Medical Marijuana Use Increasing in Patients Aged 50+
Research shows that Americans 50 years old and older today are 20 times more likely to use marijuana than people in that age bracket were three decades ago. The use rate of younger generations remained about the same across those thirty years. Researchers found people born prior to World War II very rarely used marijuana at any point, but among subsequent generations usage was significant, especially among Baby Boomers born from the late 1940’s through the early 1960’s. This is the generation who grew up using marijuana in their teen years, and as with many youthful habits, this habit dies hard.
Today, as the Baby Boomers advance into their 50s, 60s, and beyond, many return to the substance that was popular but illegal in their youth, but is now legally available in over half the states in the country. According to the National Council for Aging Care, a study in 2013 revealed that four out of five doctors approve of medical marijuana and more than 90 percent of medical marijuana patients say that medical marijuana has helped treat their conditions. Seniors were the largest age group in the study with more than 2,300 respondents.
Part of the reason medical marijuana is gaining such popularity among the silver-haired set is its effectiveness in relieving pain without psychoactive side effects or the need to ingest the plant to achieve relief. Arthritis, joint pain, back pain, nerve damage, headaches, and muscular tension can all be alleviated through the use of topical forms of medical marijuana such as lotions, rubs, and creams. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s Disease, and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis respond well to treatment using marijuana. The nausea and vomiting that often accompany cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation can also be lessened with the help of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is also effective at treating eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, which are common among seniors. Many lose the desire to eat as they age, whether due to poor body image or other psychological reasons, with nearly 80 percent of deaths among the elderly being due to anorexia. These disorders are often treated with antipsychotics and antidepressants, which have been reported to actually worsen symptoms rather than relieve them. Many doctors are beginning to view medical marijuana as a safer alternative to prescription drugs, which carry with them risky side effects.
In addition to pain relief, medical marijuana may offer benefits for the senior brain. Studies done in Germany showed a group of older mice performed better than younger mice in cognitive tests after THC was introduced, suggesting medical marijuana may help increase cognition in the elderly.
Among the Baby Boomer generation, the objections to using some form of medical marijuana to ease pain, lift depression, and quell anxiety are considerably less than with the generation that went before them. After all, many Boomers used marijuana at some point in their youth, and usage no longer carries the stigma of being socially unacceptable.
For the over 50 crowd, medical marijuana offers many attractive benefits over prescription drugs. Cannabis is safer and more cost efficient than many prescription drugs, with far fewer negative side effects, it offers significant pain relief, and helps many seniors who struggle with insomnia to achieve a good night’s sleep without using sleeping pills.
If you have questions about how medical marijuana may help relieve your chronic pain, contact Medical Alternatives Clinic today at (719) 246-0393 to speak with an MMJ Doctor in Colorado Springs, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, or to set up an appointment. We are your first choice for MMJ/Medical Marijuana Doctors Colorado Springs, here to assist you in any way we can. We are happy to provide you with copies of any paperwork necessary for your records.