Seniors are finding more and more that cannabis is an effective way to reduce their pain and other symptoms, as well as their dependence on traditional medication. Driven by expense and dissatisfaction with their current treatments, patients aged 65 and up are becoming increasingly supportive of medical marijuana and are the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis users (1).
As the stigma of cannabis use gradually declines, patients are taking note of the steadily mounting evidence of its medical benefits and either trying it for the first time, or for the first time since their youths.
The rise in popularity of cannabis as an alternative medical treatment has the potential to dramatically improve patient satisfaction while reducing addiction and other harmful side-effects of opioids and other commonly-prescribed medications. In the wake of recent regulations limiting the quantity of opioids that doctors can prescribe for pain, cannabis serves as a critically-needed substitute for sufferers of chronic pain such as arthritis, which almost half of all seniors report experiencing (2).
As seniors become more interested in supplementing their treatment regimens, more public education is needed to give them the confidence to try cannabis and to prevent bad experiences from overdosing. With the elderly in particular, it’s important the doses are appropriate to prevent dizziness and falling. Organizations such as the Rossmoor Medical Marijuana Club in San Francisco have been recruiting and educating older patients for many years, and play a crucial role in raising public awareness and knowledge of medical marijuana.
Whether sooner or later, nationwide medical marijuana is coming, and one of the most important tasks ahead of us is educating people on not just the real benefits of the drug, but also the misconceptions and misinformation that are rampant. With seniors seeking treatment for their various medical conditions, we need clear recommendations with proven results.
Help us raise the bar in education by participating in CannaTrials’ PROMMISE Study. This is a brief 10-minute survey asking about medical conditions for which you are using medical marijuana, and what kind of relief you are getting. The survey is HIPAA compliant (private), and we will publish the aggregate data as educational information for patients and doctors, teaching us all how individuals are currently using the cannabis to relieve symptoms not currently being addressed by prescribed medications.