Our national cannabis landscape has witnessed a profound shift in recent years, and one of the most notable changes has been the rising number of older adults exploring its potential benefits. While marijuana may bring relief from some age-related ailments, its use also comes with critical caveats that need understanding and attention.
Why Are Seniors Turning to Cannabis?
Older adults, many of whom grew up during the rigorous War on Drugs era, have surprisingly become the fastest-growing group of cannabis users in the U.S. With shifting perceptions of cannabis and its increasing legality nationwide, many seniors have found themselves trying it for the first time.
Multiple surveys suggest seniors primarily use marijuana to cope with the challenges of growing older, like insomnia, mood disorders and body aches and pains. Hoping to avoid the adverse side effects of sleeping pills, antidepressants and opioids, many have turned to cannabis as a safer alternative to prescription medications. While approximately 30% of people over age 65 take five or more pharmaceuticals daily, this reliance on prescribed medications may decline as older adults turn to marijuana instead.
The Risks Accompanying the Rewards
As an alternative remedy that remains a Schedule I substance at the federal level, cannabis still involves some risks.
- Increased ER visits: With the rise in cannabis use, there’s been a corresponding uptick in marijuana-related ER visits among seniors.
- Falls: Falling poses a significant threat to seniors, with 3 million visiting the ER annually due to such incidents. Marijuana can impair coordination, potentially magnifying these statistics.
- Cannabis use disorder: Overreliance on cannabis can cause a physical and psychological dependency that makes it challenging to quit using. Despite the growing need, many older adults in this situation don’t receive the necessary treatment.
HVRC’s Tailored Approach to Addiction in Older Adults
Recognizing these challenges, HVRC has established a specialized alcohol and drug rehab program catering exclusively to older adults.
- Medical evaluation and baseline health assessment: Every inpatient stay starts with a comprehensive medical review, coupled with drug dependency diagnostics.
- Tailored detox protocols: We meticulously adjust our detox regimen to older adults’ distinct physiological requirements.
- Age-specific therapy groups: Ensuring comfort and relatability, our therapy sessions connect older adults with their peers, focusing on issues pertinent to their life stage.
- Interdisciplinary treatment: Our team of experienced physicians, nurses, counselors, therapists, dietitians, physical therapists and psychiatrists work collaboratively for holistic patient care.
- Senior-centric facilities: From single-story constructions and hospital beds equipped with side rails to serene gardens and patios, we have designed every aspect of our facility with older adults in mind.
A Compassionate Approach to Cannabis Dependency in Older Adults
Cannabis may offer relief to some people, but it’s essential to approach its use with caution and awareness. If you or a loved one is struggling with cannabis dependency, HVRC is ready to help, providing a supportive, comprehensive and tailored approach to healing and recovery. Contact our friendly admissions staff today to learn more.