"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Older Adults and Medical Marijuana: Reduced Stigma and Increased Use

As a primary care physician who has incorporated medical cannabis into his practice, it's remarkable what number of silver-haired patients are coming to debate the professionals and cons of medical cannabis trials. These patients range from people of their 60s with kidney failure, who can now not take certain pain medications but still need chronic pain management, to patients of their 90s who Want night's sleep and are nervous concerning the unintended effects of conventional medicine. Sleep medications. Some of them — typically “60s kids” — are quite comfortable with the thought of ​​using medical marijuana. Others take it quietly, as if asking permission to interrupt the law.

According to A recent study I Journal of the American Medical Association, cannabis use continues to extend amongst older adults (defined as age 65 and older) within the United States. In this study, the prevalence of past-year use increased from 2.4% to 4.2% from 2015 to 2018. This study is consistent with other research in addition to reports from doctors who recommend cannabis of their each day practices.

What could possibly be behind this trend?

A confluence of things appears to be responsible, including a decline within the stigma related to cannabis use and an increased interest in medical marijuana amongst older patients. Stigma is a posh issue, but most individuals would agree that the stigma related to cannabis use is decreasing, especially for medical cannabis. In a recent survey, 94 percent of Americans expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana, and most states have approved it. Some form of legal access.

There is an indication of stigma reduction. Recent statement From the 38-million-member AARP, in close consultation with their medical providers, where they will have the newest communication, their support for the medical use of marijuana for older adults in these states. announced by those that have given it legal status. Weighing the balance of clinical evidence, advantages and harms.

For what conditions do older adults use cannabis?

Studies show that older adults usually tend to use medical cannabis. The same conditions that young patients do.: Pain, insomnia, neuropathy, and anxiety.

What are the risks for older people using medical cannabis?

This is recent territory, as either there aren't numerous older adults who report using medical cannabis, or in the event that they are using it, they keep it quiet due to its illegality and stigma. . Medical cannabis is usually well tolerated in older adults. However, as with all medications, there is no such thing as a such thing as a free lunch, which implies there are all the time unintended effects and drawbacks to think about.

Cardiovascular health and cannabis use

Cannabis is thought to extend heart rate and will raise blood pressure, although there doesn't seem like any quality evidence directly linking cannabis use to coronary events. A recent review by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Still, the authors of this review recommend screening individuals with coronary disease for cannabis use. The scenario I can be most concerned about is an elderly patient, with underlying coronary disease, ingesting a big dose of cannabis (perhaps by accidental ingestion) after which having an anxiety attack, which might trigger coronary syndromes or arrhythmias.

Drug interactions

Older people have poor health and will take multiple medications. There are about 600 chemicals in cannabis, and in theory the 2 major lively ingredients in cannabis, THC and CBD, can affect the enzymes in your liver that help metabolize your drugs. may increase or decrease the blood levels of other medicines. CBD, specifically, “competitively inhibits” other drugs in your system (or, in plain English, using them at the identical time) is liable to increasing the molecules that it's essential reply to those drugs. Need to interrupt down and clear out of your body.

People must be especially careful when using cannabis. With anti-seizure medications and blood thinners, because these drugs have serious unintended effects and little margin for error, and it will be important that you simply all the time discuss your cannabis use together with your medical providers. Disclosing marijuana use is particularly vital in the event you plan to have surgery, as medications used for anesthesia and post-surgical pain management may have to be adjusted.

A shift in considering, each pro and con

Psychoactivity, or excess induced by cannabis, is one other potential concern for older adults, particularly those in danger for confusion and dementia. These days, with the flexibility to buy cannabis at medical dispensaries, there's more control over the kinds or strains of cannabis that one should buy and eat, and it is simpler to avoid overdose by controlling the dosage and keeping the THC content low. .

Strains which are low in THC (the chemical that causes the high) and high in CBD, which is non-addictive, could also be higher for avoiding the psychoactive experience of cannabis. Still, if an elderly person is experiencing delirium, or any psychiatric conditions, they and their doctors should proceed with caution.

Interestingly, there's Some research When patients use medical cannabis, cognitive functioning may very well improve resulting from (amongst other things) improved sleep and pain control. It seems plausible that older patients are using lower doses of pain and sleep medications, which might affect considering. And They are coping with the negative effects of chronic pain and insomnia, which also affect cognitive functioning. However, like most things related to cannabis, this too needs further study to be confirmed and clarified.

What is the underside line?

Cannabis use among the many elderly is increasing, as public acceptance is larger and stigma is reduced. Medical cannabis is seen as an efficient option for insomnia and chronic pain management. It's vital to have an informed discussion together with your doctor to weigh the security risks, especially if you've gotten heart problems, are taking multiple medications, or have cognitive changes resulting from aging.

Educate yourself (and your doctor) as much as you may about cannabis before you begin using it. Most of the adversarial effects related to cannabis use are dose-related, so it's vital to know the strength of the marijuana you're taking and to “start low and go slow”: start with the bottom effective dose and Take your time. Path to a dose that relieves your symptoms with minimal unintended effects.