Marijuana Improves Quality of Life in Those 60+, Finds New Study

Marijuana Improves Quality of Life in Those 60+, Finds New Study

According to a new study that may come as little surprise to cannabis consumers and advocates, older individuals (those 60+) report improved quality of life and reduced pharmaceutical medications following marijuana therapy. The study, titled Medical cannabis use: Exploring the perceptions and experiences of older adults with chronic conditions, was published in the journal Clinical Gerontologist and was epublished by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

For the study researchers from Concordia University conducted what is known as a qualitative inquiry on those who are registered medical marijuana patients in California and those who are at least 64.

Participants “reported satisfaction with being able to use medical cannabis to manage symptoms, get relief from pain, and have an improved quality of life all while lessening their dependence on pharmaceutical drugs”, states the study.

The study concludes by stating: “Most of our participants were retired, unemployed, or receiving disability benefits due to a chronic condition, yet they did note improvements in their ability to manage symptoms and productivity. Pain control was consistently described as one of the most important outcomes of medical cannabis use, and this must be considered in relation to public policy, medical symptom management, and long-term care regulations.”

Researchers state that this information “will help clinicians better support older adults desiring to use medical cannabis”, and that this research “will help clinicians learn more about factors impacting medical cannabis use, and the types of information and assistance that may aid older adults in their health and well-being with the use of medical cannabis to treat chronic conditions.”

The study’s full abstract:

Objectives: Although the rate of cannabis use by older adults is increasing more quickly than all other age groups, little is known about the reasons older adults use cannabis and the outcomes they experience. With this research, we investigated older adults’ perceptions and experiences of medical cannabis use to treat and/or manage chronic conditions, specifically as a substitute for prescription drugs.

Methods: Researchers relied on qualitative inquiry in the form of semi-structured, one-on-one interviewing to investigate the phenomenon of medical cannabis use for the management of chronic conditions.

Results: Our findings suggest that older adults are open to medical cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, hopeful with regard to the management of symptoms and pain, and aware of and astute at managing issues related to stigma both from their physicians and family and friends. Furthermore, older adults describe the frustrations with education, awareness, and lack of support with dosing.

Conclusions: Participations found medical cannabis use to be beneficial in managing chronic conditions and alleviating symptoms such as chronic pain. Findings are presented as an interpretation of the participants’ perceptions of their medical cannabis use. Implications for putting medical cannabis use into everyday practice as well as policy implications are considered.

Clinical Implications: This information will help clinicians better support older adults desiring to use medical cannabis. This research will help clinicians learn more about factors impacting medical cannabis use, and the types of information and assistance that may aid older adults in their health and well-being with the use of medical cannabis to treat chronic conditions.

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