Elderly patients over the age of 65 are the fastest growing group of marijuana users in the United States. There are several reasons that elderly patients are turning to medical marijuana to treat their many health conditions. With 33 states and the District of Columbia passing medical marijuana laws, it is becoming a popular method of medical treatment. Here’s what you need to know about the use of medical marijuana with the elderly.
Reduce Pain and Opioid Dependency
Many elderly patients experience chronic pain due to decayed joints, arthritis, back problems, or other health conditions. Studies have found that medical marijuana can reduce chronic pain and dependency on opioid pain medications. In fact, one study found that 33% of elderly patients decreased their opioid use on their own after starting medical marijuana.
Other Health Benefits
Elderly patients are also using medical marijuana for other conditions. Many elderly people struggle with insomnia, and medical cannabis can often be a great solution. Medical cannabis has also been found to decrease anxiety and symptoms of neuropathy, both of which affect many elderly patients each year.
In addition, medical cannabis can be used to treat other medical conditions that tend to affect the elderly population. Cancer patients were among the first to be legally allowed to use medical cannabis in some states. Medical marijuana can also be used to treat glaucoma and other eye conditions that affect the elderly.
See Your Doctor
The biggest concern among doctors regarding the availability of medical marijuana to elderly patients is that they may be more likely to self-medicate without seeing a doctor for treatment. Elderly patients typically avoid doctors whenever possible, and many of them will jump at the chance to avoid making an appointment. However, some medical conditions cannot be successfully treated with medical cannabis alone, so it is important that you work with your primary care doctor for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
If you are an elderly patient looking into medical cannabis for treatment of your medical conditions, contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.