NYT: “Lighting Up Later in Life, The number of older adults who use cannabis is on the rise…”
In a New York Times article from March 20, “The New Old Age” feature, they focused on the rise of cannabis use among seniors from coast-to-coast in the United States. Along with a reasonably clear picture of why the herbal medicine is being used among the 65+ crowd, the article also includes a healthy dose of caution to the fastest growing segment of the cannabis market – Boomers.
The Farmacann family will recognize one of the Times sources for the piece as one of our recommending health care practitioners in Northern California, the President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association, an expert in cannabis medicine for seniors, geriatric nurse-practitioner Eloise Theisen of Walnut Creek, CA. Nurse Eloise participated in Farmacann’s webinar ISOLATED ELDERLY: Anxiety & Depression in Seniors Amid COVID, Can Cannabis Medicine Help? where we discussed the very subject included in the NYT article:
“…There are no data yet on how the pandemic, with its stress and isolation, affected use among older people. But legal cannabis sales grew by 20 percent last year, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association. Leaf411, a nonprofit, nurse-staffed information hotline, received 50 percent more calls, most from older adults.
Researchers therefore expect the numbers will show greater geriatric use. Mental health surveys of older people last year showed rising anxiety and depression, conditions frequently cited as reasons to try cannabis.
“I’ve definitely seen my patients who were stable returning for tuneups,” said Eloise Theisen, president of the American Cannabis Nurses Association and a geriatric nurse-practitioner in Walnut Creek, Calif. “Their anxiety was worse. Their insomnia was worse.”
“Start Low and Go Slow”
One concern amongst the mainstream medical community with the increase in interest in cannabis medicine by seniors, which is brought up in the article, is something that we’ve learned at Farmacann from clinicians like Eloise Thiesen or geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Grob: seniors are much more sensitive to THC and other cannabinoids, and that starting slow at very low dosages not only mitigates most, if not all the side effect concerns, such as “dizziness and lightheadedness, and with thinking and perception disorders” but many patients are able to find great benefit from ultra low doses of both CBD and THC.
“Older adults generally need less, because their metabolism has slowed,” Ms. [Nurse] Theisen said. That also means that “they can have a delayed onset, so it’s easier to over-consume, especially with products that taste good,” she continued. She urges older adults to consult health care professionals knowledgeable about cannabis — who, she acknowledges, are in short supply…”
As the Boomer generation returns to cannabis from a long hiatus or if exploring the wide rage of benefits for the first time, CBD along with low-dose THC can play an essential role for seniors in addressing a wide variety of health issues including sleep, anxiety, pain reduction or even behavioral issues associated with symptoms of dementia.
Farmacann has focused their formulations and ratios specifically for seniors and others looking for low dose, pure and potent cannabis medicine.