More Than 90% of Patients Over 65 Attribute Improved Pain Relief to Marijuana

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A scientific study published by researchers in Israel shows vast improvements in pain levels for elderly patients using marijuana. More than 90% of patients over the age of 65 reported a reduction in pain, stress, sleeplessness, and other symptoms after treatment and side effects remained minimal. Perhaps the most significant implication of this proven effectiveness is the potential for marijuana to either replace or augment the prescription opioid pain medication regimen upon which many patients rely.

The Science Bits

The study, published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, was designed to test the medicinal validity of cannabis for use in treatments for elderly patients. Researchers gathered a sample of 2,736 patients, all of whom were aged 65 years or older (the mean age was 74.5 ± 7.5 years). Among these patients, the most common ailments that could benefit from medical marijuana treatment were general pain and cancer, affecting 66.6% and 60.8% of individuals, respectively.

Following an initial questionnaire regarding pain levels and current treatments, subjects underwent six months of medical cannabis treatment. After treatment, 93.7% of the involved patients identified reduced symptoms and improvements in their overall conditions, reporting that pain level, measured on a 1-10 scale, was reduced by nearly half.

Furthermore, patients noticed a unique lack of major side effects, a major relief from their usual prescription medications. The only significant negative effects reported from cannabis treatment were dizziness in 9.7% of respondents and dry mouth in 7.1%.

After those six months of intervention, a large portion of patients felt confident enough in medical cannabis that they continued to use it regularly. In fact, 18.1% of the study subjects either stopped using opioid analgesics entirely or reduced their dose. The results of this research show an impressive potential for marijuana treatment to allow elderly patients to minimize the number and amount  of medications taken each day.

Can Marijuana Replace Prescription Medications?

In short - probably! The results of this study, when combined with evidence from other, similar studies, are enormously encouraging. Across the board, cannabis treatments are showing improved symptom and pain relief where once only opioid analgesics were considered as options. With over 18% of the 2,736 patients in this study ultimately using medical marijuana treatment in place of opioid prescription medications, or at least to reduce the quantity and frequency of those medications, it seems clear that medical cannabis may be considered a suitable replacement.

In state counties with legitimate legal marijuana programs, opioid overdoses decreased drastically, a phenomenon discussed in a previous blog post here. People with legal and safe access to marijuana are far more likely to utilize it as a safe healing tool in place of dangerous opioids, reducing abuse rates drastically. The same result is seen in this study, wherein senior patients are finding that marijuana can provide the same or greater amount of relief while remaining free of major adverse side effects.

More To Come

As with a large amount of marijuana research, more data are needed from additional studies before conclusions can be made about a more permanent opioid replacement. The data does show, however, that more patients over the age of 65 are becoming interested in marijuana for its medical efficacy. Seniors nationwide seem to be choosing medical cannabis over opioids, as evidenced by widely-available epidemiological data showing senior citizens as the fastest growing demographic utilizing legal cannabis in the United States.

Seniors and patients of all ages considering medical marijuana as a treatment option are encouraged to contact our Doctor Jane team for consultation. With an understanding that all conditions and situations are unique, we work closely with our patients to ensure that the treatment plans we recommend are customized and comprehensive. It’s time to explore a form of treatment that may change the way you understand your standard of healthy living!

Today’s blog post is written by Rick Weyback, MD, founder and president of Doctor Jane and our medical marijuana physician. If you are considering marijuana treatment or are wondering if medical cannabis may be right for you, please contact the team here at Doctor Jane at your earliest convenience.

About Doctor Jane

Doctor Jane is South Florida’s most discreet, professional, and convenient concierge medical cannabis practice. Dr. Luis Enrique R. Liogier-Weyback and his wife, Katie Liogier-Weyback, B.S., R.N., founded Doctor Jane on the core tenets of bringing personal, convenient, professional and discreet patient care to the medical marijuana treatment process. Doctor Jane provides South Florida patients and their caregivers with a safe space where they can exercise their right to access medical cannabis therapy in an environment of their choosing, free from stigma and complications.

Visit our website to find out more or to schedule your own medical cannabis consultation.