America is literally getting older as we speak. By the year 2050, the population of seniors in America, those over 65 years of age, will be around 83.7 million people. This is compared to only 52 million Americans ages 65 and older in 2018. The number of seniors turning to medical marijuana for relief has also grown over the past few years. A recent study reported that the estimated prevalence of cannabis use for seniors increased from 2.4% in 2015 to 4.2% in 2018.
Why Medical Marijuana Is Popular Among Seniors
There isn’t a single reason or answer as to why many seniors are turning to medical marijuana. It varies greatly among everyone, but there are several general trends. Many seniors turn to medical marijuana when their other medications begin to become ineffective. It’s also possible for seniors to experience adverse side effects from certain medications that make the treatment options unbearable. And the rising costs of prescription drugs can also have many seniors looking for alternatives.
Attitudes about medical marijuana are changing in America and seniors are a demographic that isn’t immune to this shift as well. A study done in 2006 found that opinions on more controversial topics such as marijuana changed more easily when they become more relevant to the individual. For many seniors as health problems become a reality to them their perspective on medical marijuana has changed. This is yet another reason why more are considering it as an option.
Maryland Medical Marijuana
State laws play a big role as to whether seniors are choosing medical marijuana as an option for relief. In state’s like Delaware and Maryland where medical cannabis is legal you are seeing more and more seniors turn to medical marijuana. Many older Delawareans and Marylanders have qualifying health issues for medical marijuana. No matter which qualifying condition you have for medical marijuana, our Delaware and Maryland medical marijuana doctors at Green Relief Health can help you with all your medical marijuana needs.
How Does Medical Marijuana Help Seniors?
Seniors can have many medical conditions that are helped by medical marijuana. Unfortunately, it is a function of aging that you become more likely to develop various ailments. Let’s take a look at several different qualifying conditions that medical marijuana can help seniors with.
Chronic pain is the most frequent qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Maryland and Delaware. This pain can occur from a variety of conditions including, arthritis, cancer, neuropathy, and more. If you are suffering from chronic pain, then you realize it can be debilitating. Because medical marijuana affects all the body systems, it can work with chronic pain patients in multiple ways. Not only does it help relieve pain it also decreases inflammation that can have a debilitating effect on your entire life. It can impact sleep, mood, appetite, and more.
Nausea and Anorexia
Whether it is a complication of cancer, medications, or just a lack of appetite, many seniors suffer from nausea and anorexia. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments often can cause cachexia, which is severe loss of muscle and fat tissue, as well as hormone deficiencies. In fact, it is the leading cause of death from cancer. Medical marijuana can decrease nausea, improve appetite, as well as reboot hormone production.
As we mentioned above medical marijuana can help seniors that are experiencing eating disorders. It does this by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a complex system of receptors located throughout the body in areas such as the brain, skin, digestive system, nervous system, bones, and more.
Medical marijuana works with the endocannabinoid system to stimulate your appetite. Hunger is regulated by certain processes in the body. After you eat, the body produces a substance called leptin, which can suppress the appetite. As leptin decreases, you will become hungrier. If another medication or a physical condition causes an increase in leptin or leptin levels to drop more slowly, you will not feel hunger. For those with anorexia, for example, the neurons slow down or fail to send the message of hunger altogether.
Neurons in the brain also send signals to tell you that you are full after having eaten. When THC is introduced to the system, these neurons slow down and fail to send the message. THC also appears to inhibit the production of the appetite-suppressing leptin.
This is very important with seniors, since appetite can be decreased by loss of smell, loss of taste, various medications, dental issues, cancer treatments, or emotional issues. Nearly 80% of deaths from anorexia occur among the elderly.
Glaucoma is another condition many seniors are looking at medical marijuana to help with. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for individuals over 60 years of age. Medical marijuana can help relieve pressure in your eyes which is what glaucoma is, a buildup of pressure in the eye. Although it may not be a stand-alone treatment for glaucoma it can certainly help with the condition.
Anxiety and Depression
Many seniors are suffering from anxiety and depression. This can, of course, lead to other problems such as lack of appetite or can be caused by another condition like chronic pain. Medical marijuana can help with anxiety and depression by stimulating serotonin receptors in your body. Serotonin is sometimes called the happy chemical because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness. By helping to stimulate serotonin, medical marijuana can help reduce anxiety and depression.
Seniors Save Money With Medical Marijuana
The average seniors in America spends about $3,000 per year on prescription drugs. The average cost per year for a medical marijuana patient is about $650. Clearly this is a significant difference. While you may not be able to save on all your prescription drugs, it may be possible to significantly reduce your financial burden.
This can significantly change many seniors lives who are able to use medical marijuana as a treatment option.
Medical Marijuana For Seniors Takeaways
Baby boomers and other seniors are looking for options when it comes to their healthcare. Medical marijuana is something many seniors are turning to for help with several conditions like chronic pain, cancer, arthritis, anxiety, depression, glaucoma, and more. They are looking to have more control over their treatments, as well as its cost. Medical marijuana is one such alternative, that will have multiple benefits for the consumer.
No matter which medical marijuana qualifying condition you have, our Maryland and Delaware medical marijuana doctors at Green Relief Health can help you with the access you need to medical marijuana’s healing benefits.