ELDER MUSIC: 1960 Yet Again
Elders and Cannabis – Part 2

Elders and Cannabis – Part 1

PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you for your Happy Birthday comments and emails on Saturday. I spent some quality time with a friend visiting from out of town and otherwise had a quiet day. It was number 77 - a nice one, don't you think?

Although I shied away from acknowledging the thought during my surgical recovery and chemotherapy last year, I don't think I really believed I would be here for this birthday. It's a wonderful surprise and I also frequently think about the support and encouragement you have given me during this ordeal. It has undoubtedly been a big contribution to my now cancer-free status.

Again, thank you so much for your birthday greetings Saturday.

* * *

Did I say cannabis in that headline? That seems to be the latest “approved” name for what the rest of us call pot, weed, maryjane, ganja, dope, hemp, reefer, doobie and tea among probably hundreds of others including, of course, marijuana.

So you know where I'm coming from on this post, I started smoking weed when I was in high school, about age 15 or 16. I still believe it helped get me through the early months of emotional difficulty after my husband and I broke up 15 years later. Most evenings, after work, I'd light up a joint and it kept my mind off my troubles.

But most of my life I've smoked weed because being high is fun. It enhances music, promotes creativity (if you remember to write down your ideas – heh) and is good for all sorts of other activities including sex. Plus, there's no hangover and within three hours or so of imbibing, it wears off.

About ten years ago, I stopped smoking weed altogether because it made me cough so hard. Ageing lungs, I guess. Although I never made the possible connection until this moment, a decade or so ago is also when I started having trouble sleeping. Most nights I woke after three or four hours never able to get to sleep again.

During chemotherapy toward the end of last year I became concerned that it couldn't be good for my cancer treatment that I slept only about half as much as experts tell us we should. I mentioned this to my doctors but they mostly ignored me.

When a new doctor was filling in for one of the regulars, I mentioned it to him. He said, “Oh, just go to one the dispensaries and buy some cannabis. You'll sleep fine.”

And so I have done ever since. It is remarkable how much more alert and sharp I am nowadays with seven or eight hours of sleep a night.

One of the helpers (aka “bud-tenders”) at the dispensary I use told me that the majority of their customers are old people and I've been wondering since then what is known about elders' use of weed. Hence, today's and Wednesday's posts.

Cannabis has been illegal under federal law in the U.S. since 1937 when the Marijuana Tax Act went into effect over the objections from the American Medical Association related to medical usage.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, the most serious category "with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."

Schedule II drugs, which are considered less dangerous in this tightly controlled hierarchy, include cocaine, meth and oxycodone,” reports Mic.

Really? They list meth and oxycodone as less dangerous than marijuana? Doesn't anyone at that agency have a lick of common sense? Or they could just read the research.

More than half the states in the U.S. now disagree with the federal government. As of late last year, 29 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Here is the list with bolded names for states that also allow recreational use:

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Oregon did not legalize weed for recreational use until about two years after I moved here. Before then, late night television commercials for medical marijuana cards were a joke.

Ostensibly meant to advertise medical practices that issued the cards, the ads made clear that even without a health reason, you wouldn't have any trouble getting a card from that physician.

According to a recent story at Alternet, even states that have legalized cannabis retain restrictions that can get a user in serious trouble.

Employers in some of those states can refuse to hire you if marijuana turns up in a pre-hiring drug test.

You will be prevented from legally purchasing fire arms in every state if you are a pot smoker. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) asks potential gun buyers if they use or are addicted to controlled substances and warns on the form:

"The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside."

Even in legal pot states, parents can lose custody of their children for marijuana use and it gets worse, according to Alternet:

”Medical marijuana support groups report hundreds of cases of parents losing custody of their kids, some merely for having registered as medical marijuana patients.

“But there are small signs of positive change on the horizon: California's Prop 64, for instance, includes a provision saying courts can no longer rescind or restrict a parent's custodial rights solely because they have a medical marijuana recommendation.”

If you are poor and live in federally subsidized housing, you can be kicked out of your home for possessing marijuana.

”Under a 1999 HUD Memorandum Regarding Medical Marijuana in Public Housing still in effect, any activity relating to controlled substances, including even medical marijuana, can get you evicted.

“And it doesn't have to be just you. If you live in federally subsidized housing and your grandson gets caught smoking a joint in the parking lot, you can find yourself tossed out on the street.”

When he isn't being publicly berated by President Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions regularly makes noises about beefing up enforcement of federal marijuana law in those 29 states where pot is legal.

Apparently, he is can't see that none of those states is going to give up millions of dollars in tax revenue from legal weed and it won't be long now until the federal government is forced to go along with the states on cannabis. The Feds will happy then, too, to see their portion of pot taxes.

Coming on Wednesday in Part 2: medical uses of marijuana, side effects and information about use by elders. Here is a sneak peak from a STAT report:

"Two papers published [2 April 2018] in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data found that after states legalized weed, the number of opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids went way down...

“Previous research has pointed to a similar correlation. A 2014 paper found that states with medical marijuana laws had nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses.”


As so astutely noted by you and TGB readers, everyone ages differently.

Fast forward to 64. My own aging metabolism cannot handle weed anymore. I dislike feeling out of control, and instead of inducing sleep, it makes me jittery at night. My legs thrash and I just can't "settle". Maybe I should try a different strain, dunno.

That being said, I have discovered that if I limit my consumption to a single hit and no more, then most of the all the benefits you describe apply.

I am much more interested in using the cannabis oil on my husband's chronic skin cancers. (Phoenix Tears). It is not legal in Texas, and we will likely be the last state in the union to embrace it.

First of all, happy belated birthday! I am a nightly user of a Cannabis tincture called “Beauty Sleep” and a half dose gets me right to sleep every night. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I realize that I’m no longer feeling the effects of the stuff, but I still drift back to sleep easily. I used to smoke it but these days, even those it’s legal here, I’m just not interested in getting high like I once did. It should be legal everywhere. Politics. :-)

I make my own CBD tincture with cannabis that is less than 0.01% THC. It helps greatly with chronic pain and after 25 years of prescribed opiates following an auto accident that almost killed me m, by using CBD as help I’m now opiate free and have been since last November.
Opiates made my life fuzzy - all CBD does is help with pain. I also make a topical that I use for arthritis.
And, like you Ronni, I toke a joint in the evening to go to sleep.


Has research that shows clearly that in states where cannabis is legal, opiate use and overdose deaths from opioids have decreased.

I also have used cannabis since I was young. Better than alcohol or tobacco, less addictive than caffeine.
BTW the reason CANBABIS is the preferred name is twofold.
marajuana is a made up word - by Congress- to make cannabis sound Hispanic ... it’s racist and wrong.
The plant name is actually Cannabis.
Happy belated birthday Ronni. Be well.

Excuse my typos. I’m in my iPhone and gave fat fingers.

Having lived in Oklahoma most of my life, I didn't even know what pot smelled like until I moved to Colorado. A family member offered to get some for me during my cancer treatment, but I saw no need. I did read up once on what it could do for my glaucoma and found that I'd need to smoke almost constantly for it to have an effect. Not interested in doing that, and the glaucoma is being controlled just fine with traditional medicine.

Police are still trying to come up with guidelines and ways to measure pot impairment in drivers. No standards yet, but lots more accidents are being attributed to drivers being high.

This is indeed one of the stranger manifestations of our society when a legal substance in some states is not legal in the federal realm. Where legal state transactions are denied the protection of our federal banking industry. Sellers of this perfectly legal substance in my state are in danger of their lives because they cannot "stash the cash" in a bank! And as a consequence, for example, they must carry that cash to state offices to pay state taxes in cash. Ludicrous.

Personally, I have never tried cannabis. When I might have been in an experimenting mood, the only way I knew of to try it was by smoking it. As a reformed smoker that was a severe no-no.

But it would be a fine thing to get a good night's sleep...

The evil of Prohibition should have been enough proof that making a relative harmless drug like Cannibis illegal was stupid, not effective and hard to enforce. Now that the medical benefits of marijuana are well documented it is doubly ignorant to keep the antiquated law of this beneficial drug in place.

Common sense is sorely lacking in our laws and always will be until we start electing intelligent legislators with practical solutions..

I have never tried Cannibis and I wouldn't know where to buy it if I needed to try it. I suppose any teenager could tell me where to purchase it.

I think common sense as well as science tells us anything other than clean air with oxygen in our lungs, nasal passages and throat can have adverse effects on our bodies. Having had cancer and other patients with impaired breathing systems, I’ve seen the ravages to the body smoking can inflict on the oral and respiratory systems. This has made me especially interested in exploring any relationship between pot smoking and respiratory functions. The last I knew not much research has been devoted to determining if some should be concerned about smoking pot, much less specifically the effects on the elder’s body and metabolism versus other age groups, if any. This makes me leery of smoking weed versus absorbing any effects via intake through other means I.e. brownies or other forms for medical or recreational benefits. With the legalization of the substance in so many states, I guess we’ll see a grand experiment over time, if not in my lifetime, about pots usage results.

Though I live in a state where cannabis is legally sold for medicinal purposes, my apartment lease specifically states that the use of cannabis would be grounds for voidance of my lease. Through investigation I have found that is the case for every property I have checked.

While I would love to pursue the use of cannabis for chronic migraine, arthritis, and sleep, I dare not. I need a place to live.

I only hope that enlightenment and knowledge will help bring change to the law regarding cannabis possession and use.

Happy belated birthday Ronni.

Sending you a virtual ((((((((Ronni)))))))))


Cannabis is now legal in Vermont for recreational purposes. Also legal for a household to grow it.

Ack! I missed your birthday. Belated best wishes, Ronni!

I'm at the age (or maybe just stage) where every trip to the doctor results in something new to consider and/or address, so the idea of putting smoke in my lungs has no appeal. But the Feds should follow the states' trend on this one, in my humble opinion.

One of the cool things about cannabis these days is that you don't have to smoke it -- better for your health and shouldn't be a problem if there are lease restrictions. I make homemade tincture that is mostly CBD for post-mastectomy pain. I also vape a sleep-inducing strain or drink a cannabis sleep tea. There are many sleep edibles available in states where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal. I'm kind of new at this -- didn't try it until I retired, and now I enjoy learning and writing about cannabis options for older adults.

The reason that we have federal marijuana laws now is the same reason we had prohibition all those years. A misguided sense of what THEY think is good for us. Surprisingly, it;s the so-called "Less government is better" Republican controlled congress that are the hardliners against the legalization of pot. Hopefully, the "Billy Sunday's" of this world will get voted out and we can all get back to doing what's right.

My state, North Carolina is antidiluvian on this issue, sad to say. For me, one toke this morning would have me wonderfully high all day, and then so full of exciting ideas, and tired but wired, I woudn't sleep a wink tonight. Then would follow a two day recovery that would not be fun. That sad state developed over the last ten years. But how I would love to have access to the pain relieving, sleep inducing tinctures!
It is bizarre that states refuse to allow usage of the plant that was initially used for healing.

First of all, happy belated birthday!
Glad you are well!
My brother owns a few cannabis stores in California. He told me that the majority of his customers are old people and he helps them. I thought he was patting himself on the back. Now I know that’s true.
My brother got in the cannabis business accidentally. My brother called the police reporting a tenant smoking pot(before CA legalized cannabis). The police wouldn’t do anything about it...

Have been using cannabis for years as a sleep aid. With fibromyalgia lack of sleep is one's worst enemy. Light sleep means more pain and frustration the next day(s). For much of the early years I used a bong/bubbler which helped reduce the harshness, but the ultimate way to inhale the sleepy time varieties for me is to use a vaporizer. I need the buzz to distract from the tight, twisting pain that builds up over the day. Helps me ignore the pain and drift off. Even though I am up a couple times a night, I usually can drift off again. Occasionally, a couple puffs in the middle of the night, get me past the sleep barrier when too many thoughts are bouncing around in my head.

The vaporizer also emits less odor which dissipates quickly, too. I don't want the buzz during waking hours, but at bedtime, ahhh!

Elle, your typo about "giving" fat fingers gave me a giggle, since I, too, give fat fingers. You might try using a stylus pen. You can get a pack of 12 combination pens in all different beautiful colors from Amazon for $7.99. They actually last much longer than the 12-pack packaging would imply. Sometimes I gift extra pens to children, grandchildren.

Happy birthday Ronni, 77 is a good number indeed. THC has never agreed with me. After about 50 years I tried some again recently and it was disastrous I seem to go to a dark depressing place filled with death.

However, I do use orally ingested (in honey) CBD for chronic pain and it alleviates it mightily.

I firmly believe it is the pharma lobbies that stop general usage.

But it is legal in Canada now.


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