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THC CBD and Seniors 2

April 19, 2021


This article appeared in [MedicareGuide] and has been published here with permission.

How Do You Choose Between Medical Marijuana and CBD?

If you don’t want the high feeling that comes from the THC in marijuana, you’ll naturally want to avoid any medical marijuana products and perhaps choose a product with CBD instead.

Though the Food & Drug Administration hasn’t approved the cannabis plant for any medical use, it has approved a few drugs that have cannabinoids in them. Depending on what health issues you’re dealing with, these may be useful. The drugs Marinol and Syndros treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy to treat cancer, and Epidiolex can help treat seizures in people with epilepsy.

How you take medical marijuana also affects how potent each dose is:

Smoking: Paper rolling, pipes (traditional or vape) and water pipes deliver marijuana through inhalation and work quickly. Smoking vaporizes the marijuana, allowing users to inhale the medicine purely. However, this form isn’t recommended if you have a breathing problem.

Edibles: If smoking isn’t an option, you can eat cannabinoids, though you may only need a small portion compared to what you would smoke. Keep in mind that edibles — which come as brownies, candy, cookies, drinks and snacks — can take up to 60 minutes to work.

Concentrated oils and extracts: Highly concentrated cannabis can be found in vape oil, hash, pills, tinctures, dab oils, CBD oil and many other products. Oils have been separated from the marijuana bud, making them extremely efficient in how they work in the body.

Topical creams: Creams and lotions can be very effective for pain relief, and, because they don’t enter the bloodstream, there’s no risk of side effects you might experience with a product that has THC. Topical CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties, which gives arthritis sufferers relief.

What Are the Effects of Medical Marijuana on Your Health and Your Brain?

An American Geriatric Society survey showed that most seniors were able to partially or fully curb their use of prescriptions by using medical marijuana. Another study found Medicare Part D prescriptions filled for opioids decreased in states with medical marijuana laws. Though this research isn’t conclusive, it may indicate that older Americans find medical marijuana effective in managing pain and perhaps other health conditions.

If you choose to take medical marijuana, it’s essential to work with a physician who knows you and your health history and also understands how the plant might interact with any prescription medication you’re taking. While medical marijuana can be useful in some patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, higher doses of THC could cause cognitive and physical impairment, including a worsening of dementia. Thinning blood is also a concern, and using marijuana can cause a sedative effect if you’re also taking antidepressants.

How Do You Get a Medical Marijuana Prescription?

Even if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it pays to apply for an official medical marijuana card. It can give you preferred pricing, help avoid taxes and enable you to purchase products across state lines, if the state allows it. In addition, you can get access to stronger potencies if you need them. Here are the typical steps for getting an ongoing prescription for medical marijuana:

  1. Determine if your condition qualifies you for a medical marijuana card. If your state has legalized marijuana, you should be able to find this information through your state’s department of health.
  2. Get treatment advice from a physician with experience prescribing medical marijuana for your condition(s) and can write a legal prescription.
  3. Through your state health department’s website, find out how to apply for a medical card in your state and pay the application fee, if there is one.
  4. Once accepted, talk to someone at a dispensary who can direct you to the best type of marijuana and the best product(s) for your condition(s).
  5. Listen to your body. You may need to adjust your dosage over time if your prescription doesn’t relieve your symptoms or your body adjusts to the dosage over time and you no longer see any benefit.
  6. Renew your medical card every year.

Does Medicare Cover Medical Marijuana?

Because marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government and Medicare is a federal program, it does not cover this type of treatment.

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