Over a third of all prescription drugs are taken by the elderly, and according to MD Mag, the average nursing home patient is taking seven medications, increasing the risk of drug interactions and the way that physiological changes associated with aging can affect drugs working — or not working — in an elder body.
However, a scientific study conducted earlier this year in Israel shows that cannabis is a very safe option for aging patients, especially to treat chronic pain, for which many seniors are prescribed opioid medications that cause dizziness, constipation and general apathy. Cannabis, on the other hand, loosens us up and can give a person of any age a sense of general well being.
Recent polling shows that people aged 65 and above make up 14 percent of the cannabis ingesting population, and that’s quite the leap from decades past. The study out of BGU showed that there’s very good reason for the increase.
The researchers studied over 2,700 patients aged 65 and up and gave them cannabis provided by Israel’s largest medical marijuana supplier. After six months, over 93 percent of 901 people with a level 8 out of 10 on the pain scale said their pain dropped to a 4. During that same 6 months, 60 percent of those who said their quality of life was bad or very bad changed their answers to good or very good.
Internal medicine Professor Victor Novack of BGU pointed out that, “While older patients represent a large and growing population of medical cannabis users, few studies have addressed how it affects this particular group, which also suffers from dementia, frequent falls, mobility problems, and hearing and visual impairments.”
He continued, “After monitoring patients 65 and older for six months, we found medical cannabis treatment significantly relieves pain and improves quality of life for seniors with minimal side effects reported.”
This is a significant study, not just for its breadth of information, but for the simple fact that quality of life went up exponentially in the lives of people suffering from sometimes multiple ailments. It’s truly no wonder that seniors are returning to or coming to cannabis. Word is getting out and the Golden Years are quickly getting greener for the better.