Senior High: Here’s Why Cannabis in Nursing Homes Works

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Here's Why CBD for Seniors is Gaining Popularity

Here is what we know: cannabis can help you feel better; scratch that. Cannabis can help you feel really good. It can ease pain, it can reduce inflammation, it can soothe anxiety, it can eliminate aches and muscle spasms and so much more. Something else we know: everyone, including (or perhaps especially) older adults can benefit significantly from these effects. Which is why CBD for seniors is becoming a common trend in both nursing homes and medical facilities.

No, you’re not high. You officially have an excuse to light up with your grandma and grandpa. In assisted living facilities and even at home, more and more patients and professionals are recognizing the power of cannabis to help with a wide range of ailments that occur with age.

More and More People are Embracing CBD for Seniors as a Way to Feel Better

More than ever before, adults over the age of 65 are turning to cannabis to improve the way they feel and to cope with medical conditions. And we’re not talking about a handful of elderly people trying pot for the first time. According to a 2016 research report that looked at cannabis users in the United States over the age of 50, there was a 250 percent relative increase in cannabis use for adults over the age of 65 between 2006 and 2013. 250 percent!

Perhaps it is because the nation and the world are finally accepting and becoming more open-minded about the potential benefits of cannabis, or maybe it’s because of the growing opioid epidemic, but people, seniors included, are turning to marijuana instead of prescription medications to help treat the illness or discomfort that plagues them.

In fact, a recent study published in The European Journal of Internal Medicine found that cannabis therapy is actually a far safer option for the elderly compared to other medications. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Cannabis Clinical Research Institute at Soroka University Medical Center found that after monitoring patients over the age of 65 for six months, they “found medical cannabis treatment significantly relieves pain and improves quality of life for seniors with minimal side effects reported.” And perhaps the best part about it: cannabis can heal and soothe and satisfy without unwanted side effects.

CBD for Seniors has the Potential to Heal Without Side Effects or the Risk of Abuse

With age comes a long list of medical ailments and health complications. From glaucoma to chronic pain to neuropathy, multiple sclerosis and weight loss, there are several ways that a person’s health can deteriorate as they grow older. And while many conditions come with viable treatment options in the form of prescription meds, for a lot of elderly individuals those meds come with the risk of addiction and unwanted side effects.

A recent New York Times article describes a number of assisted living facilities across the nation, from Washington State to California to New York City, where residents are using medical marijuana to help cope with illness. The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, a nursing home in New York City, has taken steps to ensure residents can get access to and use medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription meds. While the staff at the facility cannot and will not store, distribute or administer cannabis to patients, it does ensure that residents can buy it themselves from a dispensary and allows them to safely consume the pot in their rooms.

Medical Marijuana Helping Elderly Still Comes with Some Controversy

With a growing number of states across the country legalizing pot for medicinal purposes, it seems like medical marijuana helping elderly patients should be a no-brainer, and yet it’s still a hotly debated topic in the medical and drug research community. Some experts argue that there’s still a lot we don’t know about how cannabis affects your body, and for seniors in particular, the potential health risks that we may not know about are too dangerous. The elderly may respond differently to medications and dosages that might be safe for a younger person. And across the board, there is very little scientific research about the medical effects of pot, simply because it’s hard to get approval for clinical trials.

That said, the physical benefits of cannabis are clear, and for elderly patients coping with pain or illness, it’s becoming an increasingly popular, and arguably safer way, to help them feel better. And you can expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming years.

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