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Health, Lifestyle, Seniors

Cannabis and Seniors Weighing the Risks

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Cannabis and Seniors

Weighing the Risks

“Is it going to decrease the number of medications or painkillers I take every day?”

“How will cannabis affect how I think and function day to day?”

“Will it increase my heart rate or my risk of falling?”

“Is cannabis going to relieve my pain?”

These are the types of questions the Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health is studying to get a better understanding on how marijuana affects seniors. Unfortunately, not enough scientific research has been done to state categorically what the risks are. The coalition’s goal is to help physicians run through all those possible risks and benefits with their patients, once they have had a chance to assess their specific medical conditions. Guidelines are expected to be published by the end of 2018.

Preliminary studies have been published about cannabidiol, a tasteless oil known as CBD; but, again there
is not enough scientific evidence to generalize about potential health effects or benefits for pain, depression and anxiety. Doctors and scientists just don’t know enough about how cannabidiol works in the body yet—or if it is or isn’t a treatment for different conditions.

Health Canada has also expressed concern over the efficacy of therapeutic claims being made about cannabidiol.

Seniors are more at risk simply because of age-related changes that they are experiencing at this time in their lives. Some physicians notice a significant improvement in elderly patients who use pot for chronic pain and severe anxiety, but are reluctant to prescribe or recommend the drug lightly.

Bottom line: More research is underway. Make sure to get some good information and advice before starting to use cannabis, rather than risking further medical complications.

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