When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis
In at least some places, medical cannabis is finding valuable uses among the elderly and is making its way into nursing homes and other facilities… …if not without controversy.
“Ruth Brunn finally said yes to marijuana. She is 98.
She pops a green pill filled with cannabis oil into her mouth with a sip of vitamin water. Then Ms. Brunn, who has neuropathy, settles back in her wheelchair and waits for the jabbing pain in her shoulders, arms and hands to ebb.
‘I don’t feel high or stoned,’ she said. ‘All I know is I feel better when I take this.’
The nursing home in NYC where she lives, the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, is taking the unusual step of helping its residents use medical cannabis under a new program to treat various illnesses. While staff will not store or administer pot, residents are allowed to buy it from a dispensary, keep it in locked boxes in their rooms and take it on their own.
From retirement communities to nursing homes, older Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief. Many embrace it as an alternative to powerful drugs like morphine, saying that marijuana is less addictive, with fewer side effects.
‘It’s a bigger issue than we thought,’ said Brian Kaskie, a professor who co-wrote a study ‘The Increasing Use of Cannabis Among Older Americans: A Public Health Crisis or Viable Policy Alternative?’ ‘This is an elephant we’re just starting to get our hands on.’
As older people come to represent an emerging frontier in the use of marijuana for medical purposes, questions are being raised about safety and accessibility. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, older people who stand to benefit often cannot get it. Most nursing homes do not openly sanction its use, and many doctors are reluctant to endorse pot use, saying not enough is known about the risks in the oldest age groups.
‘This is a demographic that may have their access limited, if not cut off altogether, simply because they reside in a facility,’ said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML.
While there is no shortage of research on marijuana, relatively little of it has focused explicitly on older users even as their numbers grow — and not just in the US In Israel, for instance, older people have been treated with medical marijuana for years. And Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group, helped open a research center in the Czech Republic evaluating its impact on older people.”
Much more in the article.
#MMJ #ASA #Seniors #UTpol #GetSerious #TRUCE
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