Among the pain relief options now available for many seniors is marijuana. Long considered an illegal drug, it is often prescribed for pain that can’t be alleviated through other methods. Research has shown that it can help chronic or neuropathic pain. It is helpful if used in small doses. Prescribing of marijuana to seniors has become very controversial.
Marijuana or cannabis can relieve pain by changing the way nerves function. It has also been shown to help spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Vomiting or nausea after chemotherapy has also been lessened with use. It is also used to treat anxiety. Some scientists, however, do not agree with these findings. This once again leaves the medical field and the public on their own to decide whether marijuana can or cannot help them.
What are the side effects of marijuana?
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Impaired mental functioning
- Heart and blood pressure problems
In spite of the possible side effects, marijuana is being looked upon more often as a last chance drug for seniors who have many illnesses. Other than chronic pain, it has also been used for weight loss related to HIV/AIDS. It has also been prescribed to those with glaucoma. Since it can interact with any type of sedative medication, all present prescriptions should be checked to make sure it’s safe for the senior to use marijuana.
Elderly people have certain medical risks that also need to be taken into consideration. Since marijuana can cause mental and emotional problems which lead to cognitive difficulties, it can contribute to falls in seniors. For those with coronary artery disease, marijuana can increase the risk of strokes. It also affects blood levels, causing dangers for those with diabetes.
At this time, testing and evidence of any benefit of marijuana to a senior’s health has led to those who are on both sides of the fence about its usefulness. To read more about marijuana and seniors, click here.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or are considering any recommendations, please consult your health practitioner.