Study: Cannabis Use By Elderly Patients Blunts Pharmaceutical Use

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As prescription drug abuse runs rampant within every demographic of the American landscape, a new Israeli study indicates the use of cannabis is not only safe and effectual for the elderly –  it also reduces the use of addictive pharmaceuticals.

Published by the European Journal of Internal Medicine, the study discovered three intriguing correlations between America’s growing elderly population and marijuana use.

  • After six months of cannabis treatment, 93.7 percent reported improvement in their condition.
  • After six months of treatment, the number of reported falls was significantly reduced.
  • Medicinal cannabis reduced the use of prescription medicines, including opioids.

For the cannabis study, 2,736 patients over the age of 65 began utilizing medicinal cannabis to help mitigate pain and cancer-related discomforts. Occurring between Jan. 2015 and Oct. 2017 in a specialized medical marijuana clinic, participants were required to fill out a questionnaire addressing their “outcomes” as they related to “pain intensity, quality of life and any adverse events” after six months.

Considered effectual medication by 93.7 percent of the study’s participants, the mean age of those partaking in the cannabis research was 74.5 ± 7.5 years. Of the 2,736 participants, 60.8 percent were suffering from cancer and looking for pain relief, while 66.6 percent were in search of an alternative treatment for pain, according to the study.

“After six months of treatment, 93.7% of the respondents reported improvement in their condition and the reported pain level was reduced from a median of 8 on a scale of 0–10 to a median of 4. Most common adverse events were: dizziness (9.7%) and dry mouth (7.1%). After six months, 18.1% stopped using opioid analgesics or reduced their dose.”

But while the study found the therapeutic use of medical marijuana “may decrease the use of other prescription medicine, including opioids,” and is “safe and efficacious in the elderly population,” it also suggested that more “evidence-based data” is required.

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