America’s largest generation (Baby Boomers) has shown a renewed interest in medicinal cannabis. In just the last 3 years, Cannabis use among those who are 55+ went from 2.8 million to 4.3 million, and the number is growing. And while some Boomers may be enjoying an old pastime from the 60’s, there’s a much more important reason so many seniors are taking a second look: physical pain and mental well being. From inflammation and arthritis to depression, anxiety and PTSD, cannabis is a safer and better alternative to good health than most prescription medications.
In fact, most of the ailments for which cannabis can be the most helpful are the same ones that seniors suffer from the most. Insomnia, reduced appetite, pain from inflammation, stiffness of joints & limbs, and plain old lack of energy. These aches and pains are a daily challenge. For growing numbers of people, cannabis is the key to reducing pain and feeling happier.
Seniors, who account for 14% of our nation’s population, are using more than 30% of all prescription drugs. This more than alarming. These prescriptions include highly addictive painkillers or medications that have horrible side effects (that often require other medications to address.) And most are on more than one medication. Many seniors know that the overuse of opioid pain medications is a real concern, and would rather turn to a more natural form of relief.
Most people don’t know that all humans and most mammals have a special system inside their bodies just like the nervous system or endocrine system, the Endocannabinoid System is activated by cannabis. The full therapeutic potential is just beginning to be understood. But we do know that it’s giving seniors (and people of any age) a nearly harmless alternative for addressing their ailments.
There is a ton of anecdotal evidence that cannabis is helpful in the management of many kinds of pain. Seniors who have inflammation, high blood pressure and arthritis are often helped by the plant as well as those who have battled cancer and endured chemotherapy. For many, the number one problem is arthritis. Topical cannabis products can ease arthritis pain, and CBD caplets can ease inflammation. Edibles are often used for better sleep. Seniors don’t usually want to get high, they want to get well. And cannabis helps with little to no side effects generally found with prescription medications.
Although the research on cannabis is promising, this doesn’t mean that Baby Boomers want to light up a joint or visit local dispensaries. The stigma is still there, and being labeled as a stoner or pot smoker isn’t something they want. This is why products with CBD only or those with very low doses of THC, are attractive. Especially to seniors who are new to cannabis, who often prefer a product that doesn’t make them feel ‘stoned.’
For others, the high is welcome. Much like a glass of wine, for relaxing at the end of the day. Products with a low level of THC can be ‘just what the doctor ordered’ for releasing stress and anxiety. There are synergistic therapeutic benefits to including THC with CBD. Research has found that the two main cannabinoids plus a multitude of others, as well as terpenes, and flavonoids create an ‘entourage effect’ where the benefits are greater when consumed together.