Cannabis as a medicine for the elderly?
The use of cannabis for medical purposes among the elderly appears to be increasing in frequency, with various health benefits associated with it. Cannabis is used, for example, to treat pain, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression.
Cannabis appears to be gaining popularity among the elderly. (Image: Africa Studio / Stock.Adobe.com)
Seniors are more likely to use cannabis to treat their health problems, according to a new study involving researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The study was published in the English-language journal “Journal of the American Geriatrics Society”.
For the new study, 568 people aged 60 or even older were interviewed. 15 percent of them said they had used cannabis in the past three years. Half of these people used cannabis regularly and mainly for medical purposes. He also revealed that 61% of people who use cannabis didn’t start until they were 60.
Why have people used cannabis?
“Pain, insomnia, and anxiety were the most common reasons for using cannabis, and most people reported that cannabis helps manage these problems, especially insomnia and pain,” explains study author Dr. Christopher Kaufmann of UC San Diego in a press release. “Surprisingly, we found that almost three-fifths of cannabis users reported using cannabis for the first time in adulthood,” adds study author Kevin Yang of UC San Diego.
More and more CBD products are used
Additionally, the availability of pure CBD products continues to increase and, unlike products containing THC, these are not psychoactive, the researchers say. It is likely that future surveys will continue to document a higher proportion of older adults who use cannabis or cannabis products, experts add.
The results show that cannabis use is increasing among older people, so the benefits and risks in this group of people should be considered, the researchers say. In addition, it is important to include factual information about cannabis use in medical education and to address questions about cannabis testing as part of regular clinical visits, the researchers stress.
Review the safety and effectiveness of cannabis
According to experts, future studies are essential to better understand the effectiveness and safety of the various uses of cannabis to treat ailments common in older people. In this way, the benefits could be maximized and the possible risks and damages could be minimized.
Cannabis has great potential
Cannabis has high potential for medical use, but we need more evidence-based research, says Kaufmann. Researchers are therefore already planning studies to study how cannabis works compared to currently available drugs and whether cannabis is a safer alternative to opioid and benzodiazepine treatments. The question also arises as to whether cannabis could help reduce the use of several drugs at the same time in the elderly and in which diseases cannabis is most effective. (as)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Kevin H. Yang, Christopher N. Kaufmann, Reva Nafsu, Ella T. Lifset, Khai Nguyen et al .: Cannabis: An Emerging Treatment for Common Symptoms in Older Adults, in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (published October 7, 2020) , Journal of the American Geriatrics SocietyUC San Diego Health: Study Finds Older Adults Use Cannabis to Treat Common Health Problems (published October 7, 2020), UC San Diego Health
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.