Is Cannabis for Seniors a Bad Idea?
That depends. If you are over 50 years of age and considering trying medical cannabis, there are some factors to consider. Most doctors agree that medical cannabis can do no harm to healthy, physically fit seniors. The trick is to know how to manage your daily consumption.
As we age, our bones become increasingly weaker due to loss of muscle strength and flexibility of the joints. This will invariably result in poor balance. Additionally, our inner ear function becomes impaired with age, which may add to our “off-balance” issues.
In light of all this, is it really a good idea for seniors to consume cannabis, which can impair balance and flexibility even further? The answer is yes and no.
If you are over 50, you’ve probably noticed that your bones and joints are not as flexible as they used to be. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that takes place when the body loses too much bone and bone strength. This results in our bones become weaker and more susceptible to falls.
Anyone 50 years or older should have a bone density test at least once a year. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, medication and regular exercise can help strengthen bones. Weaker bones are also more susceptible to poor balance. Good balance comes when sensory and motor systems, including vision, the vestibular system in the inner ear, and the ability to sense where your body is in space all work together in harmony.
If any of these factors are not functioning properly, you can lose your balance easily, even while simply walking. One out of three people over 65 falls at least once a year. Falls are a major cause of fractures, which increase as people get older. Balance due to loss of muscle strength and joint flexibility, as well as reduced vision and reaction time is greatly reduced with age. And the risk of inner ear dysfunction, which can throw you off balance, increases as well. Lack of exercise, alcohol, obesity, nerve damage in the lower legs, and certain drugs can contribute to poor balance. Even wearing the wrong eyeglasses can also interfere with balance at any age.
Just Don’t Fall!
Easier said than done? Losing your footing on a slick pavement causing you to slip and fall can happen to anyone. But when you are over a certain age, it can be a frightening scenario. With all this in mind, is it wise for the elderly to consume medical cannabis? Cannabis can throw anyone off balance, no matter what age they are. Yes, if you are older, the risks are higher. Yet, by making a concentrated effort to only consume at certain hours, while watching tv, or going for a leisurely stroll in the park with your partner, you can indulge in cannabis without fear.
It is essential that you talk to your medical marijuana professional about these concerns. They may recommend a particular strain that is lower in THC content and suggest you only dabble in CBD products, at least until you get the hang of the cannabis feeling. Adding an exercise routine with muscle strengthening exercises to your life can also minimize the risk of losing your balance and falling.
If you have any questions, never hesitate to ask your medical marijuana doctor.