Cannabis Gaining Popularity with Seniors

Hot Flash with Barbara Bishop| When I was a younger gal, I smoked pot several times. Each time, the only thing I got was super-high, paranoid and ate everything in sight before passing out for the rest of the night. Obviously not for me.

I was having lunch with a friend the other day. He told me he was now in the cannabis business. According to what he shared with me, things have changed in the “pot” world over the past 40 years.

Like, seniors are giving rave reviews for medical marijuana.


In a new survey, those who turned to it for treating chronic pain reported it reduced pain and decreased the need for opioid painkillers. Nine out of 10 liked it so much they said they’d recommend medical pot to others.

Study co-author Dr. Diana Martins-Welch said, “The impact of medical marijuana was overwhelmingly positive. Medical marijuana led them to taking less medications overall – opioids and non-opioids – and they had better function and better quality of life.” Martins-Welch is a physician in the division of geriatric and palliative medicine at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y.

“There’s never been a reported death from medical marijuana, yet there are 19,000 deaths a year from prescription opioids. Medical cannabis is probably safer than a lot of drugs we give,” Wallace said.

Medical marijuana can also stimulate appetite, Martins-Welch said, which is a “godsend for cancer patients,” though extra eating may not be a welcome side effect for everyone.

Yeah, like for me. All I wanted to do after smoking a joint was to eat Cheetos and Chocolate M&Ms. At the same time. The whole bags.

Cannabinoids – the active chemicals in medical marijuana — are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain. Research suggests cannabinoids might:

• Reduce anxiety (OK, this is good.)

• Reduce inflammation and relieve pain (This is even better.)

• Stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS (For me, this is not so good.)

• Relax tight muscles in people with multiplesclerosis

• Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy

• Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth – I am so grateful to not have MS or cancer, but thrilled that there’s a treatment for them.

In addition, Marijuana’s healing properties target various conditions such as inflamed joints, high blood pressure, chronic pain, digestive disorders, constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, cognitive awareness. (Now you’re talkin. Can I possibly start using cannabis to help these conditions that I suffer from occasionally and sometimes every day?)

Although every individual’s reaction to this plant is unique, with the right approach and guidance, the cognitive benefits could contribute to those golden years.

My friend says that cannabis is a revolution in healthcare, and mentions the importance of education on all fronts. “In the near future we will be utilizing cannabinoid therapeutics as a first line medication – not as a last resort,” he says.

Hide the Cheetos and Chocolate M&Ms! I’ll trade those for better sleep, less anxiety, less pain any day!