• Christopher Smith, Publisher

Boomer Benefits Blow Away Cannabis Stigma

Good morning, American Cannabis Report Fam and Happy 420!!

My story today is a mashup of a few articles in The Fresh Toast. For a long time, I’ve been interested in seniors using cannabis. I think they should, not just as a market for cannabis products, but because the conditions that many older adults describe as most troublesome as they get older, are right in the wheelhouse of God’s Favorite Plant.


I’ve also mentioned several times that my 85-year old mother still can’t even say the word, and asks me if I’m still “working in THAT industry.” And hidden in her statement – afraid even to say the word out loud - is one of the biggest problems with getting older adults to come over to the good stuff.


So this story, or series of stories, caught my eye.


“Here’s How Many Medicare Patients Use Marijuana,

Even Though It’s Not Covered”


According to a survey reported by U.S. News, which was conducted on 1,250 Medicare recipients, 1 in every 5 Medicare patients use medical cannabis.


“Respondents use it to treat a variety of physical and mental health conditions, including

  • 32% for anxiety and

  • 31% for chronic pain

  • Roughly 25% said they use it to treat depression, glaucoma, and symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS, including nausea, appetite loss and pain.

About two-thirds though that cannabis should be covered by Medicare, which was more or less true across political parties, but one-third worried that adding it to Medicare would increase cost.


THE DEEPER DIVE

So that particular story was not really very deep on data, which is why I started following the links in the article. The first one is:


“Seniors In Pain Want To Try Cannabis, But This Is Preventing Them”


CHRONIC PAIN

We know that about 30% of Americans, (110 Million Americans) suffer from chronic pain. This article points out that by age 65, the figure is 40% and by age 80, 75% of people suffer from chronic pain.


What makes it worse is that the alternatives, “Drugs like acetaminophen, naproxen, and ibuprofen have intense aftereffects on the body organs of senior citizens. Many who can withstand opioids have managed with it. However, opioids are not sufficient enough to resolve the problem, not to mention the high risk of addiction involved.”


Well, one of the constants across all lists of Qualifying Conditions that cannabis is approved for, is CHRONIC PAIN. And you’d think that this connection between chronic pain and relief from God’s Favorite Plant would be automatic, right?


STIGMA

Nope. The reason: STIGMA. Just like my dear old ma, in a 2019 survey of older adults, 30% didn’t even answer the question about whether they’d used cannabis… and it was an anonymous survey.


That’s how afraid they still are about Demon Weed and all that.


THE LOOP BACK

The last link I followed offered a ray of hope:


“OK, Boomer: Marijuana Use On The Rise Among Older Adults”


One item that jumped out at me here was mention of HRQL, or Health Related Quality of Life. I think this is something we can build on as we help our parents as they get older.


A study published in 2020 found that cannabis users over 60 reported a “strong positive association” connecting how often patients used cannabis and self-reporting upgrades in pain management, health-care utilization, and HRQL.”


I think I can sell this at our next family dinner – wish me luck!


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Image course: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-beautiful-woman-leaning-on-her-husband-s-shoulder-7236514/