How Cannabis Can Benefit Seniors
Cecilia Sivertson of Nana’s Secret, LLC began making Nana’s sodas as these cannabis infused drinks offered a more natural and healthy means for her to treat her epilepsy. She was unaware of the long-term health problems of prescription drugs until it was too late. She hopes that her story and sodas can help others avoid the health problems she is experiencing by educating people about the medical benefits of cannabis. As Siverston notes, “Nana’s sodas are changing minds one soda at a time.”
Siverston’s experience points to the increase of cannabis use among seniors, who represent the fastest growing demographic of cannabis users in the United States. According to CBS News,
from 2013 and 2014, the number of people 55-and-older using cannabis increased from 2.8 million to 4.3 million. This rise is also noted in the Journal of Addiction, which reported in their December 5, 2016 issue a 250% increase in cannabis use among adults over 65.
Following are some specific ways that medical cannabis can benefit seniors.
Cannabis Helps With Age-Related Illnesses
As people age, there’s a decrease in bone density and muscle tissue due to changes in the body’s endocannabinoid system that regulates the body’s metabolic processes, thus keeping the body in balance. Cannabis interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the body. Early research indicating that cannabis may help with a range of conditions impacting seniors including depression, arthritis, glaucoma, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cannabis infused ointments help treat arthritis and chronic pain
Creams and lotions infused with cannabis can helping treat joint, muscle, and back pain. Also, these topicals do not produce a high. Hence, unlike some prescription medications that can impair one’s motor skills, seniors can use them throughout the day without any adverse effects.
Cannabis Can Help Increase Seniors’ Appetites
Cannabis has proven to be effective in reducing nausea, as well as helping to stimulate appetite. This can help seniors suffering from weight loss due to a loss of appetite.
Cannabis Can Be Consumed in Different Ways
A common misconception among seniors is that they have to smoke cannabis in order to gain any medicinal benefits. However, cannabis can be administered via pills, topicals, cannabis-infused food and beverages, and tinctures. In addition, raw cannabis can be juiced which provides the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects provided by cannabis plants without any psychoactive effects. Thus, seniors can find a method of consuming cannabis that works for their particular needs and preferences.
Cannabis is Safer than Pharmaceutical Drugs
In the case of drugs such as opioids, cannabis has been shown to accentuate the effect of this drug. By combining cannabis with opioids, patients can take decrease their use of opioids, thus reducing the possibilities for opioid abuse. Along those lines, unlike opioids and a host of other prescription drugs, cannabis does not produce serious side effects. Also, cannabis users do not become addicted to cannabis unlike over reliance on drugs such as opioids. To date, no one has died from a cannabis overdose.
Cannabis Has Cognitive Benefits
Some users report that cannabis can help increase their creativity and heighten their imagination. These benefits can help seniors remain connected and engaged with the world instead of falling into loneliness and isolation. Also, as cannabis can help with insomnia, seniors can wake up more alert and refresh after having had a good night’s sleep.
Cannabis Helps Fight Depression
Even seniors with no history of mental illness often experience depression as they age due to a variety of circumstances including decreased mobility, loss of loved ones, and an increased awareness of one’s own mortality. With depression comes a loss of motivation, a sense of seclusion and a decline in one’s physical health. Cannabis has been shown to enhance one’s mood, which in turn loften leads to an improvement in one’s health and a desire to socialize with others.
For More Information
This post on the NORML website offers a listing of 11 surprising things about marijuana that seniors need to know. Also, those looking for more in-depth information on how cannabis can benefit seniors can check out this online class from Green Flower Media titled “Cannabis For Seniors: Reducing Pharmaceuticals & Improving Quality Of Life.”