All segments of our population can benefit from cannabis in some way, whether they are children using cannabis extracts under parental and doctor supervision or middle-aged people using cannabis treat the aches and pains of decades of physical activity.
But perhaps the age group of our population that could benefit the most from cannabis is seniors. No one has more ailments than seniors, for obvious reasons: a longer life means more wear and tear on your body.
And recent reports seem to confirm that seniors are discovering and enjoying marijuana, with use by people 55 and older increasing significantly. This means that not only are cannabis users getting older and continuing their cannabis use, but that many are learning about the wonders of cannabis later in life. They are discovering that what they had been told about cannabis wasn’t true; you weren’t going to kill your brain cells or get lung cancer or ruin your life. They could have been smoking all along if they had only known the truth.
In the category of someone who started smoking relatively young and kept at it into their golden years is our patient for this profile, Ken B. Ken is 67 years old and retired, living in Florida. He doesn’t mind if we use his real name because he’s “retired and at the stage in life when I really don’t have a need to hide my cannabis use or past experiences.”
The Marijuana Times: What ailments do you use cannabis to treat? How do these ailments affect your daily life?
Ken B: I experience moderate discomfort from lower back arthritis. An Indica strain will remove the pain quickly. It calms me at the same time and I forget about the pain. Doctors offered me a narcotic pain reliever. I tried them in the beginning and became ill and there was no relief. However, I typically consume cannabis moderately throughout the day. Not for any ailments, but I enjoy the calm state I receive for both body and mind.
MT: What were you told about cannabis growing up?
KB: Nothing. I am 67. I grew up in a small town in Colorado. There were never discussions about cannabis. It didn’t exist in my world during the school years. I graduated high school in 1967 and was introduced to my first cannabis experience when I joined the Navy. I was aware of the negative press regarding marijuana, but I dismissed it. During the Nixon years and the inception of “War On Drugs”, I just never gave it a thought. I enjoyed it as often as possible.
MT: What do you have to go through to obtain the cannabis you use and how does it make you feel to have to rely on the illegal market?
KB: I always have cannabis. There are zero challenges in obtaining it. The “Black Market” functions very well and if you personally know the grower, you know how it’s been treated. Especially the extracts. I know the process that is followed and feel more comfortable buying it from an illegal friend than from a legal vendor I do not know.
MT: What is your preferred method of cannabis ingestion and why?
KB: The Toro Percolater when I’m home. I use small glass pipes when I’m away from home. A good percolator used with high quality cannabis delivers a very smooth and tasty delivery.
MT: How is your life different now that you have found cannabis?
KB: Well, I found cannabis at 19. It has been like a good friend throughout my life. I was married at 27. My wife and I made a decision to stop while we were building the family, so we didn’t consume for over 20 years. Ironically, it was my adult son that re-introduced us. Looking back, I believe I would have been easier to live with had I consumed during those years.
MT: What prescription drugs, if any, were you able to stop using because of cannabis? How does cannabis work better than the prescriptions?
KB: I have never gone down that path.
MT: What strains have you found to helpful to your specific aliment?
KB: They are all good however, I prefer Indica in the evening or whenever a deeper body relaxation is desired. Sativa works better for me if I have a lot of things to get accomplished or know I will be engaging in conversation.
MT: Have you have any encounters with law enforcement over your cannabis use?
KB: I was raided by a marijuana task force swat team in 2008. I was growing a small amount in Florida. It was an unpleasant experience and life changing.
MT: Are you involved in any sort of activism in your area or state?
KB: I moved from Colorado back to Florida in 2015. I wanted to position myself to be involved in the industry should medical marijuana become legalized in the November election. For me, the passion is on the patient. They need a stronger voice. Currently, the industry seems to be guided by the growers and the investors. I have launched a website http://www.cannabiscaregiversandpatients.com. The purpose is to bring patients together with caregivers throughout the state. Once they are aligned with caregivers (each caregiver will be allowed to treat 5 patients.) they will be positioned to register with the state if Amendment 2 is passed. We will assist them in getting registered and ready to purchase. At that point, we will have leverage to negotiate with growers around the state to cultivate high quality and clean cannabis, test all product for residuals and cannabinoid profiles as well as THC %, and offer product to caregivers at a fair price so they may pass the reduced cost to their patients.
While in Colorado I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I wanted to try cannabis therapy as opposed to removal which was the suggested path by physicians. It was then that I learned how difficult it was to obtain good clean medicine that had been tested. How can a patient properly treat their condition if they are not aware of what is being ingested? This situation is changing in Colorado but other states that is just becoming legal seem to go through that.
For the most part, growers are in it for the money. It is more costly and challenging to cultivate cannabis in an organic fashion. Testing is also expensive. If they are not required to test product, they won’t. If we can offer a large amount of business to the grower in return for cultivating practices that meet the needs of patients, we will meet our objective.
MT: Have you ever thought about moving to another state to gain better access to medical cannabis?
KB: NO. It’s available everywhere and unless you have a very regimented medical requirement, I don’t see the need. I moved to Colorado after our legal challenges were resolved. I was broke and it was very challenging to secure work. Colorado provided a sanctuary while we rebuilt our lives.
MT: How important is it to you that legalization comes to your state?
KB: For me personally at this stage of life, it wouldn’t make much difference. I will always have access. However, it is important for the patients that do not. No one should have to feel like a criminal and more importantly, so many people could experience relief from various conditions in a fashion that is superior to the alternative drugs prescribed.
Are you a medical marijuana patient who medicates illegally? I want to tell your story (anonymously, if you prefer)! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you our set of questions.
Your story could help others in the same situation and help spread the truth about the amazing abilities of the cannabis plant! Help me spread the word!