Could medical marijuana potentially eliminate the need for pain medication, anti inflammatory drugs, sleeping pills and a host of other afflictions like anxiety and depression?

While the science is catching up, boomers are already lining up to get their prescriptions.  At the recent 55+ show in Ottawa, the crowds around the Canadian Cannabis Clinic’s booth was proof of the interest and openness to experiment with this healing herb.

Many boomers grew up smoking marijuana in the 60’, 70’s and 80’s, so it’s no shocker that they would be open to using it again (some have never stopped), especially since it is now being validated by the medical community and will soon be legal to purchase at the new Ontario Cannabis Store or OCS.

CBC recently reported that aging baby boomers are the primary consumers of marijuana according to Statistics Canada.  Marijuana dispensaries say many of their regular clients are over age 55 and women are the fastest growing demographic of cannabis users!  Another report … just in today … Canada’s appetite for legal cannabis could be almost as big as it is for wine.

So, are seniors really getting high?  Some yes, as the psychoactive THC component in some marijuana strains does provide relaxation and helps with sleep, but most are interested in the non-psychoactive CBD or Cannabidiol, especially seniors in their 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s.

CBD is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits but does not make people feel “stoned”. CBD rich cannabis is an appealing option for patients looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms and other conditions and comes in a variety of applications.  But although cannabidoil won’t get you buzzed … it could get you busted as CBC reports.

The end of marijuana prohibition in California in 2016 has led to the development of new marijuana and CBD products including vaporizers, edibles, concentrates and topicals.  According to the Insights Report on marijuana, CBD options have quadrupled in the last year.  The Financial Post reports that once cannabis is legalized later this year, CBD infused products will be Canada’s next major growth area.  How about a nice relaxing cup of CBD infused tea?

Until watching a recent CCN TV Special Pot vs Pills by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I had no idea that marijuana was used as medicine until the 1930’s in America (less so in Canada).  Hemp was grown on pharmaceutical farms and used to produce pain medication sold in pharmacies. One theory states the powerful media mogul William Randolph Hearst disseminated and sensationalized stories of violent pot smoking maniacs. He also supported the criminalization of marijuana because Hearst’s paper-producing companies were being replaced by hemp. Likewise, DuPont’s investment in nylon was threatened by hemp products.

Photo: Cannabis Museum

In Canada, the prohibition of cannabis is somewhat unclear as cannabis was not widely used.  Some say it was spearheaded by Emily Murphy, a suffragette and writer for Maclean’s magazine under the pen name Janey Canuck.  She linked all drugs to immigrants flowing into the country, especially the Chinese, and compiled reports to prove her assumptions.  Legally, marijuana was introduced into the Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs; this was a consolidation of other legislation but now listed three new drugs, including marijuana.

Around the same time, marijuana was prohibited for medical use as well as research in the US and Canada, against the recommendations of the medical community.  Opioids were deemed the preferred treatment for pain.  Well, we now know how that worked out!  The US Attorney General Jeff Sessions says we just need to take aspirin to stop the opioid crisis!  He also hates cannabis and recently rescinded the Obama administrations policy that had eased enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that legalized the drug.

Meanwhile in Canada … let’s get back to cannabis.  Although the process for receiving medical marijuana by prescription has been streamlined by clinics such as Canadian Cannabis, many are questioning if a prescription will even be necessary once cannabis is legal for recreational use.  There is no doubt that having the proper prescription and quantity is important, especially for seniors, but sales to boomers are expected to … well … boom!

To get a sneak peak at what we might soon be experiencing here is Canada take a look at what some retirement homes are doing south of the border …. hop on the Cannabus!