Seniors’ Guide to Medical Marijuana

Is medicinal marijuana the perfect replacement to prescription drug overuse? Read the seniors’ guide to medical marijuana to understand its uses and benefits.

The use of medical marijuana by the older generation and baby boomers is growing very rapidly. Marijuana consists of nearly 100 compounds, known as cannabinoids. It is made from the leaves of the hemp plant.

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

Three types of marijuana can be used as government-approved medical drugs. However, the use and overuse of marijuana have been a topic of widespread debate. This article will talk about medical marijuana, its risks, its benefits, and of course how much and when to use it.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a greenish-gray-colored mixture of leaves. It is composed of the flowers of Cannabis Sativa and dried shredded leaves. Cannabis is also known as the hemp plant. 

It consists of more than a hundred components known as cannabinoids CBD and Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol oil. CBD is the most common out of these. It doesn’t cause any intoxicating effects on the person who consumes it. 

Instead, the main psychoactive chemical present in marijuana is THC. This component is responsible for the high that occurs after the consumption of marijuana.

The human body produces cannabinoids in the body and is responsible for vital activities like memory, movement, pain, and appetite of a particular person.

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) is useful in the treatment of various diseases and relieving their symptoms. In some cases, the entire plant can be used, while in others, only the essential extracts of the hemp plant are used as medical marijuana

Medical Marijuana has not been approved as a US FDA medicine. However, three cannabinoids (cannabis-based products) named Epidiolex, Nabilone, and Dronabinol are approved as medicine by the FDA. 

Epidiolex is an oral solution that helps to treat seizures and epilepsy. Dronabinol, synthetic cannabinoids are used to treat cancer chemotherapy, nausea, and vomiting. 

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

How To Get And Consume Medical Marijuana?

How can you get Medical Marijuana

There are certain steps that you have to take to obtain medical marijuana. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations. 

Doctors and patient forms are essential for getting marijuana. For getting marijuana, a person must be diagnosed with either psychiatric disorders, terminal illness, or cancer. If you have been diagnosed with any of these diseases and your physician deems it fit, a medical marijuana card is issued to you so that you can purchase it at drug stores.

What are the ways to consume it?

It can be consumed in multiple ways. The method of consumption of marijuana is determined by the medical needs and the person’s physical abilities. 

Some of the common ways through which a person can consume medical marijuana are

  • Placing an extract below the tongue.
  • Chewing it or eating it in an edible brownie.
  • Smoking it.
  • Inhaling it through a vaporizer.

Health Benefits Of Medical Marijuana

  • Reduces anxiety and depression symptoms
  • Enhances mood and energy.
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Cures nausea and vomiting effects.
  • Known to induce sedative effects.
  • Relieves headaches and migraines. 
  • Reduces convulsions and seizures.
  • Known to stimulate appetite
  • Calms eye pressure
  • Known to kill cancer cells and reduce the tumor growth
  • Eases the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

How Is Marijuana Better Than Prescription Drugs?

Older adults suffer from various drug reactions due to changes in the body and reduced drug clearance. Studies suggest that the average adult above the age of 65 consumes at least five pills a day. The use of so many prescription medicines is called polypharmacy. 

The signs and symptoms of polypharmacy include incontinence, loss of appetite, depression, bowel changes, and sleepiness.

Medical marijuana is suggested as a safe alternative to prescription drugs as it has a lesser risk of side effects. 

Medical marijuana is also relatively inexpensive. However, whether it is actually cheaper than prescription drugs depends upon various things, like the patient’s health, current treatment, and where the person is living.

It can be used if one suffers from anxiety, depression, and pain without fear of becoming a habit-forming substance. It is extremely effective in replacing opioids and narcotics, which are much more habit-forming and can cause a whole other set of problems. 

However, medical marijuana is not without its own problems. Long-term use of marijuana can increase the risk of lung cancer (when inhaled or smoked) and mood disorders. It also causes some other temporary side effects like impaired cognition, dizziness, mood changes, dry mouth, blurred vision, and loss of balance. It is important to keep these things in mind when taking this medication.

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

Why Seniors Are Turning To Medical Marijuana?

No side effects 

Older adults find marijuana a good option to replace prescription drugs. Prescription drugs result in adverse side effects on the body. 

Marijuana doesn’t result in negative side effects on the body. Seniors are more interested in it as it doesn’t result in side effects on the body. Thus, it has little to no drawbacks on the human body if consumed as suggested. 

To reap medicinal and recreational benefits

Baby boomers were part of the swinging 60s and 70s generation, and many of them used to consume marijuana in their youth. Most of them stopped consuming it once they settled into family life. 

As they have completed their personal goals, they want to return to medicinal marijuana as it has therapeutic benefits and can be used for the recreational aspect at the same time. 

To overcome boredom and be socially active:

One way to maintain a healthy lifestyle for elders is trying to be socially active and being with like-minded people. Marijuana is a nice bridge to interact with other like-minded people. 

Older adults can attend social gatherings and meet people about therapeutic marijuana-related topics.

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

What Are The Medicinal Benefits Of Marijuana?

Chronic pain management: 

Chronic pain management is a common reason for marijuana use. Around 62.2% of marijuana users use it to overcome chronic pain

Seniors use marijuana to overcome chronic pain management as palliative therapy. 

Many seniors suffer from autoimmune conditions and arthritis. These diseases impact bones, joints, and the spine in a person. 

As age increases, the pain caused by these diseases also increases. It becomes challenging to carry on various daily activities like walking and performing household chores.

Older adults use various treatments like lotions, medications, acupuncture, pills, chiropractic care, and massages. 

Medicinal marijuana is one of these treatments. Seniors can reap the benefit of marijuana whether they apply for appointments, smoke, eat or apply the lotions on the skin with the cannabinoid extracts. 

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia:

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have become very common in older adults. These diseases affect cognition, health, and memory. They also harm the appetite and enhance the symptoms of depression.

As marijuana is known to stimulate hunger, by consuming marijuana, a person can avoid prolonged periods of fasting and even nutritional deficiency caused by dementia. THC is also known to slow down the progress of degenerative brain diseases

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

Glaucoma:

As we age, our eyes lose the ability to regulate fluid levels, which may damage the optic nerves. This leads to decreased vision. It can also lead to blindness if it is left untreated. Glaucoma is the main reason for blindness in people over 60 years

Symptoms of glaucoma appear in the later stages of life. Smoking marijuana is known to lower down the intraocular pressure for at least 4 hours. Seniors can combine medicinal marijuana and palliative therapy with edibles to ease the symptoms of glaucoma.

To overcome loneliness: 

Loneliness is one of the common reasons elders suffer from depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions

Medical marijuana, especially CBD, is known to help elders cope with mental health issues. Older adults can overcome anxiety by consuming medical marijuana. It is known to stimulate serotonin receptors that use anxiolytic medication. It has no side effects. 

Eating disorders: 

Many seniors suffer from eating disorders. They try to overcome their emotional turmoil by eating. As they age, they may feel like not eating. This may occur due to psychological reasons.

Older adults may suffer from various issues like bone loss and heart problems due to persistently missing meals. Medical marijuana helps older adults eat more and overcome eating disorders. 

The body’s endocannabinoid system regulates various physical processes including diet, fertility, and pregnancy. Older adults who suffer from bulimia or anorexia may have an impaired endocannabinoid system. 

This makes them look at food as undesirable. Medical marijuana can help enhance this system, and it can help the brain to eat food with interest again. 

People who suffer from eating disorders are recommended antidepressants and antipsychotics. But, it is known to worsen the condition. 

Many eating disorder foundations and national psychotics have listed marijuana as a treatment for the eating disorder. Many doctors consider medical marijuana to be a safer option. 

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Medicinal Marijuana

Do health insurance companies cover medicinal marijuana?

No, health insurance companies do not include medicinal marijuana in their coverage, even in the states where it is legal. 

Does marijuana affect blood pressure?

Yes, marijuana is known to affect blood pressure. People who use marijuana regularly can have higher blood pressure in comparison to the non-users of marijuana.

Can it be used to overcome multiple sclerosis?

Yes, marijuana helps cure multiple sclerosis. THC is effective in reducing the pain and urinary symptoms related to sclerosis. 

Is medical marijuana addictive?

Yes, medicinal marijuana can be addictive. Many people are surprised that medicinal marijuana is an addictive substance, but the fact is that it has THC which is a habit-forming chemical.

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

Can you overdose on marijuana?

No, there is no such thing as overdosing on marijuana. It has been used for thousands of years. If you consume a lot of marijuana, then you might feel high. You can plug in relaxing or soothing music and sit in a room silently if you feel high.

How much medicinal marijuana should you take?

The consumption of medicinal marijuana depends upon various factors like the disease you are affected by and the condition of a particular disease. 

For instance, if you suffer from glaucoma, the amount of marijuana you need to consume would differ from patients with chronic pain. When you are affected by chronic pain, your doctor will recommend the dose and amount you need to consume.

Does marijuana have any negative effects on the body?

Marijuana has several positive effects, but it also has a list of negative effects on the body. Many people notice a higher heartbeat (20-50 additional beats per minute) after consuming medicinal marijuana. 

It also leads to reduced immunity because of the presence of a psychoactive substance named THC. Some people suffer from red eyes because of the increased blood flow in the body.  Make sure that you consume it with the proper prescription of the doctor.

How Does Marijuana Compare to CBD? 

Medical Cannabis consists of cannabinoids. THC has psychoactive properties. It has certain benefits which can relieve the symptoms. CBD is a separate cannabinoid. 

It is also called cannabinoid oil. It doesn’t have any psychoactive properties, but it has similar effects to THC in relaxing the symptoms of a particular disease. 

Is It Necessary To Smoke Marijuana? 

No, elders don’t need to smoke marijuana. Many marijuana users don’t smoke the herb. There are various methods of intake of marijuana. It can be consumed in the form of gummies, candies, drinks, cookies, sweets, oils, vaporizing, and trail mix.

You can apply it as an ointment also on the body. It entirely depends upon your convenience in which way you want to reap the benefits of medicinal marijuana.

Seniors' Guide to Medical Marijuana

Wrap Up

Many prescription drugs have side effects. This is the primary reason why seniors like using medicinal marijuana. It has been proven helpful for elders who suffer from glaucoma, chronic pain, sclerosis, and other diseases.

Many people are unaware of the advantages they can reap by using medicinal marijuana. It has several advantages. Are you confused about how to get it and what its benefits are? Then this article will hopefully have helped you with the necessary information.

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