Cannabis Use Is Rising Among Older Americans. Here's Why That's A Good Thing.
More Americans over the age of 50 are consuming cannabis. In fact, a recent study found a 71% increase from 2006 to 2013!
Maybe you are one of these people, or you know somebody in this age group who consumes cannabis.
The advantages of older Americans turning toward cannabis are many, including improved health benefits and bolstered reform efforts.
In fact, society’s seniors could gain more benefit from cannabis than any other age group.
Older Americans use cannabis because it works
One of my friends Robert Platshorn is a senior citizen. Robert served the longest cannabis-only prison sentence in American history (almost three decades).
Today, he tours senior centers across the nation, talking to older Americans about the benefits of cannabis. Robert is always quick to point out how many prescriptions he has been able to give up thanks to the plant.
He explains to his fellow older Americans that he had problems sleeping and aches and pains, which is common for people his age. At one point he was on 12 prescriptions to deal with those problems.
When Robert started using cannabis, he was able to give up half of those prescriptions. 'Now I go to bed with a smile' Robert always says.
Numerous studies have found that cannabis can help treat everything from Alzheimer's Disease to chronic pain to arthritis.
Although cannabis is not a panacea, many people hold it to be the 'wonder drug' that many older Americans are looking for.
This herb is unique in that there's simply nothing else out there that provides as much wellness benefits as cannabis, yet is accompanied by virtually no dangerous side effects.
The biggest things seniors need to be careful about – and this is why education is so important – is taking too much cannabis could cause dizziness and increase the risk of falling.
The reform movement will benefit greatly from the increase in use
Support for cannabis legalization is more common among younger demographics, which makes the rising prevalence of cannabis use among older age groups all the more significant.
Older Americans that consume cannabis talk to other older Americans. They talk to them about the benefits of cannabis, and these conversations help pull back the curtain on cannabis prohibition.
That's a very powerful thing. As more older Americans discover or rediscover the wellness benefits of cannabis, they will look at cannabis prohibition in a much different way. A way that leads to passionate support for reform.
Even if older Americans don't choose to consume cannabis themselves, they are going to be more likely to support reform when it's on the ballot or when they are talking to elected officials if they know someone that consumes responsibly.
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Older Americans using cannabis is a win for society
Our golden years too often include rising healthcare costs, costs which cannabis can help alleviate for all of us.
Medicare, for instance, is a tax payer funded federal health insurance program predominately for people who are 65 or older.
Prescriptions for older Americans are particularly expensive, as people in the program tend to require more prescriptions as they increase in age.
However, in states that have legalized medical cannabis, there has been a significant drop in the demand for prescription drugs that cannabis can substitute for.
In 2013 alone, American taxpayers saved $165.2 million in prescription drug costs in states that had legalized medical cannabis, per a study originally published by Health Affairs.
The number of tax dollars saved could increase exponentially as cannabis education continues to spread and laws change.
Everyone wins when older Americans are provided the right to consume cannabis should they desire to do so. It's good for the overall wellness of the consumers, for the reform movement, and for society as a whole.
If you are an older American, and you consume cannabis or just support cannabis reform, please share your story in the comments below. Also share your story with others whenever the opportunity presents itself. Let’s spread the good news about this medicine!
Are you a cannabis consumer over the age of 50?