Seniors In Search of Re-Leaf

One of the most surprising “side-effects” of the legalization of marijuana for adults 21 and over in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado, has been the excitement of the white haired population about this newly-available “over-the-counter” option for pain control.

One of the primary conditions that affects us as we age is Osteoarthritis. This feeling of a “grating” in the joints where the lubrication is deteriorating can be excruciatingly painful and debilitating. It can stop a person from wanting to do anything due to pain.wp-1481919010383.jpg

Arthritis is something that is treated often by patients using cannabis-based topical creams and ointments. For those patients who desire an absence of THC, alleviating the possibility that their hand cream could make them even slightly intoxicated, there are CBD-only preparations and “hemp root” creams that are known to reduce the inflammation in painful joints and allow sufferers to get on with their desired activities.

The senior crowd seems to be in search of information even more than the products themselves. In a sea of questionable ad-hoc testimonial-based cannabis information, our parents, grandparents and their friends are seeking answers. The sources they are used to relying on for their health-care information are woefully uninformed about this botanical medicine, and most recreational-only marijuana outlets are not trained to educate anyone about the health-care benefits of cannabis. So, where do they go to learn?

The generations who use internet searches in their daily lives have access to a wealth of a variety of personal testimonials published on the web. Through social media sites and blogs, cannabis patients have shared their experiences about this plant. However, the older population is much less likely to be adept at searching for information through the net, and some have debilitating eye or coordination conditions that make it all but impossible to use a computer.

Many seniors are asking their adult children or friends of their adult children for advice. Others are paralyzed by confusion about the topic, still others are just experimenting in much the same way the generation younger has in search of relief for various conditions.

13407260_10206907529582536_4715656192348125301_nHal Proctor is one of the older Americans who asked his adult child about cannabis. After his son, Sam, stated he used cannabis in his back surgery recovery, Hal was curious about the medical benefits his son extolled about the plant. He wanted to see if the oil his son spoke about would help his diabetic neuropathy. The elder Mr. Proctor was amazed at the results, stating that there was a noticeable decrease in the swelling of his legs and feet as well as a considerable lessening of the pain from diabetic neuropathy.

When Hal first began inquiring about cannabis, he was experiencing ulcerations in his legs from diabetes.  He had been undergoing medical wound care through his physicians for over three years without any relief from the open sores. When his son, Sam, suggested a topical concentrated cannabis oil for his sores, Hal figured he had nothing to lose. He had watched his own son eat the raw cannabis plant and miraculously heal his paralyzation, why not try the oil on his legs? Within three weeks the sores had disappeared.

His legs were not the only place he felt relief. Hal states that when he is on cannabis, “overall I feel ten times better than when I’m not taking it.” He states that it, “improves the length and quality of my sleep and I even snore less!”

The healing that Hal experienced did not go unnoticed by his physicians, but as soon as he mentioned his “magical cure,” they were quick to let him know they did not want details, but they recommended that he continue “whatever was working.”

 

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“Grandma Cat” Jeter

Many of this older generation grew up being taught never to even touch the leaf of a wild hemp plant growing in a ditch. Others had experimented during their own college days. The propaganda of their youth has filled many of the seniors who are searching for answers with misinformation. Getting past the lies their government  has instilled in them while finding out the truth about the medical benefits has been the goal of a movement called “The Silver Tour,” based out of Florida who have lobbied in Washington D.C. as well as locally in Florida to change cannabis laws.

14169731_10153602248116511_1606334963_n
Courtesy: Cat Jeter

 

Cat Jeter, called “Grandma Cat” by a community that adores her, is a strong advocate for older cannabis patients. The founder of Deep Green, she personally teaches classes in both activism and medicine use and preparation. She gives some very important advice:

“I think there are two things that are terribly important for those who are uninitiated:

First “Go low and go slow” – Start with low doses and take your time experimenting with the amount that works best for you.

Second, don’t be afraid to ask the same question in a number of different venues or of different people.

Much of our “knowledge” is anecdotal.  There are a variety of experiences out there which leads me back to the first: Listen to all and go low and slow.”

Our senior population wants answers but some don’t even know the questions to ask. As more studies are performed and more information is available it is crucial that we don’t forget the older population that has been waiting longer than the rest of us for the same answers.  

 

(Author’s note: An updated version of this piece will be published in Everything Medical Marijuana magazine in the April 2017 edition)

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