Have you thought about using marijuana for medicinal purposes?

Learn about its properties, benefits, and risks for older adults.

The 1960s were characterized by the development of various social and cultural movements around the world. One of the “symbols” of those turbulent years was the use of drugs, including marijuana that became the most consumed of the generation.

You don’t have to be a mathematician to calculate that young people of that time are now over 60 years old and belong to the so-called baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964; a generation that, unlike its predecessors, is using drugs more often as its ages. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Substance Abuse and Mental Health estimates that marijuana use will triple in people over the age of 50 between 1999/2001 and 2020.

Marijuana properties

Marijuana is a plant that has more than 500 chemicals in its leaves and inflorescences, of which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most important. THC is the substance responsible for behavioral changes that occur after smoking or ingesting it, while CBD is a substance with powerful antiepileptic effects. It is important to mention that recent discussions on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes include the cultivation, processing, and distribution of these two different types of substances.

Both THC and CBD act through an important intercellular communication system and brain function regulator called the endocannabinoid system, which regulates important functions such as memory, humor, brain reward systems, drug addiction, and metabolic processes such as fat destruction (lipolysis), glucose metabolism, and energy balance.

Its medicinal use

Because the U.S. government considers marijuana to be a “Schedule I” drug, which means that it has no beneficial effect on health, no research has been done on the medicinal use of the plant in this country. However, studies in Israel and other countries show that some diseases affecting older people could be improved with marijuana use. These include glaucoma and lack of appetite caused by cancer and AIDS. A recent publication reported that symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can be alleviated with marijuana use.  Other studies indicate that marijuana could play an important role in alleviating symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

As general information, marijuana for medicinal purposes can be smoked and ingested in various types of food products. It is also found in drops, which require elaborate processing processes and concentration and standardization of the amount of THC or CBD.

Marijuana use and abuse can cause several health problems in older people, which depend on the time and dose in which it is used and some of which we will see below:

Cognitive disorders. They are those that affect memory, thinking, and problem-solving. While it is well shown that those who use marijuana momentarily lose their recent memory and have difficulty concentrating properly, its long-term effect has not been demonstrated.

Heart health disorders. Marijuana raises the frequency of your heartbeat and can lead to increased blood pressure. One study found that smoking marijuana can trigger a heart attack within the first hour after use.

Cancer. Marijuana smoke is very similar to cigarette smoke, a product with which it is usually combined, and is known to contain twice as many polyaromatic hydrocarbon carcinogens.  A New Zealand study found that the risk of lung cancer increased by 8% for every marijuana cigarette consumed per day.

Psychiatric disorders. Some studies have shown a possible link between marijuana use and the triggering of schizophrenia and depression.

Dependency. Physical and psychological dependence has been shown in 7 to 10% of those who use marijuana, especially if it was started at an early age.

Accidents. Smoking marijuana doubles the risk of a traffic accident probably due to lack of concentration and alteration of recent memory described above.

Interaction with medications Especially with anxiolytics such as diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), zolpidem (Ambien), and barbiturates such as phenobarbital (Donnatal). The relaxing effects of these medications can be enhanced with the use of marijuana. It has also been seen that the combination with fluoxetine (Zoloft) can cause serious behavioral changes, called hypomania.

Finally, it is important to know that modern marijuana strains are much more potent than old ones. If you take advantage of the laws of the state in which you live, you’re going to use marijuana—for medical reasons—analyze its side effects, which aren’t going to be more harmful than beneficial. And do not always forget to tell your doctor about the medications you are taking.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Some really great info, Gladiola I detected this. I’m not spaming. I’m just saying your website is AWSOME! Thank you so much! Please vist also my website.

Leave a Reply