People over age 65 are the fastest-growing population using marijuana

Source: MSN Lifestyle
Lindsay Dodgson

“I told my primary care I was using marijuana for pain. That was the end of the conversation. He didn’t want to know why, he didn’t want to know what it was doing for me, didn’t want to know about side effects, he just didn’t care to know anything about cannabis.”

“A University of Colorado study (released May 30, 2019) suggests that the number of people using marijuana is increasing faster for those aged over 65 than for any other age group – even though they come up against many barriers when trying to access it.

“Older Americans are using cannabis for a lot of different reasons,” said Hillary Lum, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and coauthor of the study. “Some use it to manage pain from chronic conditions like arthritis, Crohn’s Disease and Parkinson’s while others use it for depression or anxiety.”

But the study, published this month in the Journal Drugs & Aging, found that a lack of research, unclear communication and a reluctance to be honest about cannabis are all issues stopping older people from getting the products they need. Since older folk don’t always feel comfortable asking for a medical marijuana license from their doctors, this may push them towards buying from the black market instead. [ed note: or from their 20’s-something grandkids.]

“I think [doctors can] be a lot more open to learning about it and discussing it with their patients,” said one study respondent. Other participators said their doctors refused to provide them with the certificate required for obtaining medical marijuana, suspecting it was because these medical professionals weren’t educated on the latest research.

Cannabis products can be an important alternative treatment for many older people, who are often taking many different types of medications that can have unpleasant and harmful side effects. “From a physician’s standpoint this study shows the need to talk to patients in a non-judgmental way about cannabis,” said Lum. “Doctors should also educate themselves about the risks and benefits of cannabis and be able to communicate that effectively to patients.”

Barbara Buck, a realtor in her 50s, started growing cannabis when it became legal for medical use in her state. Buck said she used cannabis herself to help with sleep and menopause symptoms, but has also converted many people in their 60s and 70s towards cannabis for pain, depression and anxiety. “The main reason I grew Cannabis [is] to help people like it has always helped me,” she said.

She said she’s noticed the taboo surrounding cannabis has shifted immensely in the last decade, but she still is hesitant to be open with everyone about the fact that she uses it herself. Nevertheless, she thinks marijuana should be legal worldwide, because you can’t overdose on it like opioids or alcohol – addictions that millions of Americans suffer with.

This conclusion mirrored the study’s findings. Participants thought more negatively towards recreational cannabis than medical cannabis, but they also felt more favorably towards it than alcohol. One recurring concern, however, is the federal government attempting to over-regulate the market. “I believe it will go federally legal very soon in the US [in part due to the last Farm Bill that passed],” Buck said.

“Now that the government sees how much money there is to be made they will do whatever it takes to get a piece of the pie.”


Source: Lindsay Dodgson MSN Lifestyle 06/02/19

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