Medical cannabis is now legal in the state of Florida, after the measure on the 2018 ballot was passed by voters. Since that time, medical practitioners and dispensaries have become more prevalent in the state, and medical cannabis is being seriously considered by many as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.
Medical cannabis has been widely researched as a solution for chronic pain, neurological disorders, and even Alzheimer’s disease. However, the idea of medical marijuana is a challenging one for many patients. The most important question for seniors and their caregivers, however, is if medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment option.
According to state law, patients with qualifying conditions may apply for a Medical Marijuana (MMJ) Card and legally purchase products derived from cannabis. This may include topical ointments or CBD oils. Common qualifying conditions include glaucoma, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy, osteoporosis, arthritis and anxiety disorders. An individual seeking treatment for these or other qualifying illnesses and conditions should speak with their physician about a referral to a local Venice or Sarasota area medical cannabis professional.
Safety of Medical Cannabis for the Elderly
According to WebMD, medical cannabis has had an overwhelmingly positive reaction amongst the senior citizen population. Once the right dosage has been determined (which sometimes takes a bit of trial and error, as every body responds a bit differently) patients report a decreased level of pain – and an increased ability to get back to the activities they enjoy. Although not all pain disappears, it is brought to within manageable levels, without the need for opioids or other potentially harmful, addictive drugs.
In fact, the opioid problem is so troublesome that medical cannabis is considered by many to be a welcome and far safer alternative to the pharmaceutical options. In a 2018 study, 60% of patients 65 years and older reported that their quality of life had been significantly impacted for the better, while 93% reported an average drop of “pain rating” of four points, on a 10 point scale.
The most common adverse side effects which were reported were dizziness, drowsiness and dry mouth. While the dizziness may cause issues for those with mobility challenges, the drowsiness which was reported as a negative effect in some helped others to combat their insomnia. Interestingly, only 3% of participants discontinued use of the treatment due to unpleasant side effects.
How Medical Cannabis is Administered
Did You Know? Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately 80% of older adults in the United States have at least one chronic condition. Because the human body has a natural endocannabinoid system, cannabis is easily absorbed and utilized by the body.
The fastest growing population which are taking advantage of medical cannabis are the elderly. While some may balk at the idea of “smoking pot”, there are other ways in which the cannabis and its derivatives like CBD can be administered. These include vaporizers, topical treatments, tinctures and edibles. Due to the various ways to benefit from the treatment, there is typically an appropriate solution for every patient.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring the possibilities of this alternative treatment, have your physician refer you to a medical professional who specializes in this area. They can assess your condition, help you to apply for an obtain your MMJ card, and assist with treatment explanations.
The caring team of professionals at A Banyan Residence are dedicated to making life more enjoyable for all of our residents. Whether you are looking for a Venice assisted living residence or need a qualified memory care facility, we welcome your visit and questions.