If you’ve been paying attention to the cannabis trends, you’ve probably noticed that cannabis usage among seniors has become very popular, for both medicinal and recreational use. According to a study published this past Monday, February 24, 2020, in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, “the use of cannabis in the past year by adults 65 years and older in the United States increased sharply from 0.4% in 2006 and 2007 to 2.9% in 2015 and 2016.”
Let’s examine why cannabis is trending with seniors and why the trend will most likely continue to grow.
We’ll first state the obvious. The main reason for the boost in cannabis usage among seniors is due to certain states legalizing medicinal and recreational cannabis, removing the fear and stigma to try it. Once mature adults discover how well it works on their overall health, not to mention the happy mood-boost they get, they want to tell their friends. The word spreads, friends tell friends and the next thing you know, senior living never looked so good.
The Today Show did a short segment about this trend and the New York Times told a similar story stating, “From retirement communities to nursing homes, older Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains. Many have embraced it as an alternative to powerful drugs like morphine, saying that marijuana is less addictive, with fewer side effects.” Neither story drilled down on why cannabis is a great solution for seniors and I feel the “why” is pretty important to understand.
We know seniors love cannabis because it makes them feel “good,” but what does that mean? There are many reasons why it makes them feel good. Feel like themselves again. Happy. Pain free. Focused. Rested. We hear story after story from our mature adult clients and they never get old to me. They give me hope. Hope that I can continue to support my 86 year old mother with cannabinoid supplementation, for her overall mental and physical health, and keep her healthy and strong for at least another decade, God willing. The answer to why is not a mystery, the answer is in the science.
Science has linked endocannabinoid deficiencies to many symptoms and illnesses that are common as we age. Pain, trouble sleeping & depression are some of the more popular symptoms we hear about from seniors, that are successfully treated with cannabis, but cannabis has also been very successful when treating more serious conditions such as cancer, IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines, MS – the list is long. So why does it seem to work for so many different types of conditions? The short answer is because cannabis does not heal anything. Cannabis puts our body into homeostasis (perfect balance) through our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), allowing our body to heal itself.
Studies have shown when our ECS is out of balance, it is most often a result from a deficit of cannabinoids, which can be caused by poor diets, lack of exercise, environmental toxins or stress. Cannabinoid supplementation can be a simple solution to a myriad of symptoms. It is not uncommon for someone to try cannabis for depression & anxiety and discover their joint pain is also gone. Your body will heal where needed, when in perfect balance. Stop and read that again. YOUR BODY WILL HEAL WHERE NEEDED, WHEN IN PERFECT BALANCE. If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can learn more about the science through researchers like Dr. Ethan Russo, board certified neurologist and the medical research director at Phytecs, a biotechnology company that specializes in developing different ways of targeting the endocannabinoid system for therapeutic benefit. This interview with Dr. Russo by Project CBD is a good place to start.
If you don’t live in a cannabis legal state, hemp is still a great option to try. Everyone in all 50 states can benefit and enjoy hemp, which is a form of Cannabis Sativa L. Hemp is extremely medicinal and hemp products, especially CBD oils, are growing very popular among seniors as well.
Although cannabis has no real dangerous side-effects, it is still a medication that should be discussed with your healthcare provider. There are many drug contraindications that need to be considered, especially for seniors who may be on a lot of pharmaceutical drugs like heart medications or blood thinners. It is important to consult with pharmacists like our Freshemp podcast guest, Luba Andrus, and nurses like another Freshemp podcast guest, Eloise Theisen, both specializing in cannabinoid medicine and more specifically with senior care and cannabis. If you can’t find someone in your area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to CannaMedU, we will connect you with clinicians who are educated and experienced in cannabis medicine.