Your Granny Loves Grass: Marijuana Use and Seniors

With the negative stigma surrounding marijuana on the decline, more and more open-minded seniors are turning to marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. Now I’m not saying you should call grandma out at thanksgiving dinner or anything, but statistics show that since 2011, 6.3 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 use marijuana regularly. That number has risen from 2.7 percent in 2002, and with the legalization in 2016, it’s expected to increase by another 2.7% MINIMUM. That’s a lot of seniors smoking pot. 6% doesn’t seem like much until you consider the baby boomer generation is 76.4 million people. Many expect the number of seniors smoking pot to outnumber the number of people under the age of 30 in the next ten years.

Wait a minute- aren’t these the same people that told me I was a heathen and cried when they found out I was smoking pot? (Conservative Ohio, for ya!) Yes. Yes they are. But change is nature! It’s not uncommon at this rate to see a change of heart from the elderly who were fed so much propaganda growing up. The baby boomers are different, and it took most of them a long while to warm up to the idea! Some of your grandparents may have been really big into marijuana during the 70’s, but prohibition got tight and made things even weirder, so many quit altogether.

With the changes, and the elderly support groups such as Mom’s for Marijuana International or Grannies for Grass, they’re starting to realize it isn’t so bad after all. After several interviews, many elderly women admitted to using marijuana to preserve their youthful appearance. Many other elderly folks admit to using topicals to help with joint pain and arthritis. Others use marijuana while struggling through chemotherapy to treat cancer, or lingering mental health issues like PTSD and depression. Some even use marijuana to kick opioid addiction from prescription medications. These groups are designed to bring people who use marijuana together to socialize and learn about all of the positive effects marijuana has had on their lives.

It’s also worth discussing that a lot of new information is coming out in regards to senior marijuana use, such as the medical notoriety of marijuana’s ability to prevent alzheimer’s. A preclinical study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that very small doses of THC can slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins, thought to be the key contributor to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study from the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California has also found that THC and other compounds found in marijuana can reduce the amount of beta amyloid in the brain, which is a really big deal.

At this rate it’s become less of an “I want to, so I will” type of thing, and quickly become an “I should, so I will”. Seniors have every right to enjoy marijuana both medically and recreationally, and it makes me happy that my own grandparents partake. As selfish as it sounds, I couldn’t imagine my life without them, and it fills me with joy to know that I probably won’t have to see them suffer through Alzheimer’s or pain.

Do your grandparents smoke weed? What about your parents? Maybe it’s time they start! Okay, that sounded like peer pressure. But consider the benefits before talking to your parents about marijuana!

by Nicole Flanigan