliable, affordable methods for relief that suit one’s personal needs and health regimen preferences is an important choice that belongs to each individual.
Conventional medicine masks
Allopathic or conventional medicine supports treatment of pain and other ailments with synthetic pharmaceuticals that are not only expensive, but mask symptoms—rather than repair or truly ease the indications associated with the illnesses they’re prescribed for. This can take an additional toll on anyone’s physical health—delicate or not. Holistic, natural remedies are rarely recommended within the realm of ‘Western medicine’—and this is an unfortunate omission of homeopathic solutions that may be more suitable to an individual’s lifestyle and beliefs.
According to an article in USA Today, as of 2012, more than 55 million prescriptions for opioids and other painkillers were written for Americans aged 65 and older alone. Likewise, prescriptions issued within the U.S. for benzodiazepine medications to treat anxiety-related disorders is estimated at 28 million annually for seniors. Consider the number of similar prescriptions issued worldwide—astounding! Not only are these medications highly addictive, but they can quite easily (even unintentionally) result in accidental overdose or death. The misuse and over-prescription of pharmaceuticals is irresponsible and needless. The prescription statistics are staggering and tragic considering safe and natural remedies exist—such as medical marijuana—successfully alleviating many health issues without taking the toll on your body that synthetic drugs inevitably do.
Let’s face it, opioid dependency within the U.S. continues to grow at an alarming rate; it is fast becoming a critical health issue with serious ramifications. Within the U.S. states that currently allow legal access to medical marijuana, countless patients have used it responsibly and successfully for many years to treat pain, nausea, tissue inflammation, and countless other symptoms associated with aging. While people tend to believe the majority of marijuana users are in a younger age bracket, seniors are turning to medical marijuana more and more as a viable remedy for pain relief and to help manage the symptoms that accompany anxiety.
Research published by JAMA Internal Medicine shows using cannabis may help individuals reduce their dependency and abuse of opioid-based painkillers. JAMA’s research further showed opioid-related deaths fell in 13 states shortly after they legalized the use of medical marijuana—compared with states that have no formal access to marijuana. Additionally, states that permitted certain patients legal access to cannabis saw a steady drop in opiate-related overdoses, on average, six years after the states’ medical marijuana laws took effect. Let’s kick the Rx habit, folks!
For many generations, and in many cultures, people have been taught that cannabis is dangerous; an unsafe and addictive drug—modern studies and statistics now prove otherwise. With current evidence to prove the numerous benefits of marijuana, the truth is coming to light for people across the globe. And now, let the myth be dispelled. Legally, cannabis is still considered an illicit Schedule I drug; however, there is an active crusade gaining momentum around the world to change this classification level. All the positive facts revealed in ongoing studies and research will surely help support change in favour of legalization and revise the outdated image of this effective, medicinal plant.
Seniors and Cannabis: Ten Interesting Facts to Consider
1. You don’t have to smoke it!
There are several ways to ingest medical marijuana and cannabis-based products. Typically, when used as a recreational drug, marijuana is smoked. However, modern medical marijuana products can be eaten, swallowed in pill form, mixed into beverages as a tincture, applied to the skin as a cream or lotion, or inhaled as a light vapor—some without the psychoactive effects associated with the plant.
2. Relief from pain
Cannabis has long been known to reduce pain just as well, or better than, synthetic prescription drugs. Clinical trials have proven this time and again. Marijuana-infused ointments are very effective in alleviating arthritis and neuropathy pain. Hand-made, ‘boutique’-style medicated creams have become quite popular and are an effective remedy for sore joints and muscle pain.
3. Relief from muscle tension
Tested and proven many times, cannabis holds valuable anti-inflammatory properties. Whether you smoke it, eat it, or apply it topically to the skin—its ability to relax the muscles is evident. A recent study from the National Institute of Health indicates cannabis was widely used in ancient medicine to treat and cure bowel disturbances and inflammation; their follow-up study set out to prove the ancients were on to something with their use of cannabis treatments for what we now know to be Crohn’s Disease—a serious and painful inflammatory disease affecting the bowel system. The modern study of this ancient remedy successfully demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties cannabis holds for treating this specific ailment.
4. Arthritis treatment
Studies repeatedly show marijuana is useful and effective for treating symptoms associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)—this is one of the conditions for which many states allow legal use of medical marijuana. Cannabis allows improved range of motion and mobility, and reduces stiffness caused by joint inflammation. Research has also shown patients are successfully able to reduce their dosages of potentially harmful NSAIDs when using medical marijuana or other cannabis products as an adjunct therapy.
5. It is safer than most commonly prescribed medications
The number of seniors using prescription medications on a daily basis rises needlessly each year by a wide margin. Prescription drugs can cause organ damage, tissue damage, chemical dependency, even death… On the other hand, marijuana does not contribute to organ damage and toxicity like prescription drugs do; the side effects of marijuana are insignificant by comparison. No marijuana-related deaths or overdoses have ever been documented—and the powerful benefits of marijuana provide relief for a multitude of illnesses and disorders. Another plus: medical marijuana is an affordable solution—an especially important point for elderly persons with fixed incomes.
6. It is not physically addictive
Folks of all ages—not just seniors—fear that if they use cannabis they will become addicted. Individuals who use medical marijuana on a daily basis can easily stop ‘cold turkey’ without adverse effects. The side effects of discontinuing marijuana use, if any, are quite mild, similar to that of discontinuing use of caffeinated products—such as coffee, tea, or soda. People who seek relief from chronic pain or regular bouts of anxiety can safely use marijuana regularly without the risk of becoming addicted. Conversely, the risk of accidental overdose from continual use of prescription pharmaceuticals is a very real possibility. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), dependency and misuse of prescription painkillers and opioid drugs are responsible for 44 narcotic-related deaths in the U.S. each day.
7. It can reduce (or even replace) the need for prescription medications
A prime complaint among seniors regarding prescription medications is that the number of pills recommended by physicians can multiply over time; one pill is often prescribed to counteract the side effects of another pill, then another pill, then another, and so on … This is an example of how over-prescription of pharmaceutical drugs snowballs, becoming counter-productive and even harmful. The healing properties of marijuana target the same conditions as synthetic drugs (inflamed joints, high blood pressure, chronic pain, digestive disorders, constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, cognitive awareness, and more). Marijuana also has the potential to act as a ‘booster’ when used in conjunction with many commonly prescribed drugs—enhancing the effects of the prescription, thus reducing the number of pills required each day.
8. There are many different strains—some without psychoactive effects
Marijuana comes in many different types or ‘strains,’ each having unique attributes. Some strains provide relief from chronic pain; others assist with focus and energy; some strains help ease insomnia to ensure a good night’s rest. It is important to know that not all cannabis strains produce the ‘high’ feeling some people experience—a trait seniors may fear or wish to avoid. Medical marijuana strains are being cultivated that produce minimal psychoactive effects or none at all. Cannabidiol—or CBD—in marijuana, is the substance that provides this plant with its tremendous healing properties. CBD has been proven to ease pain, stimulate growth of new bone tissue, suppress muscle spasms, relieve anxiety, increase mental focus, and reduce tissue inflammation. New strains without psychoactive effects make it possible for patients to gain relief from daily discomfort without spending their day in a ‘buzzed’ state of mind.
9. It does not cause brain damage or reduce your IQ
A common misconception about marijuana use is that it has the potential to diminish the user’s level of intelligence or cause brain damage. There is no evidence or documentation to this effect. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, they prove just the opposite: daily treatment with Cannabidiol (CBD) led to improved well-being and quality of life scores among a group of Parkinson’s patients. Similar studies with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients indicate using marijuana can encourage new neural pathways, allowing a gradual halt of further degeneration and damage to brain tissue in patients with impaired brain function—and may even improve the level of brain function over time.
10. It is an effective appetite stimulant
A common, dangerous health risk among senior citizens is gradual loss of appetite which can lead to weight-loss, tissue deterioration, and reduced mental clarity. Medical marijuana is a successful appetite stimulant and is beneficial for alleviating nausea.
So there you have it! Senior citizens are becoming the fastest growing populace of medical marijuana users in the U.S.—and its working for them! We all deserve to be comfortable and at ease in our golden years without causing further harm to our already aging bodies. We owe it to ourselves to explore the positive benefits of medical marijuana, and to manage our health in a natural, non-toxic manner with a substance that is harmless, affordable, and provides relief from pain. May you live happy and healthy for the rest of your days!