We’re not here to say that cannabis is a miracle cure-all for all that ails us. Sure, it can help with everything from itchy skin to, in some cases, cancer, but it’s part of a more holistic approach to health.
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For 98-year-old Ruth Brunn, however, it comes close to a miracle drug for her pain. She’s a resident at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York, and takes cannabis oil to ease pain in her shoulders, arms and hands from neuropathy. It give such relief, she’s been able to cut back on her morphine dose — a strong opiate that can cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
She’s part of a new program at her retirement community, according to the Miami Herald. Residents are allowed to buy their own marijuana from a dispensary, keep it in their rooms, and use it as they see fit. The staff isn’t allowed to administer it, but the residents can use their own discernment for taking cannabis for medical purposes.
Brunn prefers her cannabis oil in capsule form, taken with a swig of Vitamin Water.
“I don’t feel high or stoned,” she told the Miami Herald. “All I know is I feel better when I take this.”
At the Hebrew Home in the Bronx, the medical marijuana program was years in the making. Daniel Reingold, president and chief executive of RiverSpring Health, which operates the home, said he saw its powers firsthand when his father, Jacob, was dying from cancer in 1999. To ease his father’s pain, Reingold boiled marijuana into a murky brown tea. His father loved it, and was soon laughing and eating again. “The only relief he got in those last two weeks was the tea,” Reingold said. When Reingold requested approval from the nursing home’s board members, there were no objections or concerns, he said. Instead, they joked that they would have to increase the food budget.
The program aims to end some of the stigma around using marijuana for an older generation. Since nursing homes are federally regulated, staff and residents were fearful that being caught with cannabis could harm their funding or bring about penalties. But as more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, they’re able to more openly discuss how marijuana could help with their pain — instead of hiding it in shame.