How Medical Marijuana Can Help America’s Seniors

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Did you know that senior citizens are the fastest growing population of new medical marijuana patients? Now that the stigma of medical marijuana is lifting, it’s no surprise that seniors are taking more control of their health and the medication they are putting into their bodies with this shift. If medication is just medication, what makes medical marijuana better for senior citizens than traditional medications?

Cut Down (Or Eliminate) Prescription Medication

One of the main complaints both senior citizens and their caregivers discuss is their daily medications. Often, both parties feel they take one medication to offset the side effect of another. This can lead to an endless cycle of medication. Studies have been shown that medical marijuana targets conditions that affect many senior citizens like chronic pain, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and inflammation. Not to mention helping treat the symptoms of such diseases as cancer and cancer treatment, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Many strains of medical marijuana have also been shown to work for a variety of pain-related symptoms. This leads to a reduction in the use of pharmaceutical pain medications, including opioids.

Treating Depression and Mood Disorders

Studies have shown that senior citizens who consume medical marijuana are less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Symptoms of depression in senior citizens can manifest in seclusion, lack of motivation, and rapid decline in health. Mood-boosting medications, such as medical marijuana, play a large role in declining depressive moods and increased sociability. This is largely caused by two factors:

  • Cannabis Community: Unlike some prescription drugs or alcohol abuse, cannabis is largely used as a social or communal activity. Being a part of an active community leads to lower isolation rates.
  • Happy Together: The mood-boosting properties of THC and CBD do more than just promote happiness. The therapeutic benefits of laughter include relaxed muscles, a decrease in pain, increased immune function, and a decrease in stress levels.

The Manageable Side Effects of Medical Marijuana

Just like with any medication, medical marijuana does have its side effects. These side effects tend to be harmless, and easier to control than many prescription drugs. Side effects tend to include:

  • Dry mouth, or excessive thirst
  • Excessive appetite (helpful for those suffering from disease-induced appetite loss)
  • Sleep issues like fatigue or insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Short-term memory loss

Many patients often deal with these side effects by finding an alternative strain or adjusting their dosage to fit their lifestyle.

How To Become A Medical Marijuana Patient

It may be a bit overwhelming to be a new medical marijuana patient, but you can start by following a few simple steps.

  1. Research your state’s medical marijuana laws. Medical marijuana is not protected on a federal level and is not available in all states.
  2. Look into different strains and what treatment options they can offer. What works for one person might not work for you, but if you have an idea of what you’re looking for, dispensary owners will be able to help or find an alternative.
  3. Speak with a medical doctor to see if medical marijuana is right for you. Like any medicine, it may interact with your current medications.

Are you a senior citizen new to medical marijuana? How have you seen a change in your overall health?

This article was originally published on www.medicalmarijuana.com on February 28, 2018.

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