Imagining your grandmother smoking a joint might make you giggle. But the reality is that many senior citizens are discovering the medical powers of cannabis.

It may be difficult to imagine but with all the medical benefits cannabis has to offer, don’t be surprised if you see more seniors mixing it into their cookies and tea. Seniors are discovering the medical powers of this natural botanical for health problems associated with aging like arthritis, joint pain, Alzheimer’s and glaucoma. Typically these illnesses are treated with opiates and other pharmaceutical medications that come with many negative side effects.

Some seniors are skeptical at first, because they think this is something for young people looking to get high rather than a prescribed medicine. For many seniors, though, once they open up to using the variety of products derived from the plant to treat their condition, they are pleased with its therapeutic effects. Most seniors do not smoke the flowers with the intention of getting high; many prefer to juice the plant or use topical ointments. This allows them to enjoy the medicinal powers without getting high.

Cannabis has been used in healing for thousands of years and could be found in most medicines until the pharmaceutical companies arrived. Countless patients in the 23 US states that allow legal access for medical purposes have used it to treat pain, inflammation, nausea and dozens of other symptoms. While the majority of patients are under 65, seniors are increasingly turning to cannabis for relief of their many health issues.

Here are some common health issues seniors face that cannabis has the potential to mitigate:

  • Arthritis and Muscle Tension - Cannabis has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory properties. Whether you ingest it through smoking, food products or apply it to the skin, it can increase flexibility, relax muscles and provided relief from pain. Patient reports to this effect are countless, and the science is encouraging too.
  • Memory and Brain Function - While the common perception, born out of the stigmatization, is that it impedes memory, a few well respected doctors including Dr. Raphael Mechoulam from Israel, have found otherwise and continue to explore cannabis as a potential treatment to illnesses effecting the brain such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and PTSD.  Patients have reported increased memory and ability to socialize better when using cannabis products on a daily basis.
  • Glaucoma - Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Treatments that lower the pressure in the eye both lower the risk of developing the optic nerve damage that defines glaucoma, and the risk of pre-existing damage getting worse. One of the commonly discussed alternatives for the treatment of glaucoma is the use of cannabinoids due to its ability to lower the eye pressure. Despite the treatments available for lowering eye pressure, such as eye drop medication, laser treatment, and operating room surgery, there are some individuals for whom these treatments either do not sufficiently lower the eye pressure, or cause unacceptable side effects. Other means of administering the active ingredient of thee plant other than smoking include food products, tinctures and oils under the tongue. The use of eye drops containing THC or related compounds has been investigated, but it has not yet been possible to formulate an eye drop that is able to introduce the drug into the eye in sufficient concentration to be effective.