Many baby boomers and seniors turning to pot as alternative to prescription meds

In a historic first, recreational marijuana will be legal in Canada starting Oct. 17, 2018.

I was at a barbecue this past summer with a group of other baby boomers, when someone brought up the use of medical marijuana.

Now, this was not a group of flower children who had continued smoking joints over the decades, but instead it was made up of professionals — some retired and some not — who had not regularly used pot since the 1960s or ‘70s — if ever at all.

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As it turned out, and much to my surprise, pretty much everyone sitting around the outdoor fireplace that evening said they had turned to medical marijuana for pain relief or for help for sleep disturbances. One 65-year-old explained he takes cannabidiol after his beer-league hockey games for knee pain, while another said she was giving it to her elderly mother to help her sleep. Another said she used it to help her sleep after working graveyard shifts as a nurse’s aide and yet another said he was using it for chronic back pain. The one thing they all had in common was the fact they were using cannabis as an alternative to opioids and other prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Then two weeks ago I was at a birthday party when the subject came up once again and a woman in her late sixties, whom I had never met before, said, “I have a vape at home. I use it for pain relief and to help me sleep.” That was the last thing I had expected to come out of this very well-dressed woman’s mouth, but there it was. And once she confessed to using medical marijuana, the even older woman beside her also admitted that she too had “a vape at home.”

And whether it’s medical or recreational marijuana, what I’ve heard anecdotally and through interviewing dispensary owners, is that users of all ages are also turning to pot to cut down on their use of alcohol, narcotics and other recreational drugs.

Many believe marijuana and its derivatives do less harm to the body than drinking a bottle of red each evening. And with the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada scheduled for Oct. 17, many are looking forward to the day they don’t have to worry about getting busted for using pot. Of course, as with cigarettes or alcohol, there will be rules as to the where’s and how’s of using recreational marijuana, but it looks like the fear of getting busted for growing a plant in the basement will be gone.

That being said, baby boomers and seniors returning to marijuana should be warned the super strains grown today are not your grandma’s version of pot. But with some careful research and advice, they could be.

sthomas@vancourier.com

@sthomas10

 

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