Perhaps the steepest hurdle for medical marijuana amongst seniors are all of the “old wives tales” and propaganda spread over the last 80 years. The reality is much different. Most seniors experienced the 1960’s, and the misinformation was and remains rampant. As a result, let’s get down to the bare and honest facts. These are the three concerns most often expressed by seniors considering medical marijuana:
1) It will Kill my Brain Cells…and I Need all I have
2) I Will Become a Drug Addict
3) I Can’t Take it because I Can Never Inhale Smoke
1) Brain Cells – There is NO evidence that marijuana harms brain chemistry in any way unless you are an adolescent. After humans are fully grown by 17-21, their brains have developed. For adults, marijuana has actually shown signs of protecting and improving mental pathways, and is potentially protective. While most medical professionals do not recommend medical marijuana for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, those with a clear mind are unlikely to experience any long-term adverse affects. Improved mood, appetite, and significant pain relief are so much more likely than the potential side effects.
2) Addiction – Heroin is the most addictive illegal drug by most measures. Most opiods, like Vicadin, oxycodone, etc, are in this class of drugs. Though prescribed by a doctor, that class of drugs are recognized by the FDA as the most addictive. In fact, as many as 25% of people prescribed these powerful pain relievers become addicted. Even after great research, there is no evidence that medical marijuana is addictive. If you decide it isn’t for you, you can quit at any time without fear of the kind of withdrawal symptoms common with many doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals.
3) I Can’t Inhale – There is no question that those seniors with emphysema and lung cancer shouldn’t use medical marijuana in the inhaled form. In the cases, edibles are the best choice. Those who are not are just afraid of smoke are thinking about this in a too traditional fashion. There are many ways to deliver cannabis vapor to the lungs in a mild way, and to minimize discomfort.
Vapors, water pipes, and a variety of techniques can make the inhalation more comfortable. Too many seniors think of “pot” as a joint that makes you cough. There are many alternative methods to ingest the medicine. Some people prefer edibles like chocolate, others vaporizers. Everyone has to find a answer that works for them. Medical marijuana isn’t a cure all. It IS an alternative to over the counter and prescription medicines that have much longer lists of potential side effects and drug interactions.
We don’t encourage anyone to use medical marijuana. We don’t tell them it is a cure all. It is a medicine. Like Aspirin, Tylenol, and Advil, different people respond differently. You know your body better than anyone else. We just encourage people to talk to a doctor, be careful, and consider that it could be a big help.