Marijuana has been stereotypically associated with a younger crowd. But as the number of our once youthful (and now aging) Baby Boomers reaches retirement age and beyond, the perception of marijuana as a youthful pastime is beginning to evolve. According to a recent survey conduced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, illicit drug use increased from 2.7 to 6.3 percent between 2002 and 2011 among adults ranging in age from 50 to 59 years old and born between 1946-1964.
As these Baby Boomers age, they may be experiencing a number of crippling health problems, leading them to increasingly turn to prescription drugs for relief. However, this “solution” has created an even bigger and deadlier problem: overmedication of the elderly (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/too-many-pills-for-aging-patients/). Regularly taking fistfuls of prescription and over-the-counter drugs to relieve pain and other ailments has potentially put this generation at risk for serious, or even fatal side effects, due to toxic drug interactions.
As a result, cannabis has emerged as a possible alternative. Cannabis is an all-natural treatment known for relieving migraines, arthritis, chronic pain, as well as spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis–ailments that commonly afflict older generations. Medical marijuana can help relieve the symptoms of a variety of illnesses without some of the negative side effects of many modern drugs.
Senior citizens are more recently relying on the positive effects of cannabis to lead pain-free and productive lives. In regards to an older body’s experience with aches and pains, cannabis helps loosen stiff muscles in chronic pains, improves breathing in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, and acts as a lubricant for surgery-induced injuries. For those looking to lead productive and active lives, medical marijuana is relaxing in practice being less of a hassle to deal with than a medication schedule. While other prescriptions instigate temporary impairments, like slurring or dizziness, cannabis lollipops allow users to be clear and functional http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/162947/slide-show-medical-marijuana-and-senior-citizens.
New research on cannabinoids and cancer (http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Pot-compound-seen-as-tool-against-cancer-3875562.php) was recently discovered by two San Francisco scientists at California Pacific Medical Center. Cannabidiol is the compound that has been found to stop the metastasis of aggressive cancers (in animal test subjects), and has the ability to create positive results for human patients with cancer. With further research, this could mean an even brighter and more comfortable future for our seniors.