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  • D.H. Reilly

Top Reasons Why Older Americans are Using Cannabis to Find Relief

As hard as it is for anyone to wait for the day when we can finally get a South Carolina Marijuana Card, there is one group of people who may be anticipating that day more than anyone else: the Palmetto State’s senior citizens.

And while it may seem surprising at first to suggest that seniors would be the ones most eager for medical marijuana, as a recent article from U.S. News and World Report points out, older Americans are using marijuana more than ever before, and for some good reasons.

Reason 1: Medical Marijuana Really Works

Perhaps the biggest reason older Americans are using more cannabis is the same as the biggest reason South Carolinians want medical marijuana: It works!

WebMD spoke with Joseph Palamar, a senior researcher at New York University Langone Medical Center who told the site that he’s seeing older patients turning to medical marijuana not out of an attempt to get high or relive the sixties, but just because it treats their symptoms and conditions safely and effectively.

“From what I see, I think a lot of older people are using weed more for medical reasons rather than recreational reasons," Palamar said. "I know someone in this age group who for never in a million years I thought would use marijuana. She eats a marijuana gummy every night to help her sleep, because she feels it helps better than anything else. I think this is becoming more common.”

Leading Senior Advocacy Group Agrees that Medical Marijuana Works

And the AARP recently voiced its support for medical marijuana. And the reason the senior advocacy group gave for deciding to break their silence on the issue? “The decision was based on the growing body of research suggesting marijuana may be helpful in treating certain medical conditions and symptoms.”

Reason 2: Medical Marijuana is Not as Badly Stigmatized as It Once was

Is it the chicken or the egg? Is marijuana less stigmatized now because thirty-six states now make medical marijuana legally available to their residents, or have all of those states jumped on the medical marijuana bandwagon because stigmas around the medicine have begun to fade?

Whatever the cause, like tattoos, piercings and the birth control pill, marijuana has begun to shed the stigmas its detractors saddled it with. Consequently, more and more Americans, including older Americans, are giving medical marijuana a chance. And when they do, they discover that those stigmas were all wrong all along.

“It’s accepted now,” Marvin Yeoman, a Florida senior with chronic pain, told U.S. News and World Report. “You used to have to sneak in the back alley to purchase it, but now you can just walk right into the store and buy it, just like you would go to Publix or Winn-Dixie.”

Harvard Agrees: Medical Marijuana is Losing the Bad Reputation

The Harvard Health Publishing blog agrees with Marvin. When discussing the trend of older Americans’ increasing marijuana use, the blog pointed out that “Stigma is a complicated issue, but most would agree that the stigma associated with cannabis use is lessening, especially for medical cannabis.”

Reason 3: Seniors Experience Qualifying Conditions at Higher Rates than Younger Demographics

Another reason marijuana use is on the rise among seniors is that this group experiences qualifying conditions at a higher rate than any other demographic. Consequently, they are more likely to need medical marijuana than any other category of Americans.

As U.S. News and World Report wrote, “studies show marijuana may help reduce symptoms like insomnia and irritability in Alzheimer’s patients, improve motor symptoms from Parkinson’s, diminish arthritic pain and combat sleep disorders — conditions that are all common among older adults.”

Older people are also more likely to experience chronic pain, glaucoma, and terminal illnesses, along with many other conditions that are commonly recognized as qualifying conditions.

And if you’re more likely to experience conditions that medical marijuana treats? Well then you’re more likely to use medical marijuana.

Reason 3A: Medical Marijuana Can Replace Many Other Medications

Not only are seniors more likely to experience qualifying conditions, but they’re also therefore more likely to be on a long list of pharmaceuticals in order to address those conditions. And of course the more medications one is on, the more likely one is to experience negative side effects, or to be on two or more medications that don’t mix well.

And that’s yet another reason seniors are turning more and more to medical marijuana: It can reduce the amount of medications patients need to take.

U.S. News and World Report also spoke with Rene Yeoman, the wife of Marvin Yeoman, whom we mentioned above. Like her husband, Rene deals with chronic pain and a number of other qualifying conditions. Consequently, she has been on all kinds of medications, and she likes how medical marijuana reduces her need to take so many different pills.

“I’ve been on just about everything, for either migraines or my back or whatever,” she said. “We don’t like to take those heavy medications, of which you can become addicted, you know? With the edibles, you just kind of seem to just relax.”

Indeed, some other medications that are commonly prescribed for chronic pain can create a situation where the cure is worse than the disease. The most obvious example is of course opioids, which are so commonly prescribed, and so powerfully addictive, that it has led to the nation’s opioid crisis. In fact, the CDC reports that opioids are involved in more than 70% of drug overdose deaths in the country.

Fortunately, just as it has reduced Rene Yeoman’s reliance on a prescription cocktail, medical marijuana has been shown to reduce the need for opioids

Medical Marijuana is Medicine; Consult Your Doctor Before Using

It’s important for all medical marijuana patients to consult their doctors about their medication regimen, but it’s especially vital for seniors. As we age, and the number of qualifying conditions we’re likely to deal with increases, our healthcare becomes more complicated. Consequently, it’s imperative that older medical marijuana patients work closely with their physicians.

Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, a neurology professor at the University of South Florida, told U.S. News and World Report that he urges seniors to find a qualified cannabis doctor, the kind of doctor you can find at South Carolina Marijuana Card, before using medical marijuana.

“THC is safe for older people and won’t cause confusion or disorientation at modest and low doses,” he said. “But it should be definitely supervised by a physician. If your physician has no experiences with cannabinoids and your condition, I would try to find a medical cannabis expert who does.”

They May Need it More Often, but Medical Marijuana isn’t Just for Older People

Rene Yeoman really encapsulated our thoughts on medical marijuana accessibility when she told U.S. News and World Report “It should be legal, really. It’ll cut out a lot of the big pharma money that’s going into producing drugs like opioids — and you’d take away the punishment for it, so you don’t have millions of people in jail for doing it.”

Not much more to be said, is there? Medical marijuana is a safe, effective treatment for a long list of qualifying conditions. And while seniors may be more likely to experience some of those conditions, most of them do not discriminate based on age and can strike anyone. So shouldn’t everyone have access to medical marijuana?

South Carolina Will Get Medical Marijuana Eventually, and You Can Get Ready Right Now!

As we’ve said before, we’re confident that medical marijuana will be coming to South Carolina soon. And while you have to wait for that day before you can purchase medical marijuana here, you can start getting ready for that day right now!

Reserve an evaluation today with one of our compassionate, qualified doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as South Carolina’s medical marijuana market is up and running.

You’ll meet with your doctor virtually, using your computer, tablet, or smartphone for a telemedicine appointment. You’ll discuss your condition and whether or not you qualify for a South Carolina Marijuana Card, all without leaving the comfort of your own home. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

South Carolina Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6670, or simply reserve an appointment to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out South Carolina Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!

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