Cannabis Use Booming in Baby Boomers—One of the Fastest Growing Groups to Use Marijuana

. January 3, 2019.
ISS_4266_07010

Tessa Grove, who is in her 60s, “never believed” in the benefits of medical marijuana. Despite growing up in the 1970s, when cannabis use was relatively common, Tessa only smoked marijuana a couple times in high school because it made her feel “paranoid.”

Fast-forward to today and Tessa struggles with sleeping through the night and suffers from a heart condition, endometriosis, and soreness and stiffness resulting from two back surgeries and a shoulder surgery.

Tessa’s primary care physician advised her to take melatonin to help with the sleep and wrote her prescriptions for the other ailments. Tessa confesses, “I would take 12 melatonin pills, plus all my other meds that I’m on, and I still couldn’t sleep. There were days when I had to go home early because I was afraid it wouldn’t be safe for me (to wait any longer) to drive [from exhaustion].”

Over the years, friends and acquaintances suggested that Tessa try cannabidiol (CBD), assuring her that she wouldn’t “get high” or paranoid and that she didn’t need to smoke it. Despite her apprehensions Tessa, out of options and willing to try anything, “went to the CBD store and tried the stuff that goes on your tongue.”

Hemp v. marijuana

Kevin Spitler, owner and operator at Toledo Hemp Center, explains, “CBD, aka Cannabidiol, is no different if it comes from hemp or [from] marijuana. The molecules are exactly the same. The difference [is that] CBD in the hemp plant versus [in the] marijuana plant (have different levels of] THC within the plant itself. Both [hemp and marijuana] are cannabis plants, but they are different ‘breeds’ so to speak. Kind of like a Bull Mastiff and a Poodle—they are both dogs, but because of different traits, they are different breeds.”

While the CBD helped Tessa, it wasn’t enough, so she “talked to someone that lives in Michigan (who has access to medicinal cannabis products in that state) and I tried brownies and gummy bears. I began to sleep through the night and (stopped taking) half my meds.”

Dr. Mark Neumann of Advanced Medical Associates, who specializes in personalized medicine, explains that this is one of the positive benefits to using medical marijuana. “The results are amazing in that, it can completely eliminate the use of prescription drugs.”

Tessa, despite being impressed by the benefits of edible medical cannabis, discontinued her use due to fear of losing her job. “The reason I don’t [use medical marijuana] anymore is that jobs do drug testing and you need your job.” While medical marijuana use is now legal in Ohio, relatively few doctors are recommending it, yet. Even if you are using marijuana pursuant to a doctor’s recommendation, a business can still terminate your employment due to the use, as marijuana use is a federal offense.

“I feel as long as you are in your home and not going to work or getting in a car—things like that—medical marijuana use should be allowed,” Tessa comments. “Why is it okay to put five different pain meds in your body but not take a nibble of a marijuana gummy?”

Use in 55 plus growing

“America has had an ongoing issue of overmedicating seniors. I think they (seniors) are realizing that they need to take control of their health.” says Dr. Neumann. “Typically as you get older, there’s more chances you have of being septic to pain.” Whether it’s in the joints, neck, back or spine, chronic pain is the most common ailment to be treated with medical cannabis.

It has positive results to treating more than just pain, but anxiety, nausea, muscle spasms and seizures as well. “It’s not just a plant that people smoke,” he continues, “that’s a false image to the overall treatment benefits.”

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