The Hebrew Home in New York City has a new program to help residents at their retirement home: medical marijuana. Residents are responsible for keeping their medicine in their own rooms and under lock and key. One of their residents, Ruth, is a 98-year old medical marijuana patient.
More aging Americans are using medical marijuana these days, according to The New York Times. They are finding that they are getting relief from debilitating pain conditions and other health problems. Many say that it has fewer side effects and is less addictive than opioids and other medications.
Ruth uses oil-filled capsules as her method of consuming marijuana oil for debilitating pain. There has been a significant increase in elders using medical marijuana in America. Ruth said, “I don’t feel high or stoned. All I know is I feel better when I take this.”
Anita, a 72-year old medical marijuana patient, said, “I would be in a lot worse shape if I wasn’t using cannabis, both physically and mentally.”
Cari Levy, The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine vice president, says that she will be working to tackle the issues that many retirement communities are having when it comes to adopting a proper medical marijuana policy. She will be offering “Marijuana 101” courses to help people understand both the benefits and risks associated with using medical marijuana.
Levy said, “People are using it, and we need to know how to respond.”
Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, some retirees are having trouble using it as their residences don’t allow for medical marijuana use. Some Washington State facilities have changed their policies, and now a New York retirement facility is also changing its policies.
Paul Armentano or NORML said, “This is a target demographic that may have their access limited, if not cut off altogether, simply because they reside in a facility. It is a problem that may infringe on their quality of life.”
Some elder care facilities are taking a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” approach, while others are actually changing policy to ensure that seniors have the best options to treat their medical conditions available to them.