When we think of marijuana, we wouldn't imagine an adult, 50 years or older, smoking a joint on a floral-patterned armchair. Yet, a recent survey is indicating just how plausible this image is in today's world. So yes, believe or not, your grandma could be smoking a joint when alone.
The stigma around recreational marijuana no longer holds such power over people. This is evident from the many people worldwide, including the US, voicing their opinion on the legalization of medical marijuana. Not to mention the new cannabis store and online stores popping up and selling high-quality CBD products and weed for sale.Why seniors are using recreational marijuana
For Carol Collin, a septuagenarian from California, marijuana has been helping her sleep each night. "I am an absolute chronic insomniac," she tells CNN. Collin shares that she has always had insomnia since she was a child; marijuana gummies have helped her to fall asleep quickly.
Better sleep isn't the only benefit Collin is deriving from marijuana. For pain relief, the septuagenarian is using a cream that has both THC and CBD in it. The latter two are both derived from the cannabis plant. While THC has properties that will make a person high, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. Collin shares that she uses marijuana because it helps her sleep better and ease her pain. However, she admits that she wouldn’t use it if it were illegal.
For 66-year-old Shari Horne, a balm containing CBD is her marijuana of choice. "I have plates and pins and screws in my feet, and they get achy at times," Horne tells The New York Times, and the balm helps her ease the pain. When she developed bursitis in her shoulder, Horne used the balm to ease the ache, but it didn't work. That's when she started taking a mix of CBD and THC.
Vice took this growing trend on the road to Seattle with a mini-documentary titled 'Getting stoned with seniors.' Among the seniors talking about marijuana in the video is Connie, who says she loves to explore new things. Connie shares how she grew up in an age where marijuana wasn't something she could talk about.
She was told it was "the devil's drug" and would only lead to madness. For a long time, Connie believed that if she started smoking marijuana, she would spiral and end up homeless. It was only later in her life that she tried marijuana, and that is when she learned that it helped her sleep better.The number of marijuana users is growing
Data published in the JAMA Internal Medicine shows the significant rise of cannabis usage among people aged 65 or older. The survey showed that usage was 75 percent higher in 2018 than it was in 2015.
For the researchers overseeing this data, the numbers are significant. Joseph Palamar, an associate professor of population health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and co-author of the study, explains that marijuana use among seniors is growing steadily. Many seniors are even taking an interest in growing their cannabis garden.
If the number of seniors showing interest in marijuana is growing, it should be natural for more doctors to be informed to help their patients with their intake. Sadly, this is not the case. In another study, conducted by the University of Colorado, seniors discussing marijuana shared how their doctors were unable or unwilling to talk about medical marijuana.
One participant shared that when he told his doctor that he was using marijuana to help ease his shoulder pain, the conversation ended there, and he wasn't sure why it did.Theories on the growing number of users
Han and Palamar have shared several possible reasons why seniors are turning to medical marijuana. They believe that the legalization of medical marijuana and the de-stigmatization around it are two significant reasons for this new trend among seniors. Studies indicating the benefits of CBD on chronic illness is another possible reason for this new market.
The study also indicates a growing use of cannabis by people who have diabetes. While research on the effects of medical marijuana on diabetes is still ongoing, a 2016 study by researchers of Nottingham University has indicated the positive effects of CBD on people living with diabetes. According to the study, CBD in a combination with THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) can lower blood sugar levels and encourage more insulin production in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.The precautions seniors should be taking
Although medical marijuana is proving to be a better option over some traditional medication, doctors warn about taking medical marijuana without the advice of a professional. Han notes that the research regarding marijuana is limited. Researchers are still unsure as to who it can benefit and who it may harm.
More than that, seniors generally take a variety of pills, and adding medical marijuana to the mix could be harmful when taken without guidance. For example, marijuana can increase the risk of bleeds when it increases the serum concentrations of warfarin, pharmacist Tracy Mahvan explains.
Although studies have indicated that cannabis can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, it is also known to increase blood pressure and heart rate. For seniors, the latter two conditions can be dangerous, possibly fatal.
What is essential is that as a senior, you must tell your doctor about your marijuana use. Mixing medication with marijuana can be dangerous when done incorrectly, and if you are having surgery, your surgeon must be informed as well for the right anesthesia to be used.