CANNABIS CULTURE – Older adults are using cannabis as a preventative measure. Case in point, Mark Burnett (62), strongman from Akron, Ohio, prefers to use CBD for an extra kick to go with his morning vitamins.
CBD is subtle in its effects, but Mr. Burnett notices it on days that he has forgotten to take it. “If I’m on a call with my coach and I run up on something unexpected, he says, ‘did you forget to take your CBD today?’” he chuckled. “It helps me express my strength more efficiently.”
As cannabis becomes legal, stigma drops, freeing Baby Boomers to seek out relief they have known since the 60s. Reports indicate that use is up, but that may be because judgement is down.
Baby Boomers are one of the fastest-growing markets for legal recreational and medical marijuana. This generation ushered in a new era of drug experimentation. Many never gave up marijuana; and others are revisiting it with a new, more open attitude.
“They grew up in an era where MJ [marijuana]was a popular recreational drug, so they have some familiarity and are interested in its medicinal qualities,” said Doctor Julianne Moy, D.O., of Ohio Green Team. “Many are trying to decrease the amount of medications they are taking because they are wary of side effects and also do not desire to be on long term opiate medicines.”
That’s one of the reasons Gloria Erickson-McKittrick (75) uses cannabis. She was diagnosed with cervical dystonia—causing painful spasms in her neck, shoulders, and back—in 1998. A few years later, after a 20-year hiatus, she started smoking marijuana again.
“I was pleased when I began using [that marijuana helped]. Now I have a reason!” Ms. Erickson-McKittrick benefits from the relaxant qualities of cannabis, which complement the medication she currently takes to prevent spasms. “I hope this country wakes up and realizes marijuana is not the evil weed it’s made out to be.”
While it doesn’t always replace traditional medicine, cannabis makes what patients take more effective. Doctor Andrew Kuntz, M.D. noted that “Once they start cannabis, they’re taking less pain pills, less sleeping pills, less medication for anxiety and depression.”
Doctor Kuntz became certified to recommend medical marijuana for patients in Ohio after learning about it at McMaster University. He has patients as old as 93. “Cannabis is one of the ancient herbal medicines they’ve been using for thousands of years.”
Warren S. (65) smokes weed to manage severe back pain from damage caused by a life of heavy labor on oil rigs and constructing the Alaska Pipeline. It also helps anxiety he experiences as a result of bipolar disorder.
“I became aware why I needed it so much. I couldn’t get going in the morning, keep track of my thoughts. It’s too many thoughts.” Mr. S. has smoked marijuana since his early teens, but he appreciates the fact that there is less stigma surrounding it now.