We've discussed this several times before but I think it is worth coming back to because use of cannabis among elders continues to increase but I keep meeting people (in a state where it is legal) who are interested but hesitant to try it.
The little wicker basket next to my bed holds several brands and types of edible cannabis I use for sleep. It's quite a collection now. Currently, there are two kinds of chocolate, four of fruit-flavored gummies, one of lemon hard candies and a bottle of tincture.
Even when they contain the same dosage of THC, the effectiveness of each differs with me depending on how frequently I use it. One of my physicians and several marijuana dispensary employees have confirmed my experience, that the same product used every night will eventually stop working – which happened to me.
So now I keep that nice little variety around to mix it up from night to night.
Currently, 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis to a greater or lesser degree. Some restrict usage to what is called “medical marijuana” that for purchase usually requires a card from a physician. Many other states now allow recreational marijuana.
Here is a map of current legal availability as of 25 June 2019. Follow this link for more information by individual state.
Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana use and later legalized it for people 21 and older – first for medical use and then expanded to recreational use.
In the past month or two, I've noticed that my local Safeway supermarket is now selling CBD products. CBD is the non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis. It's counterpart, THC, gets you high.
When I first started experimenting with cannabis for sleep, I tried CBD. It worked about as well as a glass of water so I switched to THC which not only puts me to sleep, it keeps me there for seven to eight hours which I hadn't slept in a decade or more.
Other people say CBD works well for them.
When the subject of marijuana use comes up in conversation, it is predicable that someone will say, “Oh, but I wouldn't want to get high.” To which I can only say, “Why not?”
Mostly I'm asleep before the high kicks in because that takes about two hours with edibles as opposed to smoking pot which is almost immediate. (No smoking for me with COPD.)
I patronize several cannabis dispensaries in Oregon all of whom have told me that the majority of their customers are old people. WebMD reported on a 2018 survey of elders who use marijuana for chronic pain.
”...it reduced pain and decreased the need for opioid painkillers.
“Nine out of 10 liked it so much they said they'd recommend medical pot to others.
"'I was on Percocet and replaced it with medical marijuana. Thank you, thank you, thank you,' said one senior.”
Many say that marijuana doesn't eliminate pain but it does make it manageable.
Dr. Mark Wallace, a board member of the American Pain Society, told WebMD,
"'The geriatric population is my fastest-growing patient population. With medical marijuana, I'm taking more patients off opioids,' he said. "'There's never been a reported death from medical marijuana, yet there are 19,000 deaths a year from prescription opioids. Medical cannabis is probably safer than a lot of drugs we give,' Wallace said.”
I've made sure my cannabis use is included on my list of medications so that doctors can consider drug interactions when/if they prescribe something new.
The body of scientific research suggests that cannabis is useful in treating a variety of conditions and diseases such as
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
• Anorexia due to HIV/AIDS
• Chronic pain
• Crohn's disease
• Epilepsy or seizures
• Multiple sclerosis or severe muscle spasms
• Nausea, vomiting or severe wasting associated with cancer treatment
• Terminal illness
• Tourette syndrome
Note that they don't list sleep but I can't be the only old person who has discovered that use.
The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) which has been lobbying for legalization since 1970 reports that
”According to national polling data compiled by Gallup in October 2019, 66 percent of the public - including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and Independents - favor adult-use legalization.
"Bipartisan support among the public for medical marijuana legalization is even stronger.”
I was in high school when I smoked my first joint. I enjoyed it then and, presumably, I still would if I could stay awake long enough to feel the high.
But what I can't figure out is how, through the decades, I had so much time to fool around - it's not like you get much done when you're stoned. Who knew, back then, that weed would be my key to getting a good night's sleep.
Certainly some TGB readers use cannabis. Let's hear from you, and if you want, feel free to use an alias in place of your name.