The stigma around marijuana is changing across the globe as the plant moves from a schedule one drug to decriminalization to complete legality. Marijuana has moved beyond the world of a simple recreational drug to a potentially powerful tool that can be used to combat medical ailments.
In a recent study conducted by the people at the American Academy of Neurology, researchers believe that marijuana could be used to treat older people who are prone to suffer from a host of different ailments that include but are not limited to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, neuropathy, spinal cord damage, and multiple sclerosis.
Medical marijuana has researchers excited. It has been discussed that marijuana use among teens could be affecting brain development and even growth. However, researchers believe the use of medical marijuana at older ages, could provide health benefits that could combat these same ailments.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, 80% of older adults suffer from some sort of chronic health condition. With the rise of the legalization of marijuana, researchers are able to use the substance to study its effects.
In the study, the American Academy of Neurology team examined 204 people with an average age of 81 who were enrolled in New York State's Medical Marijuana Program. The lucky elderly participants were given different ratios of the active ingredients found in the marijuana plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) over a four-month period.
The High Results
Taken either via liquid extract tincture, capsule or in an electronic vaporizer, researchers found some interesting results. Though it took some time to get the dosage right, almost 70% of participants experienced some form of relief of symptoms that they deal with every day.
Participants reported a relief from chronic pain, anxiety improvements, better overall feelings, stronger sleep and improvement of neuropathy. Even more so, users reported a 32% reduction in their uses of opioid pain medication.
Study author Laszlo Mechtler, MD, of Dent Neurologic Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, stated: "Our findings show that medical marijuana is well-tolerated in people age 75 and older and may improve symptoms like chronic pain and anxiety.”
"Future research should focus on symptoms like sleepiness and balance problems, as well as efficacy and optimal dosing."