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Meds Cannabis for the Elderly


Well-Known Member

My dad spent the last two years of his life in a skilled nursing facility. He’d complain about the nightly noise—the screams, shrieks and cries of dementia patients—that made sleeping difficult.

My dad liked biscuits. I like cannabis. One day I made hashish biscuits and delivered them to my dad around dinner time. I returned the next day and asked my dad how he slept.

“I slept goooooooood,” he said.

I told my dad I’d dosed him. An old Mexican who sold opium to village elders as a boy, he knew the curative powers as well as the political and cultural propaganda surrounding marijuana. But he asked me not to make these biscuits again, fearing he’d be kicked out of the home if the administration found out. He returned to sleepless nights.

A Real Alternative for Seniors
Insomnia is a nagging affliction for many people who suffer conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, depression and restless leg syndrome. Cannabis, according to doctors, nurses and caregivers who work with seniors, is an effective treatment for elderly people and others who suffer from insomnia.

As part of our focus on seniors and insomnia this week, we sought out stories and perspectives from four people in the San Francisco Bay Area—a dispensary owner, a nurse, a doctor and a retired political aide—who use and endorse cannabis to treat insomnia.

Seniors Rarely Sleep Through the Night
Sue Taylor is a former Catholic school principal turned expert on senior citizens and cannabis. Licensed by the state of California to educate doctors and nurses on the use of cannabis as medicine, she also serves as a county commissioner on aging. Taylor is working to open a cannabis dispensary in Berkeley this summer aimed at specifically serving senior citizens.

In a recent interview with Leafly, Taylor said insomnia is a common ailment among the seniors she meets at the educational events she conducts at senior communities and care facilities.

“You rarely find a senior who can sleep through the night, including myself,” said Taylor, 69. “It’s a major concern. A lot of seniors use alcohol to put them to sleep. We’ve got to get the word out that there are healthier ways to help them sleep.”

Taylor didn’t use cannabis until she started working with seniors as an outreach coordinator at pioneering Oakland medical cannabis dispensary Harborside Health Center seven years ago. Nowadays she uses small doses of a tincture that’s high in CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and low in THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. It’s a 30:1 ratio of CBD to THC.

“I don’t want anything foreign in my body,” Taylor said. “I don’t take a pill for anything. My doctor told me to use Benadryl to sleep. The pharmaceutical approach to health care in our country—all these opiates and other pills—that has to be addressed. Cannabis can eliminate all of that.”

Taylor sees herself as a cannabis ambassador whose job is to remove the stigma of the botanical drug for a generation that was raised on “Reefer Madness.” The audiences she works with like to adhere to rules, and at the same time they’re overwhelmed by prescription drugs.

“Life is not a bitch and then you die when you’re 50,” Taylor said. “You can live a thriving, useful life as you age. But you can’t do it if you’re on 15 pills. That robs you of the happiness that you deserve. Cannabis can help people in our age group live better lives.”

The No-Narco Nurse
Barbara Blaser, 71, is a registered nurse who consults with patients at Magnolia Wellness, an Oakland medical cannabis dispensary run by her daughter Debby Goldsberry, a long-time cannabis activist.

While she can’t legally recommend cannabis products, Blaser steers Magnolia’s patients toward the treatments she herself uses for her own anxiety-induced insomnia—a 5-mg dose of 18:1 CBD-THC tincture and 5 mgs of an edible. The tincture takes effect within a few minutes. The edible takes in about 90 minutes, just as the tincture wears off and she’s falling asleep.

“I wear a Fitbit activity tracker and the Fitbit logs your sleep,” Blaser said. “I can see from the time I took my tincture to the time I went to sleep and as the edible puts me at a different level of sleep, lasting about 5 to 7 hours.”

Blaser said about 40 percent of the patients she meets at Magnolia suffer from insomnia.

“There’s a whole lot out there that’s gonna make a difference for seniors,” she told Leafly, “because not sleeping can really put a dent in your life.”

Blaser discovered cannabis’ benefits later in life.

“It took me a long time to decide to use cannabis because I grew up with Nancy Reagan and ‘Just Say No,’” Blaser said. “It was difficult to recognize that cannabis wasn’t going to hurt me, that my mother wasn’t going to be in my dreams screaming at me.”

Blaser said her husband also noticed the benefits of cannabis.

“I actually stopped taking it for a little while and my husband, about three days later, said, ‘Do you think you can go back on that?’ I was restless.”

Half of Her Patients Have Insomnia
Dr. Vanessa Niles, 61, discovered the medical benefits of cannabis several years ago when a colleague was diagnosed with breast cancer and asked Niles to treat her with cannabis.

“I lived in Georgia and we had to go through a lot to get cannabis to relieve her symptoms,” Niles said. “That’s why I’m here” in California.

Today, Niles operates a medical cannabis evaluation clinic in Vallejo, northeast of San Francisco.

“We see approximately 40 patients a day and half of them have insomnia,” Niles said. “It doesn’t matter what the original disease issue was. It can be related to pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, restless leg syndrome, cancer. It ends up in insomnia.”

She said about one-third of her patients are senior citizens.

“You’d be surprised at how millennials and people in their 40s and 50s suffer from insomnia,” Niles said.

Niles said she recommends edibles and indica strains. She herself uses cannabis to treat her own sleep issues.

“I take a tincture that’s a combination CBD and THC, a 1:1 ratio,” she said. “In addition to that I take an edible that’s about 25 to 50 mg.”

She said she longs for the day when doctors in the United States can conduct the progressive cannabis research that’s taking place in Israel, Canada and the UK.

“We need to get cannabis off of Schedule 1 and get down to the real science behind it,” Niles said. “Clearly, we have proven that patients get great relief from cannabis. But until we get it off being a Schedule 1 drug, we are in a quandary.”

Midnight Toker
Bob, a suburban East Bay retiree who asked that his last name not be used because, he said, “Jeff Sessions,” vaporizes hybrid strains of cannabis flowers and smokes hashish to help him sleep.

“I’ve got prostate issues that make me get up in the middle of the night three or four times to go to the bathroom,” he said. “I get the first three hours of sleep pretty good and then I have to get up to go the bathroom. But if there’s something cooking on my mind or if Donald Trump gets into my head, I can’t get back to sleep. So what I do is take a couple hits of cannabis and get back to sleep.”

As someone who’s used cannabis “off and on since 1965,” Bob, 71, said his nightly routine includes cannabis to help him relax before bed and to alleviate arthritis pain in his hips.

He said he suffers no intoxicating effects that make him fear falling or leave him feeling hungover in the morning.

“That’s the nice thing about it,” he said. “If I take some of these pharmaceutical sleep aids or codeine, the next day I’m shot and dopey until noon.”

A former aide to a pro-cannabis politician, Bob said there needs to be more education about how cannabis benefits seniors.

“My wife and I took care of a cancer patient in 2000,” Bob said. “The hospice said he was going to die within 48 hours. We gave him some cannabis in a pipe and about 20 minutes later he said, ‘Maybe I will eat.’ He was down to 93 pounds. He started eating and he lived for another year.”

I vape these days for sleep issues associated with chronic radicular neuropathic pain. My state's MMJ dispensaries will open in about 4-5 months which will be a relief to me as there are definitely some strains and forms of MJ that are more effective for this than others. IMO, the only people who poo-poo "sleep problems" as not a real issue are those that don't yet have one.
@Baron23 great article! I know I sleep much better if I dab about an hour before sleep.

And last night.... I ate an edible around 8:00 pm. Had a tough time keeping my eyes open past 10:30.... and actually slept until 7:30! Only one quick wake up around 3:00 am (which is like clock work for me). I usually am awake several times a night and never, ever sleep until 7:30. And I'm still a bit groggy. So I can attest to the powers of cannabis for a good night's sleep, lol.
@Baron23 great article! I know I sleep much better if I dab about an hour before sleep.

And last night.... I ate an edible around 8:00 pm. Had a tough time keeping my eyes open past 10:30.... and actually slept until 7:30! Only one quick wake up around 3:00 am (which is like clock work for me). I usually am awake several times a night and never, ever sleep until 7:30. And I'm still a bit groggy. So I can attest to the powers of cannabis for a good night's sleep, lol.
Wow, Mom...what a coincidence (well, maybe not considering what kind of forum we are on! LOL). Last night I also took an edible and it knocked me out quite effectively.

Please understand, I have very little experience with edibles. I think my first experience was in 1971 or so when flying to NY from another east coast city with three grams of pencil hash and $9K (don't ask). This was also the first day EVERY that carry on bags were searched. It was so new, and this was an 8 am flight, that they weren't even set up for it and took me and one other guy into a stairwell to search our bags. Of course, pre-notified of this, I ate the 3 grams of hash (which I'm pretty cure is decarb'd from heat used to make it in places like Pakistan, Napal, etc). It was kind of funny, they opened the other guys briefcase and he was an engineer from a nearby Westinghouse facility and found slide rule, paper, etc. They open up my little blue Pan Am bag and found a dirty towel and just shy of $10k which is the legal limit. I did make the flight but took the train home! LOL

But more on point, edibles are not readily available in non-legal states and just getting some decent herb is so tough that I hesitate to turn any into edibles.

My experience with them is limited but my issue with them for sleep is the wide variance I'm getting in on-set and effects. I received a 40 mg carmel...commercially made in a legal state....cut it in half and ate it. Nothing at all. A month or so later, ate the other half, got nicely buzzed (although an edible buzz is certainly different that vaping IMO).

I did have some locally made wax...2 g's of it...that I just would not dab as it wasn't clean enough (tasted like grass cuttings). So, I decarb'd it and made brownies out of it. Same thing with on-set and effect variance. I licked the spoon and bowl when making the brownies and was launched. Its funny how much it dilates my eyes when eating it making everything too bright. Eat a brownie a week or so later, nothing. Eat a brownie last night (I froze them) and within 30 minutes it was coming on and an hour later I was VERY nicely medicated. Sort of watched the hockey game and then slept very well. I only remember getting up out of bed twice in the night which is probably a record for the last decade. Usually I wake a dozen times and have to get out of bed and move around 4-5 times a night.

I am interested to see how a sublingual will work....a good tincture....as an edible for sleep under the assumption that uptake will be more consistent. Optimally, I would like to vape a bit and take some sort of edible so that when the vaping wears off the edible will continue to sedate. Not quite there yet.
My experience with them is limited but my issue with them for sleep is the wide variance I'm getting in on-set and effects. I received a 40 mg carmel...commercially made in a legal state....cut it in half and ate it. Nothing at all. A month or so later, ate the other half, got nicely buzzed (although an edible buzz is certainly different that vaping IMO).
I've hit on these 'De-Stress Balls' at the dispensary that seem to be really consistent in how they hit me. But the variables you are describing here and after in your post make me think it has to do with what's in your stomach when you ingest your edible. It can make a huge difference.

The best rule of thumb I've found is to eat something light that has some fat in it about an hour prior. It creates the first pass through... and allows the edible to absorb better. I'd have to try to look up the article to get the specifics...

In any case, they used to say ingest on an empty stomach. But I've found the above method to be a lot more effective.

I am interested to see how a sublingual will work....a good tincture....as an edible for sleep under the assumption that uptake will be more consistent.
I've had good luck with tinctures. And this reminds me that I forgot all about the tincture I've had in my pantry soaking for... I'm not even sure how long now. I see some straining in my future. :dog:

But just like with edibles, the strain and potency are going to make a difference in how it effects you. It's really trial and error to find what works best for you. That's why I really like those De-Stress Balls. They've been really consistent.
I vape these days for sleep issues associated with chronic radicular neuropathic pain. My state's MMJ dispensaries will open in about 4-5 months which will be a relief to me as there are definitely some strains and forms of MJ that are more effective for this than others. IMO, the only people who poo-poo "sleep problems" as not a real issue are those that don't yet have one.
I was born with a number of conditions that cause insomnia myself. Sleep problems are real, and nothing in life goes well unless you can sleep sufficiently is what I have learned.

Cannabis (especially concentrates) is the ultimate insomnia medicine and that alone should be obvious grounds to legalize around the entire world. Nobody can dispute that cannabis can provide sleep in a gentle way that won't leave you a drooling addict like the pharma alternatives. It is the plainest fact on earth!
I'm middle aged with some health problems, and if wacky tabacky just made improved my mood and outlook on would improve my quality of life. It does help in some other ways, but elevating my mind above trivial matters is much easier if I can vape some cannabis here and there. Doesn't even need to be a lot, but because it feels so good... Hey at least I'm not going to overdose when I do go too far. Can't say that for most "medicine" the doctors like to recommend. I'm glad seniors somewhere are getting some help in this way. Get it to the people who need it most, seniors, veterans, terminally ill, you know the list
Everybody's got something that could benefit from the magic plant, I think. Well maybe almost everyone. It would suck to be allergic to it. Sometimes I think it keeps me up though
Elderly Cannabis Patients Use Fewer Prescription Drugs, Study Shows

Father time is very cruel. As people age, their body deteriorates and all kinds of aches, pains, and conditions set in. It’s something no one can avoid.

As someone starts to experience age-related health issues, their doctors typically ramp up prescriptions for pharmaceutical drugs.

Many pharmaceutical drugs come with a number of side-effects, which themselves create conditions that then, according to doctors, need to also be treated by pharmaceutical drugs.

It can become a vicious cycle that slowly poisons the elderly patient, and in some cases, creates a severe addiction that can ultimately kill the patient.

Obviously, pharmaceutical drugs are warranted in some situations, however, they should be avoided when there is a safer, effective alternative.

According to a recent study out of Israel, cannabis may be able to help lower the need for pharmaceutical drugs among nursing home patients.

What Does the Study Say?
A team of researchers in Israel explore the relationship between cannabis use among elderly nursing home patients and their rate of prescription medication use.

The study involved 19 patients that had their prescription drug intake monitored for one year. Every one of the patients relied on nursing home care, and all of them were federal Israelie medical cannabis patients.

Each one of the patients were allowed to consume from four undefined cannabis strains.

According to the researchers, “All patients experienced immediate relief from medical cannabis usage.” Patients reported reduced pain, an increase in appetite, better sleep, and significant improvements in spasticity symptoms.

One of the most encouraging findings from the study was that the patients reduced their prescription drug intake by an average of 39 percent, with the largest reductions involving opioids, anxiolytics, and antidepressants.

“We found an overall improvement in the patients, including of their symptoms and medical conditions, cessation or reduction of traditional drug usage, and a general improvement in life quality. … Overall, 39 dosages of prescription drugs were cancelled for the 19 elderly individuals included in this research, indicating that medical cannabis can be an effective treatment that also reduces environmental drug load.” researchers concluded.

Share These Results, Temper Expectations
The results of this study is definitely encouraging, however, before you go running to your grandparents make sure to temper expectations.

Different patients have different biological systems, and every case is different. What works for one patient may not work for the next patient.

Elderly nursing home residents that you may know may not suffer from the same conditions as the individuals in this study, and the types of cannabis consumed and consumption methods involved may vary.

With that being said, cannabis has been proven to be safer than most pharmaceuticals, and quite possibly could be safer than all of them (more studies are needed).

If you now someone that is in a nursing home, they are willing to give cannabis a shot, and it doesn’t violate the nursing home’s policies, you should suggest they give cannabis a try!
Not sure how I missed this thread but will have to read when I'm more focused.

My old man is in the throes of dementia and my mom is recovering from being resuscitated after going in to cardiac arrest.

My dad is anxious, easily agitated and generally a huge pain in the ass to be around. My mom complains about her myriad of afflictions...being stuck w. each 24/7 only adds to the irritations.

Wonder who could benefit the most from it but won't? Reefer madness generation, tho mom is aware of my heavy use and is Canni-curious.

It's probably too late for either of them to enjoy the many benefits of this amazing flower.....so glad they got it legalized within my lifetime

Wonder who could benefit the most from it but won't? Reefer madness generation, tho mom is aware of my heavy use and is Canni-curious.

It's probably too late for either of them to enjoy the many benefits of this amazing flower.....so glad they got it legalized within my lifetime

My parents are probably from the same generation. If they were born later things would be different.“What’s wrong with these people, are they smoking pot?” “ “They’re a bunch of pot smokers.” I forwarded an article about legalizing cannabis as a way to stimulate the economy and my dad laughed and said “Medical I have no problem with but the rest...” I was surprisedto be honest. It was almost as though he thought the whole concept wasn’t a bad idea.
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.

(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.

6 Ways Cannabis Can Improve The Life Of Seniors

Cannabis has shown promise for relieving Alzheimer’s Disease, chronic pain, poor appetite, and other issues that affect seniors.
The older we get, the more demands and care our bodies require. One estimate claims that by the year 2030, the current statistics on senior diseases will be doubled, resulting in 15 million adults that will suffer from some sort of ailment. With this in mind, can cannabis improve the life of seniors? If so, how?

A positive development in all of this is that cannabis remains a newcomer to the health field, transforming it into a well of untapped potential. You can expect a lot of studies about cannabis and its effect on seniors in the near future. Here are 6 ways in which cannabis can make things easier for seniors and their family members:

Cannabis improves their quality of life

As we age, our bodies start to deteriorate in every way, leading to some pain and discomfort. Seniors are more prone to experience inflammation, mental and bone health issues and high pressure. Luckily, there’s anecdotal evidence and some studies that say cannabis is a good way of providing some relief.

It’s a natural compound
Without messing with chemicals that may do more harm than good (especially in a deteriorating body), cannabis relies on its natural properties, treating patients with gentleness and care. The plant is multidimensional and has a variety of consumption methods, affecting a wide range of diseases, and effectively managing their symptoms in the least invasive way.

There’s no need for seniors to get high
Even though a little high has never hurt anybody, there’s no reason why seniors using medical marijuana need to get high as well. Experts have started to develop effective medicinal CBD strains that contain small amounts of THC. These strains focus their efforts on the therapeutic side of the plant, producing little to no psychoactive effect.

It’s safer than prescription drugs
Opioid related deaths are one of the most serious crises Americans face, and a well regulated plan of medicinal cannabis could help diminish that. While it’s believed that opioids affect younger people, statistics claim that over 2.8 million seniors have abused prescription drugs within the last year. Opioids pose a threat for seniors and increase their chances of falling, which is one of the main reason why they end up on nursing homes. A steady and well managed dosage of marijuana can drastically reduce these risks.

Cannabis can foster a sense of community
Loneliness is something that greatly affects seniors and that can act as a gateway for depression, diseases, and even death. Cannabis is considered a mind enhancing substance, which could help seniors develop their creativity, improve social skills, and promote their relaxation.

Cannabis and healthcare
After enduring stigma from many years, the U.S. is getting closer to accepting cannabis as official medicine, hopefully making the drug available for healthcare programs, reducing costs and improving the lives of many.
Marijuana Use In Older People Associated With Positive Effects On Sleep: Study

According to a newly released study, daily marijuana use by older adults is associated with improved sleep duration. The study was published in the journal Cannabis, and was first reported on by NORML.

For the study – titled Cannabis use is associated with greater total sleep time in middle-aged adults with and without HIV: A preliminary report utilizing digital health technologies – researchers with the University of California at San Diego examined the relationship between daily cannabis use and sleep quality over a 14-day period in a cohort of older adults (ages 50 to 70) with and without HIV. “Participants wore actigraphy watches during the study period to objectively assess their quality of sleep.”

The study found that cannabis use was associated with, on average, some 30 minutes of increased sleep time per evening.

They concluded: “In our small sample, findings showed cannabis use was associated with longer sleep duration. … [F]uture studies with larger sample sizes that assess cannabis use in more detail are needed to further understand this relationship.”

The full text of the study, “Cannabis use is associated with greater total sleep time in middle-aged adults with and without HIV: A preliminary report utilizing digital health technologies,” appears in the journal Cannabis.

The full abstract of this study can be found in its entirety below:

Current literature on the effect of cannabis use on sleep quality is mixed, and few studies have used objectively-measured sleep measures or real-time sampling of cannabis use to examine this relationship. The prevalence of cannabis use among older adults and persons living with HIV has increased in recent years, and poor sleep quality is elevated in these populations as well. However, research examining cannabis-sleep relationships in these populations is lacking. Thus, we aimed to examine the relationship between daily cannabis use and subsequent objectively-measured sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with and without HIV. In this pilot study, seventeen (11 HIV+, 6 HIV−) adults aged 50–70 who consumed cannabis completed four daily smartphone-based surveys for 14 days, in which they reported their cannabis use (yes/no) since the last survey. Participants also wore actigraphy watches during the 14-day period to objectively assess sleep quality (i.e., efficiency, total sleep time, and sleep fragmentation). In linear mixed-effects models, cannabis use was significantly associated with greater subsequent total sleep time (β=0.56; p=0.046). Cannabis use was not related to a change in sleep efficiency (β=1.50; p=0.46) nor sleep fragmentation (β=0.846, p=0.756) on days with cannabis use versus days without cannabis use. These preliminary results indicate cannabis use may have a positive effect on sleep duration in middle-aged and older adults. However, future studies with larger sample sizes that assess cannabis use in more detail (e.g., route of administration, dose, reason for use) are needed to further understand this relationship.
We've come a long way baby...... this is from the Yahoo home page!

Pot Smoking Baby Boomers Are On The Rise, Why Are Scientists So Happy For Them? Hint: Benefits For The Aging Brain

As cannabis users get older and/or as weed consumption among seniors becomes more common (it has quadrupled in the past seven years!) a group of scientists honed in on this large demographic of pot-smoking baby boomers..and guess what? Their results suggest that the use of whole-plant cannabis does not have a negative impacton cognition. In fact, the opposite is true.

The study, done at the University of Colorado Boulder, examined the effects of cannabis use in adults aged 60 to 88 with no history of alcohol or other substance use disorder.

Gary Wenk Ph.D., a scientist not involved in the study, noted that while high THC levels can have negative effects on the adolescent brain, quite the opposite is true with older brains. Older cannabis users, relative to non-users, have significantly greater neuronal communication between the cerebellum and hippocampus.

Why? Age-related changes in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) include a decrease in the number of cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain. The ECS, a significant aspect of our human physiology that helps maintain homeostasis, is a complex cell-signaling system in the brain and body that interacts with just about all of our other body systems.

Decreased Number Of Cannabinoid Receptors Need Stimulation, Which Means...?​

During normal aging, the decline in cannabinoid receptors correlates with increased levels of inflammation in these brain regions causing a loss of neurons in the hippocampus, which is critical for learning and memory. This, in short, explains age-related memory impairment.

Wenk referred to his own laboratory studies that showed improved memory, decreased brain inflammation and increased hippocampal neurogenesis in older brains after the daily stimulation of cannabinoid receptors. The potential benefits are important given that the cerebellum and hippocampus are highly vulnerable to the effects of aging. The hippocampus is stable until around age 50, at which point the hippocampus undergoes a rapid period of atrophy,” he wrote in Psychology Today, adding that hippocampus atrophy is consistent with mild cognitive impairment.

“The few human studies of the effect of cannabis on the brain in middle-aged or older adults found little or no negative effects on cognitive function. Longitudinal studies that compared pre- and post-exposure performance reported that cannabis was associated with improved cognitive task performance in middle-aged adults,” Dr. Wenk wrote.

"Low-dose, daily cannabis use after age 55 might effectively reduce the degenerative effects of chronic brain inflammation," Wenk concluded

Working with a member from another site on mixing these different cultivars to see what effects they produce
If a sedative can be achieved this may be a way around the rules for folks in assisted living
After 40 + years of cannabis use I feel it gives me the peace I need in life. Keeps me calm and grounded in a crazy world. Allows me the patients to deal with the ridiculous. I don’t feel elderly but may fall in that category in some circles.
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Throughout my 20s, I tried weed only a handful of times. I experimented with different strains, from indica to sativa and different forms, from joints to edibles. All of them would send me into a paranoid thought-loop.

Then, at age 29, I tried a low-THC strain, knowing it might be less likely to cause anxiety. It actually didn't make me anxious at all. A few weeks later, a friend offered me a few puffs of a very high-THC strain, which I expected would send me back into my old thought patterns — but it actually just made me feel happy and creatively inspired.

Why does weed suddenly like me? I wondered. It turns out weed can actually have a different effect on us as we age.

“I have heard from many patients and colleagues about this phenomenon of cannabis affecting them differently over the years,” says Nikola Djordjevic, physician and medical advisor for the online cannabis guide LoudCloudHealth. “It ranges from ‘nothing’s changed’ to people experiencing full-blown panic attacks and increased anxiety out of the blue.”

Evidently, the changes people experience in their reaction to weed aren’t always positive. Christopher Klein, a 32-year-old working in gym sales in Austin, says that after a decade of consistent use, cannabis no longer helps him sleep like it used to.

The most common change people see is simply increased tolerance to THC, the compound in cannabis that makes you feel high, which results in less intense effects, says Bonni Goldstein, physician, and medical director of Canna-Centers Wellness and Education, which offers potential cannabis patients medical evaluations. “Tolerance happens when the cannabinoid receptors detect too much THC over time, causing the receptors to withdraw into the cells, basically ‘hiding’ from the THC in the bloodstream,” she explains. This can also lead to increased anxiety, because it may prevent the endocannabinoid system from working to maintain balance.

“Very heavy frequent use will down-regulate cannabinoid receptors, making the body less adaptive to stress and changing neuroendocrine environments,” explains Joseph Morgan, a physician and medical expert for the cannabis education platform Green Flower Media. Some heavy users even begin to develop Cannabis Emesis Syndrome, which is characterized by nausea and vomiting while stoned.

When people become less anxious and more relaxed on cannabis over time, on the other hand, it’s often because they’re less anxious about the weed itself, since they’re used to it, Goldstein says. In addition, THC use can — in some cases — balance out the endocannabinoid system over time in a way that reduces overall anxiety.

A variety of other factors like diet, stress levels, exercise, and brain injuries can also physically change the brain receptors in our endocannabinoid systems so that we process the compounds in cannabis differently, Goldstein tells Mic.

Sometimes, someone’s intentions or expectations when using cannabis can change its effect, says Morgan. That was the case for Pedro Martinez, a 37-year-old small business owner and photographer in Long Beach, California. “When I first started smoking cannabis, it was all recreational. Something to do with friends and act stupid. It made me feel pretty dumb. I still smoked it and just got silly,” he says. “Cannabis for me these days is all about getting to relax. I am more structured with it, too — I won’t smoke weed during work hours.”

Martinez’s experience expresses how the larger context of what’s going on in someone’s life can change how their high feels. “As my responsibilities became greater, cannabis had a more adverse effect on me, and it went from mellowing me out to making me a paranoid mess,” says Tyler Browne, a 34-year-old who owns a cannabis vaporizer store in San Diego.

Djordejevic has heard from others who had more positive experiences with cannabis in their teens, when they had fewer responsibilities and began to get anxious when they smoked it as adults. Some began enjoying it again later on, once they became more settled in their lives.

In addition, it’s possible for the cannabis someone’s getting itself to change over time. “The different medicinal chemicals in cannabis may vary with each plant or batch, or even in the same plant-based on location, possible contamination, loss of terpenes over time, and degradation of cannabinoids,” says Morgan. Overall, the pattern has been for cannabis to become more potent over time, Djordjevic says. Another factor that will affect someone’s response to cannabis is what other substances or medications they’re using, Morgan adds.

If you want to increase the chances that your experience with cannabis is positive and stays positive, Goldstein advises against overdoing it on the THC. There are hundreds of compounds in cannabis, with CBD becoming increasingly popular for uses like pain relief and relaxation. “Try a low dose and give it time to work,” she says.

You should also make sure you’re using a fresh, quality product from a reputable source, ideally one that’s analyzed for potency by a third-party lab unaffiliated with any brand, cannabinoids, and terpene profile, says Morgan. If the product you’re using is new or unknown, take a small amount and wait 10 minutes after smoking or vaping, 20 minutes after administering cannabis under the tongue, and 90 minutes after taking an edible or swallowed tincture, oil, or concentrate. Morgan also suggests drinking lots of water along with it. There are also products like Undoo soft gels that claim to reverse THC-related paranoia and other adverse reactions, though they have not yet been proven or tested.

It may help to ask yourself whether you’re in the right state to use cannabis, Morgan adds. For example, if you’re trying to avoid or escape something, it’s possible the cannabis could just cause you to stress out about it more. Take note of whether particular strains or methods of administration tend to cause you problems, and stop using them.

“If you have easy access to dispensaries that sell small amounts, try different types and write down what you liked and didn't,” Morgan advises. “It’s no different from ordering the same dish at different restaurants or different menu items at your favorite restaurant. In general, responsible cannabis use with other trusted people results in a good experience.”

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