Article by Richard Cowan
The New York Times has a good article, “ “Lighting Up Later in Life” about how many seniors who are now starting to use cannabis. Slow learners, I call ‘em.
Full disclosure (or bragging): I will be 81 in a few months, and I have used cannabis almost every day for over 50 years and it’s been a very good half century. And I don’t take any prescription drugs.
The Times article inevitably added “and some health experts are concerned.” However, it also pointed out that “More research into the pros and cons of cannabis use would help answer these questions. But since marijuana remains a federally outlawed Schedule I drug, mounting studies can prove difficult. So its growing use among older people constitutes an uncontrolled experiment, with caution advised.”
Yeah, that’s it. I have been doing an “uncontrolled experiment” for the last fifty years. So far, so good!
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In any case, we obviously don’t have time to wait for the government to get its act together. (We should live so long.) The Times explained that the “National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that marijuana use in the prior year among people over 65 had jumped 75 percent from 2015 to 2018, from 2.4 percent of that group to 4.2 percent. By 2019, use had reached 5 percent.”
Another paragraph illustrates the absurdity of federal policies. “A major 2017 report from the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine found evidence that cannabis could alleviate nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis and certain kinds of sleep disorders and chronic pain, although researchers deemed its effect “modest.”
My one-word response: “Duh”! It took until 2017 for the NAS to report that “cannabis could alleviate nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy…” The cannabis community has been trying to tell them that for decades, and it is widely accepted in the medical community. Finally.
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I think that another reason more and more seniors are using cannabis is because we are aware that the overprescribing of pharmaceuticals is one of the greatest problems facing seniors.
12,500 Americans turn 65 every day, and doctors were overwhelmed with the rapidly growing number of seniors seeking basic health care even before the pandemic. Plus more and more doctors are reaching the retirement age,
And then there are the problems with even over-the-counter drugs. Harvard Health reports that “FDA strengthens warning that NSAIDs increase heart attack and stroke risk”.
In addition to the cardiac problems, the side effects of long-term NSAID use cause nearly 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths each year
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Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that more and more survivors of decades of Reefer Madness are trying something that at least won’t kill us.
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of Effects Of THC Vs CBD On The Brain.