Seniors and Cannabis-Risks and Rewards Part One

“Weed 7: A Senior Moment” premiered on Sunday, August 6th, 2023, on “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper.” Its narrator was Dr. Sanja Gupta, a medical expert often appearing on CNN. In this documentary, he stated:

“Most remarkable to me is the demographic switch. Seniors — people over the age of 65 — are now the fastest growing group of cannabis users in the United States. Right now, we are witnessing a sort of ‘senior moment.’ Honestly, it blows my mind.”

Of course, his statement leads naturally to the question, why is this ’senior moment’ occurring?

He suggested that, according to recent studies, seniors use of cannabis daily helps address some of the nuisances of aging: arthritis, poor sleep, aches, pains and moods.

But, it should be clearly noted that Cannabis when viewed as a medicine, is like any other medication; it should be held accountable for its risks and its rewards. It’s quite important to highlight for seniors, for everyone, the risks as well as the rewards suggested above.

Cannabis is a plant that has chemicals called cannabinoids. The most common cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The term “marijuana” refers to parts of or products from the plant Cannabis sativa—or, simply, Cannabis– that contain substantial amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the substance that’s primarily responsible for the effects of marijuana on a person’s mental state. Some cannabis plants contain very little THC.

  • THC affects your brain to make you feel “high” and changes how you think, feel and act. The higher the level of THC, the greater the intoxicating effects.
  • THC is mostly responsible for the health risks associated with cannabis.
  • CBD does not cause intoxicating effects and can lessen the THC effects. CBD is being studied for possible medical uses.

Everyone’s response to cannabis is different and can vary from one time to the next.  If you have used cannabis earlier in life, the effects today can be different because the THC potency in cannabis has increased. Older adults are more likely to experience harm from cannabis because of age-related changes.
Part Two will explore more the risks associated with seniors using cannabis to alleviate the unhappier vicissitudes of older life.

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