5 Ways Cannabis Can Help Seniors Improve Their Quality Of Life
Or, that one in four older adults now suffer from some kind of mental disorder including depression and anxiety disorders, and dementia and that this number is expected to double to 15 million by 2030?
Millions of people across this planet are suffering from age-related conditions, yet they are denied access to a substance that could help them.
Here are 5 ways cannabis can help us during our golden years.
[Editor's note: If you truly want to learn about how seniors can use cannabis and get the most benefits, you can check out the online class: "Cannabis For Seniors: Reducing Pharmaceuticals & Improving Quality Of Life" -- only on Green Flower INSIDER!]
1.) Cannabis Improves Quality of Life
As my grandma used to joke with me, the golden years are not always golden. During the aging process, major changes occur throughout the body. Cells become less adept at functioning, bones tend to become less dense, and muscle tissue begins to wear down.
And according to Nurse Heather Manus, a registered nurse specializing in all aspects of medical cannabis care, many of these changes are connected with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating all of our different metabolic processes and keeping everything in balance. This includes everything from inflammation to mental health, bone health – even high pressure.
“What we find is that as people age there is a decrease in their endocannabinoid receptors,” Nurse Heather says.
“While there are a lot of changes associated with aging, we’ve learned that the body stops producing the endocannabinoids necessary to create and maintain homeostasis of all their systems.”
Indeed, the cannabinoids in cannabis, work to supplement our endocannabinoid system in cases of deficiency.
By interacting with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, cannabis-based therapies rely on the body’s own intuitive ability to heal itself. In fact, research indicates that cannabis can reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other detrimental brain diseases. Some studies even suggest cannabis may actually benefit your memory by stopping or in some cases reversing brain aging. But the benefits don’t end there.
In fact, here are just some of the common conditions plaguing elderly individuals, conditions that cannabis has shown to be effective for:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Chronic Pain
- Sleep Disorders
- Cardiovascular Disease
“As nurses, our goal is to create an environment where patients can feel and experience an increase in quality of life – physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually,” Nurse Heather says.
“Cannabis is a gentle and effective medicine in helping patients experience those benefits.”
2.) Cannabis is a Multidimensional Medicine
Rather than mixing potentially harmful and conflicting chemicals, cannabis is an all-natural medicine with zero reported overdose fatalities.
In fact, cannabis is used for treating so many conditions – it is likely one of the most diverse medications on the planet. From topicals to tinctures to cannabis-infused cuisines, there are numerous combinations and medical applications of this plant.
Although cannabis is not a silver bullet or the right choice for everyone, there is substantial evidence indicating the profound positive effects this plant can have, even in non-psychoactive forms.
For instance, in addition to CBD-rich medication you can also take advantage of raw, unheated cannabinoids which are also non-psychoactive.
“If you take a raw plant and juice it, you get all of the anti-inflammatory effects, all of the neuroprotectants and anti-oxidant effects of the cannabis plant without any psychoactivity at all,” Nurse Heather says.
For older patients, Nurse Heather has found raw cannabis juice, THC-aid tinctures, and cannabis topicals (also non-psychoactive) to be particularly effective. She has seen major improvement in quality of life and mobility – all within a matter of weeks.
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3.) Cannabis is Safer than Prescription Drugs
While many people assume opiate-related incidents only inflict younger individuals, the numbers tell a different story. Over 2.8 million seniors are reported to have abused prescription drugs within the last year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) anticipates this number to reach over 4.4 million by 2020.
However, it’s not only the risk of addiction and abuse that can make these drugs so dangerous – simple misuse is also a problem. Even when taken as prescribed, a lot of these drugs come with life-threatening side effects, especially in elderly patients, as Nurse Heather has witnessed.
“One of the things we see a lot is that opiate medications actually lower a patient’s resilience. And opiates can increase risk for falls and for confusion,” she says.
Falls are actually the biggest reasons why seniors end up in nursing homes. Painful and life-threatening, falls are no joking matter. According to Cayuga Medical Center, one-quarter of seniors who suffer a hip fracture from a fall die in the following year.
When cannabis is used correctly and with the right guidance, these risks are substantially reduced. Not to mention the risk for fatal overdose is completely negated.
4.) Cannabis Supports a Sense of Community and Purpose
Older people are especially vulnerable to loneliness. Even when living in nursing homes surrounded by people, seniors face social isolation in alarming numbers. A precursor to disease, depression, and even death – loneliness is a serious issue for our elders. It is not unusual, sadly, for seniors to be left longing for a sense of companionship and purpose.
But what if that could change? What if we allowed our elders to not only help heal themselves but heal those around them as well? What if our elders could enjoy a mind-enhancing rather than mind-inhibiting substance?
Cannabis could change our approach to senior care altogether. With cannabis, seniors could experience countless cognitive benefits including:
Although every individual’s reaction to this plant is unique, with the right approach and guidance, the cognitive benefits could contribute to those golden years.
5.) Cannabis is a Revolution in Healthcare
The elderly population in the United States is anticipated to double by 2050. In some countries, the senior population is expected to quadruple. Many of these individuals over the coming years will end up in nursing homes.
Generally forgotten by the public once inside the walls of a long-term care facility, our elders should be enabled to thrive with cannabis instead of waiting around to die. With so much to gain from this plant, it is shameful that millions are still denied safe access that could change their life for the better.
“It’s been years of stigma and brainwashing that has led to a very negative connotation of this plant. And the stigma is keeping the medicine from patients,” Nurse Heather says.
“The stigma is not allowing people to be as healthy as they could and it is not allowing them to be empowered in making their own healthcare choices,” she says. “You cannot spell healthcare without THC.”
Cannabis is a revolution in healthcare, she continues, mentioning the importance of education on all fronts. “In the near future we will be utilizing cannabinoid therapeutics as a first line medication – not as a last resort. And that is the way it should be.”
If you want to learn more about how cannabis actually works, check out our current line-up of free live classes, happening every week!
Do you think seniors can benefit from cannabis?
Do you think seniors can benefit from cannabis?