Medical cannabis can alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s, cancer and many other diseases that bring pain and discomfort to many elderly patients. In some cases, it is allowing some of these patients to reduce or discontinue their use of opioid pain medications.
A team from Ben Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences in Israel took a look into seniors who are using medical cannabis and how effective it was working for them.
Dr. Victor Novack, head of the Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute, led the study from January 2015 to October 2017, surveying 2,736 patients 65 years and older. The participants received medical cannabis through Tikun Olam, the largest Israeli medical cannabis supplier.
Researchers asked patients whether the cannabis had reduced their pain and improved their quality of life. After six months of treatment, more than 93% of the respondents reported their pain dropped from a median of eight to four on a 10-point scale. More than 70% of patients surveyed reported moderate to significant improvement in their condition. While almost 60% of the patients who originally reported a bad or very bad quality of life upgraded to either good or very good after the six month period.
The study also reported that 18% of the patients had either reduced or completely stopped their use of opioid pain medications. Dr. Novack stated, “cannabis use may decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids.” which is very important due to the many consequences of using opioids long-term, including addiction.
Deciding whether cannabis is an appropriate medicine for an elderly patient is not always a clear decision as there isn’t a lot of medical research/data to back it up. However, we do know that older patients now represent a large and growing population of medical cannabis users, and more research is clearly needed to ensure we can offer safer alternatives to elderly patients looking for relief and a better quality of life.
Parker is a cannabis enthusiast to the core who shares a keen interest in listening to what others have to say and understanding what’s important to them. Those who know Parker know that his passion for health and wellness runs deep, and his love of Canada even deeper!