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Seniors and Legal Cannabis – Benefits and Challenges

The 68-year-old Sue Taylor is a regular at the gym. She eats kale to manage her cholesterol, and “homemade” is her motto.

But one thing in her lifestyle that may surprise you is MARIJUANA.

Can it really be true grandma and grandpa saying “yes to marijuana”? Why and how? Let’s dig in together!

Cannabis consumption spikes 70% among Americans aged 50 and above.


With 29 states legalizing medical marijuana, the golden generation is trying marijuana for its curative power. Seniors are seeking legal medical weed to ease health conditions that pharmaceutical drugs have failed to treat.

New York University researchers recorded the fastest growing demand for medical marijuana among older adults. Another study recorded that between 2012 and 2013, there was a 250 percent increase in medical cannabis patients aged 65 and older.

Cannabis Treats Chronic Pain


Chronic pain is the most common health problem among elderly populations. Seventy-five percent of seniors in America suffer chronic pain. The worst! Chronic pain is hard to treat especially in seniors. In a 2010 study, 21 percent of adults above 50 experienced residential care facilities for chronic pain.

Many physicians prescribe their patients opioid medications to manage their pain. While opioid helps in the short term, it can cause a host of additional problems, outweighing the benefits.


A new study from Canada reported that medical marijuana could reduce chronic pain dramatically. The study also reported a decreased sense of depression, anxiety, and fatigue in the marijuana group. Cannabis not just helps with the physical pain, but it addresses the root causes of pain, even psychological ones.

Cannabis Fight Depression

Cannabis promotes laughter and decreases hypertension. Research also shows that laughter increases lifespan. It means weed users will not only be happier but will also live longer than those who don’t consume pot.

Cannabis Can Reduce or Replace Many Prescription Drugs

Seniors frequently complain about side effects of their daily medications. Fortunately, weed can supplement or possibly replace many prescription drugs, like pain medication, anti-depressants, stimulants and sleep aids. That’s too without side effects!



The Issue of Access

For many elderly patients, finding out or going to a licensed cannabis dispensary can be a hardship. Especially if they live in the states like New York, where marijuana is strictly limited to medical use! For many, a distance of dispensary means dependence of family members or transportation. Though a few dispensaries allow delivering the medication at the door, not all do.

Paying for medication


For seniors seeking legal pot, the financial issues can make accessing cannabis even harder. Since the federal government still prohibits cannabis, neither Medicare nor Medicaid covers or reimburses their clients for it.

Bottom Line…

Cannabis is absolutely beneficial for seniors. Patients can consume it in a variety of forms other than smoking the rolls. It’s non-addictive and won’t negatively interact with a body like other medications. However, seniors seeking legal pot often face roadblocks, namely access, and cost.

One solution to this issue is making medical cannabis more accessible and affordable.  Or, just completely legalize it so that insurance companies can cover it.

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