Seniors and Marijuana
The state of California legalized recreational marijuana a number of years ago, and before that medicinal marijuana had been legalized for some time. But since recreational legalization, adults aged 21 and over no longer need a medical card confirming a prescription by a healthcare provider to purchase cannabis and cannabis products from licensed retailers and dispensaries.
While marijuana’s medicinal use for pain treatment is widely talked about, now that it’s recreationally legal and people are always talking up the supposed many benefits of using cannabis, whether through smoking it or consuming food and drink that contains it, it’s beneficial to take a look at what cannabis can and can’t do, and how it might fit into your life.
Before trying marijuana as a pain remedy, or taking the advice of the workers at the dispensary, a good first step is discussing your concerns and options with a primary care doctor, or pain specialist, and preferably one who is informed and knowledgeable about medical or recreational marijuana use. Most doctors will tell you that the most benefit can be derived from a multifaceted approach that impacts the mind and the body, treating your issues with a holistic view.
Medical marijuana can, in some situations, be quite beneficial for patients as one of their treatments. Rigorous and thorough research backed up by years of real world experience as to the benefits and efficacy of medical marijuana for different diagnoses is still limited, but anecdotal and historical evidence shows that marijuana has been used by people across almost all time periods and cultures for thousands of years. And plenty of patients using medical marijuana enthusiastically report its effectiveness for managing and treating pain, anxiety, insomnia, and low appetite.
Many seniors avoid marijuana, or are reticent to try it out of fear of getting high, but it is entirely possible to use marijuana and reap any potential benefits, without the intoxicating effects. There are two compounds in marijuana that affect the body, which are THC and CBD. THC is the one responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana and what causes the stereotypically giggly and spaced out attitude associated with users. CBD, on the other hand, is the compound responsible for the anti-anxiety effects of marijuana.
Understandably, many seniors want the symptom control and medicinal benefits of marijuana, without experiencing the high that will impact their personality and thinking. For this reason, it is advisable to start out by trying the lowest dose of THC available. Recreational and medicinal marijuana dispensaries will usually label their products with the exact ratios of THC and CBD, which will help you to choose. Additionally, there are many products that primarily contain CBD, and will have either a low dose or no amount at all of THC.
Every person is unique and there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution or treatment. Some people can consume a high dose of THC and feel little to no effect, and some people can take a low dose and have a miserable experience out of their body. The important thing is to try things out for yourself and find what works for you.