Should Senior Citizens Smoke Marijuana?
Should Senior Citizens smoke marijuana? Having used myself Cannabis Oil to cure cancer in my body, I am well aware of the many benefits of using this medicine in cases of chronic conditions. And while the cannaboids in Marijuana cause cell death of cancer cells without harming healthy cells, the other healing properties of cannabis served other functions in my healing besides allowing the cancer cells to move on and out of my body. Particularly, the pain relieving properties and calming properties were a great help to me as I moved through the pain of a digestive system thrown out of balance by the cancer as well as the intense and daily anxiety that such a healing process can provoke. Additionally, it helped to keep myself in a state of optimism and well being that having a chronic condition can severely compromise.
These properties alone, the ability to reduce pain without the toxic load of pharmaceuticals and the ability to create calm and optimism in the nervous system are enough reasons why cannabis would be a great way to ameliorate the suffering felt by our senior citizens. The senior citizen population is a population that experiences much suffering as so many of their bodies break down under the toxic load of a lifetime of non-optimal diet, thoughts, environmental toxins and stress. According to a recent study from Tel Aviv University, pain, loss of weight and tremors are three tangible ways that cannabis can help the elderly in their day to day life.
“The scientists tested the effects of marijuana treatment on 19 residents of the Hadarim nursing home in Israel. During the study, the participants reported dramatic physical results, including healthy weight gain and the reduction of pain and tremors.According to the study authors, the elderly participants also experienced an immediate improvement in their moods and communication skills after smoking cannabis.
Zach Klein, a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television Studies, said that the use of prescription medications was also significantly reduced as a result of using medical marijuana.
During the nursing home study, 19 patents between the ages of 69 and 101 were treated with medical cannabis in the form of powder, oil, vapor or smoke three times daily over the course of a year for conditions like chronic pain, lack of appetite, and muscle spasms and tremors. Seventeen of the study participants achieved a healthy weight during their use of marijuana and experienced a noticeable reduction in pain, muscle spasms, joint stiffness and tremors. Nearly all of the patients using cannabis slept better, longer and had a reduced incidence of nightmares and flashbacks related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The researchers also reported a decline in the amount of prescribed medications taken by patients, such as antipsychotics, Parkinson’s treatment, mood stabilizers and pain relievers. Towards the end of the study, researchers found that 72 percent of participants were able to reduce their drug intake by an average of 1.7 medications per day.”
These are just a few of the benefits that cannabis offers our elderly population. So it seems a no-brainer. Why is marijuana not being used to help our seniors? A major block for most elders seems to be the legality issue. Not only do many of our suffering elderly grew up before the sixties and thus were not part of the renaissance of thought that happened then. Thus many of that age group have grown up fearing marijuana as something decadent that is a gateway drug to debauchery and early pregnancy and crime. The movie Reefer Madness, a political piece designed to demonize marijuana use, truly affected the young of that time who saw it and who lived in the climate where being a good citizen and living according to the laws of the land were drummed into their heads throughout their schooling. In the sixties, there was a healthy surge of questioning authority that didn’t seem to touch many of the older generation. Thus folks who are now in their 80’s and 90’s are often concerned about doing the correct and legal thing.
Another block for folks is with marijuana not being fully legal, elderly folks may be afraid to try it without checking in with their doctors to know how cannabis interacts with often the many pharmaceuticals they are taking. Marijuana not being fully legal creates for them an issue of having to ask their doctors to partake in an illegal act. Additionally, many doctors are ignorant to the benefits of marijuana and may dismiss it as not helpful or even damaging to their patients. Elderly folk additionally place their trust of their bodies in the care of doctors and most need a sense that what there are doing is approved by the medical establishment.
It feels encouraging as more and more states pass laws toward the full legalization of medical marijuana that soon this amazing herb will be more available and more legitimate to the many people who could be helped by it. As I speak with elderly folks I hear in their voices and in their words an openness toward using this to alleviate their suffering. Still the issue of legality weighs heavy on them. To the point that many would choose instead to suffer rather than act with what they see as disrespect for authority and the government. I have witnessed this even in younger folk with cancer for whom the illegality sets up a barrier for them. It is hard for me personally to understand as I myself have nurtured within myself a revolutionary spirit and the concept of civil disobedience is a positive way to resist those who wish to control my healing.
Still by coming into a greater sense of compassion as to why some might choose to avoid a substance not sanctioned by the government even when it would bring them so much relief, I hope to perhaps be able to better communicate to older folk in language they resonate with just how cannabis could drastically change the quality of their lives. And as each state enacts to legalize this amazing gift to all of us, elderly and young, it will open up the way for more and more people to receive the healing benefits of this plant. We wait for the day when marijuana is available for all, especially senior citizens!
Peace, Love and Harmony,