Medical marijuana has gained significant popularity in the last few years. It is being used to reduce symptoms of various physical. And mental conditions, most of which are common in individuals older than 65. Illness such as chronic pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and neuropathy significantly impact the lives of the elderly. While we may think that most older individuals look down upon using marijuana, its recent legalization. In different states has made them more comfortable with the idea of incorporating medical marijuana into their treatment regimes. Moreover, the stigma surrounding the use of marijuana is also lessening with each passing day and is playing a pivotal role in the increasing use of medical marijuana by the older population.
While the percentage of older marijuana users remains far less than that of younger users, it continues to rise. However, clinicians and public health workers remain uncertain about medical marijuana’s effects on older patients due to various reasons. There is a lack of existing scientific research that focuses explicitly on the interaction of cannabis with other drugs commonly used for age-related medical conditions. Furthermore, the psychoactive properties of cannabis can also result in adverse effects, including cognitive decline, if used without consulting a medical practitioner first.
What Do Medical Marijuana Products Do/How Do Medical Marijuana Products Work?
For anyone interested in using medical marijuana, it is essential to understand its components and properties and how they work inside the human body. Cannabis comes from the Sativa plant that contains more than 200 different chemical compounds referred to as ‘cannabinoids’. The two cannabinoids that have been studied the most and are used in most medical marijuana products are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychotropic compound responsible for producing the euphoric effect produced by marijuana, while CBD is non-euphoric and non-psychoactive and does not produce a high.
The structure of these two compounds is similar to the endocannabinoids present in our body, which helps them attach themselves to specific receptors present in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When this interaction occurs, neurotransmitters are released in the brain, which are responsible for regulating different things in the body. Such as balancing moods, pain, inflammation, sleep, and appetite, amongst other things.
As the properties of these two compounds are different and produce different effects, it is essential to know whether one needs to use a CBD or a THC product for their condition. There are several products in the market that are either solely CBD-based, solely THC-based, or a combination of the two. They can be in the form of body oils, pills, edibles, tinctures, or even smokeable items. Depending upon the diagnosed illness, medical marijuana practitioners can prescribe the correct type of product that is safe for an individual to use.
Why are the Elderly Interested in Medical Marijuana?
As we get older, it is normal to develop age-related conditions that vary in severity. The anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana make it an attractive option for seniors to help them manage symptoms of ailments such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, insomnia, and other similar illnesses. After using pain treatments and over-the-counter prescribed medications, patients can often get side effects, and some also find these treatments to be a heavy financial burden. In such cases, medical marijuana products seem like a more promising alternative treatment option to older patients, especially products containing isolated CBD that help reduce various symptoms and do not cause any mind-altering effect.
A small study also suggested that cannabis oil containing THC was found to improve the psychological. And behavioral symptoms of dementia, a common disease that affects older individuals. However, the existing data is limited and shows that there has not been enough research that focuses on older individuals as the target sample, which is why the results are unreliable. While many older individuals want to reap the benefits of medical marijuana and use it to upgrade their overall quality of life, it is vital to ensure that by doing so, they do not cause any harm and regress their mental or physical health.
Is Marijuana Safe for Old People?
Older individuals need to be extra cautious when using medical marijuana products. They are considered to be a more vulnerable age group for several reasons. First of all, most individuals opting for cannabis use are already under treatment. Or on medication for certain illnesses and might even have comorbid health conditions. Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC can interact with the drugs already in an individual’s system. By affecting the liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing medications.
This can either increase or decrease the blood levels of a drug in an individual’s body. It has also been found that cannabidiol can increase the levels of a drug in an individual’s system. By competitively inhibiting specific molecules. That are needed for breaking down the drug in the body. Hence, this interaction of marijuana and existing medications can be hazardous for patients. And can result in life-threatening situations, especially for individuals who take medications for seizures.
Furthermore, older individuals who are victims of poor cardiac health, hypertension. Or any coronary disease can also be adversely affected by cannabis. Use as marijuana products can increase blood pressure and heart rate. It is also essential to keep cognitive functioning in mind as individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia sometimes become more confused. And agitated after using products high in THC, that is why it is vital to take the correct dosage. And strain of cannabis when using a medical marijuana product.
Consult a Professional at My Florida Green
However, this does not mean that the elderly is not fit to use medical marijuana. But it shows us how essential it is to consult a professional. And have an informed discussion before choosing a medical marijuana product. Screening for any possible pre-existing condition and making your health care provider aware of your medical history is essential. Luckily, our team of medical marijuana experts at My Florida Green is available to provide you with all the knowledge you need to consider incorporating medical marijuana into your treatment plans. Our medical marijuana practitioners can aid you in getting approval for the medical marijuana card. And guide you in choosing the right product for yourself. Visit our centers in Melbourne, Naples, Sarasota, and St. Petersburg to begin your journey.