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More and more people are getting introduced to the many advantages of using medical marijuana. With its increased availability and popularity, senior citizens are becoming more likely to buy MMJ products. Between 2006 and 2013, the use of cannabis by senior citizens (over the age of 65) increased by an astounding 250 percent. In fact, the elderly make up about 14 percent of all cannabis users in the United States. And for good reason: there are actually countless ways that medical marijuana can help improve seniors’ physical and mental health.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common ailments seniors can use MMJ products to treat.

Cancer

Many seniors turn to medical marijuana for help with cancer symptoms. Because those undergoing chemotherapy are faced with severe nausea and vomiting, MMJ products can be helpful in alleviating these symptoms. Additionally, medical cannabis can be useful in treating pain – without the patient having to rely on harmful prescription painkillers. If cancer patients are facing loss of appetite, MMJ products can also provide a more natural way of stimulating their appetite.

In addition to treating symptoms of cancer, research has demonstrated that marijuana can actually kill cancer cells. Cannabis compounds have been shown to slow down the growth of different types of cancer (including breast, prostate, and lung cancers). Researchers even believe that cannabis can prevent cancer cells from spreading to healthy tissue.

Alzheimer’s

This degenerative brain disease affects around 10 percent of seniors in the US (more than four million people every year). While MMJ products can help with conditions associated with this disease (like loss of appetite and depression), researchers are also finding that the marijuana component, THC, might actually help slow the advancement of Alzheimer’s in the brain.

Parkinson’s Disease

This degenerative disorder causes brain cells that produce dopamine to die, resulting in uncontrollable shaking, muscle spasms, loss of balance, and a decrease in cognitive functions. A study recently conducted in Israel showed that Parkinson’s patients who smoked medical cannabis found reductions in their tremors and muscle rigidity.

MMJRecs - elderly in pain
Chronic pain is common among seniors, but MMJ products can help with relief.

Chronic pain

Pain is one of the most prevalent symptoms treated by MMJ. While some of the topical applications can help with pain in specific areas of the body, some MMJ products can be ingested for overall body pain (like from nerve damage). Medical cannabis can also be useful in alleviating joint pain from arthritis (which is fairly common among seniors). A recent study with seniors even showed that a whopping 93 percent of patients felt improvement in their pain symptoms while using cannabis. The study also demonstrated that more than 18 percent of the participants were able to reduce or completely stop their opioid (painkiller) usage.

Mental Disorders

Seniors are often diagnosed with mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. Many elderly individuals rely on MMJ products to ease these symptoms. Although people might not know this, eating disorders are actually common among seniors. Around 80 percent of deaths related to anorexia are among elderly patients. MMJ products can be used to help seniors keep up their appetite and encourage more food intake. Insomnia is also a common disorder for senior citizens – medical marijuana can help improve sleep patterns so individuals are getting better quality sleep every night.

Glaucoma

This eye condition occurs when there’s a buildup of fluid that results in damage to the nerves in the eye. It’s also the leading cause of blindness in seniors. MMJ products can actually help to relieve the pressure that develops with the buildup of fluid, creating an overall improvement in eye health.

Medical marijuana isn’t just for “young people” – it can really benefit the elderly too, and more and more seniors are taking advantage of it!

There are countless other conditions that MMJ can help with, including liver inflammation, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, etc. Because these products don’t work like typical prescription drugs, many people report finding almost instant relief from some of their harder-to-treat symptoms.

While seniors can easily see how they can improve some of their symptoms, they should also be aware of the other benefits they can get by using medical marijuana instead of prescriptions. For example, they can actually save money by getting an MMJ card – which is super valuable considering most seniors are living on a fixed income. Because there is no sales tax on medical marijuana in certain states (including California), seniors can save money on all their MMJ purchases. They also have the freedom to grow their own plants, which can be more cost-effective (especially since they can grow the strains that would best fit their treatment needs). Additionally, if seniors are able to skip taking some of their prescription medications in lieu of using MMJ products, they can also see some significant savings. For example, most seniors spend around $3,000 on prescription medications every year. Medical cannabis users usually only spend around $650 per year on MMJ products!

Seniors who use medical marijuana products can do so without worrying about becoming addicted as they would while taking most prescription painkillers. Also, there are very few side effects when using MMJ (like dry mouth or mild dizziness), as opposed to pain meds that can cause many serious issues. Basically, there are plenty of reasons that seniors should start using medical marijuana to help improve their health!

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