How Can Medical Marijuana Help Seniors?
According to a new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the proportion of people aged 65 years and older has increased to 4.2 percent in 2018 from 2.4 percent in 2015.
Medical marijuana is obtained from pure cannabis plants. It has chemical compounds (called cannabinoids) with great mind-altering properties. Medical studies have found that cannabinoids can help improve wellness by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. In marijuana legalized states, with a medical marijuana card, you can buy flowers, edibles, tinctures, topicals, etc. with different cannabinoid levels and therapeutic properties.
Marijuana use is proven beneficial for people of different age groups. It can help seniors lead a happier, healthier life. But, how? Let’s learn.
It Manages Depression
Depression is a mental health condition, which can affect the way you think, react, and perform. Some of the common symptoms are excessive crying, restlessness, social isolation, mood swings, hopelessness, guilt feelings, and suicidal thoughts.
Marijuana is effective in managing depression. It’s safer than antidepressants, which can cause a wide range of side-effects.
When you use cannabis, its cannabinoids stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoids attach to the cannabinoid receptors in the system, thus regulating mood, appetite, and various other bodily functions.
One of the major reasons why cannabis is a good fit for depression patients is that it promotes laughter. This helps in improving the immune system function, reducing stress levels, and relaxing muscles. Research says that laughter boosts mood and quality of life.
According to a study published in 2006, using cannabis occasionally or every day helped in managing depression symptoms. Researchers at McGill University reported that low-THC doses were effective in accelerating the production of serotonin levels. However, they found that high-THC doses can cause adverse effects.
Some of the best cannabis strains for depression treatment are—Cinex, Jack Herer, Harlequin, Granddaddy Purple, Cannatonic, and Blackberry Kush.
It Manages Pain & Inflammation
Pain is a common condition among Americans. In the country, older adults are more likely to experience chronic pain than younger people. Seniors usually experience pain due to bone and joint disorders. Additionally, cancer and arthritis can also cause pain in older adults.
Marijuana’s medicinal properties can help in reducing pain. The cannabis compounds bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, thus reducing the sensations of pain.
The American Academy of Neurology has created some guidelines related to marijuana and multiple sclerosis, stating that THC may help in managing symptoms such as pain and urinary frequency. In the United States, Sativex is approved for patients with multiple sclerosis for managing pain, spasms, and sleep problems.
Marijuana’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also effective in managing other health issues, such as nausea.
Related- Is CBD Effective For Aging Problems?
For managing pain and inflammation, smoking or vaping marijuana can help you with instant medicinal effects. However, these delivery methods can cause lung problems. So, you can try some other consumption methods, such as marijuana-infused oils, edibles, balms, creams, etc.
It Treats Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, which can affect a patient’s memory and thinking capabilities. About 5.8 million Americans above age 65 are living with this disease. And, the number is expected to rise to approximately 14 million by 2050.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty organizing things and remembering important events and dates. They often experience mood swings and avoid interacting with others.
NSAIDs are usually prescribed for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. However, these medications carry various health risks such as kidney damage. Thus, doctors suggest marijuana for patients to manage symptoms such as anxiety and aggression.
A preclinical study published in 2014 reported that THC is effective in slowing down the advancement of beta-amyloid proteins. These proteins are responsible for triggering neurodegenerative processes, thus impairing cognitive function.
Additionally, marijuana can help reduce inflammation. Inflammation around amyloid plaques is one of the major causes of Alzheimer’s disease.
The best cannabis strains for Alzheimer’s patients are—Ash, Golden Nugget, Valentine X, Swiss Indica, Alien Abduction, Jacked-Up, Tres Dawg, and Omega Dawg.
It Improves Sleep
Sleep is important. It helps in relaxing the body and mind. Health conditions such as anxiety, pain, etc. can lead to sleep problems. In seniors, sleep disorders such as insomnia are fairly common. According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep problems affect about 40 percent of the older adults in the United States.
Cannabis can help improve sleep, thus managing health issues associated with it. Medical studies have found that consuming marijuana compounds makes consumers sleep faster and improve their quality of sleep. Strains that contain high-THC levels help in reducing the amount of REM sleep, thus reducing the amount of time you spend in dreaming and boosting deep sleep.
Cannabis cannabinoids such as CBD can help in reducing anxiety, stress, etc. These conditions are linked to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Some of the best cannabis strains for sleep are—Tahoe OG Kush, Granddaddy Purple, God’s Gift, Northern Lights, Ogre, 9 Pound Hammer, and Remedy.
It Reduces Prescription Drug Dependency
As we age, the chances of occurrence of physical and mental health conditions increase. So, seniors usually take medications for managing their conditions. This creates emotional burdens, thus older adults often find themself caught in a medicine regimen. So, they experience drug abuse, increased tolerance, and adverse effects.
However, marijuana doesn’t cause such problems. You can replace prescription medications with the herb. This helps the patients to stay protected from the harmful effects of medications, thus improving wellness.
Moreover, you can use cannabis with opioid medications for managing chronic pain. There’s a wide range of marijuana products that provide immediate relief along with reducing opioid dependency.
How to Get MMJ Recs Online?
To access state-licensed dispensaries, you require a medical cannabis card signed by an MMJ doctor. In most legalized states, such as California, the card is valid for 12 months. So, if you want to continue using marijuana as a medicine for your condition, you need to renew your MMJ card.
Telemedicine technology allows you to apply for 420 evaluations online. Thus, you can see a doctor online and get your MMJ recs via email. Here’s the complete process-
- Fill a simple form providing your medical and personal details
- Talk to a licensed doctor via HIPAA-compliant platform
- Receive your MMJ recs in PDF via email in just 10 minutes
Marijuana has therapeutic properties and can help in managing various medical conditions. For older adults, the herb can help improve wellness in various ways. Anxiety, depression, insomnia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and chronic pain are some of the elderly conditions for which marijuana is proven effective. Since cannabis doesn’t cause any side-effects, it can be used as a natural alternative to opioid drugs and other medications.
Cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD when delivered into the body, they interact with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This helps in providing health benefits, such as anxiety relief, pain, and inflammation management, boosting sleep, etc.
How you consume cannabis, dosage, and strains influence cannabis effects on the body and mind. So, seek professional help to figure out what will work well for your symptoms.
Talk to our board-certified doctors to get a medical cannabis card today.