Cannabis Today BDN Blog

5 things seniors should…

By Becky DeKeuster

My work takes me to wellness expos around the state,many of them focused on older Mainers. In the last several months, I have been fortunate to meet hundreds of Maine seniors and to answer thousands of questions about medical marijuana. Distilling all that into a reader-friendly blog post isn’t easy, but here are five important facts about medical marijuana that every “silver citizen” should know:

1. You don’t have to smoke it.

Possibly the most frequent comment I hear is along these lines: “I’ve never smoked anything, and I’m not going to start now.” There’s good news — you don’t have to smoke it. Many people prefer to use tincture (food-grade glycerin or alcohol infused with the active compounds in the plant), or eat medicated edibles such as crackers or chocolates.

In addition to being discreet, these edible forms have a longer-lasting effect, providing from four to 10 hours of relief (compared with a single inhaled dose, which can last up to 2 hours).

Infused topical treatments such as balms and salves are yet another option. These are often helpful for neuropathic or arthritic pain, and have no psychoactive effect. Plus, if you enjoy cooking or baking, it’s easy to make your own infused products at home. Any recipe that calls for butter or oil can be infused with marijuana.

2. You don’t have to get “high.”

Marijuana plants are similar to roses in that there are many different varieties of each. Each variety of marijuana smells different, looks different and likes different growing conditions. Every variety of the marijuana plant contains dozens of therapeutically active compounds, but the euphoric buzz is caused by only one of them, called THC.

For some patients, mild euphoria is itself a therapeutic benefit (think depression, wasting syndrome or agitation of Alzheimer’s). But if that is not your cup of tea, there are many varieties of marijuana that don’t have as much THC and therefore don’t cause that “high” feeling.

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