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Marijuana and Seniors
Marijuana and Seniors

Marijuana and Seniors

Cannabis Use Among Older Adults Rising

If you feel like you’re noticing a rise in marijuana use among seniors, you’d be correct.

Whether they’re hearing about the benefits from friends or family, noticing the stigma decreasing, or just finally being open about it, use among older adults is up.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a study that found cannabis use among those 65 and older saw an increase from 2.4% to 4.2% from 2015 to 2018.

That actually stayed in line with the similar growth of 0.4% in ’06/’07 to 2.9% in ’15/’16.

Have you noticed your grandparents sneaking a toke?

A senior woman enjoying marijuana in the comfort of her home.

Why the Increase?

Okay, we’re seeing this increase of cannabis consumption by seniors. But what is causing it?

Cannabis Availability

Availability could be a big reason.

California first passed medical marijuana in 1996 (now recreationally legal). And since then, 36 states have gone onto to pass laws of their own.

This change across the country has helped decrease the negative stigma of cannabis to the general public.

New Ways to Consume

As the available methods of consumption grow, we’re seeing a rise in marijuana use among seniors.

New options such as edibles, tinctures, or dry herb vaporizers are easier on the body than smoking.

Plus they’re a bit more discreet than exhaling a large cloud. People tend to notice that.

Marijuana tincture.

What Conditions Might Marijuana Aid?

Seniors are looking for alternatives to pharmaceuticals and that’s where marijuana comes in.

It seems that older adults are turning to medical marijauna for similar reasons as younger patients.

Pain

Arthritis pain can be enough to keep one up through the night. Unfortunately, a lot of the pills available can be rough on the body, easily making those prescribed nauseas.

A edible planned ahead or a quick puff on a wax pen vaporizer can be enough to ease the pain.

Insomnia

It’s common for insomnia to develop later in life. Often because of natural changes to their circadian rhythm, they experience various sleep disorders.

Choosing an Indica marijuana strain is a great way to enjoy a calming experience with more of a sedating effect.

Anxiety

Often with age comes more responsibility. Which leads to more things to overthink. And then what? Anxiety!

Unfortunately, anxiety is often undertreated in older adults and usually not even recognized.

Marijuana offers patients the chance to control their anxiety on their own accord.

Glaucoma

You may have first heard that marijauna is good for glaucoma from the hit stoner film, Half Baked. Think that’s all Hollywood smoke & mirrors?

Take a look at this quote about glaucoma and the benefits of cannabis directly from the National Center of Biotechnology Information:

Several clinical studies have found that cannabinoids or marijuana reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) as well as do most conventional glaucoma medications. This is true whether the cannabinoids are administered orally, intravenously, or by inhalation but not when they are applied directly to the eye.

Something to consider as you get older!

Marijuana use to help against glaucoma.

Should there Be Any Concern?

There is still a lot of research to be done about cannabis and the effects it has. This includes both short term and long term.

One of the concerns among older marijuana users is interactions with medication. Notably when interacting with blood thinners that may increase the risk of bleeds.

What’s the Conclusion about Marijuana and Seniors?

At the end of the day, it’s really up to the patient who will be using the marijauna. If there is a chance it will increase their quality of life, they should have the choice.

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