Anne Markel-Crozier, a certified social worker, and Matthew Brasette, an attorney, addressed the crowd at a recent lecture at Stockton University in Manahawkin. They were discussing the use of medical marijuana among older adults in New Jersey.
They had plenty to talk about. According to data gathered from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 and 2016, about 9 percent of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 had used marijuana in the previous year. About 3 percent of people over 65 used pot in that same time period.
In 2013, that same survey showed 7 percent of Americans ages 50 to 64 used marijuana, and only 1.4 percent of people 65 years of age or older had indulged. In fact, seniors are the fastest-growing pot demographic in the country.
Why? Because marijuana, or even CBD products – which are required to have less than 0.3 percent THC, the cannabinoid (out of more than 100) in marijuana that gets you high – seem to offer a number of health benefits.
Marijuana is widely touted as having beneficial effects on pain, and seniors tend to have more aches and pains than younger people. And marijuana, anecdotally at least, can help with several health conditions.
According to Markel-Crozier, the medical benefits of marijuana include preventing Alzheimer’s disease, treating glaucoma, relieving arthritis, controlling seizures, easing the pain of multiple sclerosis, soothing tremors from Parkinson’s disease, helping with Crohn’s disease, decreasing anxiety, reducing severe pain and nausea from chemo treatments, and stimulating appetite. It also helps veterans and others suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.