Why Do Seniors Use Cannabis?

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Society has for many years perceived marijuana as an addictive drug used to get high. And the people who used it were branded as hippies and drug addicts in a desperate pursuit to escape reality. But as more people begin to realize the medical and psychological benefits of cannabis, society is slowly warming up to it. The negative stigmas around pot usage are slowly being eroded.

Among the groups affected by marijuana, usage misconceptions are the elderly people. They grew up at a time when cannabis users were considered outcasts. This means that they are the most misinformed generation, yet they have the most to gain from cannabis use. 

But as more states in the US continue to legalize cannabis, the number of senior citizens using it has grown tremendously. This begs the question, why are they using it? And what do they stand to gain from it? Read on and find out.

Reasons Why the Elderly Use Cannabis

Gives Pain Relief

Cannabis is one of the oldest pain relief medications in human history. In fact, its use dates as far back as 2900 BC, when the Chinese used it to treat various ailments. Its pain relief properties are just like, or even better than some prescription medications.

Various clinical studies have shown that cannabis effectively reduces nerve and joint pain, especially for arthritis patients. Boutique-style cannabis creams are also a pretty effective cure for various joint and muscle pains.

Cannabis Fights Glaucoma

There is a lot of clinical evidence supporting a link between cannabis and the treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease that causes neurons to break down, ultimately disrupting nerve signals from the brain to the body.

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve by increasing intraocular pressure (IOP) pressure in the eye. This ultimately results in sight deterioration. Studies suggest that cannabinoids can reduce IOP by up to 25%. 

It Reduces Insomnia 

As you get older, it becomes more difficult to get enough deep sleep. Deep sleep, commonly referred to as REM sleep, is vital for your brain’s health. During REM sleep, your brain regenerates and releases toxic substances that would otherwise have adverse effects on your brain’s health.

This means that getting enough sleep is vital for preventing age-related diseases like glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. Most older adults suffering from glaucoma are given sleeping pills. Although sleeping pills effectively improve the quality of sleep, they have some pretty adverse side effects, not to mention the possibility of dependency. 

Cannabis, on the other hand, has all the positive effects with no side effects. It helps extend REM sleep and reduces the occurrence of light sleep phases, thus improving the overall quality of sleep.

Cannabis Improves Bone Health

Your bones become more fragile as you get older. This means that your likelihood of getting fractures increases tremendously. And when you get fractures, you tend to heal more slowly. Numerous studies support the fact that cannabis makes our bones healthier and can help heal fractures faster. Cannabis is also very beneficial for patients who have multiple sclerosis.

It’s a Great Alternative to Prescription Medication

The number of seniors using prescription medication has grown tremendously over the last few decades. The saddest thing about it is that most of these drugs cost a lot of money and can have adverse side effects, including addiction and organ damage.

Cannabis can be used as a substitute for prescription drugs, though this should only be done after talking to your doctor. The good thing is that it has little to no side effects and is less addictive. CBD, the compound in cannabis with healing properties, can be extracted and used in different forms. And the best part about it is that it can’t get you high. This makes it especially suitable for seniors who might not want to get high. It can also be used to combat addiction to prescription drugs.

Cannabis Increases Appetite

As we progress in age, our bodies change a lot; for starters, we start losing appetite. As we eat less, we start to lose weight, our body tissues become weaker, and we might develop some mental issues in some cases.

If you’ve used cannabis before, then you are well aware of the ”munchies” associated with it. According to Garry Wenk, Ph.D., THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can release ghrelin—an appetite-stimulating hormone. This means that senior people can benefit tremendously from increased appetite through cannabis.

Cannabis Helps in Anxiety Management

In most cases, people with anxiety develop it at an early age. The anxiety intensifies as they age. It mainly happens when they experience abrupt life changes like the death of a loved one, retirement, or new health concerns. 

Cannabis has antidepressant properties that can help reduce anxiety in senior people. In fact, a study conducted on 70 seniors suffering from anxiety showed a significant decrease in anxiety in 80% of them. This was after a month of using CBD, a component of cannabis.

Cannabis Treats Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s and dementia are the leading mental illnesses affecting the elderly. In fact, it’s estimated that a whopping 6.2 million older adults over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A study on mice showed conclusive evidence that cannabis can help slow down mental deterioration. Since mental deterioration is the leading cause of dementia, it’s correct to assume that cannabis actively helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 

Likewise, another study shows that cannabis actively treats Alzheimer’s disease by suppressing some of the age-related changes that cause Alzheimer’s. 

The Bottom Line

It’s not only young people who use and enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Senior people also have a lot to gain from its use. From treating pain to improving the overall health of the mind and body, there seems to be no end to the benefits of cannabis.

Although cannabis has numerous health benefits, again, it’s advisable that you seek your doctor’s advice before you start using it as a substitute for prescription drugs. And once you’re ready, visit a reputable online store for all your cannabis needs.


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