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Sep-03-2020 14:22printcomments

Medical Cannabis Improves Senior Citizens Quality of Life

A new study offers further evidence of the value of medical cannabis as a therapeutic approach for pain management.

cannabis heals

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The use of medical cannabis by those over the age of 60 is positively associated with self-reported improvements in subjects’ health-related quality of life (HRQL), according to data published in the journal Clinical Gerontologist.

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa surveyed seniors regarding their use of medical cannabis and self-reported outcome changes over a one-year period.

Investigators reported a “strong positive association” between subjects’ frequency of cannabis use and self-reported improvements in pain, health-care utilization, and overall health-related quality of life.

Participants failed to report any statistically significant association between medical cannabis use and adverse events.

They concluded:

    “[We] identified a strong positive association between higher frequency of cannabis use and improvement to HRQL and HCU [health-care utilization] scores. ...Our regression modeling also identified a strong positive relationship between higher frequency of cannabis use and self-reported improvements to pain symptoms. The positive relationship between near-daily use and improved reports offers further evidence of the perceived value of medical cannabis as a therapeutic approach for pain management.”

“These results are hardly surprising," said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano.

"Many seniors likely experimented first-hand with cannabis during their youth and are now returning to it as a potential therapy to mitigate many of the health-related symptoms that come with older age, including chronic pain.

"Many seniors are well aware of the litany of serious adverse side-effects associated with available prescription drugs, like opioids, and they perceive medical cannabis to be a viable alternative.”

The study’s findings are similar to several others – such as those here, here, and here – finding that medical cannabis use by seniors is relatively safe and effective at mitigating pain and improving self-reported quality of life.

Data published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2019 reports that rates of marijuana use is climbing among those ages 65 and older.

Source: NORML news release; The abstract of the study, “Assessing health-related outcomes of medical cannabis use among older persons: Findings from Colorado and Illinois,” appears online here.

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