According to new research, marijuana for medical purposes alleviates pain, anxiety and sleep disorders in older people with neurological disorders.
After only four months, he has helped people with chronic diseases such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease and spinal or nerve damage, the study says.
About seven in ten (69%) reported improvement after taking cannabis for four months.
The researchers found that the product was safe and effective and that one-third of the patients had less need to use addictive opioids, which killed more than 200,000 Americans in the past eight years. years.
In New York, where the research team is based, marijuana is legal for medical use. And a recent report revealed that most of the state's 98,000 medical marijuana users are between 50 and 70 years old.
Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, author of the Dent Neurologic Institute study in Buffalo, NY, said, "With legalization in many states, marijuana for medical purposes has become a popular treatment option. in people with chronic diseases and disorders. people.
"Our results are promising and can help fuel new research on marijuana for medical purposes as an additional option for this group of people often suffering from chronic diseases."
There is a huge demand for researchers to study this drug, which is becoming increasingly popular among patients, but with little scientific literature to confirm its benefits.
In New York, where Dr. Mechtler is based, marijuana is legal for medical use.
And a recent report revealed that most of the 98,000 medical marijuana users in this state were between 50 and 70 years old.
To study the effects of the drug on this age group, Dr. Mechtler analyzed 204 people aged 81 and over, averaging 81 years of age, enrolled in the New York State's Medical Marijuana Program. .
Participants took various amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), the main ingredients of marijuana for medical purposes, for an average of four months and underwent regular health checkups.
The first is the psychoactive cannabis compound that makes users "strong" interacting with central nervous system receptors.
The latter does not have this effect and it is thought that it helps to reduce anxiety and inflammation.
They were administered in liquid form, in capsule form or in an electronic vaporizer.
The most important benefit is pain with about half (49%) of relief. Sleep problems have been reduced by almost a fifth (18%).
Numbness or weakness caused by a failure of nerve signaling, called neuropathy, decreased for one in seven (15%) and anxiety improved in one in ten (10%).
What's more, one in three (32%) ended up taking fewer opioids, which often leads drug users to experiment with illicit substances such as heroin.
They caused more deaths from accidental overdose than any other drug in the history of the United States, which led to the declaration of a public health emergency in 2017.
Dr. Mechtler said, "Our results show that marijuana for medical purposes is well tolerated in people aged 75 and over and can improve symptoms such as chronic pain and anxiety.
"Future research should focus on symptoms such as drowsiness and balance problems, as well as on efficacy and optimal dosage."
At first, one-third (34%) of the participants had side effects due to marijuana for medical purposes. But after adjusting the dosage, this percentage dropped to one-fifth (21%).
The most common were drowsiness (13%), followed by balance and gastrointestinal problems (7% each).
Three per cent stopped using marijuana for medical purposes because of their side effects.
Dr. Mechtler's team found that an equal amount of THC and CBD was the most common report for those who had reported no side effects.
CBD decreases the effects of THC and is not psychoactive.
They pointed out that the preliminary study was retrospective and relied on participants to report if they relieve their symptoms.
It is therefore possible that the placebo effect played a role.
The researchers requested additional randomized, placebo-controlled studies to confirm the results.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80% of older people have at least one chronic health problem.
The findings will be presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia in May.
Last year, an American study of more than 2,700 people over the age of 65 found that marijuana for medical purposes relieved pain in more than 90% of cases.
On a pain scale of 10, taking the drug for six months reduced the scores from eight to four on average.