In recent years, medical marijuana use is becoming increasingly accepted across the United States as well as around the world. This has no doubt had an impact on the number of people – and the type of people – who consume cannabis on a regular basis. At one point you may have heard the word “marijuana”, or even “medical marijuana”, and thought of the stoner stereotype. But now, those people who choose to medicate with marijuana come in all different ages and from all walks of life, from infants to the elderly.
Actually, many may be surprised to know that despite all the fear instilled by prohibitionists that legalization will increase cannabis consumption among our youth, as it turns out, senior citizens are the group seeing the biggest increase in the number of people regularly using cannabis.
A study released in December of 2016 shows that between the years of 2006-2007 and 2012-2013 the number of people in the age group 65 and older who admit to using cannabis has increased by no less than 250%. In comparison, the next oldest age group, ranged 50-64 years of age, saw an increase of 57% over the same period of time.
“This is a target demographic that may have their access limited, if not cut off altogether, simply because they reside in a facility,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, a group that advocates the legalization of marijuana. “It is a problem that may infringe on their quality of life.”
The biggest issue that senior citizens are coming across in using medical marijuana is being able to access it once they transition to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Since most nursing homes rely on government funds from Medicare and Medicaid, many are reluctant to allow medical marijuana on site – even when their state legally allows it as a form of treatment.
However, some places have been more accepting and embracing of medical cannabis, regardless of the federal government’s stance, and not only allow patients to use medical marijuana in their new home, but also provide patient support groups for those who are new to using medical cannabis.
These groups provide education on consumption methods, dosages and more from both patients and doctors who have real experience with cannabis therapy – and those facilities allowing medical marijuana in late-life care are setting an example for the rest to hopefully follow.