Medical cannabis reform is sweeping the United States, improving the lives of millions of adults with a variety of conditions. On the recreational side of things, cannabis consumption is still comparatively rare among older American adults. Nevertheless, evidence would seem to suggest that more senior stoners than ever before are taking full advantage of the revolution taking place in the US.
Back in 2012, a report published by the public health institute indicated that around 2.2% of adults in California aged 66 and over had used medical cannabis. By contrast, 5% of adults aged 65 or under had tried medical marijuana at least once. It was a similar story in other states such as Oregon, where 3.2% of younger residents had tried medical cannabis compared to just 1.4% of seniors over the age of 70.
Since then, things have begun shifting dramatically. According to the results of the 2015 and 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 9% of Americans between the age of 50 and 64 had consumed cannabis at least once in the prior 12 months. The 65+ bracket coming out with a 3% consumption rate. This would suggest that more seniors than ever before are experimenting with medical cannabis for a variety of reasons. To such an extent that analysts expect the total national figure for the 65+ bracket to exceed 10% within the next few years.
The question being - why?What factors (or combination thereof) is responsible for motivating more seniors than ever before to consider and/or experiment with medical cannabis?
What Older Americans Use Medical Marijuana For
While some medical pot users opt for growing cannabis in small pots around their homes, others invest in a medical marijuana card from a licensed professional. After which, it’s simply a case of heading to a local dispensary and experimenting with as many strains as necessary, in order to find the perfect fit.
An experience that can be no less than enjoyable for some, but experimentation with pot isn’t typically associated with older generations.
Far from simple enjoyment, the growing appeal of pot for pensioners is largely attributed to the prevalence of several chronic conditions and diseases.Conditions that are far more likely to be experienced by adults aged 65 and over.
According to the latest figures from the United States, the most common applications for medicinal cannabis in senior circles include the following:
- Relief from the side effects of chemotherapy
- Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Treatment of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Low appetite and eating disorders
- Chronic fatigue
Growing evidence suggests that measured consumption of quality cannabis can be just as effective against such conditions as prescription medications. All without any of the unpleasant side effects or dangerous addictive properties of conventional pharmaceuticals.
Not only this, but research suggests that the average American senior spent in the region of $3,000 per year on prescription medication. Sufficient medical cannabis to cover the same requirements would cost no more than around $650.
So it is hardly surprising that medical cannabis is attracting the attention of more seniors across the US than ever before. As the stigma regarding regular cannabis consumption is gradually eroded, it’s becoming the new norm for patients who’d prefer not to pollute their bodies with synthetic pharmaceuticals.
Nevertheless, it’s important for anyone planning to treat an acute or chronic condition with cannabis to first seek professional advice. As with all medications - organic or otherwise - cannabis doesn’t represent the ideal solution for all conditions across the board. Expert advice should therefore always be sought, before going ahead and self-medicating with therapeutic cannabis.