Should Your Aging Parent Try Medical Marijuana?

CALIFORNIA: It started  with chronic insomnia. Alice, my 91 year old mother in law is generally willing to try new things, especially if she has hope that it will help with a problem.  She was tired of sleeping pills and the side effect of grogginess.

Her family talked her into trying out medical marijuana for her long standing insomnia.  In California, it’s legal to use marijuana if you have  approval and a recommendation from a physician. An in-person exam is required. She had to ask two doctors, but one finally approved her.  She learned where the nearest marijuana dispensary was, got a dose of the edible kind and she tried it out.  She isn’t a patient person, and when it didn’t work the first time, she didn’t pursue it very far.  She had no qualms about using it, but she didn’t think it was effective.

Alice recently came to visit us on vacation. She’s doing very well for 91, and was able to get on a plane and make the trip by herself.  We all had a fine time. She needs help with distance walking but otherwise she exercised in the pool, went out to dinner, sat by the beautiful lake, played games and went to the casino. However, just before the week ended, she fell in the bathroom and landed on her tailbone. Ouch!  She was in pain.  She doesn’t like narcotic pain medication, as it doesn’t agree with her. The usual anti-inflammatories didn’t help enough.  Her son suggested she try edible marijuana for the pain.  She got some, the kind that is in a sort of chocolate bar.  She took a tiny piece and it helped some. Increasing the size of the piece worked exceptionally well.  We all went to the movies that night and she sat through the movie without having to get up even once.

She also slept well that night and was able to survive the plane ride home. We did have concerns about her carrying the weed-laced candy through the airport.  We were hoping not to get a call from anyone telling us Alice was stopped before boarding because someone thought she looked suspicious and smelled like marijuana. Can you imagine the scene?  She gets a wheelchair escort to the plane so maybe that threw off any suspicions.  The edible kind of weed has no odor to speak of and you don’t smell like a doper if you eat it.  Besides, she doesn’t look like an elderly
pothead at all. She called us after she landed and a friend picked her up at the airport. Whew!  Glad the Feds and their sniffer dogs weren’t hanging out at airport security.

Her home is close to a legitimate medical marijuana dispensary and her helper will take her there to get enough of this medicine to last for as long as the pain in her backside lasts. What we see so far is that it helps her mood, as well as the tailbone pain.  She got better relief from a tiny piece of medical marijuana in a candy form than she did from standard narcotic pain medication.  She had no side effects from the edible marijuana.  I thought it was great.

I am sure there are some of you reading this who will disagree. I am not advocating using medical marijuana if you are against the idea or fearful of it.  But I do see that pain relief is a very good argument for it, especially when I see how helpful it is to Alice. And it does not have the difficult side effects of drugs she would be prescribed by her medical doctors. She is only a few days past her injury and she is doing better already. She still has some pain, but now she has a reasonable, effective way to control it.  She doesn’t get high, She doesn’t act weird.  She’s not craving the stuff. She is able to do what she normally does at home. Her helper is doing the lifting and grocery shopping while she recovers.  So far, so good.


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