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Two Thirds of Ohio Medical Marijuana Users Are Over 40

December 17, 2019 • • Medical Marijuana

The majority of people who use medical marijuana in Ohio are over the age of 40 — here’s why that matters.

For many, the stereotype of a marijuana user is a rebellious teen or young adult. However, as medical cannabis becomes increasingly common and accepted, that image is changing. 

According to a recent report released by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, more than two thirds of people who use medical marijuana are over the age of 40. This points toward a shifting narrative around the use of cannabis, and how it is being embraced by a larger community. 

The greater transparency surrounding marijuana — and who uses it — shows that slowly but surely, the stigma is being peeled away. Here’s what older adults need to know about medical cannabis, and how it can help them manage a variety of chronic conditions.

Common Conditions Affecting Older Adults

So why are most medical marijuana users over the age of 40? There are a few explanations for this, but primary among them is that of the 21 conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Ohio, most occur more commonly in older adults. These conditions include chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease caused by repeated blows to the head, as well as glaucoma, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. While many of these can appear in young people as well, they do so at much lower rates.

In Ohio, chronic pain is the most commonly reported reason for the use of medical cannabis. Chronic pain can be difficult to manage and treat because of the many different forms it can take. One of the driving factors behind the current opioid crisis is that over the past 20 years, the rate at which doctors were prescribing opioids skyrocketed, in large part because opioids helped patients manage a wide variety of pain. 

However, considering that studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between the use of opioids and addiction and dependence, medical marijuana offers a safer alternative to opioid painkillers. In fact, a number of the conditions that opioids have been prescribed to treat can also be managed with medical cannabis. 

For instance, many patients who have spent decades doing manual labor find that marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful for managing lingering or recurring injuries. Cancer patients also report that medical cannabis helps manage the nausea caused by chemotherapy while also increasing appetite.

Medical Marijuana — the Safer Alternative?

While in some cases cannabis can be addictive, the rates of addiction are incredibly low. In general, marijuana’s side effects are not nearly as severe or life-threatening as those associated with opioid painkillers. That’s why many patients over 40 are turning to medical marijuana to help them manage chronic pain and other health conditions.

If you live in Ohio and would like to learn more about whether medical cannabis might be right for you, contact us at Lakewood Medical Clinic to schedule a consultation. Our specialists are more than willing to discuss treatment options that not only fit your budget but also your lifestyle.