May 1, 2016
Marijuana Use By Older People 55 And Up Increases: Can Cannabis Prevent Pain Pill Addiction?

The below video from CBS News, as seen on Sunday's edition of CBS Sunday Morning, is going viral. Titled "Seniors and marijuana," the video has been shared more than 3,300 times on social media, as it explains the reasons that some older folks are turning to marijuana and cannabis use to deal with pain and to help them relax.

However, not all seniors are turning to marijuana to deal with joint pain and other nerve pain issues. Some older people still remember the stigma given to marijuana in movies like Refer Madness, which likened marijuana to some sort of crazy-making drug. Marijuana use is still illegal in plenty of states.

Others realize the benefits that cannabis may have -- especially in the wake of the death of 57-year-old Prince, whose death may have been attributed to opioid abuse of Percocet. With some seniors being prescribed Vicodin to deal with pain or troubles as a result of chemotherapy and diabetes issues, the theory that marijuana could lessen some of that pain pill usage is being bandied about.

One of the folks featured in the CBS News video who is a big advocate of marijuana use is 68-year-old Sue Taylor. While Taylor used to be a school principal who was very much against drugs, these days she's a convert to cannabis who is known by the nickname "the weed lady."

Sue keeps up her workouts at the gym and turns to marijuana when she needs to sleep or deal with pain as a result of overdoing it at the gym. For focusing on keeping her cholesterol at healthy levels, Sue creates smoothies made of kale, apples and other ingredients.

The older woman uses Gummi Cares, a marijuana product that the Sticky Guide claims is the ideal product for cannabis users that don't smoke. The list of ailments that the cannabis product portends to help is pretty long.

Gummi Cares are perfect for the no fuss non smoking cannabis user. This is a wonderful, strong edible choice we'd recommend to any friend.

Symptoms & Conditions: ADD, ADHD, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, autism, bipolar disorder, cancer, cramps, depression, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorder, glaucoma, HIV/aids, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite, migraine, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, PMS, PTSD, pain: muscle/joint, pain: neuropathic, pain: phantom limb, seizures, skin irritation

Taylor got turned on to marijuana via her son, and gave cannabis a whole new look when she learned of its benefits. She lives in California and only needs a prescription to obtain cannabis. According to CBS News, people aged 55 years of age and older are increasing their marijuana usage. Part of the reason why cannabis use is going up among certain older people in America is because nearly 50 percent of them live near states where it is legal to use marijuana -- either recreationally or for medicinal purposes.

Sue explained that marijuana can assist older people with a variety of ailments.

"Number one is arthritis. There are tinctures and rubs that you could actually put on your legs, on your knees, across your back, wherever you're having any arthritic pain. Most seniors use the cannabis for pain and to sleep.

"Seniors don't want to get high; they want to get well. And the cannabis helps."

The growing evidence that suggests marijuana can be an effective pain management system for particular types of pain is being studied. Even if cannabis doesn't completely take away the pain from some pain sufferers, it might lessen the need for highly-addictive painkillers.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also noted how marijuana can help those older than 65.

"For seniors that want to, kind of, relax and don't want to use alcohol, this is a choice maybe that they will embrace more than others. The perception against legalizing marijuana [was]...historically...seniors were probably the most adamant against it. And if more are using it, then that probably is going to change. And probably it won't just be in Colorado. It will probably change across the country."
[Photo by AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file]