Cannabis for Seniors: 5 Wonderful Health Benefits
For seniors who suffer from age-related ailments, both mental and physical, cannabis could hold the key to an improved quality of life. Cannabis, colloquially called “weed” for a reason, can be affordably purchased in marijuana-legal states or easily grown at home relatively inexpensively, no insurance required. Many seniors can attest their prescriptions often come with more than a treatment for a specific issue. They often come with a host of harmful side effects than can be as bad if not worse than whatever the primary ailment was.
Keep in mind that cannabis doesn’t have to be smoked. Instead it can be taken orally, through edibles or tinctures; vaporized in both flower and extract form, or even applied topically through creams, sprays or balms.
- Mental Health Boost
Seniors are particularly sensitive to mental health issues. Seniors with mobility issues or who lack strong social and support networks may suffer from depression. While cannabis isn’t a replacement for emotional support from friends and family, the mood elevating properties and mental energy some strains provide can help give seniors the motivation needed to get out and about. Additionally, the cannabis community has always been welcoming to newcomers and seniors may find new friends who also partake.
- Pain Relief
Unfortunately aging takes its toll on our bodies and seniors often live in chronic pain from conditions that cause inflammation in nerves or joints, among other symptoms. Cannabis is a very potent form of pain relief, free from serious side effects and with zero reported overdose deaths. Both topical and consumption methods can offer relief from chronic pain. Cannabis studies show medical marijuana is responsible for lowering the use of opioids, often linked to death by overdose or medication interactions.
- Appetite and a Healthy Weight
While not all cannabis strains provide the often joked about “munchies,” many can provide a much-needed appetite boost for seniors who struggle with low-weight and calorie consumption. In addition to improving the appetite, cannabis can improve the taste and smell of food, making eating a more enjoyable experience.
Medical marijuana has long been a treatment for wasting diseases such as AIDS and to treat nausea caused by cancer treatment. However, what you may not know is that there are also strains that reduce the appetite and can help overweight seniors slim down and maintain a healthy weight.
- Insomnia and Sleep Issues
Seniors are more likely to experience insomnia than any other demographic. Stress, worry, depression and loneliness can impact the ability to experience restful sleep as can aches and chronic pain. In addition to its pain-relieving properties, an indica dominant or high CBD strain can relax muscles and the mind, helping seniors fall and stay asleep. This eliminates the possibility of complications from combining opiates and sleep aids.
- Improve Brain Function
Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive diseases that affect the mind. Several studies have shown that cannabis supports healthy brain functions and can even stimulate new cell growth. Further studies are needed, but promising data indicates that cannabis may even prevent Alzheimer’s from developing in the first place, in addition to inhibiting its progression.
Many seniors feel intimidated by the prospect of trying medical marijuana. If you think cannabis can help a senior in your life, provide them with information about its benefits and offer to help them explore their options.