Top 7 Ways Seniors Can Benefit from Cannabis
Published on 12/26/22
The effects of cannabis can be fun, but there are many other reasons to use cannabis. One of the most significant and applicable reasons people use cannabis is its medicinal properties. Marijuana is known to help with a large variety of conditions and symptoms, many of which are common among older individuals. Let's look at the most important ways seniors smoking weed can benefit age-related health concerns, especially as our most prominent living generation grows older.
While we know that there are many Baby Boomers in their 50s and that many people in their 70s who are Baby Boomers do not identify as "seniors," we want to address how cannabis will become an increasing pain aid for this generation and those that currently consider themselves senior citizens. Let's dive in!
Baby Boomers and Cannabis
The Baby Boomer generation includes anyone born between 1946 and 1964. In 2022, most people between the ages of 58 and 76 are technically Baby Boomers. As the generational name suggests, Baby Boomers are a sizable percentage of the population. The 2019 census shows that 73 million Americans are Baby Boomers.
While it is popular opinion that older generations disproportionately disapprove of cannabis use, Baby Boomers shouldn't be so quickly lumped into that group. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, the outlying demographics in cannabis legalization are adults under 29 (of which only 4% believe cannabis should be entirely illegal) and adults 75 years or older (of which 14% believe cannabis should be entirely illegal). The majority of Baby Boomers fall into age groups wherein only 6-9% believe cannabis should be fully illegal. The most significant difference between Baby Boomers and younger generations is that Baby Boomers are twice as likely to use cannabis exclusively for medicinal purposes. It makes sense when you consider those Baby Boomers made up a large majority of the initial wave of cannabis enthusiasts back in the 60s and 70s.
As new polls suggest, Baby Boomers are much more likely to use cannabis than popular opinion, especially when considering consumption for medicinal purposes. If you're wondering, "am I too old to smoke weed," just look at how popular it's becoming amongst older generations! Here are some of the main ways seniors and cannabis work so well together.
7 Ways Seniors Can Benefit from Cannabis
Please note that if you are wondering, "are edibles safe for seniors," or "is cannabis a good choice for me," we highly recommend you talk to a medical professional. We are not offering any medical advice in this article and highly suggest you seek medical expertise before using cannabis for medicinal purposes.
1. Rest and Relaxation
Most Indica strains result in a relaxed euphoria, which helps combat insomnia, stress, depression, and anxiety. After years of working and finally enjoying those golden years, you likely want to relax and enjoy your well-earned time. Whether it's an edible, a concentrate, or rolling one up, cannabis can be an incredible way to enjoy unstressed vibes and a good time.
2. Improved Sleep Quality
While the right cannabis strain can result in relaxation and induce sleep, some studies suggest that it can even help people sleep better. This is especially true if a CBD for seniors product is also infused with melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the body's sleep cycle. Fortunately, even if you live in a state that has not yet legalized cannabis, CBD is federally legal and can be purchased without a prescription.
3. Reduced Arthritis and Joint Pain
One of the most common pains that naturally occur as we age is increasingly stiff joints. Roughly 24% of all adults in the United States have arthritis, and roughly 40% of adults with arthritis are 65 years or older. Pain medications are often prescribed for this, but cannabis (both THC and CBD) has proven to be a very reliable alternative. Many users claim that THC helps provide pain relief associated with arthritis, and studies are beginning to show that CBD might even help reduce the production of molecules that contribute to the decay of cartilage.
4. Healthier Appetite
One of the most common stereotypes associated with smoking is getting the munchies. The thing about this stereotype is that it's mainly accurate; there are a lot of cannabis strains and products that cause an increased appetite. For some people, this is an annoying side effect that results in eating too much; but if you are going through treatments that take away your appetite or you've simply lost it naturally, cannabis can be an excellent way to rev up your hunger. For this, we highly recommend edibles for elderly who need to eat more.
5. Increased Mindfulness and Mental Health
In recent years, an increased amount of needed attention has been directed to mental health. Yoga and meditation are now two highly recommended practices for helping combat the effects of dementia, backed by a lot of new studies on the brain and both short-term and long-term memory. Cannabis is known to help provide insight and heighten mindfulness in many ways, depending on the strain, and may help provide the right mindset for strengthening mental health.
6. Decreased Amount of Pills and Other Medications
The number of prescriptions as we get older can become overwhelming. Remembering what pills to take can start to become an unwanted daily routine. Because marijuana helps alleviate so many symptoms and conditions, it may be able to reduce the number of pills individuals are using. When you replace other prescription drugs with cannabis, you do not have to worry as much about the negative impact of those other drugs or dosing them correctly every day.
7. Reduced Risk of Addiction
Opioids are often prescribed to combat chronic pain. Unfortunately, as many as 25% of patients prescribed opioids over a long-term period will struggle with substance abuse and addiction, with more than 11 million Americans reporting the misuse of prescription opioids yearly. Marijuana can also be used to mitigate chronic pain with a much lower chance of becoming addicted (roughly 10% chance). While it is possible to become addicted to marijuana, it's also important to note that nearly 70,000 people die from opioid overdoses every year, while there has never been a verified death caused solely by a marijuana overdose.