Older Americans fighting pain with daily dose of cannabis - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
03-14-17 Category: Addiction, Substance Abuse

Olivia Henderson (name changed) finally said ‘yes’ to marijuana. At 98, she is the oldest resident of an old age home in San Fernando, Los Angeles County. As evening approaches, she carefully opens her medicine chest and fishes out a bottle of pills. She opens the cover and pops an oval green capsule filled with cannabis oil into her mouth, gulping it down with some vitamin water.

Soon, Henderson adjusts the large cushions in the chair and gives her aching back the much needed rest. She then waits for the shooting pain radiating from her lower back to the soles of her feet to subside. “It no way makes me feel high or shaky, all I know is I feel relaxed when I pop a pill,” says the nonagenarian. She is not the only one who is impressed by the wonder-working green pill. Henderson will soon have plenty of company.

The home for the aged has gone a long way in taking the unconventional step of helping its elderly and ailing inmates use medical marijuana to manage pain as an alternative to prescription drugs. However, the staff have clarified that they will neither store nor administer cannabis to the residents. The inmates are permitted to purchase it from a legal dispensary and store it in locked boxes or personal medicine chests in their rooms.

In the recent past, many retired Americans in the sixties and seventies have made a dramatic shift toward marijuana to alleviate pain resulting from old age problems or earlier surgeries. They feel it is a substitute for powerful prescription drugs such as morphine.

Cannabis is an addictive substance

Across the United States, research shows that the number of cannabis users among those 65 and older is one the rise. “The issue seems to be much bigger than we actually thought,” says Dr. Brian Kaskie of the School of Public Health, University of Iowa, who recently co-authored a study on the increasing use of cannabis among older Americans. “This is an elephant we’re just starting to get our hands on,” says Kaskie.

However, the presence of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a neurotoxin, in marijuana is the major cause of abuse and addiction, and the reason why individuals are unable to discontinue the use of marijuana despite the negative impact on their lives.

Although cannabis use is gaining wide acceptance in many circles, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has neither recognized nor approved the medicinal value of marijuana. Cannabis continues to be categorized as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act because of its high potential for abuse. The surge in marijuana addiction rates across the country is attributed to the increasing ease of availability, perceived absence of harm, and the wide social acceptance of the drug.

Gateway to other deadly substances

Some research suggests that early exposure to cannabinoids, just like alcohol and nicotine, could alter the brain’s reward system by creating a dopamine rush that may tune the brain for a heightened response to other drugs. Moreover, there is a possibility that easy access to marijuana may induce users to experiment with other types of hard drugs. This finding is based on the observation that those who have used cocaine and heroin were earlier addicted to cannabis.

Some studies say that cannabis use may mask an undesirable condition for a while, at least till the high persists. But, when the situation returns more intensely than before, the user is compelled to turn to stronger drugs as cannabis fails to produce the same effect.

Sovereign Health can help

Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of drugs in spite of the negative impact on his/her life. The Pain Program at Sovereign Health of San Clemente is designed to assist those individuals whose pain has led to an addiction of either prescription and/or illegal drugs. Our customized substance use disorder programs are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically.

If you or your loved one is addicted to any form of cannabis, it is time to get professional help and support to kick off a lasting recovery.  Whether you are looking for substance abuse treatment centers in California or at a place closer home, call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 819-0427 or chat online to know about the most effective drug addiction treatment programs. Our substance abuse treatment centers in California are among the best in the country.

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